Best Hiking GPS for Beginners (Best Handheld GPS for Finding Coordinates)
A handheld GPS is an important accessory that every hiker must have. If you are a beginner, a handheld GPS is easier to use than having to read a map or learning how to use a compass. It will help you navigate unfamiliar trails with ease and make your hiking safer and exciting, in spite of where you end up in.
However, finding the best hiking GPS is not an easy task especially for beginners. There are so many hiking GPS devices out there that finding the best unit can be overwhelming. To help, we have a review of the best hiking GPS for beginners and a buying guide to help you make an informed buying decision.
Without wasting any more time, let’s get started.
Best Hiking GPS for Beginners-Our Top Picks
Garmin eTrex 22x, Rugged Handheld GPS Navigator
The Garmin eTrex 22x is one of the best hiking GPS for beginners and professionals alike. It offers an enhanced 2.2”, 65K color display which is easy to read even under broad sunlight.
This GPS navigator is built ready for rugged outdoor conditions. It is durably made to stand rough handling and has a water resistant body which makes it ideal for use in any weather condition. Furthermore, it uses both GPS and GLONASS satellite systems. This makes it ideal for use even in the most challenging environments.
Moreover, this handheld GPS navigator is preloaded with TopoActive maps that have routable maps and trails for both cycling and hiking. It also boasts 8 GB of internal memory to store downloaded maps and a microSD card slot for added space. To top it all, this item is ultralight for convenient portability.
- Ultra-lightweight design
- 2” sunlight readable color display
- Dual-satellite support
- Preloaded with TopoActive maps
- 8GB of internal memory
- Weather resistant design
- Durable construction
- Long battery life
Garmin Oregon 750T, Touchscreen Handheld GPS
The Oregon 750T is a high-quality handheld GPS which is ideal for multiple outdoor applications among them hiking. It features a touchscreen display which makes it easy to use even for beginner. This display is also sunlight- readable and has dual orientation, landscape and portrait view.
It brings to the table high sensitivity dual GPS and GLONASS satellite reception. This makes it ideal for use even in the most challenging environments. It is also equipped with a good processor which provides the correct information quickly and easily.
Another thing that makes this item stand out is the built-in 8MP camera. With it, you will be able to capture locations and memories of your hiking trip. Besides, each photo is geotagged so you can easily navigate back to that same spot in the future. Other notable features include IPX7 water resistant rating, 3-axis compass and expanded wireless connectivity.
- Built-in 8 MP camera
- Touchscreen display
- Dual GPS and GLONASS satellite reception
- 3-axis electronic compass with accelerometer and barometer
- Expanded wireless connectivity
- Rugged construction
- IPX7 water resistant rating
Garmin Montana 700, Rugged GPS Handheld, Routable Mapping for Roads and Trails
The next time you head out for a hike, make sure that you carry a quality and reliable GPS like the Garmin Montana 700 especially if you will be hiking in unfamiliar trails.
This GPS has a large 5” touchscreen display that you can operate easily even when wearing gloves. The large display offers easy view ability even in broad daylight. Besides that, this GPs has a rugged construction which makes it water resistant, thermal proof and shock and vibration resistant.
Moreover, this product comes with Wireless pro-connectivity which offers direct-to-device access for LiveTack as well as BirdsEye satellite imagery. It is also loaded with ABC sensors and Topoactive maps for USA and Canada.
- Rugged and durable construction
- Topoactive maps
- Water resistant design
- Glove-friendly 5-inch touchscreen
- ABC sensors
- Multi-GNSS support
- Long battery life
Garmin Montana 700i, Rugged GPS Handheld with Built-in inReach Satellite Technology
Next on our list is the Garmin Montana 700i. This handheld GPS is designed to provide a slate of features that should help you stay safe throughtout your whole hiking trip. It is simple to use and has a large touchscreen display which makes it easy to read the information displayed even under direct sunlight.
This device is built ready for outdoor use. It has a solid construction to stand rough handling. Besides, it is tested and proven to persevere drops from extreme heights which can damage the screen. It is also water resistant so you can use it even when it is raining.
Moreover, this device comes with ABC sensors which are handy for every hike. The altimeter measures the altitude while the barometer tracks the weather conditions. There is also a compass to determine direction. To top it all, this handheld GPS is pro-connected with ANT+ technology, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. This gives you direct-to-device access to Birdseye Satellite Image downloads, Connect IQ app support and location sharing.
- Rugged military-grade construction
- ABC sensors
- IPX7 water resistant rating
- Glove-friendly 5” color touchscreen
- Multi-GNSS (GPS and Galileo) support
- Pro-connected with ANT+, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
- Rechargeable lithium ion battery
Garmin 010-01879-00 InReach Mini, Lightweight and Compact Satellite Communicator
If you are looking for a compact yet quality Handheld GPS device, look no further than the InReach Mini from Garmin. It has a small and lightweight design which makes it easy to carry close at all times. Besides, it is inexpensive and simple to use which makes it a perfect choice for beginners.
This device features an LCD backlit screen which is easy to read at any time of the day. It is recessed so it won’t hit rock or any other sharp object when hiking. This helps prevent cracking. Another good thing about this GPS is that it not only provides basic navigation. It also gives you vital information such as time, number of steps taken, altitude you have climbed and even weather conditions. You can also pair it with your smartphone using the free Earthmate app.
