Best Handheld GPS for Hiking & Tips for Choosing Them

Wouldn't be nice if you know how long you have hiking per day and your walking efficiency? Moreover, carrying a GPS device keeps you safe without getting lost on the trail.

But How do you find a Best Handheld GPS that's not clumsy, bulky and provide you correct orientation? Let's see how you can find a dedicated GPS system for geocaching.

How to Choose a GPS Handheld?

Carry a printed trail map and compass are my first choice, because they are lighter and don't require batteries. But Carrying a GPS is also nice because it lets you know that where you are and point out your accurate location or you can even call for help if something was not right. Here are the few things that I'd check when I'm finding a GPS unit.

1. Battery life

consider battery life

consider battery life

Check your GPS Battery capacity and ensure that the cells have enough rating to last for at least for 20 hours or so. Turn off the GPS handheld at night when not using.

2. Lightweight

Make sure that the device is not bulky, clumsy and adds extra weight to pack.

3. Water Resistant

water resistant GPS

GPS Handheld water resistant

Look for the manufacturer's description whether the device is water resistant or water proof.

4. Shockproof

shock proof GPS

shock proof GPS Handheld

Get a Hiking GPS for ruggedness Rugged GPS Ensure that the GPS is shockproof to keep device safe in case if you drop it off on the hard surface.

5. GPS with Maps and Compass

GPS with Maps and Compass

GPS with Maps and Compass

Look for the device which comes with Compass and maps, make sure that the GPS has SD card slot in it so that you can download regions of topographic maps and load maps on the device. Check out an article about orienting compass  for navigation.


Check to see if you GPS keep the trail logs and record and save the route. GPS device should have the built-in geocaching ability. Check the unit can display clean, readable maps on a Sunlight.

7. How Good Are You with Maps?

Before your ride, I'd recommend reading the maps of the trail system because it helps you familiarize with the trails system. Then take your GPS and notice that you're on the right path. If you completely depend on the GPS, then you might end up staring at the device instead of enjoying your hiking. Check out dedicated article on reading topographical maps.

In Summary

It is entirely your choice to use a GPS device, GPS is great stuff, and it provides you accurate navigation, so you don't have to read the map and try looking for the directions using a compass.

But I'd suggest you bring map and compass along with GPS. Even carrying a compass would bring you back to on the trail. If you depend too much on digitals then what the point of hiking is?

IMHO GPS makes you feel better, but I'm against carrying any electronics during the hike because they will add up the extra weight. Instead of spending a ton on GPS System I'd rather get a down sleeping pad or something. Share experience and concerns about choosing the correct GPS and report back in the comments section.

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