Hiking GPS :Top 10 best GPS for Hiking and Outdoor in 2018

For all those outdoor enthusiast Hiking GPS is a must needed thing.

Our conventional method like using a compass and a map will be always our buddy.

To ease our navigation handheld GPS devices are the tool of choice while hiking or trekking a unknown tough terrain.

You can use your smartphone as GPS for backpacking. When you are Hiking or Trekking it is better to consider using a handheld GPS device.

The Handheld GPS device have many advantages than a smartphone GPS in many ways.

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If you need a durable and a reliable device while hiking or trekking through some harsh and unpredictable terrain, then handheld GPS is the best suitable one to consider.

The smartphone GPS can be considered as an emergency one when you accidentally lose or damage your hiking GPS device.

Most of the handheld GPS devices come with a AA battery.

We can easily replace these batteries and also we can carry some extra batteries, they are not expensive like smartphone batteries.

Handheld GPS devices are designed for rough and tough use. They are made water resistant.

GPS signal reception is much better than smartphones.

Quick Comparison: Best Handheld GPS for Hiking

  1. Garmin Oregon 650t
  2. Garmin GPSMAP 64st
  3. Garmin eTrex 10
  4. Garmin Foretrex 401
  5. Garmin GPSMAP 64s

**Below, you'll find our expert's reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

Hiker-Travels In The Mountain HIKING GPS

GPS ( Global positioning system). By using multiple satellite it is possible to track or pinpoint precisely one's location on earth with some coded information transmitted continuously between these multiple or network of satellites.

The satellite transmit very low power radio signals allowing anyone with a GPS receiver to determine their current  location on earth.

GPS was used in US defence, now it is made available for civilian use also. The gps system cost billions of dollars for the US to build.

GPS actually predates the introduction of first personal computer.

Its designers may not have foreseen a day when we would be carrying small portable receivers, weighing less than 500 grams, that would not only tell us where we are in position coordinates (latitude/longitude), but would even display our location on an electronic map along with cities, streets, mountains and more.

GPS receivers would aid navigation. Now everyone gets to enjoy the benefits of GPS! The capability is almost unlimited and this use of the system for free.

Accessories to consider while selecting a Hiking GPS

Remote Antenna 

 An external antenna will allow you to use your GPS in an area where clear sky view is not available. Antenna can increase your GPS signal strength for better accuracy.

External Power source

Even if you have a long battery life GPS unit , it’s always advisable to carry additional power source like power bank or some pair of batteries.

Mounts  

When you need your hands free a mount for your GPS can be useful. Many units come with a mount or you can separately buy it. 

Softwa​​​​re 

If you need to save your waypoints or to plan a hike, then by using Mapsource software you can.

Mapsource software of your unit may give you a colored display of your map, zoom and pan function in your personal computer.

By using the waypoint and trip management function you can create waypoints, routes, hikes and tracks and transfer them between your computer and GPS units.

This can be used to plan your next outdoor adventure hike, trips etc.

Some GPS units accepts map transfer features. In such a GPS units the user can select individual maps in areas of interest and download the selected maps which will be compatible with your GPS unit.

Some of the gps unit requires  8,16,32,64 or 128 MB of free space in the data card to download your maps.

Simply connect your gps unit to a PC via PC interface cable.

The map of your interested area can be chosen from your PC screen and simply with a click of the mouse the information will be downloaded to your GPS unit.

Mapsource give you the freedom to choose the mapping coverage you need.

According to your preferred activity you can determine the suitable mapsource.

G-Char​​​​ts​

 If your want to add more navigation data to your GPS units choose G-charts.

Thing to consider while purchasing a Hiking GPS

When purchasing a GPS unit you should think about your whole purpose of buying it for like hiking,boating,flying,biking,hunting,fishing,driving etc. Here you can find the top rated outdoors GPS unit for hiking.

Map Compass HIKING GPS

GPS Unit Battery life

If you are a frequent hiker then you should probably consider the battery life of your GPS unit.

GPS units with colored display tend to have decreased battery life than the grayscale display GPS unit hence required frequent charging.

GPS Unit size and weight  

GPS units are available in different shapes and size you can choose from a variety of handheld GPS units like small display light weight unit, large display unit with slightly more weight etc.

GPS Unit Antenna configuration

The antenna on the GPS unit will increase its signal receiving capacity. You can go for a GPS unit with build in antenna or a unit that can attach an external antenna when needed.

