Hunting GPS units – Buying guide, Reviews, and Comparison
If you want to find the best hunting gear, but you don’t have time to go through the buying tips and reviews prepared by our research team, this short paragraph should tell you everything you need to know about the best hunting GPS unit. After analyzing a lot of feedback coming from both amateur and professional hunters and target shooters, we have concluded that the Garmin Foretrex 401 is the best because of its slim, wrist-mounted design that makes it suitable for your active, outdoorsy lifestyle. Because it is a wrist-worn model, this device ensures you have your hands free to handle the challenges of the hunting trail. This high-sensitivity waterproof model also packs an electronic compass and barometric altimeter in just a single device that will surely be a favorite companion for skiers, hikers, hunters, campers and all who love the outdoors. If the Garmin Foretrex 401 is not available, you should consider the Garmin GPSMAP 64 as it is a reliable alternative both in terms of performance and quality.
Our Top Choice
Equipped with a high-sensitivity receiver, this model is easily the best GPS for hunting and hiking. The receiver comes with HotFix technology to ensure great reception and performance even in deep canyons or heavy tree cover. This device keeps track of routes and waypoints, so you know exactly where you are in your outdoor journey and how far you have come. It also records your heart rate when integrated with a separately-bought heart rate monitor, for more versatility.
Calibration of the compass and the barometric altimeter is quick but not that easy, as one user has experienced, but the add-ons work well.
Making it possible for users to keep aware of their waypoints and routes and the path they have taken, this GPS device ensures you won’t get lost during your outdoor adventures. This model even allows you to know your heart rate when used with a separately-bought heart rate monitor. It is also a trip computer, electronic compass, and barometric altimeter.
Facilitating an exploration of the terrain, this model is equipped with a built-in worldwide basemap with shaded relief to allow hassle-free navigation. Geotagged pictures from the internet can be downloaded and used for photo navigation. This handheld device offers high performance in a sleek and rugged frame. The 2.6-inch color screen is easy to read even in the sunlight, and also supports BirdsEye Satellite Imagery (with subscription) as well as Garmin Custom Maps.
The learning curve for this device is quite steep, according to one user, as it involves trial and error but once mastered, the device becomes easy to use.
Equipped with a quad helix antenna that ensures dependable reception, this model has an integrated worldwide basemap with shaded relief for problem-free navigation anywhere. Doubtlessly among the best hunting GPS units on the market, this model lets you explore the terrain whether you’re in the deep woods or close to tall buildings and trees.
A full-featured handheld GPS device, this model comes with a 2.6-inch sunlight-readable color screen that ensures easy use. It features a high-sensitivity GPS and GLONASS receiver that works with the quad helix antenna to enable reception of satellite signals even under dense cover. To augment the 8GB internal memory, this device comes with a micro-SD card slot so vital data is stored accordingly. It comes with preloaded caches that are useful for paperless caching straight from Geocaching.com.
One user finds the accompanying manual as being incomplete and not that helpful for mastering the use of this device.
Enabling you to keep your fix, this GPS device offers massive versatility with its 3-axis compass and barometric altimeter for guidance during the most demanding outdoor adventures. Providing Wireless connectivity via Bluetooth technology or ANT+, the device makes safe travel possible to and from anywhere with its high-sensitivity GPS and GLONASS receiver.
Our top choices
Garmin Foretrex 401
Perfect for biking, hiking or hitting the slopes to dominate with a few runs, the Garmin Foretrex 401 010-00777-00 keeps you aware of where you are every time you feel like having an outdoor adventure.
This extra-handy model offers secure mounting on your wrist and makes it possible for you to see your exact location while keeping your hands on the handlebars of the bike or the trekking poles. It gives your current position and lays digital breadcrumbs to let you know your covered tracks for easy return after the journey.
This breadcrumb feature also enables route analysis afterward. The black-and-white LCD screen allows usage for a maximum of 17 hours on just two triple-A batteries that you can get separately. Mountain climbing can be safer and more adventure-filled thanks to the barometric altimeter that shows your height above sea level for easy tracking of elevation gains along the route.
