16 Best Hunting GPS (2021): Buyer’s Guide and Unbiased Reviews

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Are you on a quest to find the best hunting gps?

Then you’re in the right place. Because I have done the hard work for you and have reviewed dozens of products to bring you the best hunting gpses.

In addition, I will introduce the following related topics.

  • Product Details (Including advantages and disadvantages) 
  • Buyer’s Guide
  • The Features of Handheld GPS Units

I will also answer some common questions.

  • What Is A Hunting GPS?
  • How Does A GPS System Work?
  • Why Do Hunters Need A GPS Unit?
  • Why You Should Use A Handheld GPS?
  • Why Use A GPS Over A Phone App?

Without further ado, let’s begin!

Top 3 Picks

In a Hurry? Here are the winners.

Editor’s Choice & Best Seller
Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO U.S. 100K with High-Sensitivity GPS and GLONASS Receiver#ad
Professional's Choice
Garmin Oregon 650t 3-Inch Handheld GPS with 8MP Digital Camera (US Topographic Maps)#ad
Best Value
Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator#ad
Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO U.S. 100K with High-Sensitivity GPS and GLONASS Receiver#ad
Garmin Oregon 650t 3-Inch Handheld GPS with 8MP Digital Camera (US Topographic Maps)#ad
Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator#ad
Our Rating
Editor’s Choice & Best Seller
Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO U.S. 100K with High-Sensitivity GPS and GLONASS Receiver#ad
Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO U.S. 100K with High-Sensitivity GPS and GLONASS Receiver#ad
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon
Professional's Choice
Garmin Oregon 650t 3-Inch Handheld GPS with 8MP Digital Camera (US Topographic Maps)#ad
Garmin Oregon 650t 3-Inch Handheld GPS with 8MP Digital Camera (US Topographic Maps)#ad
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon
Best Value
Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator#ad
Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator#ad
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon

Chief Editor


Hours Researching

Products Evaluated

Reviews Considered

Researched Sources

Best Hunting GPS

The 21st century is the age of the smartphone – a wonderful electronic device with various integrated functions. One of these functions is a connection to the GPS system, particularly with cellular data to navigate in unknown territory. Until you drop your phone, the screen becomes broken or you run out of battery life. If you find yourself lost, then it is recommended that you conserve the phone’s battery to send or receive texts and not drain the battery using apps. I would recommend that you do not use or rely on your mobile phone in the woods as it is like holding all eggs in a single basket – baskets are not made with the function of holding eggs. A better option is to carry a handheld GPS unit. Not only are these handheld GPS units dedicated to a single function, but they are not reliant on cell phone towers. In fact, you can use these units at different places across the globe.

1. Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO U.S. 100K with High-Sensitivity GPS and GLONASS Receiver – Editor’s Choice & Best Seller

Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO U.S. 100K with High-Sensitivity GPS and GLONASS Receiver#ad
  • Sunlight Readable 2.6 inches color display. Display size : 1.43 x 2.15...
  • Expanded Internal Memory 8GB.Display resolution 160 x 240 pixels....
  • DUAL BATTERY SYSTEM Use with 2 traditional AA batteries (best with...
  • Receive Smart Notifications* and pair with optional ANT+ sensors, such...
  • Wirelessly upload data to Garmin Connect and view on smartphone, plus...

This Garmin device is one of the sleeker GPS models and is used by many hunters for more than a single reason. The GPSMAP 64 is available with a color screen approximately 2.5 inches in dimension. The screen is high-sensitive enabling the user to read directions in any type of lighting. An effective GPS and GLONASS receiver, along with the quad helix antenna ensures increased signalling and reception from GPS facilities. The device also includes wireless connectivity, a three-axis electronic compass, an 8 GB internal memory, and a microSD card can be inserted using a separate slot in the GPS item.

Furthermore, there are over 100,000 pre-loaded maps of the United States in the Garmin map history. This means that imaging and accessibility is not an issue when it comes to wilder terrains in the United States of America. The one-year Satellite Imagery subscription adds to the function through enhancement of the image quality and the information available on the pages. What makes the device even more effective is the Barometric Altimeter.

A Barometric Altimeter is a facility predicting potential weather alterations with precision even more accurate than radio frequencies. If you find yourself in an area that is susceptible to weather changes, this facility can be highly beneficial as it can provide updated changes in the weather regardless of one’s location.

  • Basecamp mobile compatibility improves the channels of communication
  • A battery life of at least sixteen hours
  • A barometric altimeter enabling accurate weather prediction
  • Convenient operation for first-time GPS users
  • Downloading maps can be inconvenient

2. Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator – Best Value

Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator#ad
  • Rugged handheld navigator with preloaded worldwide basemap and 2.2...
  • WAAS enabled GPS receiver with HotFix and GLONASS support for fast...
  • Waterproof to IPX7 standards for protection against splashes, rain,...
  • Support for paperless geocaching and Garmin spine mounting...
  • See high and low elevation points or store waypoints along a track...

