Best of the Best Travel Trip Planning & Navigation

Best Hiking GPS | Hiking Ambition

Best Hiking GPS | Hiking Ambition

Whether or not you’re touring within the backcountry or simply off the crushed path, a GPS unit is a must have. It’s top-of-the-line methods to make sure that you’ll make it again to the automotive. The know-how of GPS has elevated dramatically together with the accuracy of the monitoring. At the moment’s merchandise are loaded with options that make discovering the perfect climbing GPS a problem. Let’s level you in the correct course with our round-up of our favorites.

Greatest Mountaineering GPS

Prime Rated Climbing GPS

It wasn’t a simple process, however we managed to wade via the ocean of decisions to seek out one of the best mountaineering GPS. Our foremost standards centered on usability and sensible issues reminiscent of battery life and sensitivity.

Dangerous Elf 2200 GPS Professional

The Dangerous Elf 2200 GPS Professional like many models creates a complete expertise with Bluetooth connectivity to a smartphone app. It’s an amazing instance of the advances in know-how. Nevertheless, it comes at a worth. You’ll get an honest battery lifetime of 35 hours if it’s not paired with one other system. It drops by lower than half to 16 hours if it’s paired. General, it’s a superb security function regardless of this impact.

We beloved the truth that it offers standing info real-time that’s straightforward to interpret with out lots of guesswork. The LCD display is giant in proportion to the general measurement of the unit which makes for straightforward viewing. It has a powerful 10Hz reporting fee which you’ll be able to regulate. It’ll log north of 100 hours of knowledge. The producer has its personal proprietary app to share your journey knowledge with others.

The design is sturdy and consists of IPX4 water-proof. When you’ve got an Apple telephone, you’re in luck as a result of it should work with any location-based app. Sadly, there’s no love for Android customers so far as the app is worried. The occasional bug sneaks via testing which is definitely annoying if it occurs on the improper time.


  • The Dangerous Elf consists of each a mini-USB cable and a 12-24V DC car USB charger.
  • We liked the addition of the neck lanyard for ease of use and a hands-free expertise.
  • The power to attach with different units to share the love of your travels is a welcome function.


  • The numerous lack of battery life when paired negates the good thing about Bluetooth connectivity.
  • Its app is just Apple-friendly which is a large dealbreaker for Android customers. Why the hate?
  • The occasional bug hampers the consumer expertise.

The Dangerous Elf 2200 GPS Professional has the benefit of a hands-free interface, however the restricted performance resulting from bugs and its app are main issues.

Garmin GPSMAP 64st

The Garmin GPSMAP 64st has rather a lot going for it as yet one more standup providing from this esteemed producer. Let’s begin with energy the place you should use both two AA batteries or rechargeable ones as an alternative. We adore it when producers give us the selection. It has its share of the extras together with a Three-axis compass with a barometric altimeter.

The gadget comes with preloaded TOPO U.S. 100Okay maps. The decision isn’t the most effective, nevertheless it does throw in a one-year BirdsEye Satellite tv for pc Imagery subscription. It has an excellent display measurement of two.6 inches. We favored the truth that it was a sunlight-readable colour display. That exhibits some nice consideration to element by the producer.

One sudden however undoubtedly cool function is 250,000 preloaded geocaches and a carabiner. No extra having to undergo the painful means of transferring the info. In fact, it hinges on the power to maintain them up-to-date.


  • Rechargeable batteries may be charged whereas within the system.
  • Garmin makes this system prepared to make use of out-of-the-box with preloaded geocaches.
  • It options excessive sensitivity for improved accuracy.


  • Many options just like the sensible notifications are Apple solely. Significantly? Final we checked, Android was rocking it.
  • Downloading new maps is a serious drag.
  • The Garmin server has their wonky moments that have an effect on the consumer expertise.

The Garmin GPSMAP 64st is what the band Toto would name 99. It has a number of the issues we like in a GPS unit, however the lack of help for Android (!) shouldn’t be cool.

Garmin Foretrex 401

The Garmin Foretrex 401 is the one non-handheld unit we’ve got on our listing, however its array of options makes it list-worthy. It’s a gadget that you simply put on like a watch in your wrist. That makes it extra handy than a handheld unit with out the effort of getting to carry it or worrying about it getting misplaced.

