Travelers advice. What is the best GPS for hiking?


When you like the mountain you often ask yourself, what is the best GPS for hiking? Paper maps are certainly necessary since the batteries of a GPS do not always last everything you need, but a good GPS in the mountain Not only can it save your life, it can be an excellent companion wherever you go. Be in high mountains and have a slope map where you can do all kinds of measurements, acompass or a altimeter It makes getting lost unlikely, even on foggy days or lack of visibility.

GPS for hiking

The best GPS for hiking

There are many reasons why it is necessary to have a GPS for hiking, although being realistic We only see it necessary for those who like to explore, they enter the high mountain, ascend in adverse weather conditions or simply, if they decide to undertake routes they do not know. We like to talk about brands, but when we talk about mountain GPS brands like Garmin inevitably come out since few brands are able to match it. If we talk about watches with GPS, it is something else, but they are different devices for very specific scenarios.

There are few decent brands to choose from

In this article it seems that we are going to talk only about Garmin, but it is true that today they have almost no competition due to the lack of brands in this specialized sector. If we talk about running yes, but this is a very different thing. Today in the specialized mountain tents there is only Garmin and sometimes Magellanor CompeGPS. The reason?. The variety of maps, available software, the large user community and especially for quality and finish. The Garmin may not have the screen of a mobile phone like an iPhone, but I assure you that the latter does not hold adverse weather, snow, ice, mud or water.

The trend of carrying a mobile phone like GPS

For many, the best GPS for hiking is the mobile itself, as it has a multitude of map applications. But beware of this. They can cover most of the scenarios, but there are situations that are very lame for the following reasons:

  • Shortage of battery. A mountain GPS holds up to 16 / 25h with two batteries. A mobile phone has a lithium battery that lasts a short time and does not get along with the cold. You can take one External battery, but the weight in the end rules.
  • Meteorology. They clearly do not support it. If it rains they break down. If it's sunny you can't read the screen. But the worst, if it is very cold the battery does not last even a newscast.
  • They are weak. So is. They can fall or scratch, you simply would not like to break it.
  • Screens. They don't get along either with the cold or with the gloves.
  • Hardware. The GPS of a mobile phone is not as accurate as those of a mountain GPS both by the antenna and by the processor. In addition, new generations of GPS for hiking or trekking support both GPS and GLONASS satellite coverage.

New Zealand

I do not recommend it if you are going to make long journeys or if you practicehiking in cold places. Of course, there is one thing in your favor without a doubt, the variety of apps. Many of the apps are competing from you to your in usability and functionality of a Advanced GPS, but at the hardware level, I'm afraid they are still light years away.

From the high range to the cheapest

We can talk first hand of most of them, since they have been tireless companions in our adventures. Unfortunately already I have lost two in the last three yearsMaybe that's why we have enough time to try several of the models we see today. Today Miguel has a GPSMAP 62 and in my case an Oregon 700. Which is better? To taste the colors, let's see which one you like best.

Garmin's Oregon Series

A very Good touch option.It is my GPS for hiking and very comfortable in most situations. The 3 "screen seems a bit small, but the operation is optimal. You can handle it with rain without problem and apart it is capacitive, so you can use two fingers when enlarging a map.

Garmin Oregon 600

In addition to having a wide screen it is possible to use it as a navigator for the car, since you can install the same maps as traditional browsers. It has a very useful profile option, which you can exchange between trekking, leisure or automobile among others.

At the level of features there are several ranges currently, the 600-650 and 700-750 *, where the T range stands out for carrying included maps. In addition, between the 50 and the x00 the main difference is that the first one has a little more internal memory, a Battery charger and one Photo camera, something unnecessary for its poor quality. From my point of view, better the 600-700, you avoid taking a bad camera and you save money.

* The new range 700-750 carries bluetooth and wifi,feature that allows you to connect it to the mobile with the Garmin Connect application. A part are compatible with WIKILOC, so this model could be a very good buy.

See price of Garmin Oregon

The Garmin GPS series

Possibly the toughest, more resistant and more professional in the market. Maybe your antenna Many do not like it, but if you are in a closed forest or in a canyon, your antenna Quad helix It will not lose coverage, something that is priceless. For the more adventurous it is the favorite, even ahead of the new tactile, since in extreme conditions you always need to have with you the most resistant.


Its buttons are very comfortable although the Garmin interface leaves much to be desired. The new generation 64 already supports GLONASS. Its handling in extreme conditions, for example with gloves, unlike the touch, is handled with ease, and at the level of functionality it is very similar to the rest. As in the case of Oregon there are several models, but we recommend theGPSMAP 64s, the intermediate, since with the 64st it only differs in price, in internal storage 4GB vs 8GB and that the maps are already included. In addition, the basic 64, which is not worth it, does not carry barometric altimeter No electronic compass.

By the way, as in the case of Oregon has a system of smart notifications to see emails, text messages and something else on your mobile phone via Bluetooth. there is no doubt that it is the best GPS for hiking or trekking

Garmin GPSMAP 66s GPS analysis

The GPSMAP 64s renewal was launched at the end of 2018 and the GPSMAP 66s is now available. More screen, more connectivity functions, more storage and better coverage.More information in the Garmin 66s GPS analysis.

