Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS Review

Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS Review

A GPS device is the ultimate companion that is a must for an individual on their way to conquer the great outdoors. Whether it is a casual stroll through the woods or a more challenging climb up a rugged trail, a handheld device always points to the right direction that a person needs to go.

In case the visibility has decreased due to poor weather conditions, or there is a sudden change in the terrain, a handheld GPS device can easily guide a hiker to navigate the best possible way with minimum difficulty.

The Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS device is the ideal apparatus for an adventurous hiking trip. The device allows the user to plan their path every step of the way.

The user can also avail the advanced TracBack mode that allows tracing back the steps to the point of origin.

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This is not just a simple GPS device that only shows the direction and the geographical coordinates. This product comes preloaded with additional features that a standard device lacks such as fishing and hunting information, electronic compass, sunset/sunrise timings, etc.

Convenient design

The device is designed in such a way that it can be worn on the wrist which is a positive attribute for all outdoor activities.

Advanced sensors

The device comes equipped with a waterproof and highly sensitive GPS receiver, barometric altimeter and an electronic compass. All of these are packed in a small and lightweight encasing that adds to the lightweight factor.

Users can share their waypoint and other GPS related data easily with other fellow hikers wirelessly.

Retrace Your Steps

The device comes pre-programmed with Garmin’s latest technological achievement, the TracBack feature. This smart little programming tweaks deep integrated into the firmware of the device also the user to trace back his/her steps back to the beginning of the journey.

This is especially useful for a backpacker who strayed away from the correct path.

Electronic compass and altimeter

The electronic compass of the device allows the user to keep track of their bearing and elevation. The device is also equipped with a barometric altimeter and inbuilt memory that allows storage of waypoints and other GPS data seamlessly for future references.

The device is powered by 2 AAA size batteries that provide the user with about 8 – 9 hours of standby life.

Added features

The GPS device is equipped with a trip computer that allows the user to store and create their routes, favorite places and other related GPS data.

The device can also make use of its advanced sensors and keep track of the heart beat of the user, and onboard cadence sensor.


  • Modern, rugged design that provides the user with a light, compact GPS device made exclusively for hiking
  • Five ergonomically positioned buttons for easy single handed operation that seamlessly guide the user through the functionalities
  • Highly sensitive GPS transceiver that allows quick acquisition of satellite signal in tricky landscapes like narrow valleys and densely covered forests
  • 64 x 100 pixel high-contrast screen backlit with bright LED light source ideal for both portrait and landscape viewing
  • Comes pre-equipped with an electronic compass and barometer
  • Wireless sharing of location data and other GPS related information like waypoints and routes
  • Comes equipped with heart rate monitors and cadence sensors
  • Unique sail race feature that allows customized countdown sequence accompanied with audible alerts
  • Advanced and patented TracBack feature that aids in the retracing of the steps taken by the user in case way is lost
  • Inbuilt storage space for storing navigational data, waypoints, favorite places and graphic symbols
  • Onboard trip compute that computes maximum, current and average speed along with calculation of trip time
  • IPX7 rated water resistivity that protects the device up to a depth of 1 meters for 30 minutes
  • Powered by a pair of AAA size batteries (not included in the retail package)


  • Barometric altimeter
  • Limited battery life (appx. 8 hours)

How does the product serve your needs?

Whether a novice or a veteran backpacker, it is of utmost importance that a hiker invests well in a quality and multipurpose GPS device to aid in their quest. Garmin as a manufacturer of GPS devices has been successful in their quest to make a name for themselves as a brand that excels regarding quality and stability.

The device is equipped with state of the art features that are only accessible to the customer if they invest in an expensive navigation device. Garmin Foretrex 401 is a product that offers great value for money.

How is the product different from its competitors?

The Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS device is the ideal product for both the experienced as well as the beginner in the hiking scenario. The device comes equipped with a sensitive transceiver.

The inclusion of a strong transceiver allows the device to connect to the GPS network even in the most challenging locations.

If we make a comparison between this product and that of the Magellan Explorist 310 the difference is readily seen. The latter lacks advanced features like the heart rate monitor and trip computer that is present in the one from Garmin.

The one thing that is missing in the GPS device from Garmin is enhanced standby period, which is present in the one offered from Magellan. The Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS device provides the user with only 8 hours of standby time. This is obviously not enough to last individual expeditions that might last for several days or so.


If an individual is looking for some extra features from a basic GPS device all the while keeping the expenses to a bare minimum, then this is the devices that satisfy all of the requirements. Although a basic looking device, the Garmin Foretrex 401 is feature packed. Ultralight, compact, and advanced features make this product a real deal stealer.

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