What is a hunting GPS?
Hunting GPS (Global Positioning System) is a must-have tool if you do not want to get lost in the jungle or any terrain for that matter.
I would even claim that having a good GPS might even make or break your hunting experience because it would save a lot of hassle in terms of finding the right spot to hunt.
If you are interested for some rangefinder binoculars, please look at the post here. As for the binoculars which are at the cheaper side of the spectrum, you can check out here. If you are still not convinced whether you should get a binoculars or a spotting scope, you can read the article here.
Will a handheld GPS really be necessary or will a smartphone suffice?
Handheld Global Positioning System (GPS) units are intended to log and store spatial data while you adventure in the back country. They are built to withstand all weather conditions and come with many features to help you determine where you are and where you’ve been.
Also, smartphones or watch with built-in GPS system signal or data cannot go deep into the wilderness because they are built mainly for city dwellers doing work that requires technology.
If you are clumsy and you are planning to go through many precarious terrains, it is definitely wise to use a hunting GPS and keep your handphone in a safe place!
Best GPS for hunting comparison table
If you are looking for a quick comparison of the best GPS, please take a glance on the table below.
|Product||High-sensitivity receiver||Display Resolution||Display Type||Battery Life||Built-in memory||Accepts data cards||Price|
|Garmin GPSMAP 64 ST||Yes||160x240 pixels||transflective, 65-K color TFT||16 hours||8GB||microSD card (not included)||$$|
|Bushnell BackTrack D-Tour||No||Basic||Grayscale LCD||16-20 hours||No||No||$|
|Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide||Yes||128x160 pixels||transflective, monochrome||20 hours||No||No||$|
|Garmin GPSMAP 62s||Yes||160x240 pixels||2.6" transflective, 65-K color TFT display||20 hours||1.7GB||microSD card (not included)||$$$|
|Magellan eXplorist GC||Yes||240x320 pixels (QVGA)||2.2" transflective display||18 hours||2GB||No||$$|
Top criteria for a hunting GPS
Reception is the ability of the GPS to work smoothly and get great reception under trees. Basically, you would like to make sure that the GPS has an external antenna which keeps your device accurate under a thick canopy of trees or when you are deep in the canyons which walled by thick rocks.
WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) enabled, which virtually all of the best handheld GPS for outdoor enthusiast that have as a feature. This enhances performance because your GPS unit will give you up to five times the accuracy because you’re linked in with a system of satellites that ensures position accuracy within 10 feet (3 meters) and closer in some of the best handheld GPS units.
A screen that is easily readable in the direct sun, under heavy clouds, with your shades on, and at night. If you would hunt in cold weather, you will want a unit you can manipulate with gloves on. As for the interface, you should find it user-friendly while the interface is clear enough for your eyesight.
If you choose one of the GPS here, you need not worry! This is because the selected ones are verified to perform in daylight or night time which makes it really clear to the user giving it really clear directions.
It would be great if the hunting GPS could have an SD card which is essential for adding memory such as data, Topo maps, updates and POIs ( Point of Interest). If you would like to load and save cache, it is advisable for your GPS to have a microSD card slot which can significantly increase the memory space.
Be wary that even if some GPS claims that it does not have internal storage, it can still store at least 5 way points to lead the user back to the intended destination.
Weight and Size
Small, compact, and lightweight design so you can easily carry it in one hand, in a pocket, from a D-ring, or pack. The drawback of a larger screen would be less mobility as the GPS would be bigger in size. It actually depends on your personal preference whether you would want a lightweight GPS or a relatively heavier GPS which gives a more sturdy feeling.
Ease of use
Plenty of waypoint storage capacity for marking any given spot on the globe that you want to mark for any reason. Usually they’re used to determine and mark routes or a geocache stash but they can also be referred to as Points of Interest (POIs). Waypoints mark where the cache is and you can also input them as you go to easily retrace your steps back.
Long battery life for long-lasting performance since many activities these GPS units are used for bring the user far from civilization. Easily replaceable and/or rechargeable batteries – lithium batteries last the longest.
Also, if the GPS has a touch screen or a rocker key pad which operates with a wheel similar to an iPod makes it easier to navigate through the device.
Waterproof, durable, essentially shock-proof design so you don’t have to worry about the elements or your clumsy nature breaking it. USB cord compatibility to hook into your computer for adding and updating maps such as free Garmin maps for handheld GPS units, POIs, aerial imagery, and the like.
A built-in compass and altimeter is certainly appealing to backpackers and climbers, but not all of the best handheld GPS units have it and some users find them unnecessary.
