Best Handheld GPS For Hunting 2018 | ReviewNight

If you enjoy hunting, you realize that it's easy to lose track of where you are. It makes sense to carry the right equipment and you can avoid problems by carrying a device that will help you to know where you are at all times. We've reviewed five of the best handheld GPS for hunting units for your convenience. If you don't know much about them, we've covered that will the mini-guide we've included with our reviews.

Why You Need a Handheld GPS for Hunting?

When you're out in the woods or any other remote location, there is a chance that you will become lost. A handheld GPS unit can help you to get back on track by showing you where you are at. It can help you to safely find your way back to camp. It can also help you know where property lines are so you don't accidentally trespass on private property while hunting. Handheld units are easy to carry. You'll appreciate the compact size when you're carrying other hunting gear and necessities. You can keep the GPS unit in your pocket for easy access.

How a GPS Works: Hunting Guide

GPS is an abbreviation for Global Positioning System. It works through a network of two dozen satellites that are orbiting the earth. At least four of these satellites are within working distance of GPS units on a regular basis so there is no interruption in the stream of data that they provide. The satellites transmit information about locations and positioning for all areas throughout the earth and transmit the data back to each individual GPS receiver that is being used on the planet. The information is highly accurate and it helps you to pinpoint your exact location.

Comparison Table of Best Handheld GPS For Hunting

Picture

Name

Editors Rating

Price

Garmin_Oregon_450t_Handheld_GPS

Garmin Oregon 450t Handheld GPS Navigator

Garmin_eTrex_10_Worldwide_Handheld_GPS

Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator

Garmin_GPSMAP_64st

Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO U.S. 100K with High-Sensitivity GPS 

Best_Handheld_GPS_for_hunting

DeLorme AG-008727-201 InReach Explorer Two Way Satellite Communicator

Garmin_Foretrex_401_Waterproof_Hiking_GPS

Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS

Handheld GPS for Hunting Reviews

Garmin_Oregon_450t_Handheld_GPS

Enjoy the convenience of tapping the touchscreen to use 3 D map views along with topographic maps that are pre-loaded on the system. A built in compass combines with other features to let you know your precise location.

Features

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    3 D Technology: Easily detect your location or find other places you're searching for with 3 D maps and a 3 axis compass view. Pre-loaded topographic maps of the area you're in allow you to pinpoint landmarks, property lines, routes and waypoints with ease.
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    Touch and Go Screen: Touch screen technology makes it easy to operate the unit with just one hand. You won't need to set your equipment down to find out where you're at or the best route to your destination with the Oregon 450t. The 3 inch diagonal display is compact for carrying ease, but readability is enhanced to display a clear image in sunlight or in shade with crystal clear display and enhanced colors and sharp images.
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    User Select Dashboard: Navigating with this unit is designed to be user friendly with a simple interface that aids in quickly accessing the information that you need. Effortless operation is possible with the easy to customize dashboards for making your display appearance simple to navigate and read. High resolution images add to the visibility of the information you're viewing. 
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    Variety of View Options: Choose from 3 axis compass view; geocaching view; map and compass view or upcoming elevation view.
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    Rugged design and construction: The Oregon 450t is built with a high sensitivity barometric altimeter,electronic compass with high sensitivity for receiving a satellite signal, but it's constructed to hold up under adverse conditions. The unit is resistant to damage from dirt, dust, moisture, water and bumps. 
Garmin_eTrex_10_Worldwide_Handheld_GPS

The Garmin eTrex 10 is a necessity for the budget conscious hunter. Moderately priced, but there is no sacrifice on quality of performance, materials or in construction. High sensitivity GPS receiver that delivers the information that you need, when you want it.

Features

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    ​2.2 inch Monochrome Display: Compact size makes this unit easy to carry in a pocket or backpack. The monochcrome display features a screen that is easy to read, even in bright sunlight.
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    Dual Satellite reception: This unit is fully equipped to track both GLONASS and GPS satellites at the same time. GPS satellites were launched by the U.S. Department of Defense and GLONASS, by the Russian Federation. The receiver lock onto a position nearly twenty percent quicker than units that rely solely upon GPS.
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    World Wide Base Map: The world wide base map allows you to see where you have been, where you are, and where you're going next. You can easily connect with online communities for analyzing and sharing data thanks to the included Garmin Connect compatibility.
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    Paperless Geocaching: This unit supports GPX files used in downloading geocaches along with important information about location, difficultly of the terrain and descriptions that help you to easily understand the information that is being transmitted.
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    Rugged Build: The eTrex 10 is designed to withstand harsh environmental conditions. It is powered by two AA size batteries with an approximate battery life of 25 hours under continual use. The WAAS enabled receiver also offers HotFix satellite prediction for maintaining the ability to get a quick and accurate fix on location and position even in deep canyons or under heavy cover.
Garmin_GPSMAP_64st

Dual satellite sensitivity for exceptional reception and speed in retrieving information. Keep your bearings in any terrain with Garmin's GPSMAP 64st.

