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Top 5 Best Hiking GPS’s in 2017

1The main purpose of GPS for hiking is to define location and indicate the direction to the objects and the distance between them. Most GPS do it very well. Just imagine that you walk along a trail and there must be a spring somewhere on the right of the path. The map allows you to locate it within 100-200 meters, but sometimes the objects on the maps are slightly shifted for certain reasons.

The best hiking GPS can show you the exact direction to it and how many meters you have to go. Of course, the GPS also has small errors, but it will narrow the range of search and help find the object much faster, even in the thickets of grass.

Another very useful feature of the GPS is the possibility to make your route being at home using the maps and then while hiking you will just need to follow the arrow of the GPS. Another useful function of hiking GPS is the possibility to measure how many kilometers you passed and how much is left. This information will help calculate the arrival time at the destination (for example, to catch the train), to distribute your force on the route, select optimal locations for parking and recreation.

Click here for the Best Hiking GPS available in 2017!

Here is a brief comparison table of the top hiking GPS’s (article continues below):

Top 5 Hiking GPS’s Comparison Table

GPSBattery lifePriceRating

Garmin Foretrex 401 GPS

Garmin Foretrex 401 GPS
17 hours$$

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4.6 out of 5 Stars

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Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO U.S. 100K with High-Sensitivity GPS and GLONASS Receiver

Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO U.S. 100K with High-Sensitivity GPS and GLONASS Receiver
16 hours$$$

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4.2 out of 5 Stars

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Garmin eTrex 30x

Garmin eTrex 30x
25 hours$$

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4.2 out of 5 Stars

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Garmin Oregon 650t

Garmin Oregon 650t
16 hours$$$$

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3.9 out of 5 Stars

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DeLorme Earthmate PN-60 Portable GPS Navigator

DeLorme Earthmate PN-60 Portable GPS Navigator
14 hours$$$

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3.6 out of 5 Stars

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The GPS allows you to record the routes tracks with all the points (waypoints of important objects) and comments. This is useful for planning your way back, for example, in order not to look for your trail back through the swamps or rough terrain, but follow the proven path. You can also store your route in the memory of the GPS and then a few years later follow the same way.

Additional features of the GPS that may also be useful are a clock, alarm clock, compass, speed measurement (current, average, maximum), altimeter, and others, depending on the model chosen. It is also important to have such settings as memory, the number of routes and waypoints, processing speed.

So while choosing the best GPS device for hiking, you should pay attention to the following parameters:

  • The maximum number of points that you can use to mark your route.
  • Screen size and number of colors. More expensive hiking GPS devices have integrated color screens.
  • Memory. It’s applicable to mapping devices. The larger the amount of memory, the more maps you can download there. Many GPS devices have a slot to expand the memory.
  • Battery life. The battery life should be as long as possible, at least 10 hours, so that you don’t need to replace the batteries too often. Rechargeable batteries will be a big plus.
  • Construction of the device. The best hiking GPS must be durable and waterproof as you always can encounter harsh weather conditions while hiking.
  • Weight and size. The best GPS for hiking must be lightweight and it should conveniently fit in your hand.
  • The power of the processor. It is very important for the speed of the scroll and zooming.
  • Additional functions. Many models are equipped with a barometer and altimeter that may be useful mainly for cavers and climbers as they can predict the change of the weather.

As for the price for the best GPS for hiking, we have found that you can get simple GPS devices in the range from $150 to $200. The choice of such GPS depends on how you plan to use it. In most cases, the GPS devices of this group are waterproof. The best hiking GSP devices from $200 to $400 are more sophisticated and advanced. Most of them have a basic map of the world and additional maps can be also downloaded.

So the main question remains: “What is the best hiking GPS?” Take a look at our list of top GPS devices for hiking in 2017.

Garmin Foretrex 401 GPS

Garmin Foretrex 401 GPS

Rated 4.6 out of 5 stars from 377 customers. Click the image for prices and reviews!

This hiking GPS is twice cheaper than the navigators reviewed above, but it has all the necessary functions you may need for navigation and even much more. This lightweight and small wrist-mounted GPS device will be perfect for hiking and you will never get lost with it. This GPS keeps tracks of your route and shows it as a dotted trail on its display. With the TrackBack feature, you can return to where you started your way. You can also say your locations as waypoints and thus you will always find your way back. But this is not the limit for the Foretrex 401. Let’s see what else you will get:

  • Weight: 3 ounces;
  • 7 in. high-contrast 64 x 100 pixels screen with bright LED backlight and dual position for horizontal and vertical viewing;
  • High-sensitivity GPS receiver with HotFix for improved performance and reception in dense tree cover and deep canyons;
  • Built-in electronic compass and barometric altimeter;
  • TrackBack function to retrace your path;
  • Wireless connectivity via ANT+;
  • Garmin Connect to track your activity on a map using Google Earth and share it with your friends on social media sites;
  • Compatible with Garmin heart rate monitor and GSC 10 Speed and Cadence Sensor (sold separately);
  • Number of routes: 20;
  • Number of waypoints: 500;
  • Batteries: 2 standard AAA batteries (not included);
  • Battery life: up to 17 hours;
  • Trip computer, sunset / sunrise data, hunt / fish calendar;
  • Waterproof: IPX7 rating (can be submerged up to 1 m for 30 minutes).

