Best Handheld GPS For Walking & Hiking

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Garmin eTrex 30 Topoactive

  • 2.2-inch colour display touchscreen
  • Preloaded TopoActive Western Europe Map
  • GPD and GLONASS receiver
  • Three-axis electric compass
  • Barometric altimeter

Garmin is the leading brand of handheld GPS devices, with the eTrex 30 being one of the newest models on the market.

Featuring several preloaded maps of Europe, GPS and GLONASS tracking, a three-axis electric compass, and a barometric altimeter, this is one of the most comprehensive devices for walking outdoors.

The preloaded maps are simple to read thanks to the bright 2.2-inch touchscreen, which works well in any lighting condition. It is also a very durable device, capable of withstanding rain, snow, high humidity, and exposure to dirt and dust, so it can handle the wear and tear of outdoor life.

Preloaded maps cover most of western Europe, including the UK, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark to name a few. Most of these won’t be needed, but you can also download a range of advanced maps including Topo, BlueChart, and City Navigator.

Best of all is the inclusion of both GPS and GLONASS satellite tracking. Combing both makes the device around 20 percent quicker at finding your locating than using just GPS. The barometric altimeter is great for tracking as it can determine changes in air pressure to locate your altitude with greater precision.

Should you be out walking with friends, the Garmin eTrex 30 allows wireless sharing of maps and other data, although only with compatible Garmin devices.

Garmin eTrex 20x

  • 2.2-inch colour display touchscreen
  • Preloaded TopoActive Western Europe Map
  • GPD and GLONASS receiver
  • 25-hour battery life
  • 3.7GB of internal memory

One of the flagship models from Garmin - and for good reason - the eTrex 20x is packed with features, is highly durable, simple to use, and comes with a very reasonable price.

The eTrex 20x features a 2.2-inch touchscreen display for reading all those preloaded TopoActive maps of western Europe. Not only does this include the UK and Ireland, but most of western Europe, including popular holiday destinations like Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, and Germany - perfect for hikes and excursions abroad!

3.7Gb of internal memory ensures there is ample space for the various preloaded maps and any that you wish to download. Speaking of, there are countless compatible maps that can be saved on the eTrex 20x, including Topo, BlueChart g2 marine, and City Navigator NT maps. Should you run out of space, there’s a microSD slot for additional memory.

Tracking both GPS and GLONASS satellites simultaneously, the eTrex 20x is highly accurate and responsive, being up to 20 percent quicker when using just GPS. The inclusion of the EGNOS-enabled GPS receiver and HotFix satellite prediction further enhances the overall performance of the eTrex 20x.

A great GPS for walking, the eTrex 20x is strong, durable, and comes with great tracking to ensure the upmost accuracy. Plus, it’s one of the best priced models on the market so be sure to take advantage.

Garmin 64S Handheld GPS

  • 2.6-inch colour display
  • Preloaded Topo UK and Ireland maps
  • GPS and GLONASS receiver
  • Barometric altimeter
  • Three-axis compass
  • 4GB of internal memory

The Garmin 64S is one of the best buttoned handheld GPS devices, offering a reliable device with great accuracy and plenty of storage for waypoints and routes.

Featuring high-sensitivity GPS and GLONASS receiver, the 64S utilises a quad helix antenna for fast reading and a reliable reception. The UK and Ireland topo maps are okay, but it’s better to download more advanced maps for those long walks, which is where the 4GB of memory comes in handy.

The internal memory can store up to 5,000 waypoints on your maps along with 200 routes, but when downloading additional maps this will decrease. If running short on space, simply add a microSD card for more memory.

Waypoints, routes, and tracks are great for finding those hidden gems located off the beaten track, and the Tracback feature ensures you can get back on any pre-planned routes to prevent getting lost.

The barometric altimeter used changes in pressure for accurate altitude pinpointing, while the 3-axis electric compass provides an extra degree of coverage should your readings be inaccurate, and the compass doesn’t need to be stable to get a reading.

A sunlight-readable colour screen provides a clear image even in poor light conditions, and the inclusion of buttons makes it simple to operate when wearing gloves. The battery life is around 16 hours on a full change, which should be more than enough for most day excursions.

Should any of your friends have a Garmin handheld GPS, you can share waypoints, tracks, routes, and geocaching wirelessly between the devices.

All in all, a fantastic buttoned handheld GPS for walking, the Garmin 64S has a host of useful features and is very durable, making it a great buy.

Satmap Active 12 Plus

  • 3.5-inch high resolution screen
  • 1:50 000 ordnance survey mapping of UK
  • Barometric altimeter
  • Bluetooth connectivity

The Satmap Active 12 Plus is fantastic handheld GPS for walking in the UK. Featuring high resolution ordnance survey mapping for the UK, the maps come with six times the resolution of standard mapping devices.

This is made even more impressive thanks to the 3.5inch high resolution screen.

It’s bright and clear, making it one of the easier maps to read no matter the lighting conditions. There is a total of eight primary screens on the 12 Plus, including the main menu, GPS maps, planning, position info, trip log, compass, GPS status, and shared data.