It runs on two AAA batteries. Along with GPS, you get some additional options that make it a health tracker too like a coronary heart price monitor with this add-on function. It solely is sensible that you simply’d need to get probably the most out a GPS unit with this stuff. That is among the causes that you simply’re mountaineering, isn’t it?

It’s loaded with a number of enjoyable options together with a barometric altimeter, searching/fishing info, dawn/sundown occasions, and an digital compass. That makes it probably the most versatile of all of the models we’ve reviewed.


  • Its waterproof score is IPX7 which is appropriate when you’re caught within the rain or bathe.
  • Kudos for its proprietaryTracBack® navigation function!
  • You’ll be able to share and think about knowledge on Google Earth, and its Garmin Join app is Android-friendly. Yeah!


  • Its interface is a throwback to a 1980s Pong recreation which is one thing you could like or hate.
  • Its design is a bit clunky and should flip off some customers.
  • Background maps are very costly which borders on a dealbreaker.

The Garmin Foretrex 401 has so much to supply along with a climbing GPS unit. It has added performance which will increase its versatility for different makes use of past climbing the backcountry that makes it a worthy contender.

Garmin eTrex Vista HCx

The Garmin eTrex Vista HCx is one other instance of the superb know-how provided by the producer. It has a extremely delicate WAAS-enabled GPS receiver for dependable accuracy within the subject. It’s also water-proof which we all the time respect in any digital system.

It has a couple of bells and whistles together with an digital compass and a barometric altimeter if modifications in elevation are part of your climbing expertise. Based on the producer, you should use the latter to maintain monitor of climate modifications too. It’s light-weight at simply over 5 ounces. It includes a USB interface.

The system has an honest reminiscence capability for 1,000 waypoints and 50 routes. It additionally has a hunt/fish calendar together with solar/moon info. You’ll have a primary base map to get you began however sadly, there aren’t any extra suitable maps so as to add to this specific unit in response to the producer’s web site.


  • General, the Garmin eTrex has a pleasant measurement with an excellent hand really feel to it.
  • It has Bluetooth help which is a particular plus in our guide.
  • It has a microSD card slot for additional storage for maps. (The cardboard is just not included.)


  • The batteries will not be included with the gadget which struck a nasty observe with us.
  • The producer doesn’t have further maps for this gadget.
  • The bottom map included with the unit is low-detail.

The Garmin eTrex Vista HCx is a superb begin however lacks a number of the issues that its included options make us need to have an all-around mountaineering GPS.

Garmin Oregon 450 Handheld GPS Navigator

The Garmin Oregon 450 Handheld GPS Navigator is the bottom mannequin of this collection. You possibly can improve to get a digital camera and preloaded topographic maps. As is, this one has a good-sized touchscreen show. It comes with a base map with shaded aid.

It has additional goodies together with a barometric altimeter and an accelerometer. It additionally has a pleasant hand really feel that appears sturdy sufficient to deal with no matter your adventures will deliver. It’s water-proof. Its WAAS-enabled GPS receiver is very delicate and options Garmin’s proprietary HotFix® satellite tv for pc prediction know-how.

We love the truth that Garmin is so geocaching-friendly with compatibility for GPX information. They’re all about getting probably the most out of your GPS gadget with free trip-planning software program and the power to share the maps with others. That’s an enormous plus from a security perspective too.


  • It has nice satellite tv for pc reception.
  • The Garmin Oregon 450 is suitable with a number of forms of maps to make it versatile unit.
  • Its free software program, BaseCamp, lets you plan your journeys forward of time.


  • The show isn’t one of the best for low-light circumstances or in vibrant solar.
  • The battery life leaves one thing to be desired.
  • The additional maps, whereas good, are spendy.

The Garmin Oregon 450 Handheld GPS Navigator has rather a lot to supply with the extras which might be included with it. Sadly, the issues with the show are a serious disadvantage.

After reviewing the specs and the options, our decide for the most effective climbing GPS is the Garmin Foretrex 401. We instantly fell in love with the truth that it was a hands-free gadget. Everytime you’re speaking about one thing handheld, there’s all the time the danger of dropping it. The unit was Android-friendly which we actually appreciated.

We figured we might stay with the old-fashioned show. The performance actually spoke to us with its excessive waterproof score and its TracBack® navigation. These are the varieties of options we really feel are important when mountaineering within the backcountry. The show is straightforward to learn. And you may’t beat the comfort of the on-demand information of the place you’re headed.