If you are beginning on hunting expeditions and do not have much money to spend on high-end navigation equipment, then it may be worth investing in the Garmin eTrex10. This handheld GPS navigator is available with a preloaded global base map, as well as a monochrome display – so don’t expect to see any pleasant scenery when using the device.

One of the benefits is that this device is waterproof according to IPX7 regulations making it possible for the GPS to withstand splashes or the occasional downpour. The GPS receiver is also complete with GLONASS support and Hotfix, meaning that the item includes a reliable signal with quick positioning functions.

If you do not have any intention of hunting for a single day, then this option may be the best alternative to use with AA batteries. The device has the battery life of approximately 20 hours if you do not have any batteries or need a backup power source. This means that if you bring a spare set along, it is possible to use the device for several days.

  • Storing waypoints along a path
  • A monochrome display measuring 2.2 inches in size
  • Using AA batteries for power
  • Waterproof function according to IPX7 standards
  • No electronic compass or barometric altimeter is available with the device
  • No new maps can be added to the device

3. Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS

Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS#ad
  • Features high-sensitivity GPS receiver with HotFix for improved...
  • Keeps track of routes, tracks and waypoints, and heart rate with add...
  • TracBack feature retraces user's path on the easy-to-read LCD...
  • Supports dual position readout so user can view current location in...
  • Features trip computer, sunrise/sunset times, hunting/fishing...

The Foretrex 401 Waterproof GPS device is one of the more convenient navigation devices from Garmin. This model is a weatherproof option and is wrist-ready with an ultralight weight. The most exciting feature to this device is the fact that it straps to the user’s wrist; thereby, keeping the hands free to perform other tasks during the expedition.

This Garmin GPS device utilizes digital breadcrumbs meaning that it will always know where you began the trek even if you have not been in the area before. The GPS unit presents a highly sensitive receiver along with a Hotfix feature ensuring advanced performance and reception in canyons. Furthermore, the user can use a trackback feature to retrace paths on the easy-to-read LCD screen.

It should also be known that this model uses a dual position readout allowing you to view the location in various formats. It is also possible to track the data during hunting, which can be useful if you wish to know how long you have been away or in a specific location. The battery life is approximately 17 hours allowing you to take home the catch with ease. The Garmin device can also connect the user (that’s you!) with the Garmin community at all times when using this GPS system.

  • Highly sensitive GPS settings
  • A dual position readout
  • A longer life battery
  • Extendable wrist straps
  • Retracing the GPS steps
  • A short warranty period – typically only one year
  • Turns off after a will

4. Bad Elf 2200 GPS Pro

Bad Elf 2200 GPS Pro (Black/Silver)#ad
  • Connect up to 5 devices at a time via Bluetooth technology. Now also...
  • Large LCD screen with backlight for night operation
  • Standalone GPS datalogger stores 100+ hours of tracking data
  • Extra-long battery life and 10Hz reporting rate
  • Rugged and splash-proof to IPX4 standards

I am a great fan of this GPS navigation device because of its smaller size. The item is so small it can easily fit on the palm of my hand. Of course, this doesn’t mean it lacks features; in fact, the Bad Elf can perform many of the functions larger handheld hunting GPS devices can but with a smaller appearance.

In addition to its smaller size, the Bad Elf 2200 has the ability to share information with different people. For example, the device can share location data with approximately five iOS devices using its Bluetooth technology. The display of the device is large enough to view the status information regarding connectivity, location, power, and trip storage data without much difficulty. Moreover, when in a paired mode, the battery life lasts approximately 16 hours. If running independently, the battery life can last for 35 hours – it is that powerful!

One of the best features of the Bad Elf is the ability to record trip data at approximately 100 hours. It operates using location-based apps, so it is ideal for GPS services when heading on outdoor trips. The price is affordable, and it is waterproof.

  • Battery life for approximately 16 hours when using paired mode with Bluetooth connectivity
  • Approximately 35 hours of battery life when not using a paired mode function
  • Connectivity of at most five iOS devices at a single time
  • Well-built for long trips and highly durable
  • Small in size making it easy to carry
  • Waterproof and rugged
  • A mini-USB is required to charge the device as micro USBs are no longer available

5. Garmin Oregon 650t 3-Inch Handheld GPS with 8MP Digital Camera (US Topographic Maps) – Professional’s Choice

Garmin Oregon 650t 3-Inch Handheld GPS with 8MP Digital Camera (US Topographic Maps)#ad
  • 3-Inch sunlight-readable, touchscreen display with multi-touch...
  • Dual-band GPS/GLONASS satellite positioning
  • Sensors (3-axis compass, accelerometer, barometric altimeter)
  • ANT or Bluetooth technology -wirelessly share routes, tracks,...
  • Dual battery system -2 AA batteries or NiMH battery pack charged by...

This Garmin navigation device is one of the most feature-rich items used by hunters and hikers in the United States of America. It includes topographical maps of the USA as part of the base map data, along with a global map. Moreover, there is four gigs of storage space with a microSD slot allowing you further space for more maps.

