How To Find An Affordable and Reliable Backpacking GPS?

Each year, millions of people set off around the globe, seeking adventure. Maybe they cut their way through the Amazon, maybe they hitchhike around Australia, maybe they travel around the different countries in Asia. Of course, if they are going to be in countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, and Bangladesh for weeks at a time, they may need to use a vpn to unblock youporn because these types of sites are blocked in these countries. This is just one use of technology that has gotten very popular as it becomes more accessible for every type of traveler. Another useful item for travelers on their own adventure is a GPS.

Be it hiking, trekking, skydiving, mountaineering or RZR driving. By having a GPS on board with you during these adventurous times, such as during one of the popular rzr tours, you can be safe in knowing you won’t get lost of stray away from the group. Similarly, while going out camping in an RV, safety must be the topmost priority. For occasions like this, having an RV GPS installed in your vehicle may come in handy. Additionally, the best handheld GPS you can lay your hands on can be a great companion in your backpack while you are far away from home. These GPS devices are designed to be lightweight and meet the requirements of the adventurer.

Most travel gear companies that manufacture these GPS devices for outdoor use take into account a number of things when designing a product – previous feedback, user experience, device simplicity, and many other market research metrics are obtained through tools like those provided by Qualtrics and similar experience management companies. Such extensive research and repeated testing ensures that the devices in the market are the best of the lot, equipped with plenty of essential features that assist lovers of the outdoors through their many adventures.

While we have the GPS system being incorporated into every available device such as mobile phones, wrist watches and so on, having a GPS handy while going out into the wild is very essential because it carries out the most important duty while on the field which is to show you the way around and get you right back home.

If you are a die-hard hiker who likes to wander off laid down routes and paths, it is most likely that you are let down by other devices, for example, you might have a flat battery while taking pictures with your phone in the wild. A handheld GPS will always help you in retracing your steps and finding your path back home.

What the GPS is

The Global positioning system (GPS) is a satellite navigation system based in the space; it provides information about time and location in any weather condition anywhere near the earth or on the earth where the 4 or more GPS satellite is not obstructed out of sight. The GPS works round the clock, 24 hours a day. And it does not have payment charges applied to it before it can be used, it is entirely free.

A number of the best GPS for backpacking has been put together to guide you in making your choices.

In this day and age when you can have a GPS system incorporated in your smartphones and in wrist watches, a backpacking GPS is still worth having because it has a display screen with a size that gives details of your navigation clearly, the routes are much easier to see on the GPS screen when compared to locating it on a wristwatch.

The battery of a mobile phone can go flat when the navigation and GPS are turned on; it might not be able to serve the purpose of showing you the way home when it runs out of battery. Having a GPS handy will do your navigation business without you draining the battery of your mobile phone.

Based on these few demands, a number of reviews have been put together to help you out in choosing your best backpacking GPS.

List of Top-Rated Backpacking GPS units

Product ImageProduct NameScreen display sizeBattery lifeWeightMore Information
1. Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO US. With High Sensitivity GPS and GLONASS Receiver1. Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO US. With High Sensitivity GPS and GLONASS Receiver2.6inches16 hours9.3 ounceMore Information
2. Garmin etrex 20x2. Garmin etrex 20x2.2 inches25hours5.0 ounceMore Information
3. Garmin Montana 680t3. Garmin Montana 680t4.0 inches22 hours10.2 ounceMore Information
4. Magellan CX0310SGNA eXplorist 310 waterproof hiking GPS4. Magellan CX0310SGNA eXplorist 310 waterproof hiking GPS2.2 inches18 hours5.1 ounceMore Information
5. PG03 Mini GPS Receiver Navigation Handheld Location Finder USB Rechargeable with Compass for Outdoor Sport Travel5. PG03 Mini GPS Receiver Navigation Handheld Location Finder USB Rechargeable with Compass for Outdoor Sport Travel2.0inches17hours1.44 ounceMore Information

The Best Backpacking GPS Reviews


1. Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO US. With High Sensitivity GPS and GLONASS Receiver

The Garmin GPSMAP 64st is an archive of features that has possibly been developed by Garmin over time. Based on the difference in their topographical maps and connectivity, a number of models were developed and available today. The US version with a 2.6-inch display and its great reception are exceptional qualities which make the device among the best GPS hiking devices.

Top features

Combination of GPS and GLONASS

The Garmin GPSMAP 64st GPS make use of the GPS and GLONASS effectively. Whether you are in a room or on an open field, this device does well in communication with the satellite through its quad helix antenna. It gives the exact distance till a maximum of two feet. A 3- axis electronic compass is also needed which helps you retrace your steps back your starting point.

