If you’re a hardcore hunter, more often than not, your passion for hunting could take you deep into the wild. Many huntsmen have frequently reported that they often lost their way in the wilderness and had to struggle to find their way back to civilization. This is precisely where the best hunting GPS can come to your aid, helping you to chart and track the beaten path.
Of course, your versatile smartphone can also enable you to navigate your way through the woods as the device is usually loaded with a GPS app. But what if you’re running low on battery or find yourself in an area without any connectivity as there are no cellular towers in the vicinity.
It is for these reasons that a handheld GPS becomes indispensable while planning a hunting trip. For a start, the best hunting GPS does not depend on cellular towers for showing you the way ahead. Alternatively, GPS devices tend to be more hardy and resilient in comparison to cellular phones.
How to Choose the Best Hunting GPS Devices
When it comes to selecting the best hunting GPS, you could be spoilt for choice as the market is flooded with countless products. Moreover, the fact that every product comes with its distinctive set of features could do the entire exercise of selecting the right unit more challenging. Should you choose a model with a full set of features like additional storage, an altitude sensor, and an internal compass?
Or should you buy one that effectively does the job it has been designed for and is lightweight, easily graspable, and user-friendly? Besides ensuring whether the product offers the basic functionalities, also check its rating and customer reviews, and finally, its price. Compare and contrast at least five to six high-quality GPS units based on the following aspects:-
Do not make up your mind on buying a particular product based on its features and design. A product which does not offer the convenience of use is as good as an inferior model, despite having impressive features. What is the point of having striking features if you cannot use them to your advantage?
Talking about a GPS unit’s user-friendliness, the model should have an interactive UI (touchscreen). Alternatively, if you opt for a group with buttons (most of the handheld units still have buttons), make sure the pins are receptive. At the same time, the display should be large enough to enable you to view and read everything.
The majority of the handheld GPS models available currently in the market come with large antennas that help boost satellite reception. The US Department of Defense owns and uses a total of 24 satellites, and the model you select should be able to receive signals from these satellites. The better the reception capability of the GPS unit, the higher will be the accurateness of the images, ultimately enabling you to pinpoint your exact location or position.
Make sure you opt for a GPS device that comes with an array large enough to allow you to read everything. On the other hand, the screen should be waterproof and has backlit functionality, allowing viewing the display even in broad daylight.
Receptiveness and speed
Speed and receptiveness imply the quickness with which the GPS unit can trace and indicate your location. Check the speed with which the device processes the information or data after you key in your address using the touchscreen or the buttons.
Maps and atlases
While most of the handheld hunting GPS brands come preassembled with North American maps, a select few contain world maps. Nowadays, many portals feature satellite images and world maps that you can download for free. Also, bear in mind that updating built-in maps is very crucial even if you don’t want to pay for a new subscription.
Mapping application software
You can take it for granted that the GPS device will have its mapping application software, regardless of the brand. Make sure you check the versatility of the mapping software by reviewing the specs. Additionally, it is essential to establish if the app is compatible across a range of digital devices and companionable with open-source software.
The more accessories a handheld GPS has, the more valuable it will be to you. Some standardized and useful handheld GPS accessories include a storage case, USB charging cable, touchscreen protector, rechargeable batteries, and so on.
Warranty and reviews
Some of the best hunting GPS brands that are most popular in the US include Garmin, Lowrance, and Magellan. However, even if you choose a model belonging to any of these brands, ensure to go through the product reviews. At the same time, see to it that the manufacturer offers a minimum of a 1-year warranty
A high quality handheld GPS comes at a price, and most of the topnotch products cost upwards of $200. Don’t settle for a cheap product simply because you cannot afford a pricey one. Give yourself more time to save an extra couple of hundred dollars, and buy a quality GPS unit.
Top 5 Product Reviews For the Best Hunting GPS Devices
|1. Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS||+ Features barometric altimeter, digital compass, fishing/hunting info, sunrise/sunset times|
+ Viewing location in numerous formats, thanks to built-in dual position readout
|2. Garmin GPSMAP 64s Worldwide||+ Quad helix antenna for excellent reception|
+ Multiple add-ons
+ Ergonomically designed
+ Lightweight and compact
|3. Garmin Montana 680t||+ A broad and receptive touchscreen|
+ Durable and resilient
+ Equipped with geo-tagging
+ Comes with BirdsEye subscription
|4. Garmin Oregon 650t||+ IPX7 weatherproof casing|
+ Built-in geo-tagging
+ Features world map
+ Preinstalled 8-megapixel camera
|5. Magellan CX0310SGXNA eXplorist 310 Waterproof Hiking GPS||+ Extended battery life with power-saving functionalities|
+ Hardy waterproof framework
+ Paperless geocaching
+ Easily navigable realistic graphics and menus
1. Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS – Best Garmin handheld GPS unit
The Garmin Foretex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS is the most user-friendly GPS receiver that you can install on your hand, thanks to the included wrist expansion strap. This GPS navigator from Garmin is ideal for different outdoor activities that call for you to be ambidextrous. It is a very lightweight and compact GPS unit perfect for campers, mountaineers, hikers, and huntsmen.
The convenient waterproof GPS receiver comes preloaded with a barometric altimeter and digital compass that renders it incredibly versatile. Garmin Connect site furnishes an in-depth breakdown of your outdoor activities once you connect the device with your desktop or smartphone.