These multiple screen modes make the device much easier to operate. It’s simple to plan routes using the device and you can choose from the various mapping options already loaded in the device.

The 12 Plus comes with a 1:50k ordnance survey map card that, once installed, displays high definition images of the maps. Simply turn on the GPS tracker once the maps are installed, then your position is automatically located on the map, scrolling as you move. The detail when zooming in is incredible, being on the best of it’s kind on the market.

Another great feature is the inclusion of a barometric altimeter, which users to get accurate readings of pressure for those seeking elevation data. It also has a great battery life, although it’s almost a necessity given the quality of the screen and the range of features available.

Finally, the inclusion Bluetooth connectivity allows the device to share routes to other 12 Plus units, while also being compatible with heart rate monitors and bike sensors, although these devices need to be purchased separately.

A fantastic GPS device for those walking across Britain, the Satmap Active 12 Plus has a range of useful features that will appeal to experienced hikers, while the usability of the device makes it suitable for beginners too.

Garmin eTrex 10 Outdoor Handheld GPS Unit

  • 2.2-Inch monochrome display
  • High sensitivity Egnos-enabled GPS receiver
  • Hotfix satellite prediction
  • Supports geocaching GPX files

The Garmin eTrex 10 is one of the best entry-level GPS units on the market. Available for a great price, the device offers several handy features that are ideal for beginners trying out handheld GPS for walking.

A 2.2-inch monochrome display provides easy reading in most lighting conditions. The screen uses a joystick to operate interface for quicker functioning, making it easy to operate, even when wearing gloves.

GPS devices are often difficult to understand at first, which is why the eTrex 10 is so suitable for less experienced walkers. The unit couldn’t be easier to understand, with clear data on the screen that means you can spend more time walking and less trying find the info you need.

The device utilises a high-sensitivity EGNOS-enabled GPS receiver and Hotfix satellite prediction for incredible quick and accurate readings, maintaining your GPS location even in remote spots or under heavy cover.

The eTrex 10 includes paperless geocaching, offering support for GPX files so you can download geocaches and other details of routes straight to the device. It stores a magnitude of data for every geocache, including terrain, location, descriptions, and difficulty levels to help understand what works well for you.

It also comes with the trademark durability of all Garmin devices. Fully waterproof and highly durable, the eTrex 10 can withstand anything that nature throws at it, which is certainly handy given Britain’s lacklustre weather!

A great unit for beginners, the Garmin eTrex 10 offers a selection of handy features for planning and navigating your routes throughout the UK and is available for a fantastic price.

GPS Buying Guide

Nothing is quite as enjoyable as exploring the wilderness during a long walk outdoors. Many people enjoy getting a little lost, as it is a great way to find natures hidden gems, providing you get always find a way back!

In these situations, you can go wrong with a handheld GPS.

Designed for serious outdoor walking, GPS devices are a fantastic navigational tool that allow you to plan out excursions and get your bearings should you ever get lost when walking off your planned route.

These devices are great for people that love walking in the great outdoors. They replace the need for physical map or compass, offering digital equivalents that locate you using GPS satellites. Incredibly durable and weather resistant, handheld GPS devices are compact and lightweight, making them an invaluable piece of equipment for outdoor enthusiasts.

Things to Look For

There are various features to look out for when buying a GPS for walking. Be sure to keep an eye on the following to ensure you get the best GSP for your needs:

Satellite System

The first thing to remember is that those using American and Russian satellites are typically the best devices. The reason for this is that they provide the largest coverage area, so have the best signals and are the quickest to establish your location with the best accuracy.

American satellites are called GPS, while the Russian equivalent is known as GLONASS. Either work well on their own, but when combined you get the best coverage possible, so it’s certainly something to look out for.

Touchscreen Over Buttons 

It is often assumed that GPS devices for walking that feature buttons are the best option to go for. Despite the idea that buttons are more robust and reliable option, touchscreens are definitely a better choice.

Touchscreen devices are the newest on the market, so typically have the best response times. They will navigate routes quicker and be able to find your location with the best speed and accuracy. Most touchscreen devices work when wearing gloves too, so there’s no need to worry about freezing your hands off when trying to use the GPS.

Electric Compass 

Not every GPS device features a built-in compass, although this feature is highly recommended. It’s easy to think that you don’t need a compass if the GPS pinpoints your exact location, but an electric compass remains a very helpful tool worth having.

The reason is that there are times when a GPS will point you in the wrong direction, particularly if the satellite signals are weak, so the compass allows you to get a proper bearing. Look for models with a 3-axis electric compass, as these don’t require the device to be held flat and automatically orient the map, ensuring the compass is correct even when moving the device.

Extra Features 

Not everyone requires a host of extras on a GPS for walking, although some will certainly appreciate some of the features available. It mostly depends on your level of walking and the routes you go, so there are some extras worth consideration.

For instance, tidal information is great for anyone by the coast that enjoys surfing, while preloaded maps that feature popular routes and points of interest are a good idea for those unsure of where to walk.

Other common features that may be useful include a built-in camera and/or torch, while wireless sharing is great for walking groups with several GPS devices between them.

GPS for Walking & Hiking
  • Review

Last update on 2021-11-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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