- Best Hunting Gps for 2022 with Reviews
- 1. Garmin Oregon 600
- 2. Garmin GPSMAP 64s High-Sensitivity
- 3. Garmin Approach G6
- 4. Garmin inReach Explorer+
- 5. Garmin eTrex 20x
- 6. Garmin Montana 680
- 7. Garmin eTrex10
- Why you should use a handheld GPS
- What to look for when choosing the best hunting GPS
- Best Hunting GPS Reviews Summary
Owning and using the best handheld GPS for hunting can make the difference between a hunting experience you love and one you fail to be impressed with. Purchasing a dependable model nowadays is oftentimes a daunting endeavor, as the market’s overflowing with good units for reasonable costs.
Take a look at our reviews to find the best hunting gps for your needs and your wallet.
Best Hunting Gps for 2022 with Reviews
1. Garmin Oregon 600
The Garmin Oregon 600 is among the most advanced handheld GPS units on the market today. Packed with a series of features that are hard to say no to, this model manages to combine all the useful capabilities a prospective buyer might ever be looking for. Furthermore, it can be purchased at a relatively affordable cost, and online shoppers can take advantage of online retailer’s sales and discounts and get it an even fairer price.
The Garmin Oregon 600 features a glass screen that manages to remain bright regardless of the elements. The screen has been mineralized, which significantly contributes to its overall durability and ruggedness. Although the unit has a touchscreen, users may soon realize that they have the freedom to utilize it even with gloves.
Sensitivity is a core characteristic of the display, as it responds to the user’s commands in a timely fashion.
The size of the display is 3 inches and the resolution is 240 by 400 pixels. Judging by the reviews it has gathered over time, the resolution of this model seems to be quite an upgrade compared to the other units in the Oregon series.
Buyers have two possibilities when it comes to powering the GPS. They may choose to use standard AA batteries or purchase a Garmin battery pack. While in older models from the series the rechargeable battery pack was offered with the unit, the same does not apply for the Garmin Oregon 600. The advantage of using this alternative is that it can be recharged via an AC adaptor or a USB cable, without the user having to remove the batteries.
Ease of use
Both the buttons and the interface of the Garmin Oregon 600 make it one of the easiest hunting GPS devices we’ve come across. There are two buttons on the side of the product, which can be configured according to the buyer’s needs and preferences. The top button should be held in order to turn on the device. The lower button can be used for selecting one of the following three options: hold, single, and double tap).
The interface makes the GPS very easy to operate, considering that it features a customizable main menu and application drawer, a variety of shortcuts, and both landscape and portrait orientation. The adjustments performed on the menu are comfortable and versatile, somewhat resembling the ones you might feel tempted to do on your smartphone menu. The same goes for the shortcuts, which can be created for anything from apps to settings. All of these settings can be placed on the main menu, thus allowing users to access the capabilities much faster.
The Garmin Oregon 600 can work in portrait and landscape orientation, and can do so automatically or as instructed by the user.
Other features of the interface include automatic compass calibration, total ascent on the map screen, tabbed menus, and four million geocaches.
Judging by the customer reviews it has acquired in the past, the model takes the cake when it comes to performance. It works well and can be booted very fast, which also occurs even when the user has loaded waypoints, geocaches, and tracks.
There have been some minor issues reported by several buyers, who claim that scrolling through a long list of waypoints or data fields makes it a little difficult for the GPS to redraw the screen. However, even the users who have run into this problem claim that it pays off to use the Garmin Oregon 600 and that this issue is not a deal-breaker after all.
Additionally, the performance of this device relates to the built-in 3-axis electronic compass with an accelerometer. This model has a barometric altimeter that automatically tracks modifications in terms of pressure. On this account, the feature can be utilized by some buyers to determine the barometric pressure and keep tabs on weather changes.
The Garmin Oregon 600 has a worldwide basemap, and the number of free apps that come with the device is downright breathtaking. Provided that the buyers utilize GGZ file types, they can load up to four million geocaches on this handheld GPS.
This unit is a net improvement compared to older Garmin models that we’ve come across. It has been praised by many people who purchased it, who think that it’s well worth the price for the value it offers. Many of these individuals say that it is the perfect alternative for geocaching. In addition, it is a winner in regards to durability, as there have been users who bought it back in 2013 and have used it ever since.
