Comparing GPS Devices

Compare Hiking GPS Devices before Making a Decision

The worst thing that can occur when hiking is getting lost. A handheld GPS device can give hikers a sense of security and peace of mind. Nevertheless, it’s significant that a hiker knows what they’re looking for in a GPS handheld and how to compare between hiking GPS.

This guide will help you to better understand what a GPS device is, as well as the features and functions that you should take into consideration before making a decision.

Why comparing GPS devices before making a decision is important?

The primary thing to be aware of, before you use a GPS handheld, is that it’s intended to supplement a map and not to be used as a replacement for it. Since the device needs to connect to satellites before delivering a readout, you may want to carry a good topo map as a backup plan.

If the signal is weak, you may receive patchy data, which can eventually lead you off course, lost, or on a scenic detour in unfamiliar land.

Few things to consider:

Buying a GPS device can be a costly investment; so, it is important that you get the best for unit for your needs. Before purchasing a GPS handheld, it is imperative for you to consider the following factors:

Satellite coverage

Adequate satellite reception and coverage are the strength of any GPS device. After all, that is how the unit was designed to work. Hiking GPS armed with HotFix, and GLONASS capabilities are hard to beat. These insure reliable coverage and reception in far-off regions, even in thicker forests and some box canyons where cell service using usually lost after taking the first step in.

With these feature, you can hike beyond the distance that you normally would, and more significantly, should you accidentally find yourself in an unfamiliar area, you will be more than protected. Some GPS devices have trackback features as well to help you retrace your tracks when storms or fog set in.

Durability of the device

As hikers cross all forms of terrain and in all types of weather conditions, the durability of the GPS device should be quite high on your priority list. Fortunately, the majority of water-resistant GPS devices are assembled to last.

With durable, rugged, waterproof surfaces, these GPS handhelds will outlive smartphones and most of the waterproof GPS watches. While GPS devices tend to be waterproof and ruggedized, the screen of the device is a weak spot. A display protector can decrease breakage and scratches.

User friendliness

The easier and more comfortable your GPS unit is to navigate, the more driven you will be to explore the summit, or trail. The extent of the screen plays an essential part, too.

Easy reading of maps, navigation of menus and settings, and download of additional maps should also be considered.

Battery Life

For obvious reasons, this is a very significant thing to think about when purchasing a hiking GPS. Most GPS unit’s power source generally provides between 16 and 22 hours. Getting additional external batteries may also be a good idea.

Being able to attach your GPS unit to an external power source, such as portable charging source or a car’s cigarette lighter, is an even better choice, to avoid hiking to your destination with a “juiceless” GPS device.  There are also solar options to look for when considering the charging of your device.

Software and other Accessories

The majority of handheld GPS come with preloaded maps. This is also significant to consider, particularly based on the locations you intend to travel. Extra features, such as altimeters and compasses, always prove to be useful.

Good situational awareness in the wild increases security tenfold. Altimeters that monitor atmospheric pressure are perfect for weather trend checking.

If you can get a GPS that comes armed with an incorporated radio, then that will increases your odds of survival considerably, in case an emergency happens. A built-in camera is, at all times, advantageous. Leaving your additional camera at home works out better, since it is one less item to pack or loose along the way.

Check ratings and reviews:

Once you have finalized on the GPS device you prefer to buy, it is substantial to feel assured about your acquisition. Ask the vendor questions about the GPS unit, like if it offers the definite features you need.

Take time to check the seller’s reviews and ratings to appreciate the service that was offered to other customers. Be certain it’s the GPS device you need, before finalizing the procurement.


GPS devices are very useful for those who hike frequently. Through improvements in technology, GPS can take data from up to 16 satellites at once, and tell the you your precise location and direct you towards your destination.

Though this is a powerful piece of equipment, it’s important to purchase a GPS device that fits your exact requirements.

By comparing hiking GPS, asking questions, and recognizing which features and functions a GPS handheld needs to have, you will be better equipped and educated about what GPS unit you should acquire. Through taking into consideration the factors, a you will be able to buy a GPS handheld with confidence.

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