If you want really good Topo detail, consider a Lowrance iFinder H20 with Mapcreate Topo. The topo detail on the Lowrance software is much better than Garmin’s or Magellan’s. Its not a color unit, but the detail is so good, color really isn’t needed.
You would want to make sure that the outstanding maps that come with the device are easy to add, especially Topo maps that make it esier to distinguish the terrain your travel through. In this contemporary, some of the best handheld HPS come with aerial imagery too. As for color or no color display, it really depends on personal preference.
This is one of the more popular product by Garmin. Garmin is an extremely well-known brand which manufactures quality GPS for everyone. Every GPSMAP 64st comes preloaded with 250,000 geocaches locations and 5,000 waypoints. This GPS also has built-in worldwide basemap with shaded relief.
The Garmin GPSMAP 64st has a high-sensitivity GPS and GLOSNASS receiver with quad helix antenna. This GPS is highly accurate although the track function does wander slightly while standing still because it is made for people who are constantly on the move. The reception would still be great even though you are in a dense cover such as areas with thick tree cover. The tracks would also perfectly line up with the topo and custom maps.
The Garmin 64s locks into the satellites much faster than my 60csx does. With the extra Glonas satellites the signal is much more accurate. I get 8 to 9 foot accuracy most of the time compared to 12 to 14 foot accuracy with the 60csx.
The unit dimension for the GPS is 2.4” x.6.3”x1.4” while the display size is 1.43”x2.15”. The display resolution is 160×240 pixels. The 2.6 inches sunlight-readable color screen will save you the hassle of focusing on the screen just to read the map. Eventhough the screen is small, it is clear in both low light and bright light condition. You may also like the buttons compared to the touch screen which is especially useful in cold climate hunting.
The Garmin GPSMAP 64st also has a display type which is transflective, 65-K color TFT. The Bluetooth function which is available is useful for transferring routes to people nearby. With this GPS, it is easy to set way points when wearing gloves too.
The batter life for the GPS is about 16 hours. This would be perfect for a one-day trip but be sure to stock up on batteries if it is longer than that. You can consider taking a few sets of rechargeable AA batteries on your trip but I doubt that this thing would go off that easily!
There is also 8GB of built in memory for you to install maps, updates and point of interests. The interface is very user-friendly and there are plenty of settings to suit your needs. Really suitable for intensive data entry because of the large storage. You may also use a software named Basecamp to drop photos on your map where they were taken from the embedded geotag.
This basically works with any camera that geotags photos. The 8GB is definitely a good capacity for geocaching too which means you can save coordinates from the web. For those who use iPhone 4s or more advanced versions, you can pair GPSMAP 64st with your devices to use the smart notification feature. When connected, any text, email, or alert received on your iPhone will be forwarded to the GPSMAP 64st.
I really like ability to load custom maps. If you have an android phone or tablet you should check out the Custom Maps app. It lets you take a picture of a paper map and quickly geo-reference it using google earth. The resulting file can easily be uploaded to google earth and to your GPSMAP 64.
With just a little effort, you can get nearly 24K of topographical maps for free. Make sure you download the Garmin Express Software and update the firmware on the device after you get it. One more tip, use the Garmin Basecamp software to plot your course before leaving, it is much faster than trying to enter them manually on the GPS.
Finally, a micro SD card can be added to the GPS for extra storage. You have to buy this separately because it is not included in the package. You would be able to load both purchased and free maps onto the internal hard drive and SD card with minimal hassle. The text notifications would also work instantly.
The altimeter is not perfect because it might not be that accurate even though you have calibrated it. Since this GPS is waterproof, it can take some splashes of water and still survive it.
All and all, a really amazing product for the prize. There would also be useful updates for you from Gamin to fix glitches while improving your outdoor experience. These GPS are tough which makes it durable, accurate and reliable.
This GPS does not have a high-sensitivity receiver. Even so, the GPS automatically calibrates the digital compass and acquires latitude and longitude coordinates. The Bushnell BackTrack D-Tour tracks mileage, speed, temperature and bearing. This will definitely be useful when you get lost in the woods. You can mark five waypoints and navigate your way back to each waypoint by following the digital compass.
Even so, there is no map display and it does not export GPX data. You may view your data on Google Maps through the D-Tour’s desktop app which the satellite acquisition may take about 10 minutes under dense coverage. If you are in an open area, it may take you less than two minutes to lock onto a satellite.
There may be miscalculations by this GPS. Hence, at that point you have to reset the unit to make it get back on track. But overall, this GPS is really accurate and it will get you back to the place that you have started. It is much simpler to navigate than most GPS out there!