Features

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    Full-featured: Enjoy the enhanced information retrieval speed of the combination of GLONASS, GPS and wireless connectivity. Get information faster than singular GPS units. Wireless allows you to sharee your geocaches, routes, tracks and waypoints with other devices that are compatible. Let your friends see how much fun you're having without waiting until you get to your computer. Information can be shared with the simple press of the send command. People with other Garmin handhelds will get the information quickly.
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    Compact size: Built small enough to carry in your pocket or backpack, but large enough to read with ease. The 2.6 inch color screen is highly readable in sunlight or darker areas.
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    Bluetooth Smart: This unit is Bluetooth enabled for wireless syncing with compatible devices such as Bluetooth Smart Ready Phones. Also compatible with ANT+. 
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    Preloaded maps: Topographical maps of the United States along with a one year subscription to BirdsEye Satellite Imagery are included. More than 100,000 topographical maps are available for precise and accurate positioning. World Wide base map is also included. Have vital positioning information available at your fingertips with details on elevation, terrain contours, local and state parks, forests, trails, rivers, lakes and other points of interest.
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    3 Axis Compass: This unit is loaded with a built in three axis tilt with an electronic compass that shows your position whether on the move or standing still. Changes in altitude and barometric pressure are available through the barometric altimeter which also lets you know when weather conditions may be subject to change.
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    Link to Fitness Apps: Compatible with VIRB, foot pod and tempe for monitoring heart rate and number of steps taken for fitness data inclusion.
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    8 GB memory: This unit comes with 8 GB of on-board memory along with a microSD card slot for downloading 24K topographical maps. There is plenty of memory and room for expansion. 
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    Battery Powered: This unit is powered with 2 size AA batteries. The expected battery life is 16 hours.
Best_Handheld_GPS_for_hunting

The handheld GPS for hunting that lets you plan, reach your destination, and share as you go. DeLorme InReach Explorer is a two way satellite communicator that navigates and keeps you in touch with your parties.

Features

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    Track and transmit features: The InReach Explorer comes with the Earthmate mobile app that lets you download U.S. NOAA charts and free topographical maps. The app syncs with smartphones or tablet devices for two-way communication that allows you to see where you're going, and share your experiences along the way. Message confirmation lets you know that your communications are received.
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    Mapshare feature: Keep in touch with family and friends to give them peace of mind. They'll know where you are with the MapShare feature that can be embedded on websites, social media and This app allows you to share the route that you've planned with others while giving updates on your actual tracks and waypoints. This is an additional safety feature that lets would be rescuers pinpoint your location in the event of an emergency.
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    Send and Receive Mode: You can send text messages of up to 160 characters to email addresses or cell numbers throughout the world. Iridium gives you one hundred percent global coverage for reaching any phone, email or social media site throughout the world. This unit also gives updates on your GPS coordinates. Detailed statistics of your trip can easily be shared.
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    SOS Trigger: The SOS feature is an interactive app that allows you to trigger an SOS alert. It includes delivery confirmation so you'll know that helpers get your message. You can communicate back and forth if you're searching for a lost party or if you're the one in need of help. Get and stay connected with 24/7 search and rescue monitoring center.
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    GPS Navigation: Pre-plan your route in advance by drawing the route, waypoints and see your tracks as you make your journey from the starting point. The on-screen map view lets you easily navigate and view the details of your journey including bearing and distance to the destination.
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    Other Features: A barometric altimeter and accelerometer keep you informed of the barometric pressure outside and warns you of any impending changes in weather. Stay true to your course and avoid getting turned around with the built-in digital compass.
Garmin_Foretrex_401_Waterproof_Hiking_GPS

Convenient slim wrist mounting make the Foretrex 401 easy to transport by freeing up both of your hands for other activities. See the information that you need to know at a glance. The ideal GPS for skiers, campers, hikers and hunters.

Features

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    Waterproof: Perfect for rugged environments and weather conditions. This GPS receiver is waterproof and resists interference from rain, snow and humidity for use in all climates and weather conditions.
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    Lightweight: The Foretrex 401 is wrist mounted and made of light materials so it won't slow you down when you're on the move. Don't let the light weight fool you. This device is a high sensitivity GPS receiver that lets you know where you've been, where you are and where you're going.
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    HotFix Feature: HotFix enhances the performance of this GPS by giving you good reception wherever you are. Deep canyons or heavy tree cover is not a problem for the Foretrex 401.
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    Dual Position Readout: The display size is 1.42 x .91 inches with an easy read LCD display and a resolution of 100 x 64 pixels. As a user, you can view your current location in multiple formats. This wrist mounted GPS alerts you to sunrises and sunset times, gives you information on hunting and fishing all in one compact device.
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    TracBack Feature: TracBack retraces the path that you've taken so you'll know where you started and how far you've come. It eliminates any guesswork about where you are in your journey. Wireless function allows you to connect to a computer via USB or to send information wirelessly to any other compatible device.
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    Other Features: The barometric altimeter lets you know when there are changes in the barometric pressure that could signal impending weather events. The built-in electronic compass keeps you informed about the direction that you're travelling and keeps you on your pre-planned travel route.
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    The Foretrex operates on battery power with 2 AAA standard batteries required. It runs for up to 17 hours on two batteries when in GPS mode.