Large storage capacity

As many as 5000 waypoint an almost 200 routes can be stored on your device because it has an internal memory of 8 GB and a memory card slot which will enable you extend your device memory space

Barometric altimeter

Your elevation is determined by a barometric altimeter present in the device. It predicts if there is going to be a storm ahead of you with the help of the barometric sensor which creates a graph of pressure over time.

Device friendly

The Garmin GPSMAP can share information with other devices because it is loaded with the ANT, Bluetooth, Canada topography map, US topography map and a digital camera.


  • It takes a while to get locked into satellites

Frequently asked questions

How is the Garmin GPSMAP 64st different from the 64s?
The 64st has the topography maps while the 64s does not have this feature.
Will this device take a record of your entire trip?
Yes, it will take a good record of your entire trip, but it is essential to clear the track of your former trip before you start a new one.

2. Garmin etrex 20x

The Garmin eTrex 20x is one of Garmin’s top offers which are designed mainly for backpacking. It is budget friendly and easy to use due to its great display resolution, durability and enhanced memory space. It is best used in vehicles, on bicycles and in hot air balloons.

Top Features

Amazing Display Features

The display system of the Garmin eTrex 20x is an upgraded version which is a 2.2″ 65K. Its color display feature which makes it readable in the sun has a 240×320 pixel resolution which makes it suitable for use on bicycles and hot air balloons

Internal memory to save maps

The Garmin eTrex 20x has a slot to input your memory card and it has a 3.7GB internal memory to save your collection of maps. You can upload the Huntview, BlueChartg2, BirdsEye satellite imagery and the City Navigator NT. It also has a pre-installed basemap loaded on it.

GPS and GLONASS enabled

The Garmin eTrex 20x employs the GPS and GLONASS in finding your location and the direction you intend taking. The GPS is also WAAS and Hotfix satellite enabled. It has the ability to hold up to 200 routes and 2000 waypoints; you can also upload topo maps on it even though it has a pre-installed base map.


  • The screen is a bit small and it scratches easily
  • It lacks an electronic compass
  • The base map is not at its best if you are trekking

Frequently asked questions

Where can I get more maps loaded?
You can make a purchase of maps and download them at the Garmin’s website
What kind of battery does it use? Is it an inbuilt battery that can be recharged or I have to buy AA batteries?
The Garmin eTrex 20x uses 2 AA batteries. But there is an option in the settings that allows you to switch to a rechargeable battery.

3. Garmin Montana 680t

The Garmin Montana 680t is another wonderful product also from Garmin. It uses its whole package related to location to make navigation possible. It is also installed with the US topographical maps and the worldwide based map free of charge.

Top features

Dual and large display orientation

The Garmin Montana 680t has a 5.7″×2.9″×1.4″ dimension. It has a very clear and large display which makes it very easy to operate and to get a good view.

Modified GPS

The GPS system incorporated in this device is supported by GLONASS, WAAS and Hotfix. The hotfix assumes satellite locations based on previous satellite locations thereby bringing speed to the satellite locks. Navigation and accuracy of the reading of the location is enhanced by WAAS and the Russian satellite network-GLONASS

Large memory space

The Garmin Montana 680t has an 8 GB internal memory and its space can be extended by inserting a micro SD card which will enable you to add more maps to your collection.

Strong battery life

The Garmin Montana 680t has a 16-22 hour battery life which is determined by the kind of battery you use, whether the 2AA battery or the lithium ion.

Geotags automatically with the 8mp camera

The Garmin Montana 680t can take elegant pictures which will even geotag automatically; you can also have your pictures from the waypoint tagged by clicking them instead of typing out the names manually. Your pictures can also be viewed in a landscape or portrait orientation

All communications are wireless

Your Garmin Montana 680t can be used in sharing your adventurous experience, routes and essential information with other users of Garmin Montana 680t using the Garmin connect when it is connected to a computer through a USB device.

Factory uploaded geocaches and altimeter

The Garmin Montana 680t has 250,000 geocaches uploaded on it including data to make your adventure free of papers. It also has an electronic compass and a barometric altimeter installed on it


  • It is a bit pricey
  • Heavy and large
  • It lacks the usual Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity

Frequently asked questions

Do I have to download maps on my device to put perspectives?
Yes, you have to. You can load your device with up to 32GB maps that are compatible. You have to pay for quite a number of them, but some are also free.
Will this GPS device show me bridleway, byways, and footpaths?
Yes, but it depends on the OS map you use. For example, a base map does not show footpaths, but they show roads.