The Garmin 401 is extremely lightweight and easy to use. Though a high-contrast screen is a bit small, it’s pretty easy to read. It also has a LED backlight, so you can use it when it’s dark. To receive GPS data, the Foretrex 401 comes with a high-sensitivity receiver that delivers fast signals for better navigation. For additional navigation, you can use a built-in electronic compass and barometric altimeter. The data are fairly accurate.

The Foretrex allows you to track and create your routes, waypoints and store them. You can store up to 20 routes and 500 waypoints. It’s not a great figure for serious hikers, but it’s quite enough for enthusiasts. With the TrackBack feature, you can easily find your way back. Thanks to the wireless connectivity via ANT+, you can view and share your activity with your friends. You can also connect your Foretrex 401 via USB cable to your PC and store your data.

Keep in mind that the Foretrex 401 doesn’t have preloaded maps, so it’s a hiking GPS with basic functions for navigation, so you will need to have a map with you.

The Garmin Foretrex 401 requires 2 standard AAA batteries that provide up to 17 hours of the battery life.

You shouldn’t worry about using the Foretrex 401 in bad weather because it features the IPX7 rating, so it can withstand harsh weather conditions and you can even submerge it up to 1 meter for 30 minutes.

So if you want to get a robust, lightweight, compact and high-performance GPS navigator for less than $200 and you don’t need a colorful screen and preloaded maps, the Garmin Foretrex 401 is a great solution. It’s definitely worth the money.

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Garmin eTrex 30x

Garmin eTrex 30x

Rated 4.3 out of 5 stars from 50 customers. Click the image for prices and reviews!

The Garmin eTrex 30x is the smallest and lightest GPS hiking device in our review. It’s very compact, so you can easily store it in your pocket and it fits perfectly in the hand. This hiking GPS will help you navigate with a breeze. Let’s take a look at the features of the Garmin eTrex 30x:

  • Weight: 5 ounces;
  • 2 in., 65k color display with increased (240 x 320 pixels) resolution;
  • 7 GB of internal memory and microSD card slot to load more maps, including TOPO 24K, HuntView, BlueChart g2, City Navigator NT and BirdsEye Satellite Imagery (sold separately);
  • Built-in worldwide basemap with shaded relief;
  • Built-in sensors – 3-axis, tilt-compensated electronic compass, and a barometric altimeter;
  • Supports geological GPX files for downloading geocache locations and details straight to the unit using the high-speed USB connection;
  • Wirelessly share your waypoints, tracks, routes and geocaches with other compatible devices (Montana-series, Oregon-series, Dakota 20, GPSMAP 62S, 62ST, 78S, and 78SC);
  • Number of routes: 200;
  • Number of waypoints: 2000;
  • Batteries: 2 AA NiMH batteries (sold separately);
  • Battery life: up to 25 hours;
  • Waterproof: IPX7 rating (can be submerged up to 1 m for 30 minutes).

The Garmin eTrex 30x is designed with an enhanced screen resolution of 240 x 320 pixels and shows 65,000 colors. Though the display is not large, it provides good readability and you can view the data even in bright sunlight.

This hiking GPS comes with built-in worldwide basemap with shaded relief that helps you navigate with ease. The built-in memory of 3.7 GB allows you to download many maps. For extended memory, you can use a microSD card slot. This GPS also supports the integration of satellite images with the maps, but you will need a subscription. Since the eTrex 30x supports Russian Glonass system, you can get about 20% faster and more reliable satellite acquisition. It will be helpful in challenging spots such as deep canyons and high buildings.

The Garmin eTrex 30x comes with a 3-axis, tilt-compensated electronic compass that shows your heading and a barometric altimeter that shows the precise altitude and tracks changes in barometric pressure to predict the weather.

The wireless connection allows you to share your routes, waypoints, tracks and geocaches with other devices and connect with compatible Garmin devices, including VIRB and accessory sensors. You can store up to 200 routes and 2000 waypoints.

