The Garmin GPSMAP 66st may be the king of accuracy and reliability. It has a powerful, quad-helix antenna and connects to more satellite networks than almost every other models. It really is more reliable and accurate than a lot of the competition. Even in under ideal locations, we could actually lock into great reception. This unit was reliable practically everywhere: from slot canyons of the Southwest, into whiteouts of the Pacific Northwest. This handheld GPS also includes 16GB of internal memory – a lot more than double almost every other units – and comes preloaded with topo maps for the united states and Canada, and subscription-free usage of Garmin’s Bird’s Eye Imagery.

As to be likely, all this capability posesses hefty price-tag. If you plan on a whole lot of expeditionary travel, or desire a highly accurate, handheld GPS unit for field research, the 66st likely fits the bill. But also for many recreationalists, this unit could be overkill. While it has the capacity to link wirelessly to your phone, we found establishing this technique to be cumbersome. While this unit might not exactly include a touchscreen, we really appreciated the easy layout of the large buttons – this powerful, handheld GPS is simple to use, even in the most extreme field conditions.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Garmin eTrex 20x is a tiny and lightweight hiking GPS that delivers ample performance, without the purchase price or weight of other top-performing units. This capable device will certainly help you to get back on the right track if the elements turns foul, and you can’t find your route. An ideal handheld GPS for all those looking for a lightweight device prior to going into the backcountry for a long period – add this unit to your Dream Backpacking Gear List, as it might save you when you are accidentally off trail.

It isn’t the most tricked-out option, however. The eTrex line is situated in simplicity, even though the 20x has lots of the features you will need, it might not exactly have all you want. This small device also sports a tiny screen, and will not provide same resolution as higher-priced models. You need to be on the road for the differential compass to find direction, which unit does not add a barometric altimeter. But if the thing you need is a trusted, durable, highly-portable GPS, search no further compared to the eTrex 20.

Best for Messaging and Navigation

With impressively reliable reception, SOS features, satellite texting, and navigation via GPS, the Garmin inReach Explorer+ is a standout device for a number of uses when you’re definately not cellphone reception. We used it for a variety of trips, from alpine climbing in Alaska to trekking in the backcountry of Patagonia. Although it is mostly a messaging and SOS device, you can even utilize the inReach Explorer+ as a handheld GPS. It’s simple to share your tracks and location via texting and social media. Furthermore to downloadable maps, the opportunity to pre-load waypoints and routes is effective for planning long trips over complex terrain.

The Explorer+ has far fewer navigation features, and a far more limited interface than dedicated GPS models just like the Garmin Montana 680 or Garmin Oregon 700 but is effective for simple navigation and tracking. The Explorer+ can be a crisis personal locator beacon, and we caution against navigating with and draining the batteries of your lifeline. But, if you are likely to do it, this is actually the way to go. For many who want to go deep in the backcountry with a device that can be utilised for both messaging and navigation, the inReach Explorer+ is unparalleled. (We recommend the compact inReach Mini as an individual locator and messager in case you have another method of navigating.)

Analysis and TEST OUTCOMES
We tested these handheld GPS devices during the period of years – hiking, skiing, mountaineering, canyoneering, kayaking, mountain biking, mapping plant populations, and more. We’ve marked and navigated to waypoints, compared map drawing speed, and tested the compasses of every unit against our trusty old, magnetic standby. We’ve logged a huge selection of miles by walking in Colorado, Washington, Utah, New Mexico, and Alaska. Greater than a dozen persons – who range between GPS professionals to complete novices – have used these units and provided feedback, bringing you a thorough, and completely objective overview of among the best handheld GPS units that you can buy.