4. Magellan CX0310SGNA eXplorist 310 waterproof hiking GPS

The Magellan is an awesome piece of a device made for adventurers who like to play around in the wild and not want to get injured. Included in the edition of this device is a shaded relief background, a water feature, information for urban and rural use and a road network with a well-detailed fact. This makes it a very great handheld GPS

Top features

Easy to read user interface

The Magellan is equipped with a 2.2 inch LCD display and also has a color screen readable in the sun. The main menu and the one with the content are easy to operate and friendly with the users, with the graphics being very simple and attractive.

Water resistant

The Magellan GPS receiver is resistant to water and it has been found to meet the IPX-7 standard. This means it can stay up to 30 minutes in one meter deep water.

Ergonomics friendly

It is designed with the user comfort put in mind; this inspired the simple to press buttons on the device.


  • It has a smaller screen when compared to the other GPS backpacking devices
  • It does not provide space to insert a micro SD card
  • It has a very small memory space which is 512MB

Frequently asked questions

Does this device have the ability to search for nearby caches?
This GPS device cannot find caches that are not pre-installed in its memory. You can only download cache for the area you will like to explore when you are connected to www.geocaching .com
Will this device alert you when you are within so many feet of hikes, trails and geocache?
Yes, your GPS device will alert you if you navigate towards the geocache you selected, you will get an alert when you are within 50-100 feet

5. PG03 Mini GPS Receiver Navigation Handheld Location Finder USB Rechargeable with Compass for Outdoor Sport Travel

This GPS receiver and location finder has a shape of a mini watch, displays a number of features which makes it outstanding. It shows the velocity and altitude at which you travel, it has a digital clock, it displays geographical coordinate and it records the distance and miles which you have traveled.

Top features

DOT Matrix Display

This device has a DOT matrix display which shows you what you are doing. While you get a function activated or selecting a feature.

POI storage

This device has the capacity to store up to 16 points of interest (POI). This makes it excellent for hiking, bike riding, mountaineering and so on.


Its small size and light weight makes it a very good choice as a handheld GPS. It can easily be taken on hiking without it weighing you down


  • It is expensive

Frequently asked questions

Does the GPS receiver measure distance travel in mile?
Yes it does, you have the options of selecting either mile or kilometer. This can be doe I the GPS settings.

Informational questions

What is the best handheld GPS?

The best handheld GPS is the Garmin GPSMAP 64st, it combines the GPS and the GLONASS to enhance its sensitivity coupled with the Quad helix antenna. It is equipped with the Bluetooth, US topographical map and ANT. It is a very smooth and strong product which gives a good result handheld.

It has a 2.6inches colored screen which is easy to read in the sunlight, an inbuilt memory of 8 GB and a slot to extend the memory space is also present. This device supports your paperless caching by preloading 250000 caches and 100k US topographical maps and a year subscription to birds eye satellite imagery. Climbing and hiking are also made more information through its barometric altimeter.

What is the best GPS for hiking?

The best GPS for hiking is the Magellan CX310SGXNA eXplorist 310 hiking GPS. This device utilizes its 2.2 inch color screen with high resolution, waterproof design and its geocaching is made paperless to give you an amazing navigation while hiking, its SiRFstarIII GPS is 3-5 meter accurate, this is also an outstanding has a long lasting battery life with 18 hours capacity, it can also be put in suspend mode to preserve and extend your battery. A 500mb space is available for you to store your tracks, geocache, and maps and a track summary is always provided at the end of your journey once your device starts work as you begin.

What is the best Garmin handheld?

The best handheld GPS is the PG03 Mini GPS receiver Navigation Location finder. It is rechargeable with USB and it uses a compass for outdoor use. This product weighs 1.44 ounces only and it has 2 inches display size. This device is very easy and convenient handheld due to its lightweight

What is the best portable GPS?

The best portable GPS is the Garmin Montana is a 4-inch touch-sensitive display device with a colored screen that makes it easy to use in has free basecamp software that enables easy organization of maps, waypoint, tracks, and routes. Its battery life is exceptional, it keeps you going up to 16 hours, and it is equipped with an 8mp camera which geotags automatically and also autofocus.

How to use a GPS for hiking

To use a GPS for hiking, especially on your handheld GPS device, you will have to import GPS tracks to your devices once you have them downloaded from the internet or shared with you by your friends. GPS tracks contain files which hold data such as altitude, distance, time and even geographical coordinates.

You should first connect your device using a USB cable on a computer, and then a dialog box will be opened for you to view files. Note that the files at times might be hidden, so you have to view hidden files, then get your GPS track copied into your GPS device and find the route you copied.

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