Listed here are the Top 4 best-selling and best-reviewed GPS units on the market. They cover all levels of navigation from the quite ‘simple’ to use to the ‘I need a degree to use this!
I have just done the research on the Internet to find the best hiking GPS in terms of quality, ease of use and reliability. Also, I will share my experience with one of these GPS units. These lists aren’t just thrown together you know! There will probably be a link for more information on each unit in its brief description below.
Best Hiking GPS No.1: Garmin eTrex 20x |Best GPS for Hiking and Biking – Editor’s Choice 🏆
GPS Type: Handheld | Price Range: Under $200
Personally, I have the Garmin eTrex 20x handheld GPS and my opinion is – this is the best buy I ever did in my life. Why I love this GPS? Because it’s powered by 2AA batteries which I can find in any part of the world for a cheap and I don’t need to search for a power outlet to charge this unit. I can just take spare batteries with me and do whatever I like. Middle of nowhere? That’s not a problem with this handheld GPS.
Garnin eTrex 20x Battery Life
In the “no navigation / off-road” mode (this is when GPS just shows your location and don’t calculate the best route) batteries last for around 24-30 hours. Yes, you read that right, with 1 set of batteries you can use this GPS for 24-30 hours without even turning this unit off! And that battery life was with average, cheap “Walmart” batteries. In the navigation mode (when eTrex 20x calculating the route for best results) battery life is a little bit shorter maybe around 17-20 hours. Can’t remember exact time because I almost don’t use navigation mode. I used navigation mode couple of times and all I remember is that battery was draining faster.
Another good thing about this handheld GPS is that there are lots of maps available on the internet for free. Maps that made from OpenStreetMap is the best and they are very informative. Especially I like the points of interest (POIs) function in this GPS, sometimes you can download essential POIs separately and search through them to find something you currently wish for. For example, a water source.
I have used this GPS for hiking, for biking, for walking and navigating through the cities and I really like this handheld GPS unit. With the eTrex 20x, you can find lots of beautiful places – parks, monuments and so on. For biking, this GPS is much better than bicycle speedometer because this GPS shows the more accurate speed and distance traveled. GPS mount for a bicycle is sold separately.
The Garmin eTrex 20x handheld GPS is waterproof so you shouldn’t worry about a rain for example. The only thing I dislike about this GPS is its operated mostly by the small joystick which is a little bit uncomfortable to use sometimes. But that is nothing compared to how good this GPS is. The Garmin eTrex is available in 3 variation: eTrex 10, eTrex 20x and eTrex 30x with the price difference of around 30$ between the eTrex 20x and the eTrex 30x.
The eTrex 10 is the basic model with the monochrome display. Without barometric altimeter, electronic compass and custom maps can’t be used.
The eTrex 20x have the 2.2-Inch 65K color TFT display. Custom maps compatible. Other features: Track log for 10000 points and 200 tracks
The eTrex 30x have the same TFT display as the eTrex 20x but also, this model has the barometric altimeter, electronic compass. These 2 features are the only difference between eTrex 20x and the eTrex 30x. If you need them, then you can buy the eTrex 30x, otherwise, you can buy the eTrex 20x and save around $30 which you can spend for bicycle mount and for screen protection film (which I strongly recommend you to buy. I haven’t bought it and my screen was scratched very fast).Click here to check the price and full product description back to menu ↑
Best Hiking GPS No.2: Garmin eTrex 10 | Best Budget GPS for Hiking
GPS Type: Handheld | Price Range: under $100
Well in the price range of under $100 you can’t go wrong with the Garmin eTrex 10. Budget price, reliable device, geocaching friendly, works from 2 AA battery and can work with GLONASS satellites. Sadly, but for the price of under $100, there is nothing to choose from as other handheld GPS units in this price range is very old dinosaurs (made in the 2007 year) or have bad reviews. And only the eTrex 10 performs great.Click here to check the price and full product description back to menu ↑
Best Hiking GPS No.3: Garmin GPSMAP 64s | Best Handheld GPS for: hiking, biking, fishing and walking
GPS Type: Handheld | Price Range: Under $300
If you ready to buy expensive GPS unit with lots of features then the Garmin GPSMAP 64s Worldwide is the best choice. This GPS unit has the good, sunlight-readable screen. Works from two AA batteries or from the rechargeable NiMH battery pack. Comparing to Garmin eTrex 20x this GPS unit has the buttons below the screen so it’s easier to operate than the eTrex 20x. Also, the GPSMAP 64s has the wireless data upload and possibility to use optional ANT+ sensor which can monitor your heart rate, cadence, bicycle speed.Click here to check the price and full product description back to menu ↑
Best Hiking GPS No.4: Garmin Oregon 550T | Best for: everything – including a motorcycle traveling
Type: Handheld | Price Range: Under $600
This is the top Garmin GPS unit and this one is very expensive (at least for me). But this GPS unit has many advanced features and the description says it’s durable which means that you can use it on your dual-sport motorcycle and can go around the world with this GPS. The Garmin Oregon 550T has a camera built in along with 3-D elevation maps to give you a real sense of what the terrain ahead looks like. Cameras in GPS unit? Yes, this GPS unit has the inbuilt 3.2-megapixel camera with autofocus. Excellent all-rounder GPS unit and great for geocaching. The Garmin Oregon 550T is pricey but has great reviews.Click here to check the price and full product description
Best Hiking GPS | Summary
I know this list of the best handheld GPS units is not the biggest one. But the truth is there are only a few GPS units in this category that has the good reviews and great for hiking. There are hundreds of handheld GPS units, but most of them have an awful rating or look bad for hiking. For the price of under $200, your best bet is the eTrex 20x or the eTrex 30x. These GPS units are new (i mean there is a lot of GPS units on the Amazon that made in the 2007 year, would you like to buy that old GPS?) and support fast GLONASS satellites, and, also have the good battery life.
And for those who want to have more powerful, more comfortable to use (because of additional buttons for navigating through menus) and GPS with more features then the Garmin GPSMAP 64s is the best pick. For those, who want universal GPS unit for everything and prefer expensive products with lots of features and want a durable GPS unit to use it on the motorcycle adventure (for example) then the Garmin Oregon 550T is the right choice.