Things to Consider - Best Handheld GPS

If this is your first time purchasing a handheld GPS, here are some important things you should consider to find the unit that will work the best in meeting your navigation and tracking needs.

Display: Screen Size and Readability

The GPS unit needs to have a screen that is easy for you to read. Some units, such as the wrist mounted version have very small screens. If you have vision problems, you may need to go with a device that has a larger screen size. It should have a feature that makes it easy to read whether you're in bright sunlight or total darkness. Be prepared for all lighting conditions with a display that offers illumination and an anti-glare feature. Not all brands offer the same quality in screen readability and this is why we carefully selected those that do for inclusion in our reviews.

In-Built Basemap & Satellites

My preference is the global basemap. A basemap contains less information than the topographical maps, but its often just what you need when you're wanting to get a general idea instead of poring over the details. It's built right into the receiver and it's a feature that any good GPS should come equipped with. You can load more detailed maps into the receiver that give you specific information about the area you're travelling through as you're planning your journey. These usually come from a personal computer. Make sure that the GPS you choose comes with this feature. For hunting, some base maps come with heat indicators that show you where other hunters have had the most success. There are different kinds of base maps and if you want to get technical about the data that yours shows, it may be worth your while to do a little research into the topic on your own.

GPS Receiver Types: WAAS and GLONASS

There are two types of GPS receivers, but there is also a third which is a kind of hybrid between the two. WAAS gives you the standard reception for global positioning, but the downside is that sometimes it has trouble picking up the signal in densely wooded areas or in deep canyon floors. The WAAS GPS depends on the satellites launched by the U.S. Department of Defense, and although the signals are powerful, they don't always penetrate all areas well. GLONASS receivers give you an extra amount of reception capability as it receives the signal from the Russian Federation's satellites and it's usually more powerful, and is capable of receiving data at roughly twenty percent faster than WAAS. Both are good options, but this is a matter of personal preference.

Battery Type, Dimensions and Weight

Some handheld GPS units require AA and others AAA sized batteries. It's best to check the rating on expected battery life of the unit in hours to get the longest possible power. The small size of these batteries makes it easy to take extras along for replacement as needed.

Dimensions and weight are also considerations to make because you'll want to carry your handheld GPS or have it in a place that is easy to access when you need it. Most fit easily into a pocket, backpack or some units are even designed to be worn on your wrist. When you're hiking or backpacking in rough terrain, weight can make a difference. Choose the dimensions and weight that make the unit convenient to carry with you. Again, the dimensions will have some bearing on the screen size and it's important to have a screen that is large enough for you to easily read. These are all important considerations to make before you settle on your final choice.

Route planner, Barometer and Compass

The best handheld GPS for hunters will include a route planner, altimeter, barometer and compass built in. The route planner is necessary for pre-planning your route and letting others know where you plan to be. This will set the stage for the directions you'll get on your journey. The altimeter lets you know important details about elevation. The compass keeps you going in the right direction and gets you back on track if you veer off course because of obstacles. The barometer warns you about changes in barometric pressure and alerts you to possible changes in the weather.

Handheld GPS vs. Smartphone GPS

While some people prefer to do everything on their smartphones, a handheld GPS will deliver far more than an app on your smartphone. They are generally more dependable for receiving a signal when you're in out of the way places and they do not depend on towers that provide cellular service. Wouldn't you rather have a device that is dedicated to providing you with GPS information when hunting? My recommendation is to use Smartphone GPS when you're on the road travelling, but not when you're out in the field or wilderness hunting. I vote for the dedicated service that gives me the details I need with reliability.

GPS vs Map and Compass

There was a time when a map and compass were the only tools that were available for hunters. Thanks to advances in technology, there is no longer a need to carry a paper map that often becomes hard to read, or damaged by the elements. A good compass is a plus, but it takes a lot of manual work and focus to keep on track with a map and compass. Many hunters have become lost in the wilderness because they misread a map or their compass failed them. The old method doesn't give you much information, but the handheld GPS tracks your steps and tells you precisely where you are with no guesswork. It's hard to get lost when you have a good GPS.

Conclusion

Hunters are exposed to conditions that could easily place them in danger. Unknown or unfamiliar terrain can be difficult to navigate. Handheld GPS devices ensure that a hunter knows where he is at all times. It offers information about property lines and some allow for two way communications in case of an emergency. The Best handheld GPS for hunters is the one that is easy to read, easy to operate and gives you all the useful information that you'll need on your trip. What's best for one person may not be for another. This is why we've chosen the five top handheld GPS units to review for your consideration.

Michael Ethan
 

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