In addition to everything else, this GPS is ruggedly built to last long and has an IPX7 water resistant to withstand rain, snow, splashed and accidental exposure to water up to 1meter for up to 30minutes.
- Compact in size and ultra-lightweight
- Easy to use
- Rugged construction
- IPX7 water resistant rating
- High-sensitivity GPS
- Pairs with mobile devices using the free Earthmate app
- Multiple extra features included
Garmin GPSMAP 66i, GPS Handheld and Satellite Communicator
Another best hiking GPS for beginners on our list is the Garmin GPSMAP 66i. This is a GPS handheld and Satellite communicator which is loaded with virtually everything you need for basic navigation.
It has a preloaded Garmin TOPO mapping which provides detailed views of the terrain, topographic elevations, lakes, rivers and geographical points. In addition to the multi-GNSS, this device comes with an altimeter, barometer and compass to help you hike in challenging environments with ease.
Another thing that makes it stand out is the rugged construction. It has a sturdy, button operated 3” color display which stays readable even in direct sunlight. In addition to that, this GPS device has an IPX7 water resistant rating which makes waterproof. This means that you can use it with confidence even when it is raining or drizzling.
This handheld GPS also features a cellular connectivity which you can use to access active weather forecasts and an expedition mode which gives you up to 20o hours of battery life.
- Button operated
- Sunlight-readable 3-inch color display
- Preloaded Garmin TOPO mapping
- Cellular connectivity
- Compatible with Garmin Explore website
- IPX7 waterproof rating
- Rechargeable lithium battery
- Expedition mode which offers up to 200hrs of battery life
The BEVA Handheld GPS
If you are on a budget, this BEVA Handheld GPS suits you. While it is available at a reasonably low cost, it doesn’t compromise on quality. It has a great support GPS, GLONASS Navigation Satellite System which provides instant and precise positioning.
This GPS has a large 2.4-inch LCD display which is easy to read even under direct sunlight. When it comes to construction, it has a sturdy waterproof and dust-proof function which makes it ideal for use in any weather condition. It also has a rubberized case which cushions it from impacts and accidental falls while giving you a comfortable and secure grip.
Furthermore, it is ultralight for easy portability and comes in a compact size that fits in your hand or pocket perfectly. Last but not least, this GPS has multiple measurement features which make it ideal for a wide range of applications not just hiking.
- Large 2.4-inch LCD screen
- High precision technology
- Durable design
- Waterproof and dust proof function
- Compact in size and ultralight
- Multiple measurement features
- GPS, GLONASS Navigation Satellite System
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Touchscreen vs. Button GPS
Choosing between a touchscreen or a Button GPS is largely a matter of personal preference. Touchscreen GPS are easy to use for beginners, but they are not ideal for use in all weather conditions. They can be unresponsive particularly when you are hiking in extremely cold conditions.
On the other hand, Button GPS are ideal to use in any weather condition. They are also easy to operate even when wearing gloves.
Criteria for picking the best hiking GPS for beginners
Handheld GPS devices come in different prices to meet the budget needs of different users. Generally, the more features the device has the more expensive it costs.
If you are looking for a model that contains extra features like texting, geocaching facilities and more, be ready to pay a higher price. Besides, some high-end models with require an additional subscription fee to make use of these features.
For a beginner, it is best to start with a budget model that offers the basic navigation features, then advance to a high end model after you have gained some experience.
The next important feature you should consider is the battery life of the GPS. Hiking presents multiple uncertainties especially for beginners. You can head out to the trail and get lost. In such an event, you will want your GPS battery to last for multiple hours. besides, having a GPS with a long battery life will let you hike for many hours without worrying that it will be depleted. A tip is to get a unit that whose battery lasts for more than 30 hours before being recharged.
A durable GPS device is a reliable device. Hiking requires you to walk through rough field conditions which increases the risk of damaging any delicate item you carry around.
When picking your first handheld GPS device, make sure that you choose a model that is durable and sturdy enough to take anything nature throws at it. Also make sure that you pick a unit that is water proof for added protection.
Ease of Use
Hiking GPS devices which use more advanced technologies are not ideal for beginners as they require greater knowledge of how to use them. They also tend to cost more. When selecting the best hiking GPS for beginners, it is best to settle for a basic model which provides the basic information you need to get started while being easy to use.
Why we love hiking GPS
Handheld hiking GPS devices provide all the important navigation information one needs while hiking. Depending on the model you are using, these devices will calculate the number of steps you take, guide you while hiking and provide detailed views of the terrain, topographic elevations, lakes, rivers and geographical points. You can also use a GPS device to call for help once you get lost in the woods.
- Should you hike with a GPS?
Yes. Hiking with a GPS will help you hike in challenging and unfamiliar environments without getting lost. GPS devices connect to the satellite network to give you more accurate information that you need while hiking.
- Are GPS for hiking worth it?
Yes, they are. If you care about accuracy while hiking, a GPS device is a valuable item to have. It will give you the most accurate information while hiking so you can trek to unfamiliar places and not get lost. GPS devices can also be a great safety tool.
In conclusion, finding the best hiking GPS for beginners doesn’t have to be an unpleasant and taxing task. Know the features that you need in a GPS device, then focus on getting a unit that suits your needs. Also makes sure that you get a product that simple to use.