To give a physical review of this GPS, it weighs 170 grams with 4.125 inches in height, 2.75 inches in width and 0.875inches in depth. The screen size is 1.625×1.625 inches. The weight of this unit is 3.8 oz without any batteries.
The display type used for the Bushnell BackTrack D-Tour is Grayscale LCD. The GPS also has a blacklit display which makes it easy to read at night. As for the interface of this unit, it is really simple because you do not have to sort through menus to find certain settings because the settings a few but useful. This GPS is focused on one task which is finding the location which you have visited earlier.
As for the battery, this GPS requires 3 AAA batteries to function. The battery life of this GPS is roughly 16 to 20 hours. You would be able to navigate without problem even in pouring rain be it day or night.
In addition to that, this unit is made from weather resistant construction (IPX4). Hence, you can explore the wilderness without worrying about damaging your GPS. This is because the BackTrack D-Tour has a rugged water resistant exterior with an international protection rating of IPX4 which means you can be a little bit more careless.
Since this GPS is lower cost, it has no built-in memory and it does not accept data cards. Hence, you would not be able to save too many things such as point of interests because there is only a few hundred MB of memory available. Generally, this GPS is able to store up to five locations and the internal memory logs up to 48 hours of trip data which is about 2MB. It is also compatible with windows SP or later versions and Mac OSX 10.4.9 or later. You can upload your trips to a map and it will show you all your trip.
With this function, you can share your data through social media, email or even save it into a computer. If all you need is a digital compass, a GPS tracker, a speed sensor and a device that points you to the waypoint while telling the remaining distance to the destination, this is the product for you!
Basically, it is able to store and locate up to five locations. The BackTrack D-Tour allows you to mark five separate points along your journey. It will tell you the distance and direction of how you should return back to the stored point(s). If you want to go back to your campsite, find your way back to your tree stand or any other location, this is the gadget which you will need.
The distance which are displayed would be in yards/miles or meters/kilometers. The temperature shown would also be in degree Celsius or Fahrenheit. The time which is displayed also includes military or civilian which is there for your convenience. The altitude is also shown on the GPS. Not only that, it shows your latitude and longitude coordinates. The self-calibrated digital compass works when you are standing still or on the move.
The information that you get even the mileage would be very accurate. The information gathered are useful and accurate which makes your trip easier. The built-in accelerometer allows it for tilted holding which is not standard for any compass. With this digital accuracy, you will always know where you are heading.
Even so, the software provided by Bushnell cannot export the route and it uses proprietary GPS track format. You can solve this by using a website called GPS visualizer that can convert the file to GPX.
If you are in for this purchase, the package includes one D-Tour GPS unit, one Quick Start Guide and one USB Cable. The Buschnell BackTrack D-Tour GPS has one your limited warranty. This product is available in Green or Red. All and all, this is a budget-friendly device with no frills. It delivers basic safety and positioning while being light in weight. This GPS is for people who are looking for capable units which manages principle task with simplicity and efficiency. You may save your life if you hunt alone with this device!
The Garmin eTrex 10 has a high-sensitivity receiver. It has WASS-enabled (Wide Area Augmentation System) GPS receiver with HotFix and GLONASS support for fast positioning and providing reliable signals. As a general guideline, the Garmin eTrex 10 can lock on to about 18 satellites under a sky with no obstacles. The GPS would also show an accuracy of 7 feet. Even if you are buried indoors or under some thick forest, it will still have good signal despite of it.
As a bonus, the acquisition of satellites is quite fast which would take nearly 30 seconds to find your location fresh out of the box. The subsequent acquisition time even though you have travelled far without turning it on will be almost immediate.
The Plus HotFix satellite prediction would also enhance its performance in heavy cloud cover, wooded areas and canyons. Hence, you do not have to worry about the satellite link.
Moreover, the display resolution of this GPS is 128×160 pixels. The display size is 1.4”x1.7”. This unit allows the user to choose the order of screens that comes up such as boot up screen, satellite screen and map screen. After you turn the GPS on, you may want to go to the satellite screen to see how many satellites have been found. You can then press the back button which puts you back to map screen.
A 2.2” Monochrome display that’s easy to read under heavy tree cover or in direct sunlight will quickly and accurately display your location. All and all, it provides a large and bright display which is easy to see while navigating through it.
I would like to touch on the physical aspect of this GPS. The unit dimensions include 2.1” width, 4.0” height and 1.3” of diameter.
The display type of the screen is transflective and monochrome. This 2.2 inches monochrome display is a color screen that is readable without the use of backlighting in a lit environment. The color screen will show the physical relief of the region at a 3 mile scare and above while the white background can show for 2 miles or less.
