Handheld GPS

A Global Positioning System (GPS) is a high-quality navigation device that offers outdoor enthusiasts piece of mind when they are off the grid and unable to receive regular cellular signals. Since activities like hiking, hunting, and boating are best enjoyed in areas where communication systems struggle to reach, it’s important that you invest in the best handheld GPS so that you can go wherever and track your precise location in the process. 


Handheld GPS Units for hunting and hiking

Spending time in nature is soothing, and hiking is the perfect activity for those who enjoy a physical challenge. While novice hikers are likely to remain on popular, well-marked trails, advanced hikers may prefer to experience the many options available for those who venture into the backcountry.

Like hiking, hunting is a physical sport involving being in rugged conditions, often tracking deer, elf, waterfowl, and small game off trails into unmarked areas. 

Since both activities take place on unfamiliar ground and may involve the navigation of steep terrain, a GPS tracker isn’t such a bad investment.

While there are many items that both hikers and hunters should keep on hand to ensure safety in unpredictable surroundings, handheld GPS devices are at the top of the list of valuable outdoor tools. Offering users vital information about where they are, where they’ve been, and where they want to go, your handheld GPS is an item that may save your life one day—especially if you lose visibility or if the landscape lacks distinguishing features to retrace your steps. Although any portable GPS is better than relying on hard-to-use navigation tools such as a compass or map, you must take time to research popular handheld GPS units before committing to a single model. 

Here are some elements to consider:

  • Is the unit a portable GPS?
  • What is the size and weight of the device?
  • How long is the battery life of the unit?
  • Is it recommended as a hunting or hiking GPS?
  • Does the model have satellite imagery?
  • A full-featured GPS usually has this feature, allowing hikers and hunters to overlay high-resolution satellite images on land.
  • Does the model have topo maps? 
  • A topographic map is a detailed illustration of man-made and natural features on the ground, such as roads, railways, and power transmission lines. These features can make navigation in the bush simpler when you’re looking for a specific area or find help in an emergency. 

Consider your handheld GPS a high-tech electronic compass, but better because it doesn’t just navigate you to your desired destination but devises the best route for you using topo maps and road maps. Garmin handheld GPS units are the leading names in navigation, and the best part is that many models are no bigger than a cell phone!

Handheld GPS units for boating 

Regardless of whether you aim to explore the open ocean or some new lake areas, handheld GPS units should be a priority on-board your vessel for emergencies and simpler navigation. Weather conditions can change quickly out on the water, so it’s important to be prepared with some high-quality navigation tools in case visibility becomes challenging. While larger boats are often fitted with a high-tech GPS sonar, smaller vessels and dinghies lack these touch screen gadgets, which is why a portable GPS is perfect for the voyage.

What are some popular handheld GPS units?

There’s no denying that Garmin holds the title for best handheld GPS. Delivering a full range of navigation systems that help pinpoint your location and route, these handy, handheld GPS devices make your adventure less daunting when it comes time to make the return trip.

  • Garmin inReach: Considered to be one of the top hiking GPS options due to its durability and impact-resistant technology, the Garmin inReach is a pocket sized unit that uses the Iridium satellite network to send and receive custom and present text messages or emails. This allows those who are in the backcountry without cell reception to reach their loved ones with updates or emergency messages.
  • Garmin inReach Mini: This adventure-ready unit is more lightweight and compact that the original Garmin inReach, making it the perfect emergency SOS device.
  • Garmin GPSMAP: Designed for use on the water, this portable GPS unit is a floating, handheld device that features preloaded maps full of coastal details. Offering marine watches as well as hold maps, courses, and waypoints, the Garmin GPSMAP is the ultimate boat GPS unit!
  • Garmin Montana 700i: This higher end model features many of the same navigation tools as its predecessors—rugged construction, satellite technology, portability—but one element that separates it from other handheld GPS units is its colour touchscreen.
  • Garmin Extrex: Equipped with enhanced ergonomics to make it more user-friendly, the Garmin Extrex model features a sunlight-readable display that also stands strong against dust, dirt, humidity, and water.


Which handheld GPS unit are you going to use?

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