The Best Handheld Gps For Hiking For 2023

Scott Nelson By, Scott Nelson
Best Handheld Gps For Hiking
Best Handheld Gps For Hiking

The Rundown

1. Best Overall: Garmin eTrex 22x Rugged Handheld GPS

This reliable handheld GPS includes a 3-axis tilt-compensated electronic compass and a barometric altimeter which tracks changes in pressure to pinpoint your precise altitude. You can even share your location or track your journey wirelessly. Read Review

2. Best Bang For The Buck: Garmin GPSMAP 66i GPS

With cellular connectivity, you can access weather forecasts and geocaching live. It’s also compatible with the Garmin Explore website and app to help you manage waypoints, routes, activities, collections, and use tracks. Read Review

3. Best Convenient: "Garmin Montana 750i Rugged GPS Handheld

Explore the world with the Garmin Montana 750i Rugged GPS Handheld. This military-grade GPS is built for the most challenging adventures with a 5” touchscreen display that’s 50% larger than the previous model. Read Review

4. Best Reliable: Garmin inReach Mini 2 Lightweight and Compact GPS

This lightweight and compact satellite communicator allows two-way messaging and interactive SOS globally. You can navigate back to where you started with TracBack routing, track your location, monitor weather conditions, and more. Read Review

5. Best Compact: Garmin GPSMAP 65 Hiking GPS

Explore the great outdoors with the Garmin GPSMAP 65 Hiking GPS. This premium and rugged handheld hiking GPS features a large, sunlight-readable color display for easy access and viewing of smart notifications and detailed maps. Read Review

If you’re an avid hiker looking for a reliable handheld GPS device, you’ve come to the right place. Handheld GPS devices are essential for any outdoor enthusiast, allowing you to navigate the trails confidently. With so many options on the market, it can be hard to decide which GPS device is suitable for you.

We’ve researched and narrowed down the list to the best handheld GPS for hiking. From long battery life to clear maps, these GPS devices will ensure you find your way back to camp safely and without worry. With features like topographic maps and barometric altimeters, you’ll locate yourself quickly and take on the most challenging terrain. 

We think the best handheld gps for hiking of 2023 is Garmin eTrex 22x Rugged Handheld GPS. This product is equipped with mapping and mounts that will allow you to use it in any environment. However, to provide the reader with a broader variety of alternatives, we recommend adding Garmin GPSMAP 66i GPS. It has inReach technology allowing you to send an SOS signal to the GEOS 24/7 emergency response team to receive interactive support during an incident.

Here are the buying guides that we specially made for you guys. Follow all the words below for successful shopping!

Our Top Picks

TOP Choice #1 Garmin eTrex 22x Rugged Handheld GPS
Our Score:

This device is ideal for all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), bicycles, boats, and even trekking. The GPS handheld device has road-routable TopoActive maps preloaded onto it, and these maps include trails and streets so that you may take your trip easily. In addition, this product is equipped with mapping and mounts that will allow you to use it in any environment.

Because the receivers in the eTrex series employ GPS and GLONASS satellite systems rather than just GPS, this product can track in conditions that are more difficult to use G S by itself. It features a sunlight-readable color display that is 2.2 inches in size and has display pixels that are 240 by 320 for more excellent readability. You may easily download extra maps thanks to the microSD card port and the extended 8 GB of internal capacity on this device. These features allow you to go wherever quickly. Even though after prolonged use, the joystick used to navigate the map may not be as responsive as it was in the beginning, you don't need to worry too much because this product continues to function quite well.

TOP Choice #2 Garmin GPSMAP 66i GPS
Our Score:

The handheld device equipped with inReach technology, allows you to send an SOS signal to the GEOS 24/7 emergency response team to receive interactive support during an incident. In addition, it provides two-way texting and LiveTrack location sharing using the 100% global Iridium satellite network, which allows you to maintain touch with loved ones, coworkers, headquarters, and more.

When linked to Garmin Connect Mobile, wireless cellular connectivity grants access to Active Weather, which provides current predictions and predictive maps for temperature, wind, precipitation, and cloud cover. Additionally, you can plan, evaluate, and sync data, such as waypoints, routes, activities, and collections, using the free Garmin Explore app. The program also enables you to synchronize the GPSMAP 66i with a mobile device that is compatible with it, allowing you to gain access to an endless number of maps, aerial images, and NOAA charts for the United States. However, initially, you may have some difficulties getting the GPS to sync with the phone using Bluetooth; you don't need to worry too much because you can get used to it quickly after a usage time.