2. Garmin GPSMAP 64s High-Sensitivity
The Garmin GPSMAP 64st is an alternative to take into account, particularly if you have not yet made up your mind on a new GPS. This model features virtually anything one might ever be looking for. Depending on the options you end up choosing, the price of this device can vary from around two hundred and fifty dollars to almost four hundred. Keep in mind that if you are shopping online may benefit from occasional sales and discounts offered from online retailers and can thus get it at a much fairer price.
The display of the Garmin GPSMAP 64st might be a little small compared to the one of other models we’ve come across during our thorough research. The model has a 2.6-inch sunlight readable color screen. Some buyers have complained that the display is not so bright as to fit their needs and preferences. On the other hand, other individuals claim that this type of display is exactly what they have been looking for.
GPS and GLONASS
Not only is the Garmin GPSMAP 64st worth considering if you’re looking for a dependable GPS, but it also might be an interesting alternative for people looking for a GLONASS receiver. This is a Russian constellation type of receiver that makes it possible for the unit to perform very well in canyon-like environments and northerly latitudes. Sure, GLONASS can be used in other circumstances as well, but it might not offer the best performance.
Smart notifications and sharing wirelessly
Connectivity is an innate feature of this model, as the GPS unit can connect to the user’s smartphone and share data of any kind. Once you’ve collected all the data you need on the GPS, perhaps you might be interested in transferring it via a computer. You may do so via a USB cable. Sharing your waypoints and geocaches with other Garmin users in the area can be done with a single push of a button. What’s more, the model can be utilized to receive emails and text messages using the GPS instead of the smartphone. All of this occurs thanks to the wireless connectivity capability of the Garmin GPSMAP 64st.
It goes without saying that the device can be utilized with other Garmin-compatible ones, ranging from accessory sensors to heart rate monitors.
Ease of use
Since this model does not have a touchscreen, it speaks to the needs of individuals who are accustomed to using traditional buttons. From what we’ve seen by reading the buyers’ reviews on this item, all of the buttons are easy to push and the unit is relatively easy to operate. All in all, the Garmin GPSMAP 64st poses no problems even to users who aren’t necessarily tech-savvy.
Nevertheless, in some conditions a touchscreen might come in handy more than several buttons. For instance, when you want to enter waypoints, it’s much easier to utilize a touchscreen. However, buttons are the most feasible option when engaging in activities such as mountain biking and hunting, where you need to keep your eyes on the track or the game.
The GPSMAP 64st has a built-in worldwide basemap with shaded relief and a 1-year subscription of BirdsEye Satellite Imagery. The really neat thing about this unit is that buyers can make use of the 8GB onboard memory and a microSD card slot, and can thus upload all the maps they’d like. As is the case with other products manufactured by the same brand, this one is fully compatible with Garmin Custom Maps, which gives users the freedom to transform electronic and paper maps into ones that are downloadable for the device you own.
Just as we have seen in many other Garmin models, buyers have two choices when it comes to powering the GPSMAP 64st. For one, they can use two standard AA batteries that will do their job as long as they don’t run out ahead of time. Secondly, they have the option of buying a rechargeable battery pack that can perhaps last for a longer amount of time. In addition, this battery pack doesn’t have to be taken out of the device when it has to be charged, allowing buyers just to connect the GPS unit to an AC adaptor or a USB cord attached to a computer.
In regards to performance, most of the customer reviews we’ve analyzed praise this particular feature and claim that the model is incredibly accurate. The loading time of the model has exceeded the expectations of most of the buyers who chose this alternative.
3. Garmin Approach G6
If you’re trying to find a convenient yet fully capable GPS unit, you might want to give a try to the Garmin Approach G6. It is one of the most affordable units on the current market, and it seems to have been specially designed for the people who aren’t willing to break their entire budget over getting a GPS. The neat thing about this model is that it comes with some of the common features of other Garmin devices, making it the best choice for golf and hunting and sometimes, even for hiking.
The touchscreen on the Garmin Approach G6 is relatively bright, thus allowing users to visualize their course even when the sun is bright. If sunlight is shining directly on the display, users might have to use the highest setting of the backlighting. While this might be useful for a certain amount of time, it might prove to be counterproductive if you’re looking for good battery life. The more light on the screen, the faster you’ll drain the battery.
Ease of use
Both the buttons and the touchscreen sensitivity make it worth considering if you’re looking for ease of operation. The model comes with three buttons. The power button is located on the left side of the unit, while the other two can be found under the screen. The rest of the controls have to be adjusted using the touchscreen. The neat thing about this alternative is that it has enough sensitivity to respond to commands as quickly as possible. The interface is both easy to learn and easy to use, and accessing various functions is a piece of cake.