For even more versatility, the device also comes with a built-in electronic compass that ensures you won’t lose your bearings anywhere even when you are stationary at that time. Data sharing with other device users makes it possible to compare and exchange waypoints and routes.
Able to store up to 500 waypoints, this model also keeps 20 routes in memory as well as up to 10,000 points on ten saved tracks, so you have all the information you need.
One of the nicest things about this model is the comfortable support that lets you wear this GPS unit on your wrist while keeping both hands free; at the same time, you are capable of watching your route on the GPS.
Another excellent feature is the ability to leave digital breadcrumbs that will help you retrace your route back with great ease.
The model works with AAA batteries, and it can work continuously for 17 hours, which will come in handy when you spend most of your day outside, hunting or hiking.
The barometric altimeter is a nice touch, and the GPS will be able to tell you the height of the terrain you are navigating, along with the other info delivered on the screen.
The software used may not be the most user-friendly, as some buyers report that they prefer downloading the info to Google Maps for further analysis.Buy from Amazon.com for ($136.99)
Garmin GPSMAP 64
Designed as a full-featured, handheld GPS device, the Garmin GPSMAP 64 010-01199-00 also has a GLONASS receiver and offers wireless connectivity. The 2.6-inch color screen comes with easy readability even in the sunlight. The quad helix antenna ensures superb sensitivity for the onboard GPS and GLONASS receiver.
Preloaded with 100K TOPO US maps, this model also comes with a one-year BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription to help you navigate anywhere. If you love conquering mountains, you will surely appreciate the onboard 3-axis compass with a barometric altimeter.
The altimeter tells you how far you are above sea level while letting you know about the subtle changes in air pressure as you go up, which enables you to plan your trek accordingly and stay safe in your ascent.
This device comes with wireless connectivity via Bluetooth technology or ANT+ for greater flexibility. It allows you to explore the terrain thanks to the built-in worldwide basemap with shaded relief for easy navigation anywhere.
Use the photo navigation feature for downloading tagged pictures from the Internet and navigating to them with ease.
This device pinpoints your current location swiftly and accurately and is able to do so even in dense cover and deep canyons. This unit helps you find your way during critical times and without fail.
This handheld GPS unit comes equipped with a 2.6-inch screen with bright colors that will help you find your way around without a glitch.
The model is loaded with 100k maps for the US region, and the good news is that the manufacturer throws in a subscription to a satellite imagery service available for a whole year.
Additional information is supplied by your GPS; for instance, you will know what height above the sea level you are and learn about changes in air pressure.
You can benefit from wireless connectivity due to the Bluetooth capabilities of this unit.
The photo navigation feature is a nice touch, as it lets you download tagged pictures and use them as destination points.
The main complaint mentioned by users is the limited battery life; if you want it to last longer, you will have to turn off some features.Buy from Amazon.com for ($234.11)
Garmin GPSMAP 64st
Equipped with a 2.6-inch sunlight-readable color display, the Garmin GPSMAP 64st 010-01199-20 delivers excellent reception of satellite signals thanks to the high-sensitivity GPS and GLONASS receiver. The quad helix antenna makes it possible for the device to catch those signals to ensure remarkable reception.
The onboard 3-axis electronic compass with barometric altimeter enables you to pinpoint your exact bearings and avoid getting lost along the way. Preloaded with TOPO US 100K maps, this model ensures you always know where you are and if you are going the right way.
The included one-year subscription for BirdsEye Satellite Imagery ensures quick transfer of an unlimited amount of satellite images to the GPS device as well as seamless integration of those images into the preloaded maps whenever they are needed.
The map detail includes state, national and local parks and forests, which is very useful for hunters. It also comes with terrain contours as well as elevation information, rivers, trails, lakes and points of interest for anglers and outdoor enthusiasts.
