Features of Hiking GPS Systems

Features of Hiking GPS Systems

A handheld GPS unit remains a valued outdoor gear for hikers and explorers. A GPS can provide vital information about the hikers’ precise position, areas they have been, and locations where they need to go.

This article discusses important information regarding handheld models for the outdoors, including features of hiking GPS system.

Key Advantages and Features of Hiking GPS Systems

Innovation in mobile phone technology is quickly imitating conventional GPS devices. An outdoor GPS gear, however, offers key benefits:

  • Field-replaceable batteries
  • More rugged and water-resistant
  • Features developed precisely for outdoor use
  • Better satellite reception in distant places

GPS Device Buying Made Easy

If you see comprehensive lists of GPS features and specifications to be a little intimidating, you can streamline your choice by considering these key areas:


As screen size upsurges, so does the weight and size of a GPS unit. Making a decision where you’re on the lightweight to large-display is a good initial step.

Interface preference:

If you prefer a touchscreen GPS gear, your selections narrow further. For winter events, consider a unit exclusively controlled by switches or buttons, because it is easier to utilize while wearing hand gloves.

Advanced features:

More costly units offer functions like an electronic compass, wireless transmission, and barometer. If these features are significant to you, that narrows your ultimate choices.

Advanced Features of GPS Gadget

All handheld GPS units do basic triangulation. What you pick mainly depends on which of the following functions a unit offers:

Electronic compass.

All GPS units can tell you what track you are heading on while you are on the move. If you get a model with an electronic compass, however, it will also inform you what direction you are facing while you are standing. That is a big ease, as it permits you to orient yourself and prepare your route.


While all GPS units can tell your elevation based on satellite data, a GPS receiver with the barometer feature offers more accurate elevation readings, by also bearing in mind barometric data. This function also lets you estimate weather trends.

Preloaded maps.

All GPS receivers come with a basic map. Some models also contain topo maps. Most GPS units also accept individually acquired topo maps that are either downloaded or provided on a microSD card or a CD.

You can access and manage all maps and plan routes by connecting to your computer, then using the program or application that the manufacturer of your GPS unit offers.

Wireless data sharing.

This lets your GPS to connect and communicate with compatible GPS receivers. It provides a fast and easy means to share data like routes, tracks, and waypoints with other hikers.

Third-party software and maps.

Because available maps from GPS creators can be expensive, you can just search online and discover an ever-changing selection of sites that have low-cost or even free maps. If you’re not a tech savvy or prefer certain models, then stick with software and maps from your GPS maker.

Memory storage.

The bigger the capacity of the card is, the more navigation data and maps you can store. Furthermore, most models also let you increase your memory storage, usually through a microSD card.

Almost any device you get will have adequate internal memory and waypoint volume to store comprehensive maps and important location data. Plus, it’s very easy to delete unnecessary waypoints and maps as you go to make more memory available for the next hike.

Digital camera.

Offering equal quality to a basic mobile phone camera, the GPS device can also geotag pictures, so you can view where on the map you took each shot.

Geocaching features.

Many GPS units have geocaching features that permit geocaching. You don’t have to buy a GPS unit to go geocaching; phone applications work well for that.

If you are already a geocacher and wish a GPS receiver for navigation, then geocaching functions are handy to have.

Two-way radio.

This allows unit-to-unit connections, so you can call nearby friends in the area and recognize where other hikers are; you can likewise get weather-radio predictions. Radio-equipped GPS models are particularly beneficial for search-and-rescue crews.

Handheld GPS Units vs Smartphones

The GPS units have numerous advantages compared to available smartphones. Handheld units are waterproof, durable, and sturdier, and can be used with either rechargeable batteries or lithium pack.

The navigation is much easier in handheld GPS units than in smartphones and even GPS watches. The foremost reason is the monitor’s extent and resolution. Existing GPS watches cannot just show a good quality map, appropriate for hard-to-navigate topography.


With hiking GPS systems, you promptly remove the fear of being lost in an unknown territory. Sure, having a map during a hike may look exciting, but a hiking GPS gear is way easier, practical, and definitely more suitable for this age and time.


  1. Sam, I cant agree with you more. I think everyone on the trail should have a dedicated GPS device to use especially for those locations that your smart phone is out of service. the trickle down of technology as well as the addition of new technology really makes the modern GPS a handy tool to have.

  2. Pingback: Sam Hutchins

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