GPS Unit with DGPS Capability

To increase your hiking track accuracy you can combine a Differential GPS (DGPS) receiver with your GPS unit. This will give you the Best possible accuracy.

GPS Unit Price

First you need to decide what all features you need and then check our selection below and find the best Suitable GPS unit that fits your price range.

Additional features for your Hiking GPS

Wireless sharing, build in camera, FRS(Family Radio Service), Display (touch screen, large screen), Build in memory, Construction ( weatherproof).

Errors in your Hiking GPS

You may wander sometimes why GPS not working at this moment, so here we are going to explain you some of the errors that may occurs in GPS reception.

Multipath Signal Error

This type of errors occurs when the GPS  signals are reflected off by some obstacles like buildings, caves, large rocky surfaces before it reaches the receiver. This will increase the travel time of the signal and thereby causing errors.

Error in orbit

This error is caused due to satellite error.

Receiver clock error

Since it is not practical to have an atomic clock in your GPS unit like that on the satellite. So the build in clock can have a very slight timing error.

Signal Delay in the atmosphere

When the satellite signal pass through the ionosphere and troposphere of the atmosphere it slows the signal. To correct this error certain build in model is used within the system to calculate an average, but not an exact amount of delay.

Errors due to less number of satellite visibility

The more satellite the receiver can see, the better the accuracy. Clearer the view better the reception. GPS unit will not work, underwater, underground and inside some closed area.

Additional features for your GPS

Track logs

GPS unit can record your hiking  trails in a track log and can store it in your GPS unit. You can access the stored track log information whenever you want. If you want to hike back along the same path you came you can use the stored track log and the GPS unit will automatically reverses the route along your same path.

If you are using a Garmin GPS unit , then by simply activating Garmin Trace back feature you can create a reverse route automatically.

You can store this information to use again and again when needed.

Some of the facts you should know

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    The GPS unit should be small to fit in the hand. The GPS unit should be waterproof and durable.
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    You should load your GPS unit with required GPS file and use it to navigate along a trail. You can download the file from the internet.
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    The files are in the GPX format, you can save this GPX file in your GPS unit from the computer via PC interface cable.
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    Older model GPS unit won’t support this GPX format in that case you should convert this GPX format to GDB file format.

For finding your location on a topographic map using coordinates.

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    From the GPS unit we get the location in longitude and latitude.
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    By using Grid overlay topographic maps it will be easier to find your location in your topographic map.
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    The Grid reference are basically six digits eg: Reach your destination at  GR 920111,   we call this as UTM coordinates.
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    This UTM covers the planet with grids each Grid like at 1000 m spacing.
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    Set the GPS receiver to display UTM coordinates. You can find this option in your setting menu on your GPS unit.

Some of the Best Handheld GPS Device for Hiking

  1.  Garmin Oregon 650t
  2. Garmin GPSMAP 64st
  3. Garmin eTrex 10
  4. Garmin Foretrex 401
  5. Garmin GPSMAP 64s

Available in India

  1. GARMIN GPSMAP® 64s
  2. Garmin GPS etrex10
  3. Garmin eTrex® 30x

TIPS

  • Always take your map and compass along with your most accurate handheld GPS units.
  • If you find your GPS signal reception very weak. Move to high ground or open area to get accurate navigation details.
  • Install your GPS unit with detailed topographic maps of your hiking area if available..
  • Don't forget to take some extra batteries.
  • Make sure you are on the right track. Verify your location after every few hours.

Our recommendation

Garmin GPSMAP 64st

Garmin GPSMAP 64st

Pros

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    2.6" sunlight-readable color screen
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    High-sensitivity GPS and GLONASS receiver with quad helix antenna
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    8 GB of internal memory and a microSD card slot
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    250,000 preloaded caches for paperless caching from Geocaching.com
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    Preloaded TOPO U.S. 100K maps plus a 1-year BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription
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    3-axis compass with barometric altimeter
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    Wireless connectivity via Bluetooth technology or ANT+
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     Wirelessly upload data to Garmin Connect and view on smartphone, plus share activities as they happen with Live track(64s/64st only)  

Cons

  • Battery life only 16 hrs
  • Weight - 9.4oz heavier than it competitors

Image credits: amazon.com, amazon.in

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