The device’s body is both waterproof and dustproof; therefore, it is able to deal with knocks and bumps during a trip. The GPS presents with a touchscreen which is highly rugged, but also quite sensitive and can be utilized when wearing gloves. The screen’s display is bright irrespective of the reflective screen, and it can be viewed in direct sunlight.

The GPS device has a camera with an LED flash available for photographs and to use as a flashlight. You can also mark the photograph’s location using it as a waypoint. It should be noted that the batteries in this model do not last long, so you should consider carrying spares.

  • A flashlight and camera
  • Plenty of storage space
  • A glove-friendly screen
  • Poor battery life
  • Additional navigation costs extra

6. Garmin eTrex 20x Handheld GPS Navigator

Garmin eTrex 20x, Handheld GPS Navigator, Enhanced Memory and Resolution, 2.2-inch Color Display, Water...#ad
  • UPGRADED DISPLAY - Features a 2.2” 65K color sunglight readable...
  • LOAD MORE MAPS - Large 3.7 GB of internal memory and microSD card slot...
  • PRELOADED BASEMAP - Includes a worldwide basemap with shaded relief....
  • KEEP YOUR FIX - With its high-sensitivity, WAAS-enabled GPS receiver,...
  • Included Components: Documentation

This is a basic hunting GPS from Garmin that provides baseline information to you that you are going to need for navigating mountains and getting yourself out of tough spots. If you are fairly confident in your navigational skills and knowledge then the eTrex should give you everything you need to plan a successful escape route or to stay on course.

The basic eTrex 20 model has been upgraded by Garmin by introducing the eTrex 20X. It has slightly more memory along with a bit of a higher resolution screen. However, it is still a basic hunting GPS device that is designed for those who have a pretty good sense of direction and relatively well-developed survival instincts already. However, it does the job well and offers the trademark reliability that Garmin is so well known for. It is an ideal device for those who want something extra in their kits just in case their maps get wet.

  • Efficient, dependable, and compact hunting GPS
  • Using both the GLONASS and GPS systems means there is always a backup source of data available in case one of them goes black
  • The Garmin website has additional maps available
  • Only one power source – two AA batteries
  • You will need to pay for the additional maps at the Garmin website

7. DeLorme inReach SE Satellite Tracker

DeLorme inReach SE Satellite Tracker#ad
  • Trigger an SOS and interact back and forth with GEOS, our 24/7 search...
  • Send and receive 160 character free-form text messages with GPS...
  • Adjustable tracking intervals from 10 minutes to 4 hours allow you to...
  • Provides 100% global coverage through the Iridium satellite network....

This satellite tracker from DeLorme is a sleek GPS unit and is prominently featured on lists of the best hunting GPS devices that are available in the current market. It offers a two-way high-quality satellite network and runs on the Iridium Satellite Network.

The network provides a fairly reliable service. Wherever you happen to be in the world, the satellite network can help you precisely maintain your bearings at all times. It is one of the most powerful satellite constellations in the world. Its overall network coverage does not have any fringes or gaps.

An SOS communication system also comes with the unit. It helps users interact with the monitoring and search team in an emergency and stay in contact if there is a rescue process underway. Also, it allows you to write 160-character messages and navigate easily between tracking and messaging.

Your smart mobile devices can be converted into navigation tools with interactive facilities with help from the Earthmate app. The app works on both Android and iOS devices. Its adjustable tracking facilities allow you to record coordinates speed and elevation and track your trips. So when you are out in the wilderness, your family will always know where you are located without fail.

  • Good entry level option for addressing GPS concerns
  • Outstanding coverage using the Iridium Satellite network
  • Good value for your money given its range of functions and options
  • In case of an emergency, its SOS feature can come in handy
  • Effective text service
  • It takes some time to properly configure the device
  • It has propriety features, so on a long trip, you will need to have an adequate back-up with you.
  • The batteries don’t last long enough on a long trip

8. Garmin eTrex 30x Handheld GPS Navigator with 3-axis Compass

Garmin eTrex 30x, Handheld GPS Navigator with 3-axis Compass, Enhanced Memory and Resolution, 2.2-inch Color...#ad
  • UPGRADED DISPLAY Features a 2.2” 65K color sunglight readable...
  • LOAD MORE MAPS Large 3.7 GB of internal memory and microSD card slot...
  • PRELOADED BASEMAP Includes a worldwide basemap with shaded relief
  • BUILT IN SENSORS eTrex 30x adds a built in 3 axis tilt compensated...
  • WIRELESS Wirelessly share your waypoints, tracks, routes and geocaches...

This handheld device from Garmin is an upgraded version of its original eTrex30. It features improved screen resolution and the display is much more readable than it was previously. The eTrex range is renowned for its durability and pricing and this one definitely does not disappoint. It is a very versatile and useful navigation device that may be used in boats, cars, bicycles, ATVs, and even in a hot air balloon.

It also comes with expandable internal memory. The barometric altimeter and 3-axis compass offer improved navigational quality and help to ensure there is no compromise to the user’s convenience. The geocaching GPX files allow you to download geocaches easily. It also helps you obtain all types of relative information on the terrain and location by simply clicking a button.

