Table of Contents
The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Best GPS Device for Your Next Trek
Trekking and hiking are adventurous activities that not only help you to stay fit but also give you a chance to explore nature at its best. However, these activities come with their own set of challenges, especially when it comes to finding your way through unfamiliar terrain. This is where a GPS device can be a lifesaver. In this article, we will guide you through the process of finding the best GPS device for your next trek.
What is a GPS Device?
A GPS (Global Positioning System) device is essentially a handheld electronic device that uses satellite signals to determine your location and provide you with directions. A GPS device typically consists of a display screen, a receiver, and an antenna.
Benefits of GPS Devices for Treks
- Helps you navigate through unfamiliar terrain
- Provides you with accurate directions
- Can track your hike and provide you with vital data such as distance covered
- Can send out signals in case of an emergency
Factors to Consider when Choosing a GPS Device
- Accuracy: The accuracy of the GPS device is one of the most important factors to consider. Look for a device that provides accurate positioning and directions.
- Battery Life: Battery life is an important consideration, especially if you plan on long treks. Look for a device that has a long battery life.
- Display Screen: A large display screen makes it easy to read directions and maps. Look for a device that has a large display screen.
- Waterproofing: If you plan on hiking in rainy or wet conditions, it is important to look for a device that is waterproof.
- Memory: Look for a device that has enough memory to store maps and routes.
- Price: GPS devices can range from budget-friendly to high-end options. Set a budget and look for the best device within your price range.
Types of GPS Devices
- Handheld GPS Devices: These devices are compact, lightweight, and easy to carry. They are ideal for treks and hikes.
- Smartphone GPS Apps: Many smartphones have GPS capabilities and can be used as GPS devices by downloading GPS apps.
- In-car GPS Devices: These devices are designed for use in cars and provide turn-by-turn directions.
Top GPS Devices for Treks and Hikes
- Garmin GPSMAP 64sx: This is a high-end GPS device that provides accurate positioning, a large display screen, and a long battery life. It is waterproof and has a built-in compass and barometric altimeter.
- Garmin inReach Mini: This GPS device is compact and lightweight, making it ideal for treks and hikes. It provides accurate positioning and can send out signals in case of an emergency.
- Suunto Traverse: This GPS device is a great option for trekkers who want to track their hikes. It provides accurate positioning, a long battery life, and can track your route and distance covered.
- Magellan eXplorist 310: This is a budget-friendly GPS device that provides accurate positioning and a long battery life. It is waterproof and has a built-in compass and barometric altimeter.
A GPS device is essential for treks and hikes, especially if you plan on venturing into unfamiliar terrain. When choosing a GPS device, consider factors such as accuracy, battery life, display screen, waterproofing, memory, and price. Handheld GPS devices are the best option for treks and hikes, and some of the best GPS devices on the market include the Garmin GPSMAP 64sx, Garmin inReach Mini, Suunto Traverse, and Magellan eXplorist 310. Choose the one that best suits your needs and budget, and enjoy a safe and adventurous trek!
The Ultimate FAQ Guide to Choosing GPS for Hiking
Q: Why should I use GPS for hiking?
Using GPS for hiking is essential for navigation, especially for new and unfamiliar trails. The device can help you stay on track, avoid dangerous areas, and locate points of interest. Additionally, GPS can provide accurate information on your position, distance, and elevation, which can help you plan your route and estimate your progress.
Q: What are the key features to look for in a GPS device for hiking?
The key features to look for in a GPS device for hiking are accuracy, durability, battery life, user interface, and mapping capabilities. The device should be accurate within a few meters and able to withstand the harsh weather and terrain. The battery should last for several hours or days, depending on the length of your trek. The user interface should be easy to use and navigate, with clear instructions and intuitive controls. The mapping capabilities should include detailed, up-to-date topographic maps, along with other useful information such as trailheads, water sources, and campsites.
Q: How much should I spend on a GPS for hiking?
The price of GPS devices for hiking can range from $100 to $500 or more. The cost will depend on the features, quality, and brand of the device. It is recommended to invest in a high-quality GPS device that meets your needs and budget, as it can make your hiking experience safer and more enjoyable.
Q: Can I use my smartphone as a GPS for hiking?
Yes, you can use your smartphone as a GPS for hiking, provided that you have the right app and accessories. There are several hiking apps available on iOS and Android platforms that offer GPS navigation, tracking, and mapping features. However, using a smartphone as a GPS for hiking has some limitations, such as poor battery life, limited durability, and unreliable coverage in remote areas. It is recommended to use a dedicated GPS device for hiking if you plan to go on long or challenging treks.
Q: Should I choose a handheld or wrist-mounted GPS device for hiking?
Both handheld and wrist-mounted GPS devices are suitable for hiking, depending on your preferences and needs. A handheld GPS device is more versatile and offers a larger screen, which can be useful for viewing detailed maps and waypoint data. It is also easier to attach to a backpack or belt for hands-free navigation. On the other hand, a wrist-mounted GPS device is more compact and offers a more streamlined design, which can be convenient for quick and easy access to navigation data on the go. It is also useful for activities such as running, cycling, or skiing where you need to track your performance in real-time.