The built-in triple-axis electronic compass is tilt-compensated to enable problem-free tracking of your path even when you remain in a stationary position and without the device being held level. Track changes in pressure so you know your exact altitude thanks to the onboard barometric altimeter.
The GLONASS receiver extends the capacity of this GPS unit to show you your position and supply you with vital information on your surroundings.
You will gain access to the BirdsEye Satellite Imagery feature for one year, as a subscription is included with your purchase.
Information on national parks and forests is also available, which can be quite handy if you are using this particular model for hunting.
There is a barometric altimeter included in the design of the GPS unit, to tell you information on the altitude of your position.
The unique triple-axis compass will allow you to use the unit to the best of its abilities, even when it is not held level.
The instructions on how to use the unit could have been clearer, according to what some reviewers say about it.Buy from Amazon.com for ($266.59)
Garmin eTrex 10
Looking for a portable GPS unit to take with you during hikes? Are you actively into geocaching? Get the Garmin eTrex 10 010-00970-00 and discover a great way to navigate anywhere, even in the urban jungle.
This GPS unit is easy to use as it lets you know about your current location while laying digital ‘breadcrumbs’ to show the path you have been through so far. Outfitted with a 2.2-inch 62K color screen, this device makes it easy to read displayed information even under direct sunlight.
Mounting onto a variety of items such as your backpack or daypack is facilitated by different attachment devices. Utilizing both GPS and GLONASS satellites, this model offers fast acquisition of satellite signals so you can get a fix on your exact location fast and easy.
This device does that at around 20 times faster rate compared to just standard GPS. Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) signals are also interpreted. This enables you to obtain information from land-based antennas even when the view of the sky is not optimal.
Get more position accuracy in general from the WAAS system. The HotFix satellite prediction is an added GPS technology that employs an algorithm that imitates the Earth’s movement around its axis, thereby enabling quick re-attainment of satellite connection even when the device is not utilized for a couple of days.
This unit will let you know your current position, and it will use digital breadcrumbs so that you can examine your route afterward, or follow it back if need be.
This one works with GLONASS too, which means that acquiring a signal is done fast and easy, regardless of your position.
The ease with which the unit operates is outstanding; it is said that it works 20 times faster than standard GPS units.
You can mount the unit on your backpack, due to the attachment devices available.
The Wide Area Augmentation System allows the unit to receive information from land antennas so that you don’t lose your way when the sky is cloudy.
This product is dated, compared to other similar models on the market, so you cannot expect the same degree of versatility and usability.Buy from Amazon.com for ($89.97)
Garmin eTrex 20x
Perfect for hiking, fishing, and hunting, the Garmin eTrex 20x 010-01508-00 is a portable GPS unit that you can take anywhere, from the woods to the urban jungle. Easy to use, this navigation device shows the spot you are in at the current time and also lays digital breadcrumbs to show the path you have covered.
This enables you to get back to your point of origin easily. The sunlight-readable 2.2-inch screen shows information in easy-to-read style with large font. The GPS device attaches to a variety of items via different types of mounting options.
Because it utilizes both GPS and GLONASS satellites, this model boasts trouble-free signal acquisition to allow you to get your precise location at 20 times faster rate compared to devices that employ GPS only.
Able to read signals from Wide Area Augmentation Systems (WAAS), this unit can obtain information from terrestrial antennas even with non-optimal views of the sky. That feature also makes it possible for this model to achieve greater position accuracy in general.
In addition to that, this device also comes with revolutionary HotFix satellite prediction, which employs a unique algorithm for imitating the Earth’s movement on its axis. This allows the device to recover satellite connection swiftly even when it is not used for a couple of days.
The 2.2-inch unit has bright colors, and it can be read in the sun without a glitch; the large font used also comes in handy, regarding readability.
Signal acquisition is not a problem, as this works with both GPS and GLONASS satellites.
The Wide Area Augmentation System feature can be very helpful when the sky is covered by clouds; this system will take information from ground antennas to give you accurate information on your position.