This WAAS-enable GPS is well-known for its high-sensitivity receiver and produces one of the top hunting GPS that is currently available. That combined with the HotFix satellite prediction provides locational information even in a remote area. This GPS unit’s receiver tracks both the GLONASS and GPS satellites easily. That helps to greatly speed up the overall navigation process.

  • Provides data fast and the data it much more accurate
  • Convenient, light, and small to carry anywhere you might go while you are hunting
  • Garmin’s satellite connect provides quality support and allows for improved coverage
  • The battery lasts for almost 24 hours and provides more dependable information
  • Some users have had concerns or problems with the device’s software
  • At 2.2 the screen is slightly smaller and waypoints might be difficult to pinpoint in certain circumstances.

9. Garmin inReach Explorer+, Handheld Satellite Communicator with TOPO Maps and GPS Navigation

Garmin inReach Explorer+, Handheld Satellite Communicator with Topo Maps and GPS Navigation#ad
  • 100 percent global Iridium satellite coverage enables two way text...
  • Trigger an interactive SOS to the 24/7 search and rescue monitoring...
  • Track and share your location with family and friends. Water rating :...
  • Pair with mobile devices using the free earthmate app for access to...
  • In reach explorer+ device adds preloaded Delorme topo maps with...

This device from Garmin is designed to meet as well as exceed the requirements of even the most demanding GPS users. It will help get you out of tricky situations when you really need it. The unit comes equipped with an internal rechargeable Lithium Ion battery, so you won’t have to worry about issues with consumables or reliability.

This device is both a communicator and GPS, so it can be used to send messages and text from almost any location as long as you have a satellite subscription. An interactive SOS can also be triggered to a 24/7 search and rescue center – if your status, the weather conditions, or other circumstances are endangering your safety and health.

The Garmin Garmin inReach Explorer also can be paired with any kind of mobile device if you install their Earthmate app. This app allows you to download US NOAA charts, color aerial imagery, and various maps.

  • An interactive SOS can be triggered to a 24/7 rescue center
  • Includes navigation – from routes to waypoint
  • Weather information to keep you out of danger
  • Pairs with mobile devices
  • Does not come with a compass or barometric altimeter

10. Garmin Montana 680t

Garmin Montana 680t, Touchscreen Hiking Handheld, GPS/GLONASS and Preloaded TOPO Maps, 8 Megapixel Camera#ad
  • PRELOADED GEOCACHES - 250,000 preloaded worldwide geocaches from...
  • SEE YOUR SURROUNDINGS - Includes a 1-year Birdseye Satellite Imagery...
  • GPS AND GLONASS - With its high-sensitivity, WAAS-enabled GPS...
  • TRACK MANAGER - Ability to organize and navigate through...
  • CAPTURE THE MOMENT - 8 megapixel digital camera for higher quality...

This is another outstanding GPS that is preloaded with around 250,000 worldwide geocaches. It provides you with many options so that you won’t ever get lost.

It is incredible in that it allows you to fully explore your surrounding due to the 1-year Birdseye satellite imagery subscription that is included.

The device also comes with a sunlight readable and 4-inch dual orientation touchscreen display for crisp images and easy operation. It is also very glove-friendly so you can spend a lot less time having to search for data and much more time being able to enjoy beautiful views.

The unit also is equipped with an 8-megapixel camera that offers outstanding resolution and high-quality images. The very best part of all is the digital camera geotags all of your photos with coordinates which is very convenient.

The handheld Garmin Montana GFGS unit also comes with an electronic compass that helps you get your bearings and locate where you are. The barometric altimeter also tracks any changes in air pressure so that you will be able to foretell any like changes in the weather patterns.

Another thing I really love is that this GPS is highly sensitive and is able to locate your position precisely and quite in any type of condition.

Its wireless connectivity also means you are able to wirelessly share your geocaches, routes, tracks, and waypoint with other users who have Garmin GPS devices.

  • Good signal reception out in the wilderness
  • Easy to use interface
  • Durable and rugged construction
  • Good track manager
  • The digital camera captures all of the important moments
  • Barometric altimeter with 3-axis compass
  • Street and topo maps are low resolution
  • Manual is not included

More Products (Our Rating: 4 Stars)