See price of Garmin GPSMAP 64sSee price of Garmin GPSMAP 66s

Garmin inReach

It is the first Garmin range dedicated to the mountain where it includes satellite communication, allowing you to send short messages, such as SMS, and send help messages. By the way it reminds of GPSMAP, the king of the range, but differs in things like the screen size, which is smaller, the drums which is internal and something that has caught our attention, does not incorporate a slot for SD cards, something that greatly limits the product.

Garmin Inreach

Given these deficiencies, the only thing we see positive about this device is the possibility of connecting, but everything good is not always, since in order to access this feature you have to register in a satellite network with your corresponding cost, yes, you will have global coverage even if there is no coverage on your mobile.

See price of Garmin inReach

The Garmin Monterra Series

Android comes to GPS hiking at a high price, so expensive that it barely sells. If you add to this its size you end up deciding on an Oregon or a GPSMAP. But not everything is bad, if not quite the opposite. The lead Android allows you to have countless apps and a much friendlier environment, in fact we can say that this is Garmin's future. Having Android is a plus, a plus that I am sure will add other ranges of GPS.

Garmin Monterra

In my view, it is expensive, but it is beautiful and very attractive. Of course, having one 4 "screen It seems to me a little big, something that must be valued since it also affects your weight. Is it really a GPS for hiking ?.

See price Garmin Monterra

Twonav Adventure

The TwoNav Adventure is another model of high-end. The manufacturer, CompeGPS, it has been manufacturing mountain GPS for more than a decade. They are Spanish and that is a plus. In addition, they are responsible for a widely used map application, CompeGPS. In this case, the Adventure model is the top of the range. We are not talking about a cheap GPS, but many of its features are superior to Garmin.

It has a 3.5 "screen, not bad, and 64mb internal memory, very little truth. In appearance the Garmin seem better built and are much cheaper. Both weight and size can be said to be similar, but where the thing changes is on the maps. There are maps they share, like the Alpine, but the wonderful Topo Maps 5 is only available in Garmin. In CompeGPS there is a very similar one with a lot of cartographic information but it has not been updated since 2012. It still looks good.

GPS TwoNav Adventure

See price of Twonav Adventure

The Garmin Etrex series

A popular good, beautiful and cheap. It was our first GPS and possibly it is the best mountain GPS for beginners and even for people who have been practicing this sport for a long time. It has improved over time and although its handling we would not call it simple, it is small and comfortable to store in your pocket. The screen is small, only 2.2 ", but of sufficient quality. To handle the system it has a small joystick.

It has functionalities of Geocaching and network access GPS and GLONASS, but the best is its battery, since it can last more than 24h, One last. Its price starts from € 100, although the lowest range is not recommended because it has a very poor graphic quality because it is monochrome.

Garmin Etrex 30

In the background, if we compare them with the high-end ones, the main difference is the size of the screen and its construction. The rest is practically the same, even the Etrex beats them in terms of weight and battery life.

Finally, as in many Garmin models there are 3 ranges. The best option, the top range, the model Etrex 30. The most basic is insane, for the screen for the graphic quality commented. We are in the 21st century and there are still screens like that. The intermediate model, the Etrex 20, does not have any barometric altimeter or electronic compass, so if you run out of GPS signal or simply, it is not accurate, you will lose this appreciated functionality.

See price of the Etrex series

Magellan Explorist 610 - 710

Magellan is one of the main competitors of Garmin, but Europe has never been his forte. In the United States they are very powerful, where they have excellent cartography, including one that we like very much, that of National Geographic But Europe is a bit far and the maps available for this region are not as good as those of Garmin or CompeGPS, although officially they do have Alpine maps from Spain of the Central System, Picos de Europa and the Balearic Islands.

If we talk about features both the model 610 and 710 are touch devices. They do not support GLONASS but EGNOS, which helps us position ourselves better in Europe, but at the level of battery life, internal memory or type of screen is like a CompeGPS or a Garmin.

Magellan 610

Before buying a Garmin we have always doubted in the Magellan, but the absence of user community, poor support and few maps has always been a step so high that we have opted for other brands. But time to time.

See price of Magellan Explorist

Watches that compete with traditional GPS

Garmin Epix

Presenting at CES 2015, it may not be the best GPS for hiking but it is certainly original. It is the closest thing to a mountain GPS on the wrist. Del Garmin Epix highlights its color screen, storage capacity of up to 8GB, hands-free, GPS and GLONASS. But the best thing is not only that, but it uses the same maps as the Oregon, Dakota, Etrex or GPSMAP, one pass. We haven't seen it yet, but we anticipate it. Of course, even if the battery lasts 24 hours and has many features, is it worth seeing a map on such a small screen? I certainly do not see it as a substitute for a handheld GPS, but it is a great step.

Garmin Epix

See price of Garmin Epix