The eTrex 30x works with 2 AA batteries that you need to buy separately. The battery life is one of the best in the category. This GPS navigator runs up to 25 hours.

With the IPX7 rating, the Garmin eTrex 30x is water-resistant and can be submerged up to 1 meter for about 30 minutes. The device also offers shock protection.

All in all, the Garmin eTrex 30x is one of the best hiking GPS devices for its long battery life, compact and lightweight design. The cons of this hiking GPS is that it has a relatively small screen and Topo maps are not preloaded. As for the price, it’s not a cheap device, though the price is adequate for the features offered. You can find lots of hiking GPS reviews on Amazon and see that this device is recommended for many hikers.

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Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO U.S. 100K with High-Sensitivity GPS and GLONASS Receiver

Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO U.S. 100K with High-Sensitivity GPS and GLONASS Receiver

Rated 4.2 out of 5 stars from 304 customers. Click the image for prices and reviews!

The GPSMAP 64st is another reliable GPS hiking device from Garmin. It is equipped with a bit bigger screen in comparison with the Garmin eTrex 30x and has the buttons placed below the screen and not on the sides like on the eTrex 30x. The Garmin GPSMAP 64st is equipped with a helix antenna that works with Russian GLONASS and U.S. GPS for better reception and navigation. Thanks to the features this hiking GPS device is one of the best in the category. So let’s discover what it offers:

  • Weight: 9.3 ounces;
  • 6 in. (240 x 160 pixels) bright, sunlight-readable TFT display with 65K color measures ;
  • High-sensitive GPS and GLONASS receiver with quad helix antenna;
  • Preloaded TOPO U.S. 100K maps plus a 1-year BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription;
  • Built-in worldwide basemap with shaded relief;
  • 8 GB of internal memory;
  • 3-axis electronic compass with barometric altimeter;
  • Wireless connectivity via Bluetooth technology or ANT+;
  • Also connects wirelessly to Garmin devices, including VIRB and accessory sensors, Garmin templeTM, foot pod and heart rate monitor;
  • Smart notifications wirelessly receive emails, texts, and alerts from your iPhone 4s or later;
  • Free BaseCamp software to view and organize your maps, routes, waypoints, and tracks, and share your adventures with others;
  • Number of routes: 200;
  • Number of waypoints: 5000;
  • Dual battery system: 2 traditional AA batteries, or the optional rechargeable NiMH battery pack;
  • Battery life: up to 16 hours;
  • Hunt / fish calendar, sun / moon info, tide tables, custom points of interest, picture viewer;
  • Waterproof: IPX7 rating (can be submerged up to 1 m for 30 minutes).

The Garmin GPSMAP 64st weighs 9.3 ounces, so it’s not as lightweight as the eTrex 30x, but it’s pretty compact to hold and use. Its 2.6” TFT display with 65K color measures presents the imagery in crisp and colorful detail. It is fairly bright and sun-readable.

This hiking GPS comes with quad helix antenna and high-sensitivity GPS and GLONASS receiver that locates your position very fast. It also maintains the precise location even in heavy cover and deep canyons.

Like most of the best hiking GPS devices, the Garmin GPSMAP 64st comes with built-in worldwide basecamp that features shaded relief. In addition, it has preloaded TOPO U.S. 100K maps and a 1-year BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription for a photo-realistic view. TOPO 100K mapping includes full coverage of the USA, including Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. It also includes national, state and local parks, rivers, lakes, trails, elevation information and other points of interest. You can also record up to 200 routes and 5000 waypoints. With 8 GB of internal memory and microSD card slot, you can download TOPO 24K maps and hit the trail, plug in BlueChart g2 preloaded cards or City Navigator NT maps data. Furthermore, it is compatible with Garmin Custom Maps, a map format that allows you to transform paper and electronic maps into downloadable maps for you device.

A built-in 3-axis electronic compass with barometric altimeter shows your heading and the barometric altimeter tracks changes in pressure so that you can predict the weather.

You can connect wirelessly via Bluetooth or ANT+ with compatible devices and share your waypoints, routes, tracks, and geocaches. You can also connect with VIRB and accessory sensors, including templeTM, foot pod, and heart rate monitor. Thanks to the smart notifications, you will always stay connected with your mobile device, even when it’s in your pack.

The Garmin GPSMAP 64st also supports paperless geocaching with 250,000 preloaded caches with hints and descriptions from Geocaching.com. There is also a nice feature of photo navigation. So you can download geotagged pictures from the Internet and navigate to them.

As for the battery, the Garmin GPSMAP 64st requires 2 standard AA batteries or the rechargeable NiMH battery pack that can be charged while inside the device. The battery life of this hiking GPS is about 16 hours.