11. Garmin Approach G6 Handheld Touchscreen Golf Course GPS
Garmin Approach G6 Handheld Touchscreen Golf Course GPS#ad
  • Preloaded with over 25,000 worldwide courses - no subscriptions...
  • Physical dimensions 2.1" x 3.7" x 0.8" (5.4 x 9.3 x 1.9 cm)
12. Magellan CX0310SGXNA eXplorist 310 Waterproof Hiking GPS
Magellan eXplorist 310 Summit Series Topo Map Bundle#ad
  • The World Edition includes a detailed road network, water features,...
  • Brilliant, Sunlight Readable Color 2.2" Screen
  • Summit Series Topographic Maps
  • Paperless Geocaching Download
  • 18 Hours of Battery Life
13. Garmin Montana 680 Touchscreen GPS/GLONASS Receiver, Worldwide Basemaps
Garmin Montana 680, Touchscreen Hiking Handheld, GPS/GLONASS with 8 Megapixel Camera#ad
  • Preloaded Geocaches - 250,000 preloaded worldwide geocaches from...
  • See Your Surroundings - Includes a 1-year Birdseye Satellite Imagery...
  • GPS and GLONASS - With its high-sensitivity, WAAS-enabled GPS...
  • Track Manager - Ability to organize and navigate through...
  • Capture The Moment - 8 megapixel digital camera for higher quality...
14. Garmin 750T 3-Inch Touchscreen Handheld GPS with Topo U.S. 100K
Garmin Oregon 750T, Touchscreen Handheld GPS with GPS/GLONASS, Camera and TOPO, 3-inch Display, One Color...#ad
  • Touchscreen - 3-inch sunlight-readable touchscreen display with Dual...
  • ABC sensors - 3-axis tilt-compensated electronic Compass with...
  • Ruggedized for the outdoors - ergonomic, rugged design that Stands...
  • Capture the moment - 8 Megapixel Autofocus Camera with LED flash/Torch
  • Connect iq - connect iq compatible to customize the Device with data...
15. Garmin GPSMAP 64s Worldwide with High-Sensitivity GPS and GLONASS Receiver
16. Bushnell BackTrack D-Tour Personal GPS Tracking Device
Bushnell 360310 D-Tour GPS Receiver, Green#ad
  • Quality optics with stunning HD clarity
  • 100% quality materials used and tested extensively
  • Beautiful design and durability built to last
  • Mark up to 5 locations
  • Auto time, temperature, altitude

What Is A Hunting GPS?

The hunting GPS systems are any type of handheld GPS enabled-device which comes with referenced maps that allows a way for you to locate where you are in seconds on the Global Grid. This type of information will allow you to plot your course to the desired destination, along with recording the route when you may need to back-track or if you need to get out of the wilderness when you are lost. These GPS systems are usually compact enough to store in your pocket or mobile-phone pocket. Some of these devices come equipped with the abilities to provide other data that extends beyond basic GPS coordinates, which includes temperature, altitude, and more.

How Does A GPS System Work?

GPS which is short for Global Positioning System involves a multitude of satellites that orbit the Earth. Each satellite features its own atomic clock that keeps accurate time.

As these satellites orbit our Earth, they broadcast their location and time over radio. The GPS receivers use these radio waves from the different satellites and because these radio waves are propagating at certain rates in order to determine the time that has passed since the broadcast and the reception.

Data that comes from these satellites are first collected and then compared in order for the GPS receivers to calculate their current location.

The GPS receive these signals from anywhere across the world as they do not rely on cellular-based data.

Why Do Hunters Need A GPS Unit?

If you are a professional hunter, you will probably agree that making an investment in the Best Hunting GPS will give you the edge that you need when it comes to successful hunting expeditions.

If you, on the other hand, are just starting out, this review is even more important as this part of the review covers why you can benefit from a good quality hunting GPS.

They primarily assist when it comes to preplanning routes and to trace your routes back to your vehicle or home should you get lost.

This type of device may even save you from the dangers of getting lost in the wilderness. Some of the latest GPS units even feature alarm systems that enable you to send signals to a loved one when you are faced with a dangerous situation from the locations without cellular service.

It also allows for a way to plot interest points when you are out in a field such as scrapes, trees, power stations, bait piles and more which you can use as a future reference.

These devices also allow for a way to communicate with your colleagues, in remote locations when you are within a mile radius from one another.

They also provide a way to mark the potential grounds for hunting and ranger stations. You can also find the water source for the game that you plan to hunt.

Why You Should Use a Handheld GPS?

You may be wondering why a handheld GPS is so important and why it has become so popular and acclaimed among hunters? We have found at least 4 activities that you are able to perform safer and better when you use a handheld GPS. Here is a closer look at each one.

Hunting and Tramping

If you are interested in purchasing a GPS unit for the purpose of hunting, you may be surprised that there are various models that are designed specifically for these tasks. The hunting and tramping units are compact and lightweight and usually come with reliable battery life. The non-mapping versions are cheaper than the models that come with street maps. Additionally, some of the units have GPS collars that you can use with dogs. This is a very helpful feature when you need to locate your hunting assistant.


Even though it is close to impossible to find the perfect unit, you are still able to choose the features that match up to your requirements and needs the best. This is why it becomes important to think about what your expectations are in a unit before you buy one, which will help you to avoid buying the wrong type. Geocaching is a task that you may be interested in using these devices for. However, it is important to note that just about all the outdoor GPS units have geocaching capabilities, which is why this particular detail shouldn’t become the deal-breaker.

Street Driving

Some buyers prefer investing in a GPS unit for 4WD and street driving. Unlike the handheld versions, these models usually have larger dimensions and they are heavier. The primary drawback about this type of unit is that you will only be able to use the device in your car. Most of these units do not offer waterproof features which means that are usually only suitable for urban-based navigation.


