The 8 Best Hiking GPS of 2020

Track your trail adventures

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First Look

Best Overall: Garmin GPSMAP 64st at Amazon

"Has an electronic compass and 16-hour battery life."

Best Budget: Garmin eTrex 20x GPS at REI

"Features an easy-to-read display, even in bright sunlight."

Best Watch: Suunto Traverse at Amazon

"Track your distance and receive weather alerts."

Best Display: Garmin Oregon 600t at Amazon

"Strengthened for impact resistance."

Best Waterproof: Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof GPS Amazon

"Can endure extreme conditions."

Best With Camera: Garmin Montana 680t at Garmin

"Built with a digital camera that delivers quality images."

Best Handheld: Garmin inReach Explorer+ at Amazon

"Enables two-way text messaging so you’re always connected."

Best App: Map My Hike at iTunes

"Discover new routes and track performance results."

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Garmin GPSMAP 64st

Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO U.S. 100K with High
Courtesy of Amazon

One of the most popular GPS units among avid hikers, the Garmin GPSMAP 64st gets our top pick thanks to its reliability, performance, and efficiency. With its quad helix antenna and high-sensitivity GPS and GLONASS receiver, the device will help you navigate your route accurately and reliably even if you’re surrounded by tall buildings or trees. It also features a 3-axis electronic compass with barometric altimeter, a 16-hour battery life, and comes preloaded with TOPO U.S. 100K maps. You can also use it to wirelessly receive emails, texts, and alerts from your smartphone.

While it doesn’t feature a high-resolution, touchscreen display, the screen is waterproof and durable, and the lack of fancy features makes it an affordable choice. Slim and lightweight, the GPSMAP 64st is easy and comfortable to carry, making it the perfect hiking companion.

Best Budget: Garmin eTrex 20x GPS

Garmin eTrex 20x GPS

 Courtesy of Rei

Known for its durability and ease-of-use, Garmin’s eTrex 20x GPS is packed with features you may not expect in such an affordable device. Users especially appreciate the impressive screen resolution, which provides an easy-to-read display, even in bright sunlight. The eTrex 20x is gentle on power usage and has a superb battery life, especially when utilizing AA lithium batteries. There’s also plenty of storage space, so you can download a variety of maps. Lightweight and waterproof, the eTrex is a reliable, inexpensive GPS device that’s ideal for hiking and geocaching.

Best Watch: Suunto Traverse

Whether you need hands free navigation because you are riding a mountain bike or hiking with poles, the Suunto Traverse GPS watch provides reliable service at the glance of your wrist. You can use it to track your distance and altitude and mark points of interest with the touch of a button. With the help of GPS and GLONASS satellite navigation systems, you can easily follow uploaded routes and explore new terrain.

Users also love the breadcrumb trail feature, which lets you retrace your steps back to your starting point. You can even use it to predict weather changes, so you’ll know if you need to seek shelter ahead of time. Rugged yet lightweight on the wrist, Traverse watches are water-resistant to 100 meters.

Best Display: Garmin Oregon 600t

If an exceptional display is high on your list of must-have features in a GPS device, you’ll have to consider Garmin’s Oregon 600t. It features a reflective display technology that permits a sunlight-readable, glove-friendly touchscreen. The screen is also strengthened for impact resistance and is multi-touch capable with dual-orientation viewing.

The device is compatible with Bluetooth technology so you can wirelessly share routes, tracks, geocaches, maps, and photos. The dual battery system allows you to use the optional rechargeable NiMH pack or traditional AA batteries, so you never have to worry about running out of power.

Best Waterproof: Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS Navigator

If you ever hike in extreme conditions, you need a reliable GPS device that’s sturdy, durable, and waterproof. The wrist-mounted Garmin Foretrex 401 GPS navigator checks all those boxes and is perfect for outdoor adventures that require you to be hands-free. Its high-sensitivity GPS receiver with HotFix allows for improved performance and good reception, even when biking under heavy tree cover or in deep canyons.

With the Foretrex 401, you don’t have to worry about getting lost, as it keeps track of your path and displays it as a dotted trail on the screen. You can also save important locations in its memory, so you always can find the fastest way back to your campsite or car. And with up to 17 hours of battery life and replaceable AAA batteries, running out of juice isn’t a concern. While it doesn’t come with pre-loaded routes or a camera, it’s a great, lightweight option for backpackers looking for map and compass navigation.

Best With Camera: Garmin Montana 680t

Montana® 680t

 Courtesy of Garmin

If you like to take a lot of photos during your hikes and other outdoor adventures, the Garmin Montana 680t may be the device for you. With an 8 megapixel, autofocus digital camera, it delivers high-quality images with excellent resolution. The camera also automatically geotags photos with coordinates, so you can use them to navigate back to the same spot during future hikes. You can insert a microSD card for extra photo storage or to view pictures from other devices.

The Montana 680t also has a large, easy-to-read, 4-inch display that features a glove-friendly color touchscreen, giving you quick access to information. The handheld includes 3-axis tilt-compensated compass, barometric altimeter and access to both GPS and GLONASS satellites, providing reliable navigation even in heavy cover or canyons.

Best Handheld: Garmin inReach Explorer+

If you love to travel off the beaten path but still want to stay connected, Garmin’s inReach Explorer+ makes sure that you’re always in the loop. This handheld satellite communicator enables two-way text messaging from anywhere, allows you to track and share your location with family and friends, and provides critical SOS functions in case of a safety emergency.

With a built-in digital compass, barometric altimeter, and accelerometer, you can use it to find your bearings and navigate any route. It’s also fully waterproof and features a high-resolution, sunlight-readable display for accurate navigation in any weather conditions.

Best App: Map My Hike

Map My Hike by Under Armour by Under Armour, Inc.

 Courtesy of Appadvice

If you prefer to use an app on your smartphone or smartwatch to navigate and track your hikes, Map My Hike is packed with useful features. This free app lets you discover new routes and gives you feedback and stats so you can try to improve your performance on your next hike. With easy-to-use maps and tracking capabilities, you can record your pace, distance, calorie burn, and elevation. 

You can also interact and join challenges in the motivating community of over 40 million athletes. Map My Hike can sync your data with other apps and fitness trackers, including Google Fit, Android Wear, Garmin, Fitbit, Jawbone, and more.

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