#1 Best Handheld GPS For Hiking

Best Handheld GPS For Hiking

If you like hiking in the mountains, going into the wilderness and exploring new trails, but always know where you are, and then you definitely need a hiking GPS. There are so many options available on the market that it is a challenge to find the right one for you. You can spend hours or even days reviewing GPS units, and still not know which is the number one best handheld GPS for hiking.

A handheld GPS is really useful in your mountaineering and hiking trips as it gives you the possibility to easily navigate your way no matter how poor the visibility might be or when the landscape has no distinct features.

These devices are more useful than Smartphones, which are usually used by more recreational hikers. Handheld GPS devices have longer battery life and are more durable.

In this article, you have three of the top choices when it comes to reliable, best-chosen GPS units for hiking to make your life easier and save you time and effort by doing your own research.

Garmin Inreach Explorer+

The Garmin Inreach Explorer+ allows you to explore and communicate anywhere you are.

<a href=”https://www.amazon.com/Garmin-Explorer-Satellite-Communicator-Navigation/dp/B01MY03CZP/ref=as_li_ss_il?keywords=Garmin+Inreach+Explorer&qid=1557560346&s=electronics&sr=1-1-spons&psc=1&linkCode=li2&tag=crediblecycli-20&linkId=641aed6998e9f08fd1f72687ab1b43e2&language=en_US” target=”_blank”><img border=”0″ src=”//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?_encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B01MY03CZP&Format=_SL160_&ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=crediblecycli-20&language=en_US” ></a><img src=”https://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=crediblecycli-20&language=en_US&l=li2&o=1&a=B01MY03CZP” width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />


  • Uses 100% global iridium coverage to make possible the 2-way text messaging, as well as tracking, anywhere in the world
  • You can navigate easily with the preloaded, detailed maps, mark waypoints, follow routes and find your way back in case you get lost
  • You can share your location with anyone, friends or family so that they know at any time where you are
  • The interactive SOS gives you the possibility to communicate with emergency responders and get the help you need


  • Can be paired with mobile devices
  • Interactive SOS sent to the search and rescue monitoring center
  • Share your location with friends and family
  • 2-way text messaging
  • Built-in digital compass, Accelerometer and Barometric Altimeter
  • Add waypoints on the route


  • Problems with syncing with a MAC to download routes, messages, contacts, etc.
  • The Inreach Explorer+ does not communicate with the EarthMate app on iOS devices that are older than iOS 10 due to the advanced Bluetooth protocol
  • You only have three predefined messages you can use (I’m ok, Please come and pick me up, Doing fine but going to be late)

Garmin Montana 680t

The Garmin Montana 680t is another useful GPS that should be on your list.


<a href=”https://www.amazon.com/Garmin-010-01534-11-Montana-680t/dp/B014QN4XUO/ref=as_li_ss_il?crid=1SE1AE0MAS71T&keywords=garmin+montana+680t&qid=1557560493&s=electronics&sprefix=Garmin+montana+680,electronics,186&sr=1-3&linkCode=li2&tag=crediblecycli-20&linkId=d45e119a7c37cc3c2f8dc69cea266750&language=en_US” target=”_blank”><img border=”0″ src=”//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?_encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B014QN4XUO&Format=_SL160_&ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=crediblecycli-20&language=en_US” ></a><img src=”https://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=crediblecycli-20&language=en_US&l=li2&o=1&a=B014QN4XUO” width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

  • Able to support paperless geocaching GPX files which can be uploaded straight-to-device from Geocaching.com
  • It can store and display crucial information such as terrain, location, hints, difficulty, and descriptions, so no more manually entering coordinates
  • The device records tracklogs to help you easily organize and navigate through routes and waypoints.
  • It has a high-sensitivity GPS, WAAS-enabled receiver, GLONASS reception, as well as HotFix satellite prediction.
  • It can locate your position precisely and quickly and maintain it no matter if you are near tall buildings or deep in the woods.
  • It has a sunlight-readable, 4-inch touchscreen display, with vivid colors and high-resolution images.


  • You can access the free BaseCamp software to view and organize viewpoints, maps, tracks, and routes. You can also create Garmin Adventures to share with friends
  • The high-sensitivity GLONASS and GPS make it a very reliable device
  • Easy to use
  • Sunlight-readable display
  • Record track logs
  • Around 250,000 preloaded geocaches
  • Also, works as digital camera thanks to its 8MP camera
  • Automatic geotagging features
  • Rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries
  • Free Basecamp software


  • It weighs64 lb which can get quite heavy when it comes to trekking and lightweight backpacking.
  • The unpaved roads and trails are not routable in the topo software

Which is the best?

Our opinion is that from the three options presented above, the best one is Garmin Montana 680t. Why? Because it offers what it says it does: detailed topographic maps, accurate display, fulfilling the promise of as a durable, rugged and true, multi-purpose GPS.

It is one unit that has all you need for a successful adventure into the wilderness. You can take it on off-road-vehicle trips, on the river, trail, dirt road, ocean or lake.

Finding the #1 best handheld GPS for hiking only depends on what you need. What works for some people does not work for others. The GPS devices we have presented in this article are the top of the list among the GPS choices currently on the market.

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