Another popular task performed with assistance from a GPS system includes biking. The handheld models would not be very helpful for these situations, as these devices would need to be mounted into the handlebars. Provided the size is right, just about any of the outdoor units work well for biking. The important consideration of a GPS unit used for biking is to make sure the device can handle high levels of vibration.

Why Use A GPS Over A Phone App?

Many people prefer using their phone apps when it comes to navigation. Most of the latest Smartphones are also GPS receivers which are more than capable of displaying maps.

Yet phones are not made to withstand rugged outdoor GPS use. Many phones are also not waterproof or ruggedized. The screen can crack and the battery might die. In addition, in survival situations, you should be saving the battery on your phone for communication and not for navigation.

Yet the primary reason that you should be using a dedicated GPS device has to do with the actual hardware. The Smartphones may come with their own GPS receiver, yet they are not as half as accurate and good as the dedicated units. Your phone will typically make use of the cell networks in order to triangulate the position, which is augmented by GPS.

The handheld GPS receivers feature improved satellite antennas which translates into better reception. This will mean everything is more accurate and the ability to use your device anywhere (in the world) and not only in areas that have a cell signal.

In addition, GPS units will have a variety of features that are dedicated to hunting. They can easily track a number of waypoints and trails without the need to use an ad-ridden or paid for app.

The Features of Handheld GPS Units

Due to the latest techniques used by manufacturers and computer chips that are also now way more affordable, GPS is now more affordable than ever. So you may be wondering why there is such a significant difference when it comes to the prices of these models when each one is able to accurately display your location? Well, it is the features which will set one GPS unit apart from another. Here is the list of the more common features associated with the Handheld GPS models of today.


Make sure that you find out that the maps for the area you want to use this unit in are already loaded into the unit. Even though these maps are usually available online, when these maps are not included, you might need to make additional purchases.


All the quality GPS units will come with some type of compass. Make sure you check the accuracy of the GPS compass against a real compass. This will determine how accurate the unit actually is.

Trip Computer

This smart feature is useful when you are planning roadway travel. The trip computers are extremely useful to calculate the expenses and cost of a trip.

Geocache Options

Geocaching is a fast-growing pastime within the US. You can stash a prize followed by posting your coordinates, or you can join a treasure hunt to find another person’s hidden prize.

Photo Viewer

This feature offers the ability to upload photos of the landmarks along your journey and you will definitely know that you are staying on course. You can also store images of other types of helpful information.

Waypoint and Track Manager

The waypoints can assist you in navigating the terrain with higher accuracy. You can mark and track waypoints in order to record your movements.


If you share the GPS unit it is helpful to store multiple profiles into the device. Maybe your hunting partners prefer using the metric units over the US Standard. This is easy to adjust along with re-adjust dependent on which user is using the device.

Route Planner

The route-planning software is also a helpful addition for any GPS unit. You are able to plan where and when to stop according to variables.


You can track sunrise and sunsets easily when you use this feature. This can assist you in getting out of the wilderness before it gets dark.


It is surprising how often we need a calculator. This feature can assist you in being more exact with calculations.

Alarm Clock

Never wake up late again while out on a hunting trip. All you need to do is program your alarms in, making sure that the unit has enough battery power.


This added feature is useful to track events and hunting seasons. It can also help you to track where and when you made the last visit when you use your calendar.


In some cases, it becomes important to time something with precision. A stopwatch feature can be helpful in these situations.


If the unit is able to access many satellites at the same time, the more accurate the GPS unit will be. There are a few different networks for these satellites. The 2 largest are the GLONASS in Russia and GPS in the US. When the unit can access both it provides outstanding accuracy.

Proximity Alarm

Proximity alarms provide a way to set-up geofences which will notify you as you approach a designated area. This can also assist you in avoiding problematic areas, or warn you when you are approaching a den of an animal that is dangerous.

Points of Interest

If you travel, it is always helpful to find out where the closest bus stop, gas stations, or food stores are. The POI represent such items.

Tide Info

The Tide info features are valuable for the surfers, fishers, and boaters. Knowing exactly when tides are at their peak is helpful information for most water-active individuals.

Buying Guide

The range of GPS units suitable for hunting available today runs all the way from suspiciously affordable to brain-meltingly expensive. Between the wide range of prices and all the features you need to consider, it can be difficult to tell which one is the best fit for your needs. We’ve put our heads together and come up with the best possible general guidance for finding the best hunting GPS.

1. Satellite Networks

In the GPS world, you actually have two different sources of navigation data. The GPS satellite network comes to us courtesy of the US military; it has an Eastern-Hemisphere counterpart in Russia’s GLONASS (Global Navigational Satellite) network. While most devices sold in the US are going to rely primarily on the GPS network, you can find dual-network devices that are capable of querying both systems. This can be a genuine life-saver if you find yourself stuck in an area that doesn’t get coverage from one network. Remember that redundancy is a key point of survival preparations!

