Hiking GPS – How To Choose a GPS For Hiking

How Do I Choose A GPS FI

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How Do I Choose A Handheld GPS – The Right GPS!!!

Hiking In The Woods Is Definitely More Fun When You Know Where You Are!

So, we gonna show you How To Choose a GPS, the right Hiking GPS… 

What’s the connecting link between where you are and where you want to go?

It’s simple.


A top-class handheld GPS unit provides you with accurate directions no matter where you are.

There’s a wide variety of models on the market for 2024, and choosing the best handheld GPS device isn’t as easy as you might think.

Hiking GPS

Keep in mind, this is also a device that’ll help you out in any emergency scenario.

So you need to choose well.

Now all this is assuming that you’re already acquainted with GPS tech, and you have a decent grasp of how to use a GPS receiver. If you’re just getting started, you might want to check out this forum on how to use your GPS.

Now, let’s get started: how do I choose a handheld GPS?

Related: 10 Best Handheld GPS

Q . What is the easiest handheld Hiking GPS to use?

For us, the easiest GPS unit is one that works well in the three following areas:

User-Friendly Features

A GPS that is too complicated to handle isn’t one that’ll motivate you to head out on your next adventure.

Admittedly, not all of us are equally good at handling technology, and an advanced GPS device can get complex. The GPS units for hiking that have easy menu settings and simple connectivity options are definitely a good choice for first-time buyers.

Hiking GPS


Remember– any gps for hiking or camping is a fully outdoor device. So the overall durability must be considered.

The truth is, knocks and drops are pretty common in the woods, especially during long days of hiking.

So a rugged and waterproof device is obviously the best choice.

All our TopNotch Top Picks among the hiking Garmin GPS devices, are extremely durable and waterproof enough to handle wet environments.

Battery Life

This is one factor that’s extremely important when you’re choosing the best GPS for hiking.

Any handheld GPS units that offer a battery life between 16-22 hours represent a  good option for multi-day hiking.


The fact is, a device with a larger touch screen will need more battery.

On the other hand, Lithium-ion batteries deliver a longer life even in cold weather. However, a GPS unit that uses normal replaceable batteries is a more flexible choice, so there are pros and cons either way.

In addition to that, features like a good display, adding points of interest (waypoints) along a route, and all-round connectivity should be balanced against battery life.

The best part is, the performance bar is still rising for each new GPS system. Top brands like Garmin are incorporating advanced features and new GPS technology while keeping the overall functionality simple and improving battery life.

At the moment, the Garmin GPSMAP is a great example of this.

Lastly, make sure that the GPS unit feels comfortable in your hand when you use it.

Q.What is the most accurate handheld Hiking GPS?

A Hiking GPS able to capture multiple satellite signals like GPS, GLONASS, and have HotFix capabilities is definitely a better choice.

One of these GPS units for hiking or trekking will be a great choice for tricky terrains.

Also, many GPS units come with top-quality preloaded maps that are super helpful for veteran outdoor lovers.

If your backpacking GPS doesn’t come with maps, you’ll need to buy them online and download them to your device.

Don’t forget – to use high-resolution maps, the device should also have sufficient memory. So look for a Hiking GPS that supports external memory cards.

TopNotch Advice:

When heading for remote terrains, we suggest you carry a hard copy of a map as a backup. That way, you’ll still have access to directions even if your hiking GPS is damaged.

But – how accurate are handheld GPS devices in reality?

Under normal weather conditions, your Hiking GPS should have an accuracy between 16 to 33 feet. We used the Trackback features to retrace our route in the remotest of terrains and found accuracy of our Top 10 models to be pretty on point.

Handheld-Hiking GPS

With some models, the accuracy levels were even better, and within 5 to 6 feet. These models are great for geocaching and other high-accuracy GPS activities.

However, keep in mind that the accuracy levels will depend on the signal strength.

In our detailed tests, the accuracy levels for the Garmin GPSmap met our expectations. In case you need even higher accuracy levels, choose special “map-grade” GPS devices which are ideal for mapping and survey works.

Q. What is the best affordable Hiking GPS?

Needless to say, your budget will be a prime factor affecting your choice for best GPS for hiking.

There are plenty of models that come with advanced features like satellite imagery, Wi-Fi connectivity, trip-planning software, and many others.

However, all these bells and whistles will cost. Whether you need these features or not, will depend on the nature of your trips and activities, so pick a GPS unit that fits your planned activities.

Quite simply, there’s no point in spending money on features you’ll never use.

Note that the gap between the cheapest and the priciest GPS is quite large, so it’s best to set up a price range for yourself.

While older models may come cheaper, I would always suggest choosing a camping GPS with the latest technology.

Also, the maps in such models may be outdated and you’ll need to spend extra for the latest maps. If you engage in adventure trips frequently, choosing a quality product from a respected brand will usually pay off in the long run.

Still feeling a bit confused?

Take a look at our TopNotch GPS review and you’ll find a range of good options for beginners to meet all budget categories.

Choosing Your GPS

So here’s the answer to the question: how do I choose a handheld GPS?

In the end, it’s a balance between your personal preferences and the essential functions you need in order to have a safe and fun time camping, hiking or geocaching.

You may think your smartphone can offer the same functions as any GPS tracker for hiking.

And in some cases it can.


But the fact is, a dedicated GPS unit has a number of advantages that can make a lot of difference when you’re in the wilderness. As we already discussed, such advantages include top-class accuracy, good battery life, high-resolution maps, etc.

Regarding quality, the TopNotch team’s view is this…

If you’re planning some serious outdoor adventures, there should be no expense spared for a high-quality GPS.

But if you’re just a casual and infrequent user, choose a simpler, cheaper device and save your money.

So there you have it: everything you need to consider when choosing your next GPS.

Now you’ll be able to go forth on your next adventure without ever needing to worry about finding your way home again.

Related: 10 Best Handheld GPS

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