If you’re worried about too much sensitivity and if you’d like to avoid advancing to new screens without having opted for it, all you need to do is lock the screen. Regrettably, unlocking the device occurs only by pushing a 2-button sequence.
As for the shape of the GPS, it seems to have been specifically designed to fit one’s palm. Sure, it might be a little smaller compared to other products in the line, but it weighs in at just 3.4 pounds. It’s actually remarkable that Garmin was able to design such a lightweight, fully capable, color screen GPS.
There are no surprises in regards to the battery life of the Garmin Approach G6. It can last up to 15 hours of use, depending on the background and timeout used by the buyers. It goes without saying that utilizing the device continuously might drain the battery a bit more. Still, even on full brightness and continuous use, the model still manages to do its job for several hours. In case you are wondering, the Lithium Ion battery is included in the pack.
While this device has been designed with golfers in mind, it still is a good option for hikers and hunters. Even so, the model does come with over 25,000 preloaded courses from around the globe. Therefore, if you’re into hunting or golfing and planning to get an affordable and reliable GPS unit, you might consider analyzing this one.
The Garmin Approach G6 has a series of characteristics that you’ll fail to find in other models. For one, it comes with shot tracking, which allows users to measure shot distances. With the single push of a button, the user can calculate his or her club average. Keeping scores and statistics are another noteworthy feature of this alternative, as the unit can remember all the basics, from score to fairways hit and greens.
In addition, you might be pleasantly surprised to know that the Garmin Approach G6 has auto-advance, course storage, and a plethora of adjustable preferences. For example, buyers can select just what type of measurement unit they prefer. They can also add the number of clubs they are using and select the backlighting level they prefer the most.
All in all, this GPS unit seems like a good deal, particularly if you’re looking for good performance at a reasonable cost. On this account, most of the customer reviews we consulted are positive, with people raving about the functionalities of this model. Some say it’s the best GPS rangefinder that’s available on the market, while others claim that they enjoy the basic information it provides. Since lots of people took the time to award this model with a positive rating, it might be a safe bet for buyers who want to get their hands on a GPS for golf or hunting.
4. Garmin inReach Explorer+
Probably the best thing about the Garmin inReach Explorer+ is that it can get you out of a nasty situation. For example, if you were to find yourself stranded in the middle of the woods, at night, without any resources and without any bullets or arrows left to defend yourself from predators, you could simply use the communicator to get in touch with a search and rescue center. In short, this product can actually save lives in certain situations.
As is the case with many multi-purpose devices, the inReach Explorer+ might fail to impress seasoned hunters because it doesn’t come with the same functionalities as a GPS made specifically for this application. However, it does include a variety of routes, waypoints, and you can set your breadcrumb trail to get back home safely if you’re feeling unsure about your surroundings.
Besides, compared to another model designed by Garmin, the inreach SE+, this one includes weather info, preloaded topographic maps, as well as a barometric altimeter, accelerometer, and a compass. Therefore, the likelihood of you not finding your way when you’re in the wild is very slim.
The display of this navigator and communicator is sizeable enough to be used even by people who do not feel comfortable utilizing smaller sized devices. It is backlit, which is a benefit in itself, since you will be able to see and interpret the information displayed both when the sun is shining brightly in the sky and at night.
One of the areas where this device really shines is communication. With the 100% global Iridium satellite coverage boasted by this product, you are able to benefit from two-way text messaging. However, we’d like to note that based on some reviews that we have gone through, it seems that this model works similarly to an early-2000 cell phone when it comes to texting. Fortunately, predictable text is available and it can help you out a lot.
If you’re really in trouble and you’re looking to get in touch with someone so that you’re rescued, you can use the inReach Explorer+ to send out an SOS message to a 24/7 search and rescue center. That definitely comes in handy under a variety of circumstances, doesn’t it? And even if you do not need this functionality, it still gives you the reassurance you might need.
Tracking and sharing
Thanks to the Explorer+ communicator, you can let your friends and family members know where you are. Your buddies can track your progress on their mobile devices or computers, using the MapShare portal. At preselected time intervals, this device can send them waypoints so that your progress and location are viewable to your followers.