2. Ease of Use

GPS devices built for hunting use tend to cover the entire range of control setups. Some rely entirely on physical buttons. Others rely entirely on touchscreens, and many come down somewhere in between the two. As a general rule of thumb, we tend to prefer the units controlled by exterior buttons. There are plenty of hunters out there, though, who are completely comfortable with screen menu controls. What’s really important is picking a unit that matches your personal preferences and abilities.

3. Speed

Hunting GPSs have two different speeds that you need to consider before making a buying decision. The length of time it takes for a device to start up and start providing directions varies from model to model. At the same time, processing speed is also important. This determines how long it takes a GPS to convert satellite data into usable directions. Obviously, you want a unit that runs fast on both scales: startup speed and processing speed.

4. Screen Size/Quality

The fastest, most accurate GPS device in the world won’t do you much good if its display fails in its last-lap responsibility to present data to you clearly. The bigger the screen and the higher its resolution, the easier it will be for you to use a hunting GPS. For most users, it’s also essential to have a backlit screen so that data is always legible whether conditions are bright or dim. Finally, you may find a device that’s capable of switching between portrait and landscape display mode a lot more flexible than one that’s locked into a single orientation.

5. Software

The mapping software that drives a handheld GPS unit is, virtually always, proprietary to the manufacturer. Every company likes to claim its software is superior. Take such claims with a grain of salt and investigate the capabilities of a device’s software carefully. These days it’s particularly important to pay attention to communications and cross-platform capabilities. Many devices can share mapping data with your computer or even your friends – provided the software is up to scratch.

This consideration is particularly important if you want a hunting GPS that’s capable of communicating with Macintosh computers. This is one place where BaseCamp, the proprietary mapping software used on Garmin devices, stands out. It works very well with Macs.

You may also want to bend your GPS buying decision toward open-source options if you’re particularly tech-savvy. You can get a lot of useful map data from free platforms – provided you have a device running software designed for this.

6. Map Libraries

Your hunting GPS hardware will dictate just how many maps you can take out into the field with you. Modern storage technology generally pegs the capacity of a GPS somewhere between “ample” and “ridiculous,” and if you’re willing to pay for it, you can easily buy a device that can carry a whole continent’s worth of maps.

Remember that simply holding the maps isn’t enough, though! You need to update your maps regularly to ensure that you have accurate information out in the field. Most GPS manufacturers offer their own subscription services to take care of this for you. For a lot of hunters, a $30 annual subscription is an easy hassle-free way to take care of this. Others, as noted above, might prefer to find their own free open-source solutions. If you fall into the latter category, two very useful data sources are the Seamless Data Warehouse from the United States Geological Survey and the US National Agricultural Imagery Program.

It’s hard to say definitively whether free maps or manufacturer-provided ones are better. While the price difference is obvious, there’s also the added convenience you get from the manufacturer’s maps. If you have the technical know-how and the intention to use open-source maps, make sure you get a device that can use them.

7. Accessories

Bonus bits that might be included with a hunting GPS include carrying cases, rechargeable batteries, USB cables, and mounts.

The most common mount is one that allows you to use a GPS device safely and effectively in your vehicle.

USB cables are becoming less common now, as many manufacturers assume you’ll have suitable cables already for your other electronic devices.

Rechargeable batteries may add significantly to the cost of a handheld GPS, but they more than pay for themselves in terms of added convenience and long-term savings.

As should be fairly obvious, the overall number and quality of accessories you’re likely to get along with a hunting GPS vary in accordance with the price you’re willing to pay. The more you spend, the more you’re likely to receive in the way of extras.

8. Cost, Warranty, and Reviews

As a general rule of thumb, you should aim to spend more than two hundred dollars on a hunting GPS. Below this price point, devices are simply too bare-bones and too unreliable to deliver a satisfactory field experience. Spend a little longer saving and make sure you can buy a unit that’s likely to hold up in the field and meet all of your needs for years to come. Really full-featured hunting GPS units can cost four hundred dollars or even more. A quality device can easily justify this sort of expenditure, so be prepared to invest in a quality machine.

Most quality GPS units come with at least a one-year warranty. This gives you ample time to confirm that a given unit meets your needs. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the manufacturer’s customer support service if you run into problems.

As a general rule of thumb, bear in mind that customer support will be significantly reduced if you buy from a manufacturer that does not operate a US subsidiary. While we wouldn’t say it’s absolutely essential to buy US equipment, we do note that customer service is better for major US brands such as Garmin, Lowrance, and Magellan.

Reading online reviews can give you tremendous “owner’s-eye” insight into what a given GPS is like. In order to develop an accurate understanding of a given model, make sure you look at both the highest and lowest reviews provided for it. Remember that you can get reviews and buying recommendations from the real world, too! If you have friends and acquaintances with hunting GPS’s, ask them about the strengths and weaknesses of their particular models.

