The best handheld GPS devices for hiking and backpacking – whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just starting out.
For the longest time, I would just try and use Google Maps when hiking through more rugged terrain.
Inevitably, I’d go deep enough into the forest or high enough on a switchback that my Google Maps app would suddenly “lose connection” or my pre-downloaded maps wouldn’t load properly.
Cue the anxiety and frustration as I spun around in circles, raising my phone high and praying to the cellphone tower gods that they would send me a signal as confirmation of their existence.
As I started hiking more seriously and investing more in my hiking gear, my research into handheld GPS devices took me down a rabbit hole.
First of all, the technology behind GPS is genuinely mind-blowing.
Did you know that 33 satellites orbiting Earth are nearly single-handedly responsible for humans not needing to read maps anymore?
Now, companies like Garmin have managed to condense all of that technological marvel into a compact handheld that can pinpoint your location anywhere in the world.
It’s mind-blowing how far technology for outdoor gear has come.
And that’s why, if you’re a regular hiker (especially one who explores the backcountry), it’s a good idea to think about investing in a solid GPS device.
In this post, I’ll share my picks for the best hiking GPS devices and what to look for before you purchase one.