Sure, it’s a bit on the clunky aspect, however you possibly can say the identical for lots of the smartwatches on the market too. For what you get, we’ll give it a cross on that rating. For our cash, the Garmin Foretrex 401 ticks off all of the packing containers for the perfect mountaineering GPS.

Mountaineering GPS Consumers Information

Advantages of a Climbing GPS

The first benefit of utilizing a GPS unit is, in fact, figuring out the place you’re at within the area. However there’s extra to it than merely not getting misplaced. You can also see what lies forward with the intention to decide higher routes to traverse. That may show you how to keep away from a steep climb up some gnarly hills if you recognize of a greater simpler path to comply with.

Utilizing a background topo map can provide you with a warning to attainable hazards like wetlands, streams, or ravines. It places you in command of matching the hike to your talents—and power. The business has taken off in recent times because of main modifications within the info you get from a tool.

In 2000, former President Invoice Clinton modified the GPS business perpetually when he ordered the army to stop scrambling the alerts. Accuracy went from 200 to 20 ft with the stroke of a pen. For those who thought utilizing a GPS gadget was enjoyable earlier than, it has skyrocketed to an entire new degree now. However even with these advances in know-how, we’re obliged so as to add one essential caveat.

It’s very important to all the time carry a map and compass with you, particularly should you’re mountaineering in unfamiliar territory. A GPS unit gained’t assist you to navigate beneath a heavy tree cover or in a valley. Batteries drain. By the best way, cloud cowl won’t influence the unit’s efficiency. Your map is your insurance coverage coverage within the wild.

The best way to Select a GPS Unit

You have got a number of choices for selecting a GPS system going from an app in your telephone to a handheld unit with all of the bells and whistles. For the needs of this text, we’re focusing solely on devoted GPS models for critical navigation moderately than smartphone apps. That stated, a few of what we cowl will apply to them too. The distinction lies in sturdiness and performance.

Primary Options

You must think about a number of the options of the belongings you’d search for with any new piece of kit resembling weight. With a GPS unit, it means balancing this trait with the dimensions of the display. Newer units sometimes run beneath a half of pound in order that it’s not a dealbreaker often. The hand really feel might be extra essential in case you’re going to be holding it for prolonged durations.

The opposite factor to research is the way you work together with it. You’ll discover models with touchscreens or buttons which you could push to regulate its features. The distinction is a private choice although chances are you’ll contemplate the latter when you intend to do numerous winter climbing. You’ll want a pair of touchscreen-friendly gloves to keep away from eradicating them each time you need to use the gadget.

Superior Options

Many GPS models embrace loads of additional options which will have specialised purposes. That’s why it’s essential to consider the terrains and the methods you’ll use it to rule out those that merely overkill. That’s to not say that they’re ineffective, however not everybody goes to wish a barometric altimeter or wi-fi transmission.

An honest GPS gadget can set you again a number of hundred dollars. The sensible factor is to concentrate on the essential performance you want and forgo the flamboyant stuff until it’s one thing you actually should have to be protected. You’ll see models with different issues like a digital camera. When you’ve got a smartphone, it’s redundant to have one other one. The probabilities are that your telephone has a greater one anyway.

A few issues we will advocate on this sphere are an digital compass and preloaded maps. The primary one is a godsend for navigation as a result of it’ll inform you what path you’re headed even for those who’re standing nonetheless. With many models, you need to stroll a number of ft earlier than you recognize what course you’re strolling.

The second simply is sensible since you’re able to hit the paths immediately. In any other case, you’ll need to buy them individually which can add to your upfront prices. In case you’re mountaineering within the backcountry, topo maps are essential with the upper the decision, the higher. Sadly, they will value a reasonably penny to purchase individually. Not all models have the required space for storing both.


Let’s face it. Geocaching has rocked the GPS business. Navigation is good for making an attempt to get instructions to a brand new place, however geocaching has made the know-how a family phrase. That stated, we stored this function in thoughts when reviewing the system. We needed one that might make it simpler. That meant a delicate GPS receiver whenever you’re getting right down to these final ft.

We additionally put a premium on preloaded base maps. In any case, you need to know the easiest way to strategy a vacation spot with a geocache too. We’d be prepared to compromise a bit on the decision so long as it offered an honest image of what the terrain seemed like so we all know to anticipate.


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