9. Power Source

It’s not wise to venture out into the wilderness unless you have a backup power source for your GPS. That is unless you’ve years of experience in the wilderness navigating with your compass and a map. However, for those of us who aren’t related to Lewis and Clark and have minimal experience in the wilderness, relying on a GPS with a good Lithium-Ion or a NiMH batters as our power source and having a backup of AA alkaline batteries will be far more likely to make it home without error.

10. Proximity Alarm

This innovative feature is handy to have and is typically available on all of the newer model GPS units. It can aid you in marking areas of interest on maps and help you to be reminded each time you’re in said location. It will help by standing out and showing you that “you’ve been here before”.

11. Type of Compass

Typically, a GPS unit has an electronic compass or a differential type of compass. Both types of compasses aid in locating your bearings. Electronic compasses are the preferred choice. Electronic units can help you by checking your bearings without your having to move at all. This is vital if you’re hunkered down in preparation for a shot.

12. Antenna Quality

A good reliable GPS requires at least one antenna in order to receive a radio transmission from the satellites that position it. Larger kinds of GPS units can have more than one antenna. This will greatly aid in your signal reception and help to pinpoint your location far more quickly.

13. Weatherproofing

Nearly every hunting GPS is waterproof and resistant to dirt, dust, as well as bumps. What good would a delicate GPS be for you if it couldn’t withstand the backwoods country? Even touchscreen units are more rugged than your cell phone GPS unit. Of course, if you’re in a rocky area, you may want to select a unit that has rubber armor. It’s more protection should you fall or drop it.

14. Wi-Fi And Bluetooth

Relying on wireless technology is the wave of the future. This is how you’ll be interacting with your GPS device. This allows you to get out in the woods and have a wonderful time. Picture sending your waypoint via your Bluetooth to a smartphone. That waypoint is then forwarded to the rest of the team. This can be vital for tour guides and businesses that need to stay in touch with a large group.

15. Altimeter

It’s vital to have the information on the barometric pressure as well. When you’re out in the open on a hunting adventure you need to understand the weather so that you’ll be able to make the best decisions. Changes can detect storms that may affect you and your team. Of course, they can also detect fair weather as well which can be helpful.

16. Weather Forecast Radio

Weather band radios are also key features to consider. This way, you can get the latest information on the weather and know whether or not you need to seek cover. This is vital to long hunting expeditions. When you’re out for long extended periods of time you’ll want to know what to expect. Two-way radios allow for the communication between you and civilization as well.

17. Sunset and Sunrise

There are specific guidelines and regulations for hunting and this includes when it is sunset and sunrise. You can’t legally begin hunting before sunrise or after sunset. There is no constant time here so you’ll want to know the exact time on any given day. That’s why having the GPS will help you so that you’re always in compliance. A good GPS with this feature has the times and will show you so that you won’t be hunting illegally.

18. Waypoints

You may also need to mark where a deer is standing. A trail camera location will lure the deer in at times and you can later mark this on the map and revisit it. It’s like breadcrumbs on a trail. Thus, when you’re seeking the best GPS for your needs you can list the important features that you’re looking for so that your final decision will be based on your needs.

19. Storage Memory

You’ll want to choose a GPS that has an SD card slot so that you can store the information. This is a vital feature that will help to increase the space of memory in order to save your information. It can help you to save data and it will allow you to make updates. You can also save points of interest and other important details so that you’re always up to date on what you’re weather, location, or the rest of your team is up to.


Your GPS for hunting is one of the most valuable tools you’ll ever own. It can help anyone who is hunting, hiking, camping, or on a trek that is the trip of a lifetime. It can aid firefighters, rescue crews, and relay accurate information for all of the above. Going out into the woods without one is putting yourself at high risk. It would be like going out in a horse and buggy in lieu of driving your car. A good GPS is important and could help to save your very life if you’re lost or injured. It can relay your location to rescue teams or the rest of your team.


Best Hunting GPS ( Top 3 Picks )

Editor’s Choice & Best Seller
Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO U.S. 100K with High-Sensitivity GPS and GLONASS Receiver#ad
Professional's Choice
Garmin Oregon 650t 3-Inch Handheld GPS with 8MP Digital Camera (US Topographic Maps)#ad
Best Value
Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator#ad
Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO U.S. 100K with High-Sensitivity GPS and GLONASS Receiver#ad
Garmin Oregon 650t 3-Inch Handheld GPS with 8MP Digital Camera (US Topographic Maps)#ad
Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator#ad
Our Rating
Editor’s Choice & Best Seller
Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO U.S. 100K with High-Sensitivity GPS and GLONASS Receiver#ad
Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO U.S. 100K with High-Sensitivity GPS and GLONASS Receiver#ad
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon
Professional's Choice
Garmin Oregon 650t 3-Inch Handheld GPS with 8MP Digital Camera (US Topographic Maps)#ad
Garmin Oregon 650t 3-Inch Handheld GPS with 8MP Digital Camera (US Topographic Maps)#ad
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon
Best Value
Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator#ad
Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator#ad
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon

Last update on 2021-06-12 / Rating by Author / Affiliate links, Images, Descriptions & Price from Amazon Product Advertising API

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