TOP Choice #3 "Garmin Montana 750i Rugged GPS Handheld
Our Score:

This product uses Montana's digital camera, which has an 8-megapixel resolution, to take pictures of your adventures. It adds coordinates to the images you take, allowing you to return to previously saved locations later. However, to view the maps, the user will need to download quite large files (for example, 5 GB for each map), which can take a long time if the user does not have a high-speed Internet connection.

This rugged, water-resistant handheld GPS has been tested to the specifications of the United States military. It is equipped with a 5" touchscreen compatible with gloves and is 50% larger than the touchscreen on earlier iterations. When coupled with a compatible smartphone, this product uses cellular connectivity to gain access to the most recent Active Weather forecasts via the Garmin Connect app. In addition, it utilizes direct downloads of BirdsEye Satellite Imagery to the smartphone, allowing the user to see photo-realistic images and establish waypoints based on landmarks.

You can share your loved ones back home with real-time updates on your whereabouts at any moment by utilizing the MapShare website or by including your coordinates in the messages you send. In addition, even if you are standing still, this product's digital compass will provide precise information regarding the direction in which you are heading.

It comes with a silicone case that molds itself to any device you put it on because the silicone is flexible. Thanks to the Garmin Explore app, you can easily plan journeys, access topographical maps, create waypoints and courses that you can sync to your device, and much more. In addition, the device's battery life in the 10-minute monitoring mode can last up to 14 days, allowing you to be out on excursions for much longer. On the other hand, this product might be much improved if it featured a belt holder, making it easier to transport when going on hikes.

5 Garmin GPSMAP 65 Hiking GPS
Our Score:

The TopoActive maps are preinstalled on this device. These maps provide color-graphic contours, altitudes, and summits, among other features. It also offers an optional display of the boundaries of federal public land so that you are aware of the limits that apply to you. The microSD card enables you to access HuntView Plus and download additional maps, allowing you to enjoy more adventures.

Beyond's multi-band technology and expanded GNSS compatibility (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and IRNSS) enable intensive location precision even in deep forests, dense trees, and urban canyons. This feature is possible even while you're out in the wilderness. Paperless geocaching can also be accomplished with this handheld by uploading the necessary GPX files to the device. The 16-hour battery life in GPS mode makes it possible to enjoy hiking, exploring, and mountain trekking. Even though the control button is a bit small, this device performs effectively regardless of the circumstances.

6 Garmin GPSMAP 66i GPS Handheld
Our Score:

It can access several global navigation satellite systems, such as GPS and GLONASS, enabling tracking in a more challenging environment. In an emergency, you can send an interactive SOS message to GEOS, the International Emergency Response Coordination Center (IERCC) powered by Garmin, which features a professional worldwide monitoring and response center open around the clock. On the other hand, if this product could boost the screen's resolution even further, it would be an excellent choice for everyone.

The GPSMAP 66i premium GPS handheld with inReach satellite technology combines accurate navigation from Garmin and can connect anywhere on the planet. You can easily view terrain contours, topographic elevations, summits, parks, coasts, rivers, lakes, and geographical locations on the preloaded TopoActive maps. It is compatible with the Garmin Explore website and the Garmin Explore app, which will assist you in managing waypoints, routes, activities, and collections, as well as using tracks and viewing trip data while you are out in the field.

You will be able to find your way back to your base camp or the trailhead with the assistance of the Bushnell BackTrack Mini GPS. Utilizes Global Positioning System technology to record your journey or waypoints so that you can return to where you started. The battery life can be up to 35 hours long, so you can feel assured to use it during a long journey.

The Bushnell BackTrack Mini GPS is durable, thanks to its rugged and waterproof design. This product can easily connect to Bluetooth, helping you to see journeys and waypoints on your smartphone and sync them with the Bushnell Connect app. BackTrack Mini displays both your ascent and descent in height, in addition to the barometric pressure. It also tells you when the sun will rise and set for the day and when the moon will rise and set. It is an essential piece of gear for hitting the trail thanks to its display that is simple to read and its large buttons that can be operated while wearing gloves. However, the enclosed instructions are a bit complex, so you should find this product's instructions on Google to understand how to use them more straightforwardly.

More To Consider

8 ZL-166 Handheld GPS
Our Score:
9 Garmin 010-02451-10 GPSMAP
Our Score:
Product Images, Product Titles, Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API

Our buying guide to pick best handheld gps for hiking for you need

Maybe you feel overwhelmed by the variety of choices when it comes to purchasing best handheld gps for hiking? Visitors didn't even know if a better option was available. We have a few suggestions which will make things easier and thus save you time and effort.

Review them out below to see whether the item you're looking for is right for you!

Planning Routes

GPS devices are able to display a route created on the gadget or imported with GPX files. You can view a clear route line and be warned if you stray too far from it if this function is installed. 'Track back' is a function that can steer you back to your starting point if you get lost. Make sure you understand the terms used by different manufacturers when examining storage capacity.