- High-sensitivity GPS navigator featuring HotFix functionality for quick reception in dense forests and deep ravines
- Lets you keep track of your waypoints, routes, courses, and itineraries
- TracBack feature lets your retrace your way or course
- Easy-to-read interactive LCD
- Limited warranty period (only one year)
- Is prone to turning off out of turn and suddenly
- Does not put topographical maps on view
2. Garmin GPSMAP 64s Worldwide – With High-Sensitivity GPS and GLONASS Receiver
The Garmin GPSMAP 64s with High-Sensitivity GPS and GLONASS Receiver is one of the most versatile handheld GPS units you can go for. This high-sensitivity GPS unit is not only available in a variety of designs but also features useful add-ons. Unlike most other similar and comparable handheld units, the GPSMAS 54s comes preinstalled with maps of all the continents.
On the other hand, this GPS device allows you almost instantly to access US GPS and also Russia’s GLONASS. The GPSMAP 64s will catch signals from satellites even when you’re in a dense jungle or deep inside the woods. The 2.6” prominent display screen ensures that you’ll see everything clearly in direct sunlight. This GPS unit from Garmin comes with practical and useful add-ons, including foot pods, heart rate monitor, and an inbuilt electronic compass.
- Comes with built-in GLONASS and GPS receivers: will capture signals in the densest of forests and outback
- Quad helix antenna for speedy reception of signals
- Prominent display screen readable in direct sunlight
- Lightweight and compact profile for ease of use
- Many users may experience difficulty in following the somewhat complicated menu
- Downloading maps could be a headache
- Battery life could have been better
3. Garmin Montana 680t – Best GPS with maximum useful features
The Montana 680t GPS by Garmin is one of the most performance-oriented GPS systems out there. The Montana GPS unit’s USP is undoubtedly its full-color touchscreen that comes in perfectly handy when checking out maps, charts, and atlases. You’ll also warm up to Montana 680t because of its capability and extreme receptiveness in capturing satellite signals even in the densest of forests and thickest of covers.
Not only is the Garmin Montana 680t extremely functional and handy but is exceptionally durable and resilient. The unit also features geo-tagging, which enables you to tag footage, snapshot, and digital images on social media platforms. The unit comes with a one-year BirdsEye satellite subscription that lets you view representations and illustrations of your immediate environment, irrespective of your location.
The group is capable of tracking and receiving signals from GLONASS and GPS satellites and is equipped with TOPO 100K US maps. The Montana 680t from Garmin comes with a built-in compass with a barometric altimeter.
- 8MP digital camera for capturing images with high resolution
- Track manager for planning and navigating through routes and waypoints, and tracking logs
- GLONASS and GPS support for accurate and quick pinpointing of your location
- Preloaded with 2,50,00 global geocaches
- The display despite being quite large is somewhat hard to read particularly in broad daylight
- The manufacturer has not provided any manual
- Incompatible with SD cards with storage above 32GB
4. Garmin Oregon 650t Handheld Digital Topographic – Best Handheld GPS For Hunting
An imposing 3-inch touchscreen, GPS and GLONASS tracking capability, extended battery life, Bluetooth, and ANT connectivity are some original features inbuilt in the Garmin Oregon 650t. It is because of these multipurpose features that make the Oregon 650t stand out from a multitude of GPS devices on sale. You’ll also be able to make good use of the add-on course-plotting and direction-finding tools such as a barometric altimeter, accelerometer, and compass.
The Garmin Oregon 650t is reinforced with IPX7 weatherproof casing protecting the unit from rains, moisture, and accidental knocks and bumps. This GPS device features a world map apart from topographical US maps and charts and has a micro-SD slot just in case. The capacitive touchscreen is unusually bright and is visible in daylight, its reflectivity notwithstanding.
- 8MP autofocus camera with digital zoom and LED torch for capturing striking images
- Includes dual AA batteries
- Wireless sharing of routes, photos, geocaches, maps, waypoints, and tracks between units with built-in Bluetooth/ANT
- 3-inch large touchscreen display perfectly readable in sunlight
- Low battery life
- You’ll have to pay additional charges for navigating in the city
5. Magellan CX0310SGXNA eXplorist 310 Waterproof Hiking GPS – Most hardy
The CX0310SGXNA eXplorist 310 waterproof hiking GPS from Magellan is packed to the hilt with useful features like preloaded world map, excellent mapping software, and high-resolution color display. The included two AA batteries offer 18 hours of usage on a single charge, relieving you of the need to replace batteries midway. Paperless geocaching lets you check the latest logs by other geocachers as well as search and screen location, name, size, and difficulty of terrains.
500MB of storage is more than adequate for creating backups of tracks, waypoints, geocaches, and Summit Series topo maps. A vivid transflective 2.2-inch color display furnishes excellent readability even in bright sunlight. The preloaded World Edition map features lifelike shaded relief background, rural and urban topography, water features, and exhaustive road network.
- Robust IPX-7 waterproof casing safeguards the GPS receiver from the elements
- Easy-to-use main menu with instantly accessible brilliant graphics
- Highly sensitive SiRFstarIII GPS and sunlight-readable receptive color screen
- Extended battery life with power-saving attributes
- Absence of battery support means you have to use this unit very judiciously
- The UI is not very receptive and intuitive
Choosing the five best hunting GPS for this review was indeed a demanding task as there are so many premium quality products. We narrowed down our selection range to two of the most popular brands in the US-Garmin and Magellan. It is not at all surprising that four out of the five reviewed products are from the Garmin stable.
If you wish to make the most of a handheld GPS unit, then look no further than Garmin. And if affordability is an issue then settle for the Magellan eXplorist.