Besides the functions for navigation, the GPSMAP 64st offers you a hunt / fish calendar, sun / moon calendar, tide table, picture viewer, and custom points of interest.

The IPX7 rating of the Garmin GPSMAP 64st means that it is water resistant and can be submerged up to 1 meter for about 30 minutes. So it is rather robust hiking GPS and it can withstand harsh weather conditions.

To sum up, the Garmin GPSMAP 64st is a durable device that provides accurate readings for navigation and other additional information. It is also one of the best GPS for hiking for its fast satellite fix. What we don’t like is that it’s a bit heavy and large in comparison with the eTrex 30x. The Garmin GPSMAP 30x is rather an expensive gadget and it costs about $300-350 on Amazon. But for its performance it can be called the best hiking GPS and you can always find great deals.

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Garmin Oregon 650t

Garmin Oregon 650t

Rated 3.9 out of 5 stars from 240 customers. Click the image for prices and reviews!

If you want to get one of the best hiking GPS navigators packed with a number of additional features, you should take into account the Garmin Oregon 650t. This gadget comes with great functions for navigation, amazing touch-screen display with multi-touch capability and the 8-megapixel camera that allows you to take quality photos that are worthy of sharing. So here are the features of the Oregon 650t:

  • Weight: 7.4 ounces;
  • 3 in. (400 x 240 pixels) sunlight-readable, touchscreen display with multi-touch capability and LED backlight;
  • Compatible with GPS and Russian GLONASS satellite positioning;
  • Preloaded TOPO U.S. 100K maps;
  • Built-in worldwide basemap with shaded relief;
  • 4 GB of internal memory;
  • 3-axis electronic compass with accelerometer tilt compensation, barometric altimeter;
  • 8-megapixel autofocus camera;
  • Flashlight mode with high and low brightness levels and a strobe mode to save the battery;
  • Wireless connectivity via Bluetooth technology or ANT+ to share your routes, waypoints, tracks, geocaches, custom maps, and photos;
  • Connects wirelessly to the Chirp geocache transmitter, Garmin templeTM, heart rate monitor and cadence sensors (sold separately);
  • Free BaseCamp software to view and organize your maps, routes, waypoints, and tracks, and share your adventures with others;
  • Number of routes: 200;
  • Number of waypoints: 4000 and unlimited geocaches;
  • Dual battery system: 2 traditional AA batteries (not included), or the rechargeable NiMH battery pack (included);
  • Battery life: up to 16 hours;
  • Hunt / fish calendar, sun / moon info, custom points of interest, and picture viewer;
  • Waterproof: IPX7 rating (can be submerged up to 1 m for 30 minutes);
  • Comes with a USB / charging cable, carabiner clip, and user documentation.

The Garmin Oregon 650t GPS has a very nice 3” sunlight-readable touchscreen that is reinforced for impact resistance. The reflective display that uses sunlight and LED backlight to increase brightness and you will see the maps and display as if it is in shade. Thanks to the dual-orientation you can view maps and data in portrait or landscape mode. The multi-touch design allows you to operate the GPS while wearing gloves.

The Oregon 650t comes with built-in basemap with shaded relief that stores up to 200 routes, 4000 waypoints, and 200 tracks with 10,000 points. This GPS device also has preloaded TOPO U.S. 100K maps that cover the entire U.S., including Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. These maps include lakes, rivers, parks, trails, elevation information, and other places of interest. You can also download more maps with the microSD card slot.

The navigation with the Oregon 650t is a breeze since it features WAAS receiver and GLONASS system for faster satellite acquisition that will be helpful in deep canyons and other challenging places. A 3-axis compass with the barometric altimeter will make your navigation easier since you can see your heading even when you standing still and predict the weather. With BaseCamp software, you can view and organize maps, waypoints, routes and thus plan your next trip.

In addition, the Oregon 650t comes with the 8-megapixel autofocus camera that takes pretty good photos. Thanks to the wireless connectivity, you can share the photos and other data with your friends.

The Oregon 650t has a dual battery system, so you can choose either to use the rechargeable NiMH battery pack (included) or to buy 2 standard AA batteries. The battery life of this GPS is about 16 hours.

It’s very important to have a durable and waterproof GPS for hiking. The Oregon 650t meets the IPX7 rating, so it’s waterproof and can be submerged up to 1 meter for 30 minutes. The rugged construction helps protect the device from bumps, dust, dirt and moisture.

So the Garmin Oregon 650t is a reliable hiking GPS navigator. With it, you will always find your destination and a way back. The range of additional settings makes it one of the most technologically advanced GPS devices. But think twice whether you need all these advanced features or not because this gadget is not a cheap one. However, it’s worth the money.