Another aspect you might want to know about is that you can use a free mobile app with this communicator to download maps and NOAA charts, for example. It’s called Earthmate and it is available for download for both iOS and Android devices. Use it to access weather info, but also color aerial imagery.
Ease of use
We took the time and analyzed some of the feedback gathered by this unit in the past to see whether it is user-friendly or not. Based on what we found and considering that it is a handheld navigator and communicator, you will have no trouble getting the most out of its features. It’s light and convenient, and it weighs in at just 0.5 lbs. Also, the screen is slightly smaller than that of similar devices such as the GPSMAP 64st, for example, which measures 2.6 inches. That of the inReach Explorer+ measures just 2.3 inches.
Apparently, this device is capable of charging reasonably fast and it can provide you with more than enough hours of use. If you intend to go on a multi-day hunting trip, however, we would recommend bringing an extra power source along so that you can charge the battery. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Compared to several other communicators available for sale right now, the inReach Explorer+ actually offers the benefits of good performance. It is reliable and it comes with an auto tracking capability. The text messaging available from anywhere is a feature that will help put your friends’ and family members’ minds at ease. You can, of course, also use it for situations when you are not in danger, which obviously makes it have great value for the money. Lightweight, easy to use, and with a great battery life, this unit seems like it’s worth giving a shot.
What we liked:
- Use it to trigger an interactive SOS to the 24/7 rescue center
- It pairs with mobile devices
- It includes navigation – from waypoints to routes
- You get weather information to make sure you stay out of trouble
What we didn’t like:
- It doesn’t have a barometric altimeter or a compass
5. Garmin eTrex 20x
There are several areas where the eTrex 20x really shines. For one, it is a very lightweight and easy to use device, which means that it is one of the top favorite handheld GPS units of hunters and other outdoor aficionados. Besides, it comes with a microSD card slot with the assistance of which you can upload extra maps. It includes a preloaded basemap, too. On top of everything, it’s worth noting that this device comes with a color backlit display, so you’ll see where you’re going both at night and when the sun is shining up in the sky.
The display of a navigator is one of its most important features. It has to be backlit and reliable, and the battery should provide it with enough power for you to be able to discern the information shown on the screen. Fortunately, you won’t encounter any difficulties if you decide to go for this product since it comes with a 65K color display that’s backlit, and as such, sunlight-readable. The 240×320 pixel resolution could also be something to write home about since it’s better than that of similar units, and so it will ensure a better user experience overall.
The screen measures 2.2 inches, so it might be slightly smaller when compared to that of other Garmin devices. Nevertheless, due to its backlit capability, it is highly usable. Besides, it had to be somewhat small in order for the device to be truly handheld. Keep in mind that if you have eyesight issues, this product might not be for you.
Another aspect that seems to make this device stand out from the crowd is that it is equipped with an internal memory of 3.7 gigabytes. As if that weren’t enough – and let’s face it, when you intend to travel abroad, for example, it might not be – you can load extra maps, be they free or not by using the microSD card slot that this product is outfitted with. Anything from TOPO 24K and BlueChart g2 to City Navigator NT and HuntView can be at your fingertips.
Planning your trip
Thanks to the BaseCamp software that you’ll have access to if you decide to go for this product, you will be able to organize pretty much everything about your trip. If you want to use the eTrex 20x when you go with your family on vacation, for instance, not just for your hunting adventures, you can conveniently do so. The software lets you set waypoints, customize routes, tracks, and organize your maps as best as possible.
Furthermore, thanks to this software, you can let your friends know where you are located so that they feel at ease that you are all right and that nothing bad has happened to you.
Get the most out of this device by using geocaching GPX files for downloading details and geocaches right to your navigator. In this way, you can find out information about the terrain, its difficulty, your location, as well as hints that can assist you if you haven’t hunted in that area before.
Maintain your position
One of the biggest problems of most navigators is that they are virtually incapable of keeping your fix once they’ve located you on the map. Obviously, this can be a pretty big nuisance and can make the entire operation difficult. Based on the information that we have found about this particular product, it certainly seems that this won’t be an issue you’ll be confronted with when using it.
How come? The answer to this question stands in its high-sensitivity WAAS-enabled GPS receiver complete with HotFix satellite prediction. Thanks to these two, the eTrex 20x is capable of locating your position in a precise and timely fashion, and even more, it’s able to maintain your location whether you’re inside a deep canyon or heavy cover.