Q: How do I download and update maps on my GPS device for hiking?
You can download and update maps on your GPS device for hiking using the manufacturer’s software or website. Most GPS devices come with preloaded maps, but you can also purchase and download additional maps as needed. The software or website will guide you through the process of selecting and downloading the maps onto your device. You can also update the maps periodically to ensure that you have the latest information on trails, roads, and other features.
Q: How do I plan and create a route on my GPS device for hiking?
You can plan and create a route on your GPS device for hiking using the manufacturer’s software or website. The software or website will allow you to select the points of interest, such as trailheads, campsites, and water sources, and create a custom route based on your preferences and needs. You can also import or export routes from other sources, such as online forums, hiking clubs, or personal blogs.
Q: What should I do if my GPS device fails or loses signal during a hike?
If your GPS device fails or loses signal during a hike, you should rely on other navigation tools, such as a compass, map, and landmarks. You can also try to recalibrate your device or change its position to improve the signal. If the device is irreparably damaged or lost, you should have a backup plan and emergency supplies, such as a whistle, flashlight, first aid kit, and spare batteries.
Q: How do I care for and maintain my GPS device for hiking?
You can care for and maintain your GPS device for hiking by following the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines. You should store the device in a dry, cool place and avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures, humidity, or direct sunlight. You should also clean the device regularly with a dry or slightly damp cloth and avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials. Additionally, you should check the battery level and performance before each hike and replace the batteries or recharge the device as necessary.
Q: Can I use my GPS device for hiking in other outdoor activities, such as hunting, fishing, or geocaching?
Yes, you can use your GPS device for hiking in other outdoor activities, such as hunting, fishing, or geocaching. The device can provide accurate location information, tracking data, and mapping features, which can help you find your way and locate your targets or treasures. However, you should check the regulations and guidelines for each activity and ensure that you have the proper permits, licenses, and equipment.
Q: How do I choose the best GPS device for my next trek?
You can choose the best GPS device for your next trek by considering your budget, needs, and preferences, as well as the features, quality, and brand of the device. You should also read reviews, compare prices, and consult with experienced hikers or outdoor specialists to get unbiased and reliable information. Finally, you should test the device before you embark on a long or challenging trek to ensure that it meets your expectations and performs well in real-life conditions.
Related Products for Choosing GPS for Hiking
The Garmin Oregon 700 GPS Navigator is a reliable GPS device that is ideal for hiking and trekking. It comes with a large 3-inch screen that makes it easy to view your maps, and it features a high-sensitivity GPS and GLONASS satellite reception for accurate tracking. It also allows you to connect to Wi-Fi for easy software and map updates, and it supports Bluetooth connectivity for notifications and sharing. With up to 16 hours of battery life, this device is perfect for long-distance hiking.
The Suunto Traverse GPS Watch is a great option for hikers who prefer a wearable device. It comes with a GPS and GLONASS system for reliable tracking, and it features a barometric altimeter, compass, and weather trend indicator. It also has a long-lasting battery that can last up to 100 hours in GPS mode. The Suunto Traverse connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth, so you can receive notifications and share your location with others.
The Garmin GPSMAP 64st is a rugged handheld GPS device that is perfect for outdoor adventures. It comes with a 2.6-inch sunlight-readable color screen and features a high-sensitivity GPS and GLONASS receiver for accurate navigation. It also has a 3-axis compass and a barometric altimeter for added functionality. The GPSMAP 64st supports wireless connectivity, so you can receive notifications and automatically upload your data to the Garmin Connect app.
The DeLorme inReach Explorer+ is a two-way satellite communicator and GPS device that is perfect for hikers who venture off the beaten path. It allows you to send and receive messages, track your location, and share your trip details with others. It also comes with built-in navigation tools, including a compass, barometer, and accelerometer. With a battery life of up to 100 hours, the DeLorme inReach Explorer+ is a great device for long hiking trips.
The Magellan eXplorist TRX7 GPS Navigator is a rugged and reliable device that is perfect for off-road adventures. It comes with more than 44,000 preloaded off-road trails and features a 7-inch touchscreen display that is easy to read in any lighting conditions. It also has a high-sensitivity GPS receiver for accurate tracking and supports Wi-Fi connectivity for easy map and software updates.
The TomTom Adventurer GPS Watch is a versatile device that is perfect for hikers, runners, and skiers. It comes with GPS and GLONASS technology for accurate tracking, and it features a barometer and altimeter for added functionality. The TomTom Adventurer also allows you to listen to music without needing your phone, and it has a battery life of up to 11 hours in GPS mode. It also connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth, so you can receive notifications and share your progress with others.
Pros & Cons of GPS Devices for Trekking and Hiking