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DeLorme Earthmate PN-60 Portable GPS Navigator

DeLorme Earthmate PN-60 Portable GPS Navigator

Rated 3.6 out of 5 stars from 169 customers. Click the image for prices and reviews!

This hiking GPS navigator from DeLorme deserves to be in the category of the best GPS for hiking. Though it’s not as popular as Garmin GPS devices, we find it rather powerful, effective and accurate in readings. As for the price, you will get a great set of features at a lower price in comparison with the Garmin. This GPS is designed to meet your navigation needs. So let’s take a closer look at the features of this hiking GPS:

  • Weight: 1.6 pounds;
  • 2 in. high-resolution, transreflective TFT color display;
  • Intuitive icon-based user interface for easy on-device navigation;
  • 5 GB of internal memory and the ability to add an SDHC card up to 32 GB;
  • 3-axis electronic compass and barometric altimeter;
  • Power management system with ambient light sensor for optimal battery life;
  • GPX file exchange (waypoints, routes, tracks, and geocaches) to SD card for ease and flexibility in archiving collected GPS data;
  • DeLorme TOPO USA 9.0 maps (included);
  • NMEA-compliant 32-channel receiver maintains a signal lock in dense foliage and narrow urban canyons;
  • Batteries: 2 Energizer e2 Lithium AA batteries (included);
  • Battery life: up to 14 hours;
  • Waterproof: IPX7 rating (can be submerged up to 1 m for 30 minutes);
  • Comes with a USB / charging cable, regional disk of PN-series maps, user start guide.

The DeLorme PN-60 has a 2.2” color screen that is pretty bright and easy to read. This device has a user-friendly icon-based interface, so you will have no problem with on-screen navigation.

The navigation will be a breeze for you if you have the experience of using the DeLorme GPS navigators since its software is different from the Garmin. The DeLorme PN-60 comes with TOPO USA 9.0 mapping as well as great aerial, nautical charts, color satellite, and USGS and Canada maps. The maps are fairly precise and cover parks, rivers, lakes, streets, roads, and places of interest. To make your navigation easier, the manufacturer included a highly-accurate 3-axis electronic compass that works when you held it in any position. A barometric altimeter shows precise elevation and you can predict the weather changes. This feature is really helpful for hikers. The DeLorme PN-60 supports paperless geocaching.com plugins, .loc and GPX file formats. You can download individual caches from Geocaching.com. The device features 3.5 GB internal memory, so you can download additional maps. If this memory is not enough for you, you can insert up to 32 GB SDCH card for storage of extensive maps.

This hiking GPS device also has a file management system that allows you to load only those tracks and trails that you need.

The DeLorme PN-60 runs with 2 standard AA batteries up to 14 hours. The device also has a power management system with ambient light sensor, so you can always get and optimal battery life when needed.

We have found lots of hiking GPS reviews where this device was described as rigid and reliable. The IPX7 rating makes it waterproof, so you can use it in the wilderness and harsh weather conditions. It’s also allowed to submerge it up to 1 meter for about 30 minutes.

All in all, the DeLorme Earthmate PN-60 is a good value for experienced hikers, but it may be a bit complicated for beginners who have no experience with GPS. If you used other GPS devices, you may still need some practice to understand how this GPS navigator operates. You may even need to read the instructions before you download the maps on your device. But the device is great after you realize how to use it, and we like that it’s reasonably priced. We don’t think that it’s better than hiking GPS from Garmin. But this device is reasonably priced for the features it offers. So it’s worth your consideration.

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The Bottom Line

If you are an avid hiker, you realize that will certainly need the best GPS for hiking. This review includes the best hiking GPS devices that will facilitate your navigation. Garmin undoubtedly remains the leader in the field.

We have chosen our top 5 hiking GPS for any taste and budget. The review includes the GPS navigators with some standard and advanced features. So you can choose the GPS with preloaded maps, touchscreen, or even with a built-in camera. Just think carefully which features are the most important for in order not to overpay. Keep in mind that models with touchscreen have higher energy consumption and as a consequence less battery life.

We would also recommend you to consider some other models of Garmin. Some of them are previous versions of the eTrex 30x or the Oregon 650t, or others. And thus, they have very similar eatures. So you can take a look at the Oregon 600, the eTrex 20x, the Foretrex 301 or more advanced the Garmin Montana 680. If you want very basic GPS, you can also look at the Magellan eXplorist models. All these devices are available on Amazon. And we hope that you can find the best GPS for yourself and enjoy hiking to the fullest!

Click here for the Best Hiking GPS available in 2017!

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