If you need a navigator that should serve you for several days, you might have to bring along an additional power source with you. The average estimated battery life of this device is around 25 hours, so we would advise using it only when you need it if you aren’t going on a day hunting trip. However, if you take a power bank with you, there shouldn’t be anything stopping you from using it for two or more days.
Ease of use
Although this product is considered a low-cost GPS, it actually offers a good user experience. You might have to read the manual and look at several online videos about it before you go on your hunting trip, just to be on the safe side of things.
What we liked:
- 2.2-inch backlit screen lets you see where you’re going during the day and at night
- 3.7-GB internal memory
- microSD slot card lets you expand the memory and add new maps
- The unit comes with a preloaded basemap with shaded relief
What we didn’t like:
- The interface has a steep learning curve
6. Garmin Montana 680
The Montana 680 is the slightly more affordable and less feature-packed brother of the Garmin Montana 680T, which means that it shines in some areas, but it might leave some hunters feeling disappointed in other respects. This product comes with a built-in 4GB memory and no preloaded maps, which is an issue right off the bat. By comparison, the 680T comes with topographic maps preloaded, as well as an 8GB internal memory.
When it comes to ease of use, convenience, and performance, the 680 is definitely a winner as it is a powerful handheld navigator that boasts a fast receiver with excellent reception. The user-friendly interface is also something to write home about, and the fact that you can use it with two types of batteries is another pro. Let’s look at every feature and benefit step by step.
One of the drawbacks of many navigators, and even some Garmin ones, too, is that they take too much time to load the information and display it on the screen for you to get your bearings through the field. Fortunately, this is not something you will have to deal with if you decide to go for this device. It comes with an electronic compass that doesn’t stick or lag, and it basically takes little to no time to load the info and redraw the map.
Size and weight
Here’s where you find out that there’s a caveat to choosing the 680, despite its great performance and user-friendly interface. While it can still be considered a handheld navigator, this one is just too large to fit inside most pockets available on traditional hunting jackets. Due to its 10.3 oz weight, you might have to carry it in your backpack and only take it out when you need it the most.
We would recommend using this particular navigator for day hunting trips instead of long excursions.
An area where the Montana 680 really shines is its versatility. It comes with an 8-megapixel camera, so instead of typing the description of your waypoint, you can simply take a shot and that’s it. This feature undoubtedly comes in handy for large groups who enjoy sharing navigational information and waypoints.
Although it is not primarily designed to be used with gloves, we found that many of those that have given it a try praise its display in this sense. You might have a bit of trouble typing if your gloves are particularly thick, but if they’re not, they’ll work even if they don’t come with a capacitive fingertip.
As we have noted in some of the other sections, the best thing about this product is that it is, in itself a powerful receiver. That’s why the info takes little to no time to load up on the screen, so timewise, it is particularly effective and convenient. Thanks to its GLONASS support, Hotfix satellite prediction, and WAAS-enabled GPS receiver, this device can pinpoint your location and actually maintain your position. That definitely makes the difference between the Montana 680 and similar devices.
Ease of use
The interface takes the cake when it comes to usability as it is one of the most user-friendly devices in this category. Sure, it’s more or less similar to that of other Garmin devices within this price range, but this one actually works faster. Furthermore, entering waypoints is extremely easy, as is switching the display’s orientation.
The sizable display comes in handy when you have to type in the description of the waypoint, for example, although the overall dimension of this handheld navigator can be considered a disadvantage. For a beginner, this device can definitely provide to be a useful tool. If you haven’t used hunting GPS units before, you should consider trying this one out as you won’t find the learning curve to be too steep.
Battery and runtime
This navigator takes the cake when it comes to reliability because it can be used with two types of batteries – a NiMH or Lithium one, but also 3 AA batteries. What that means is that you can use the Lithium battery until it runs out and then switch to AA batteries. Keeping a spare set in your backpack won’t add to the overall weight of the gear, after all, and you’ll be able to keep using the GPS.
As for the battery life, the info we have come across suggests that this GPS can work for as many as 16 hours on the Lithium-Ion battery and 22 hours on the AA ones.
What we liked:
- 4,000 waypoints, 200 saved tracks, 10,000 points (track log)
- One year of Birdseye Satellite Imagery subscription
- It comes with a 3-axis compass complete with a barometric altimeter
- Great battery life
What we didn’t like:
- It is not compatible with SD cards larger than 32GB
7. Garmin eTrex10
If you’re in the market for a somewhat basic navigator that can help you get your bearings while you’re out and about, the eTrex10 by Garmin might seem a reasonable choice. It’s versatile, waterproof and rugged, it does what it’s supposed to do, and above all, it is highly affordable since it’s typically sold for less than one hundred and fifty. It uses both GLONASS and GPS satellites, so that means your location is discovered and maintained in a faster and more accurate manner. Let’s look at some features and benefits of this navigator.