Make sure you're using the right maps for your location. The transflective screens are able to reflect sunlight and work in bright light. The backlight allows the screen to be read in dark conditions and makes it easier for you to see in sunlight. Although brighter screens can be more useful, they also have a shorter life span. You should also check the resolution of the screen. High resolutions show more details on the map.


GPS devices created for outdoor use are typically robust. In addition to a rugged case or storage pouch, devices with an additional ruggedised case are available. If you are going to a place where extreme conditions are present, you might want to know if a mobile phone is also rated for these conditions.

Route Recording

The ability to record your journey enables you to revisit it and share it. It is excellent for settling disputes about how far you have travelled (and the vertical difference). If your device has GPX export, you may send this to others as a file, making following your route easier. Most GPS devices will record this data and export it as a FIT file, which includes both the route and other information. Devices that have sensors for heart rate may also record this data, and export it as a FIT file with both the route and additional information.


GPS devices are bound to use up a lot of battery life if they have a bigger screen and more features, since they have to work harder to get the same results. If you are a day hiker and plan to take your GPS on longer trips, check to see if you can use a removable battery. If you have a waterproof USB charger, you'll have an excellent backup if you need it. Most GPS devices nowadays are rechargeable via USB, so you shouldn't worry too much about how you'll charge them. You will need to use ‘’high power’ AA batteries if you use the regular AA batteries.


For any type of physical activity, a lighter unit is normally better, but lighter units usually have shorter battery life, smaller screens and lower physical protection. This is a situation in which personal preferences will come into play.


Is A GPS Better Than Google Maps?

A GPS unit that is dedicated to only receiving GPS signal and powering cannot be compromised by other functions. This means it is less likely to slow down, stop, or use up battery life as fast as a smartphone running Google Maps or a similar software. GPS units, on the other hand, may have data services onboard that can deliver live traffic updates if connected to an active smartphone. This means your free GPS apps on your smartphone will be updated more frequently and will provide better suggestions than before.

My Car GPS Tracker Says It’s Moving When It’s Not. Why Is This Happening?

GPS trackers can send signals off different surfaces in an urban environment, resulting in false alarms. Getting an alert in the middle of the night that your vehicle has moved out of the garage is not uncommon with GPS trackers, but it can be irritating and worrying. It’s difficult to determine if the alert is legitimate or not, as the car may have moved only a short distance, like down the street.

Will My GPS Tracker Still Work In Rural Areas?

If you live in an area where cell service is patchy, then you're likely to experience spotty GPS behaviour as a result. It doesn't mean the GPS isn't working; it just means that it is unable to send the location information to your phone because there aren't enough cellular towers around to do so.

Why Buy A Portable GPS Instead Of Using My Phone?

Many individuals use a phone for navigation. You can begin a journey anywhere with a portable GPS, a portable navigation device, or a dashtop GPS (same thing). A cellular signal is required to set up a trip and download map data on a smartphone; a portable GPS has maps built in. A 7.0-inch screen is typical on a portable GPS, bigger than most smartphones. Hands-free calling is available if you have an older automobile without Bluetooth. The microphone and speakers of a GPS device allow you to make phone calls without using a handsfree device.

Can Real-time GPS Trackers Pinpoint Your Exact Location?

Your GPS tracker may be out of position due to interference from other electronic devices, including your cell phone. GPS trackers rely on satellite signals to triangulate their position. If the GPS tracker is interfered with, the accuracy may be thrown off.

How Do I Enter The Destination?

On the screen, a keypad pops up as you type the address. You typically enter the address using predictive typing, but you can also enter the address from start to finish if you have already visited the location. You can speak the address or choose from your favorite and recent destinations, in addition to choosing from gas stations, hotels and medical facilities. The map typically includes businesses, museums, hotels, gas stations and medical services as well as street addresses.


The website has a buying guide for best handheld gps for hiking for your needs. It will assist you in determining what to purchase and how much was to purchase! If the above options do not meet your needs, consider Garmin Alpha 200 Handheld GPS as an alternative.

Whether any of this makes it sound daunting or if you want more information, please give us a call, our members of the team are always happy to chat and brainstorm ideas with you!

1 ratings

About Scott Nelson

Scott Nelson

Scott Nelson is a freelance writer who specializes in camping and wildlife topics for CampFireUSA. He has written for several outdoor magazines and websites, and he enjoys nothing more than spending a weekend in the woods with his family. Scott is an experienced camper and backpacker, and he has also spent considerable time studying the behavior of bears and other large mammals.

Read Scott's full bio