Navigation With Confidence – Best Hiking GPS Available Today

hiking gps

If you have ever found yourself lost on a hike, you know it is not a pleasant experience. Maybe you were using your cell phone’s GPS navigator, and your battery suddenly died. What do you do? A solar charger will take hours to recharge it, and by then, it will be too dark to travel.

This is the type of situation that you can easily avoid by bringing a dedicated handheld GPS system with you (and optimally, the best handheld GPS). To help you out, I have gone through tons of handheld GPS reviews, picked out some of the best GPS systems, and compiled a list of details about them I believe will be helpful to you. So, let’s look at what’s out there on the market.

Handheld GPS Comparison Table



Battery life   




Garmin GPSMAP 62St Handheld GPS Navigator

Garmin GPSMAP 62St

20 hrs



Garmin eTrex 30 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator

Garmin eTrex 30 Worldwide

25 hrs



Garmin Oregon 650t 3-Inch Handheld GPS with 8MP Digital Camera

Garmin Oregon 650t 3-Inch with 8MP Digital Camera

16 hrs



Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS

Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof

17 hrs

1.4" x 0.9"


Garmin Montana 650 Waterproof Hiking GPS with 5 Megapixel Camera

Garmin Montana 650 Waterproof with 5 Megapixel Camera

22 hrs



1. Garmin GPSMAP 62St 

Garmin GPSMAP 62St Handheld GPS Navigator

The Garmin GPSMAP 62st handheld GPS navigator is one of my top picks. Its screen is 2.6 inches with a display that is very easy to see. With a couple of AA batteries, you will have this bad boy powered up and ready to go. It offers a great blend of portability and features such as support for Birdseye satellite imagery. Also, if you need a waterproof GPS, look no further.

This device is waterproof and will resist wet outdoor conditions. Handheld GPS reviews for this product recommend getting a screen protector with it just in case, but this capability is extremely useful nonetheless.  This model also includes barometric altimeter and 3-axis, tilt-compensated electronic compass.  This is truly a worthy pick if you are looking for the best GPS for hiking.

2. Garmin eTrex 30 Worldwide 

Garmin eTrex 30 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator

Another great GPS for hiking is the Garmin eTrex 30. It features a small 2.2-inch display but packs a punch. One thing I really love about this one is that it is very geocaching friendly. You can download information about geocaches onto the navigator and use it from there. If you have ever been geocaching, you know how fun it is and how much more convenient it is to have a GPS with you.

This will aid you on your quest to become the cache king / queen. You can also easily store waypoints and save your coordinates to have the ability to go back and visit places you want to revisit. It’s powered by AA batteries, so you’ll always be able to use it as long as you have some spare batteries on hand.

3. Garmin Oregon 650t with 8MP Digital Camera

Garmin Oregon 650t 3-Inch Handheld GPS with 8MP Digital Camera

As you can see, Garmin hiking GPS products are some of the most popular around. Their Oregon 600 falls right alongside its contenders and comes out strong. It sports a 3-inch screen that displays nice and detailed maps. The screen is a great medium size when compared to other navigators, and it fits comfortably in your pocket. It can run off two AA batteries or an optional rechargeable battery pack.

This is an excellent option if you hate fiddling with batteries. There are some people who feel like batteries are low-tech these days, and I can sympathize with that. It is always nice to have something that can simply be recharged after extended use, and this will do it. This is just another one of the best handheld GPS units that Garmin has to offer.

4. Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof GPS

Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS

Another Garmin GPS that has received lots of praise is the eTrex 30. This is a military style GPS that is extremely accurate and reliable although not as fancy as others are. It has a small screen and small size. Thus, it does not consume much power. It will give you up to 17 hours of battery life, which is pretty darn good. The display has standard black LED’s and gets straight to the point (no pun intended!).

The maps are very basic, and it actually kind of reminds me of an upgraded compass. However, as I said, this is a military GPS. Some people in the US army who have been deployed overseas said they use this out on missions. This is something that will get the job done without being too overly complicated.

5. Garmin Montana 650 with 5 Megapixel Camera

Garmin Montana 650 Waterproof Hiking GPS with 5 Megapixel Camera

The last and maybe even the best hiking GPS I want to talk about is the Garmin Montana 650. It has a beautiful 4-inch display that shows nicely detailed maps. I was very surprised at the quality of the graphics on the screen; they are very smooth with a modern feel to them.
Additionally, if you love taking pictures with your GPS, this will give you great resolution with its 5-megapixel camera.

And, unlike many of its competitors, it can tell you exactly where you need to be heading with its spoken directions feature. It also gives you the option to use either AA or a lithium-ion rechargeable battery. This device has the look and feel of a very high-end product; you definitely will not be left disappointed with this one.


There are many handheld GPS systems out there; find the perfect one for you. They are in all price ranges and with different features depending on what all, you need them for and pair them with your best hiking poles. If you are a serious hiker, it is worth it to bring along a dedicated GPS with you. You will pat yourself on the back if you ever get lost. Sure, a compass can help you find a direction. But it can’t show you the upcoming terrain, where bodies of water are, and where the nearest lodge or city is. So, make sure you have a great GPS, and it just might be your saving grace in a time of need.

Don't miss our other hiking related reviews: Women's Hiking Gear,  Best Hiking Pants and
Best Hiking Sandals.

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