When it comes to whether this unit will stand the test of time or not, we’ll set your mind at ease by telling you that it probably will outlive many of your targets. It’s rugged and durable, and it has been found to be waterproof to IPX7 standards, which means that it will put up with the abuse of the elements and still give you the info that you need the most.
Particularly because it doesn’t come with a host of features as some of the other hunting GPS units we’ve come across, the receiver of this one is responsive, loads up the info fast, and above all, it gets the job done. On top of everything, this device will tell you the sunrise and sunset times, it comes with a calendar, and it even has enough storage for fifty routes and about one thousand waypoints. We would advise backing up your data once you come back home, because you don’t have the convenience of upgrading the memory of this device since it comes with no SD card slot, so losing all that info would be a shame.
Batteries and runtime
The best thing about this product is that it can be used with disposable batteries. While some hunters might frown upon this apparent pro, the truth is that keeping a spare set in your backpack won’t weigh you down that much, and a single set can last you for as many as five days or more – depending on how much you use the device, of course.
You can use the eTrex10 with just two AA batteries, and whether they are rechargeable or not, keeping four in your storage equipment isn’t that much of a hassle – at least, we don’t think so.
Size and weight
The 2.2-inch display of this product might not necessarily be something to write home about, especially since it is monochrome. However, this feature makes the GPS reasonably small. You can conveniently and comfortably hold it in your hand, and the fact that it weighs in at just 5 ounces is another pro you ought to consider. It fits most pockets available in hunting jackets, so that’s another thing to bear in mind.
Comparison with other devices
If you were to compare the eTrex10 with similar navigators, and even with its ‘bigger brother’, the eTrex 20, you’d find that it is somewhat basic. It has a low-resolution monochrome screen that’s on the smaller side of things. However, the screen is a great feature if what you’re looking to do is expand the device’s battery life so that you can use it for several days of hunting or hiking.
Another aspect that might fail to impress you about this product is that it doesn’t accept any SD or other data cards, so you have to make do with what’s available on it. If you’d much rather use a color and higher performance alternative, perhaps you should consider one like the Montana or the Dakota developed by the same brand.
Ease of use
Similarly to other gadgets designed by this company, the eTrex10 is convenient and easy to use. The interface is also rather user-friendly, so that’s another aspect you ought to consider, especially if you have never used hunting GPS models before. If you do encounter any issue whatsoever, you’ll be glad to know that there’s a host of support from the Garmin website or third-party websites and blogs, since this isn’t a shady brand we’re tackling here.
The tracking is also automatic and it uses little to no memory. Besides, marking waypoints is fast and easy, and it takes very little time. Many of those that have tried out this affordable alternative say that they are overall pleased with their choice, especially since the interface is easy to learn without the use of a manual.
What we liked:
- You can store waypoints along a track
- It’s waterproof to IPX7 standards
- It comes with a 2.2-inch monochrome display
- It works with AA batteries
What we didn’t like:
- It doesn’t come with an electronic compass or a barometric altimeter and you can’t add new maps
Why you should use a handheld GPS
What’s the point of using a handheld GPS? Why is it so acclaimed and popular among hunters? We’ve discovered at least four activities that can be performed better and safer as long as you’re using a handheld GPS. Let’s look at each of them.
Tramping and hunting
If you want to get a GPS for hunting, you’ll have the pleasant surprise of realizing that several models have been specially designed for this task. Tramping and hunting units are lightweight and small enough and features a good enough battery life. Non-mapping models are more affordable compared to the ones that have street maps. In addition, some units come with GPS collars that can be utilized with dogs. These are extremely helpful when it comes to localizing your companion and furry hunting assistant.
Although there is a high chance of not finding the absolute perfect model, buyers nowadays can select the characteristics that best suit their needs and requirements. It’s extremely important to assess your expectations before buying a certain unit, as this way you won’t make the mistake of choosing the wrong one. Geocaching might be another task you might be tempted to use your device for. However, virtually any type of outdoor GPS unit is capable of geocaching, so it might be worth noting that this detail should not be a deal-breaker.
