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Up to date Feb 8, 2023 4:39 PM

Whereas most fashionable cell telephones can have some handheld GPS functionality, should you’re critical about navigation, you’ll wish to spend money on a standalone unit. GPS stands for World Positioning System. It depends on coordination between 31 completely different satellites in orbit across the Earth. The receiver, your GPS gadget, takes in knowledge despatched by the satellites which can be inside vary, then interprets that into your real-time location.

Figuring out your precise place will show you how to plot a route again house or to your campsite. Alternatively, should you’re stranded and unable to maneuver simply, akin to because of an harm, these GPS coordinates will enable rescuers to search out you simply. Suffice to say {that a} handheld GPS gadget is value investing in should you spend a lot time within the discipline.

How We Selected The Greatest Handheld GPS Gadgets

We examined dozens of various GPS models to slim down our alternatives. Garmin is definitely essentially the most well-known and well-respected title within the GPS area of interest, and for good cause. They’ve been at this for various years and have perfected the know-how getting used. Naturally, our focus was on their lineup.

As somebody who spends numerous days a yr within the discipline, I do know firsthand how essential it may be to have a foolproof and dependable technique of discovering your approach house, to camp, or in any other case to a protected location. There are three elements I utilized in figuring out which merchandise to suggest.

  • Worth: Every handheld GPS gadget had to supply important worth for the worth
  • Reliability: Garmin’s repute is stellar within the GPS area, besides, some merchandise are confirmed to work higher than others. 
  • Options: I needed to supply a small vary of merchandise, together with models which have lots of enjoyable bells and whistles, in addition to a base mannequin that can preserve you on the path with out difficult further choices.

The Greatest Handheld GPS Gadgets: Evaluations & Suggestions

Entry for Learners: Garmin GPSMAP 64sx

Entry Degree Handheld GPS

Garmin GPSMAP 64sx Garmin

Why it Made the Minimize: This Garmin GPS unit will do every little thing you want, from pinpointing your location to sending/receiving emails and textual content messages with household and buddies.

Key Options

  • Pre-loaded with TopoActive maps
  • Wi-fi connectivity with Bluetooth
  • Battery life: 16 hours


  • Helps satellite tv for pc imagery, so you’ll be able to really see your space
  • Has 8GB onboard reminiscence, expandable with microSD
  • Has 2.6” sunlight-readable full coloration show


  • Doesn’t have a touchscreen

This Garmin GPS gadget is loaded with nice options, making it a wonderful selection for each entry-level shoppers and people in search of an upgraded handheld GPS. The pre-loaded TopoActive maps have routable streets and trails, making it straightforward to plot and comply with your path. Pure options, in addition to buildings and extra, are seen. There are additionally 1000’s of factors of curiosity included. The controls are intuitive, with a really shallow studying curve earlier than you’re prepared to go for the good outdoor.

It has an 8-megapixel digital camera, so you’ll be able to geotag pictures as you progress alongside. You may share waypoints, routes, and extra wirelessly with different suitable units. For instance, should you discover an incredible geocache, you’ll be able to simply press “Ship” to transmit your info to a different Garmin gadget. 

This unit lets you interact in geocaching in a paperless method. You merely add the GPX information on to the gadget, and also you’ll be capable to learn the outline, hints, and a lot extra. You can too commerce emails and messages between paired units, so you’ll be able to be in contact with different members of your occasion throughout your journey.

Greatest for Mountaineering: Garmin GPSMAP 65s

Greatest Mountaineering GPS

The Garmin GPSMAP 65s is the best handheld GPS.

Why it Made the Minimize: Ruggedly constructed with easy-to-navigate controls, that is the perfect climbing GPS gadget available on the market at present.

Key Options

  • Multi-band know-how and GNSS satellite tv for pc assist
  • Constructed-in navigation sensors
  • Barometer to watch climate


  • As much as 16 hours battery life
  • Shows federal public land boundaries
  • MicroSD slot for expanded knowledge storage


  • Dear for these simply seeking to get began

This unit is supplied with a big, 2.6-inch display that isn’t solely full-color however simply seen within the shiny solar. What’s the purpose of getting an out of doors GPS unit should you can’t see it outdoor? Garmin makes use of three sensors to pinpoint location and motion. 

  • Altimeter: supplies elevation knowledge and measures ascent or descent
  • Barometer: tracks air strain and can be utilized to foretell climate modifications 
  • Compass: tracks your path of journey. 

Mix the ABC sensors and couple them with satellite tv for pc alerts, and the gadget will know exactly the place you might be always. 