The model works with HotFix satellite feature, to predict the Earth’s rotation on its axis when the unit is not in use.
The digital breadcrumb feature comes in handy when you want to follow the same route you took so that you can get back to your starting point.
Updating your position can be a bit slow, which can, in turn, be frustrating, for people who want to gain instant access to such information.Buy from Amazon.com for ($145.89)
Not all GPS units are created equal. While car and RV GPS units can guide you to your destination during road trips, hunting GPS devices should be able to help you get through the deep woods, fantastic canyons and dense forests with ease. The burning question, in this case, is, what’s the best GPS for hunting?
The best hunting GPS for the money offers critical information for the outdoor activity
No, you don’t need a fancy GPS unit that can lead you to the cafe in town but is useless for ensuring you can get out of the woods after a tiring day of hunting, camping, hiking, etc. The last thing you need is to be stuck in the middle of nowhere in the wilderness and be surrounded by the animals you had originally intended to hunt in the first place.
At the very least, your hunting GPS unit should come with the primary capacity to tell you where you are and then guide you back to the starting point. This is the most important feature for a hunting GPS and forms the very essence of the digital breadcrumb feature.
Knowing where you are currently is one thing, and being confident about retracing your steps is another. In simple words, you have to know your way from point A to point B and still be able to regain your bearings when going back to point A, which is of course, much closer to home than point B.
Plenty of GPS devices also come with an integrated electronic compass, so those who have no idea where the North Star is will not be caught going around and around and getting more helplessly lost by the minute.
Check out models that also tell you the speed of travel you are keeping as well as the direction you are heading. Barometric altimeters are useful when tracking elk in the Rockies since, let’s face it, not everyone has the climbing agility of a mountain goat.
You need to know how high above sea level you are, along with the barometric pressure as you go up. This will ensure easy monitoring of changing weather conditions so you can decide whether to go on further up if it’s a good day or to retrace your steps if rain is coming quickly. The bottom line in this regard is safety.
The best handheld GPS for hunting is equipped with the applications specific to hunting
Hunting requires a particular level of functionality in a GPS device. A limited few offer communication with other hunters via a two-way radio feature so that you can contact fellow hunters in the trail with you through that.
Riding on two-way satellite communication systems, some handheld GPS devices enable reception-free communication in remote areas. This is particularly useful for long excursions into backcountry locations, and there’s a need for just such an emergency device.
Mapping capabilities support paperless navigation by uploading maps. Anglers and hunters may not find a lot of use for sunrise and sunset information except to be aware that the prey is most active at dusk and dawn, but knowing the best fishing and hunting times can offer tremendous advantages at some point.
You can log mobility information including time, speed, distance and more with an onboard trip computer. Some models come preloaded with plenty of geocache options. Geocaching provides many opportunities for making the most out of your handheld navigation system.
The GPS device is used to find the treasure you are trying to locate. The coordinates of the cache are obtained from the Internet. With a GPS device, this modern-day treasure hunt becomes less tedious.
Some models come with a weather radio band, a photo viewer or perhaps a camera, track and waypoint managers in addition to the ability to mark waypoints.
A quality GPS for hunting and fishing offers convenience and ease of use
A buttoned GPS device enables use even with gloved hands. Battery life is also longer in buttoned models, and they take the punishment of being used in extreme weather conditions. Reliability levels are higher than touchscreen units. Speed may be compromised though as typing in waypoints takes a longer time.
On the other hand, touchscreens offer faster operation compared to standard displays. However, power draw is greater than standard screens, and battery life is shorter as well because of that.
Cool add-ons include a voice recorder, microphone, and camera for documentation. These extra features enable you to share your route information with friends and also allow you to relive your adventures with videos and photos of the course.
Premium-quality GPS devices for hunting also feature wireless sharing via Bluetooth technology for transmission of track and waypoint files to a similar device, which is useful if you want to help another group that will use the same route as yours.
Smart notifications allow you to receive media updates and text messages on your device even with your cell phone inside your backpack.