Other buyers seem to prefer getting a GPS for street driving and 4WD. Unlike the handheld variants, the models that can be used in a car are somewhat heftier and have larger dimensions. The main drawback of choosing one of these is that you’ll be able to use it strictly in your vehicle or at least somewhere with a roof over your head. The vast majority of these units are not waterproof and are therefore suitable only for urban navigation.
Another task that can be performed with the help of a GPS system is biking. The traditional handheld model won’t be much help in this case, as the GPS has to be installed by using the handle-bar mount. As long as it has the right size, virtually any type of outdoor unit might be the right one for biking. The main thing to keep in mind when shopping for a GPS for biking is that the device has to be able to withstand a high amount of vibration.
What to look for when choosing the best hunting GPS
After you have decided on what you intend to use your handheld unit, you may proceed to select the features you’re most likely to be using. On this account, you may want to check for sensitivity, mapping capabilities, storage for additional maps, voice prompts, bluetooth hands-free, an external antenna connector and an external power connection, an internal compass and altitude sensor, and virtually any info you might come across regarding battery life.
Details such as the price, the number of customer reviews, and the product rating are three other things you might need to take into account. Sometimes, the negative opinion of a buyer can let you know just what to expect in terms of the capabilities of the GPS model and the customer support offered by the manufacturing brand.
With the vast array of models that now exist on the market, any buyer can end up feeling just a little baffled as to which one is the best handheld gps for hunting. Since we enjoy giving out a helping hand to customers who might be struggling with separating the wheat from the chaff, we’ve put together a short buying guide with the most important features and benefits that you need to analyze before deciding on a model.
Selecting the right product is sometimes a matter of trial and error. Your GPS has to be small, lightweight, easy to hold, and easy to use. Check out the crucial considerations when purchasing the best alternatives.
1. Satellite reception
Most of the models we have come across use the 24 satellites owned by the United States Department of Defense. This means that a handheld model is capable of using the formerly mentioned satellites to provide details regarding the area you’re transiting. Some of the units on the market today have a better satellite reception than others, and a number of these manage to 3D lock the position of the user in a timely fashion.
Believe it or not, the larger the antenna of the unit, the faster it will be able to lock your position. The accuracy of the displayed image and the user’s position depends on the number of satellites that are present in the same area.
2. Ease of use
On some accounts, the looks and functions of a handheld GPS are somewhat limited compared to the one you’re likely to use in your car. However, although the product design might be less impressive, these models take the cake when it comes to usability.
When assessing the ease of use of the model you want to buy, you should look at a series of details such as the screen type and the button configuration. The vast majority of handheld models still feature buttons, although some modern alternatives come with a touchscreen.
It’s easier to use a touchscreen if you want to enter text as quickly as possible. Nevertheless, buying such a model is complicated, because most of the ones we’ve stumbled upon are rather imprecise and hard to see and use. Although advancements have been made in the last few years, the quality of the displayed image can’t even compare to the one of a smartphone. Consequently, you might be better off with a unit that simply has good-quality buttons.
It’s true that some Garmin variants are pretty worthy of considering if you’re really keen on the idea of a touchscreen. Yet extensively researching the topic doesn’t hurt all that much, so we recommend you get informed before making this decision. Many models feature large keyboards instead of the classic circular-style button menu. This feature makes it easier for the buyer to type, and he or she can still enjoy the quality of a traditional display.
Some users find it easier to use a handheld unit that comes with a larger screen and thus displays a larger picture. By contrast, others prefer a small model that does what it is supposed to do and does it well, even though it comes with a rather small display.
Even though there’re a plethora of online sources you can use to determine the speed of the model you want to buy, we recommend going to a store near you and testing some models. For example, if you’re interested in purchasing a new handheld GPS but find it hard to make up your mind between two models, ask the opinion of a seller or consultant.
At a store, you can take two units and place them one next to the other. Then, simply search for your location and figure out which one’s the fastest. Use the buttons to type the location and estimate the speed of the processor by understanding just how long it takes for the device to interpret your message.
Speed might also refer to how much time it takes for a model to startup.
4. Display quality
Since you’ll probably be looking for a waterproof alternative, there’s a high chance you will stumble upon a broad variety of models of which the display is made of plastic. Plastic is a good choice even with units that feature a touchscreen, because it’s built to last and can withstand the elements.
