This topic is going to be an overall review of the best handheld gps’ for hiking, backpacking, camping or whatever reasons you could need a portable gps.
Unlike a lot of products you won’t find tons of companies that make gps products, more of a few of the big names who make a wide variety of them. So expect to see a brand being mentioned more than once in this article.
My judging criteria for these products will be on things such as ease of use, signal quality, map interface, setting capability and overall durability.
GPS Comparison Table
Garmin Oregon 750T 3-Inch Touchscreen Handheld GPS
My overall best pick is the Garmin Oregon 750T it has everything you need for a quality gps and then some. A huge feature that myself and most of the smartphone users really enjoy is the touchscreen interface that Garmin added into this product.
The size is perfect at basically the size of a regular smartphone and around the same weight as well. It comes with two different options of view for mapping the landscape or portrait view. This comes down to preference here but always good to have options.
Live geocaching & tracking are core features that the Garmin 750T comes with.
My absolute favorite thing about this is the built in camera and let me explain why. First off I always carry a professional camera with me for scenery type of photos so why would I care about a lesser camera on the gps?
The option to geotag the locations with pictures, this means if I find a cool looking spot when I’m hiking by myself and I know my daughter would love to see it I can go right back to it. Instead of just a dot on the screen it can actually pull up the photo of the spot to help re-jar my memory on what that spot actually looked like.
The Garmin Oregon 750T is my overall favorite pick for handheld gps.
Garmin Montana 680T Handheld GPS
My second top pick is also a Garmin brand gps, which should not surprise most people considering how Garmin is the leader is the gps industry.
The Garmin Montana 680t comes with a touch screen, has access to GPS and GLONASS satellites, 8 MP Camera and a Compass plus many other things. The reception quality is top notch even in the most baron of places.
Battery life is not an issue with this gps which I’ve had in the past from others. I can’t give an exact timeframe of how long it lasted me because I’ve had much shorter hikes here as of late focusing more on weight loss than the sights but I would say it easily makes the up to 16 hours mark that Garmin claims for it.
The Montana also comes with the same option of the picture geotagging that the Oregon 750t comes with so you don’t have to decide between the two based on this feature. The Montana 680t is an overall superb quality gps from Garmin and it better be for the price tag.
Garmin GPSMAP 64st GPS
The Garmin GPSMAP 64st comes with built in worldwide maps and is preloaded with TOPO 100k maps. It features a high-sensitivity quad helix antenna for strong signal quality in even very remote areas.
Has a good quality screen to show the most detailed of maps for navigating through multi-style terrain areas. This is a great gps that is perfect for beginners or even the most advanced hikers.
The learning curve is pretty easy for the 64st. If you play around with it for about a week you should have a good grasp on how everything works with it.
Only downside of this compared to the others mentioned above is that it is not a touchscreen which may or may not matter to some people but could be a deal breaker for others.
GARMIN eTrex 30x GPS
The eTrex 30x is the smallest in size of all the ones we’ve mentioned in this list but don’t think size is everything.
This GPS comes packed with tons of features with preloaded maps, built in high quality sensors and much more. It also comes with 3.7 GB of memory to loads a ton of navigation maps. The pricing on this one is much lower than the others as well but you also lose some good features and also the touchscreen aspect.
Note that Garmin does provide the etrex gps in a touchscreen version if you don’t want to lose out on this feature.
Is Garmin The Only Good GPS Brand Maker?
I know it may look this way but there are some brands that do create good devices but I don’t feel as if they were good enough to be put ahead of any of the ones I mentioned.
I usually never have the same brand in my entire best list but since Global Positioning Systems are pretty high-tech there aren’t a ton of competitors in the market right now.
So for right now as you can tell Garmin comes out as the clear winner brand wise of GPS but you should still do your due diligence on the specific gps model you’re look into buying to get the best fit for you.
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