As a result of it’s going to entry a number of navigation satellite tv for pc programs, from GPS to GLONASS and extra, you’ll be capable to observe even in harder areas. It’ll obtain a number of frequencies, which in flip will allow improved place accuracy. A number of the know-how used was beforehand solely accessible to the army. It’ll additionally show the boundaries for federal public lands, enabling you to keep away from trespassing on non-public property and stepping into bother with landowners. Toss this handheld GPS gadget in together with your tenting gear, and also you’ll be prepared for any journey you wish to take.

Greatest Funds: Garmin eTrex 10

Greatest Funds GPS

The Garmin eTrex 10 is the best handheld GPS.

Why it Made the Minimize: That is the right handheld GPS gadget for individuals who don’t want lots of fancy bells and whistles.

Key Options

  • Worldwide basemap preloaded
  • Battery life: 25 hours
  • Operates nicely even in deep canyons


  • Straightforward to learn in any mild
  • Constructed to resist tough circumstances
  • Funds-friendly with out sacrificing high quality


It may not have a coloration show, two-way communication, or a few of the different fancy options frequent to higher-priced handheld GPS units, however this one has it the place it really counts. The display is monochromatic, however you’ll be able to simply see it irrespective of how shiny it’s exterior. On prime of that, it’s constructed to resist water, wind, humidity, grime, and absolutely anything else Mom Nature desires to throw at it. Plus, the brilliant yellow coloration will preserve you from shedding it should you set it down whenever you take a break on the path.

The eTrex units within the Garmin lineup can observe each GPS and GLONASS satellites on the similar time. This implies it may possibly use as much as 24 satellites past GPS alongside. This interprets to a time to “lock on” to a place about 20 % sooner than if it had been utilizing simply GPS. With a battery lifetime of about 25 hours, you’ll have loads of time to search out your approach again to camp with energy to spare. It has a user-friendly structure, too, so you’ll be able to rise up and operating shortly, studying as you progress alongside. You may even program completely different profiles, so you’ll be able to simply swap between geocaching and navigating your path.

What to search for in the perfect handheld GPS units?

While you’re purchasing for the perfect handheld GPS gadget, there are a number of concerns to bear in mind. The primary is funds. Most of us aren’t independently rich, so we have to plan our purchases fastidiously. You in all probability don’t have to spend as a lot as you assume to safe a GPS gadget that can meet your necessities.

Subsequent on the record is how you propose to make use of the GPS navigator. Whereas it is likely to be important for tenting, you could not want as many bells and whistles as you’ll for, say, a thru-hike on a serious path that runs by a number of states. Additionally, should you plan to do any geocaching, that’s a little bit completely different than simply navigating from Level A to Level B. 

The place you’ll be touring, particularly the terrain is another consideration on the record. Some funds GPS units don’t work as nicely in deep canyons or in city areas, as dense buildings round you’ll be able to block alerts. Increased-quality handheld GPS units aren’t troubled by these circumstances as a lot. Nonetheless, should you’ll be sticking to much less mountainous areas of the nation, a high-end handheld GPS gadget may not be essential.


Q: How do I select a GPS?

Selecting a GPS relies upon upon a number of elements. Realistically, what it boils right down to is what you really want in a transportable GPS unit. Most individuals want it to get them from one level to a different and presumably take a look at some geocache areas alongside the way in which. There are tons of bells and whistles that make issues simpler or extra environment friendly, however these will add to your remaining price.

Q: How correct are handheld GPS units?

As a basic rule of thumb, most commercial-grade GPS units are correct to about three meters or about ten ft. Whereas this isn’t precisely pinpoint accuracy, it’s completely acceptable for many civilian makes use of.

Q: What’s the best handheld GPS to make use of?

The unit with the shortest studying curve on our record is the eTrex 10. It has the fewest options you’ll have to be taught earlier than placing it into use. Nonetheless, you’re additionally sacrificing coloration show and another options that, whereas not completely essential, could make issues simpler to comply with and perceive.

Last Ideas on the Greatest Handheld GPS Gadgets

The selection of the perfect handheld GPS gadget doesn’t boil right down to any type of one-size-fits-all choice. What works finest for one particular person is likely to be too advanced or too costly for the following. Nonetheless, do not forget that having further options you not often use is best than needing these options however not having them accessible. Give critical considered what you want your GPS unit to do and the place you’ll be utilizing it most frequently. Then, learn GPS critiques of the models we’ve advisable right here and see what others should say about them. After getting an excellent deal with on what every unit will do for you, choose the one that most closely fits your funds with out sending your pockets right into a tailspin. After getting it house, learn the directions totally, take it exterior and begin practising with it. Take it on quick journeys round your neighborhood to check out the varied options and discover ways to use them to your finest benefit.

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