However, there are some differences between displays regarding the quality. For one, you should ask yourself whether the screen of the unit you want to buy is backlit. This particular feature means the world when it comes to looking at your handheld GPS in direct sunlight. You’ll have to take into account that most of the models have screens that are much harder to read compared to the ones in smartphones nowadays.
Start by picking the size you are most comfortable with. Continue by reading some buyer reviews to find out precious info regarding the quality of the display. Some users go to the trouble of taking shots of their GPS while in the field and these may help you to assess whether or not you’re likely to see and understand the image or not.
5. Mapping software
Every handheld GPS comes with its own mapping software. Most manufacturers will claim that theirs is better, but that may not be true. The simplest way of figuring out the advantages of a mapping software over another one is by checking the specs and capabilities. Will you be able to share the waypoints or route via Google Earth? Will you have the freedom to utilize social networks and thus let your friends and acquaintances where you’re going?
Aside from social media integration, it might be a good idea to check whether the platform is intuitive and works with several devices. From what we have seen, there’s a limited number of GPS software that works with the Mac OS X. If this is a requirement, you might need to start browsing for a Garmin unit, as BaseCamp, its branded platform, is Mac compatible.
In addition, it might be worth considering that checking whether the GPS you intend to purchase is compatible with open-source mapping software is the right way to go about things. There’s a myriad of free platforms you can use to update your maps with new and improved data.
6. Number of maps
Some models are just more convenient than others, in that they come with a higher number of maps. Others, on the other hand, can be used solely in the United States and Canada. Just remember, updating the maps is very important, regardless of whether you want to buy the maps from the manufacturer or not. If you don’t use a trail in the woods for several years and forget to update your device, you might be in for a nasty surprise.
While paying $30 per year for a map subscription may be the right thing for some buyers, it might look totally unacceptable for others. Fortunately, these days there are many websites that offer maps and satellite imagery for free. Some of these online sources can be used for downloading high-quality imagery and free spatial data, and two of the most acclaimed ones are the U.S. National Agricultural Imagery Program and the United States Geological Survey’s Seamless Data Warehouse.
The only downfall of using free maps is that you’ll need to learn your way around them. On this account, they might be less comfortable to use compared to the ones provided by the manufacturer. It boils down to whether you’re prepared to pay for the maps or not.
Some of the standard accessories of a handheld GPS are rechargeable batteries, carrying cases, USB cables, and mounts. A mounting system does wonders when it comes to using the unit for anything other aside from hunting. Therefore, you might be able to use it in your vehicle.
A USB cable might not be the norm for some users, as most smart electronic devices come with a USB cable nowadays. Thus, you’re likely to have one around the house.
Rechargeable batteries are amazing if your budget allows it and if they’re offered in the same package. Needless to say, the end-price of the model has a say in terms of the number of accessories you’ll be receiving along with the device.
8. Price, recommendations, and warranty
The vast majority of the units that are cheaper than two hundred dollars aren’t really even worth considering. If your budget doesn’t allow you to spend more than two hundred dollars, we strongly recommend you to save some more and purchase an extremely capable one that gets the job done and brings you an excellent user experience. Some high-end alternatives can be as expensive as four hundred dollars or more. Be prepared to invest in a good unit if you plan to get the best GPS for hunting.
Before making up your mind, try to read as many reviews as possible. Go through the best and the worst ratings and make an effort to understand the buyer’s perspective. Ask your friends and acquaintances what models they have been using and which ones are the best regarding the capabilities, convenience, durability, and battery life.
Three of the most popular GPS manufacturers in the United States are Garmin, Magellan, and Lowrance. This doesn’t mean you absolutely have to buy a unit developed by one of these brands. However, since it’s better to be safe than sorry, we advise you to at least check whether or not the brand you want to buy from has a subsidiary in the United States. This way, you won’t have any trouble regarding warranty and contacting customer support.
Many models are backed by a 1-year warranty, which should give you enough time to realize whether you’re content with the way the unit performs. Be sure to report any issue you may have encountered during this time to the customer service offered by the brand.
Best Hunting GPS Reviews Summary
To sum up, if you want to get the right GPS for your needs, you should consider satellite reception, ease of use, speed, display quality, mapping software, number of maps, accessories, and even the price and reviews the unit has gathered over time. Be sure to estimate your requirements before deciding on a certain product and read as much info on the topic as you possibly can. Time spent on research is never time wasted. In fact, it’s virtually the only way of buying the right unit.