You are in for a surprise, as the battery life lasts for about 20 hours. This GPS is powered with two AA batteries. The backlight can be lowered to none if you wish to make the battery last for almost 25 hours! The AA batteries have to be separately bought and are not included in the package.
Furthermore, there is no built-in memory and memory expansion slot in the eTrex 10 which means it does not accept data cards. Garmin doesn’t publicize the amount of internal memory available for geocaches, etc.
With the GPS laid bare without any .gpx files, it had 2.3 MB available. But I can tell you that even a single pocket query of 500 caches can generate a low memory warning.
You can even change the display for daytime or night time screen in the settings. You may set the more favourable one as a default screen too.
The Garmin eTrex 10 is a great choice for anyone looking for a basic GPS device. Pre-loaded to every eTrex 10 is a worldwide basemap so you can easily mark and enter waypoints no matter what part of the globe you are in! The basemap is worldwide in scope for major highways such as the Legend which covered North and South America as far as major highways are concerned. While for the rest of the world, it contains at least capital cities and towns.
With the North America Roadmap, you will have every road in the United States and Canada with most roads in the Mexico. You can see the map of the selected address while zooming in or out as you wish. You may even navigate to that spot!
The worldwide bas map coverage has nearly 10000 points of interest, 100 saved tracks and up to 1000 user-programmable waypoints to guide you to your destination.
If a dot is not labelled, you can move the arrow to the dot and the display will identify the town or highway. One can search for worldwide cities by just direct spelling. When the town is found, you are free to examine the map in the town’s setting. The street level mapping inside and beyond the United States is available from Garmin and topographical maps.
Also, the Garmin eTrex 10 is housed in a rugged & waterproof case. This means that you can take your eTrex 10 on any adventure, rain or shine! Basically, this GPS is waterproof to IPX7 standards which is for protection against splashes, rain etcetera. The water-resistant case would repel moisture to withstand the elements. This rugged handheld navigator would mean more sustainability. But be careful, it may be water-resistant but it cannot float!
A great companion for a beginner or an avid GPS user, the Garmin eTrex 10 is excellent for marking waypoints while making and viewing routes. Do not let the compact size of this unit fool you! With the ability to store more than 1000 waypoints, your adventures can take you to many places.
The eTrex 10 also offers Paperless Geocaching. You can now store detailed information about caches such as location, terrain, difficulty, hints, and descriptions. This device will allow you to download geocaches directly into your GPS unit without much hassle.
All of this information is excellent to have right in the palm of your hand for your next outing. If you are looking for a handheld unit without all of the bells and whistles, the Garmin eTrex 10 is the unit for you.
To conclude, the Garmin eTrex 10 is a great choice for handheld navigation for the budget savvy hunters. This eTrex model is equipped with a high-sensitivity GPS receiver, a 2.2-inch monochrome display, and a worldwide basemap making it easier than ever to see where you are and where you have been. The continuous update by Garmin would also make the GPS more efficient in the future.
Magellan eXplorist GC (Waterproof Geocaching GPS) Review
The GPS has a 2.2 inches transflective display. The vibrant color transflective screen provides the best readability in direct sunlight. I suggest you set the background to pure white and leave the back light on all time (it will turn off in sleep mode, which you can set) for best viewing in sun or shade.
Furthermore, a high-sensitivity SiRFstarIII GPS with three-meter accuracy puts you on top of the cache and make the find that much easier. If you are in for a 3D map, this is the GPS for you as it will show you the roads, rivers and lakes in the display. This makes the GPS extremely accurate. It also includes child waypoint handling while the map and compass screen are combined to be made perfect for searching out cache.
Moreover, this GPS is easy to use with an intuitive use interface with simple controls and menus. The vibrant graphic would also ease your effort to find places. The Magellan eXplorist GC touts ease of use which comes preloaded with decent assortment of caches right out of the box.
Also, a great GPS with completely paperless geocaching. If you are an avid fan for geocaching, this would be the GPS for you. You can easily find a dozen or so caches in different terrains. In fact, the hints, descriptions and couple logs are all in the same unit. The information given would be specific sunrise or sunset time, tides or detailed topographical information.
If you want to add your own cache information, you may use the Magellan’s Communicator plugin. All you have to do is drag and drop a GPX file directly to the unit or use Vantagepoint. There is also a plugin designed for the GC which means users can also use GSAK. Magellan claims that its eXplorist has the best in class base map!
The Magellan eXplorist GC can easily connect to Geocaching.com User Community and perform “Send to GPS’ function with ease. It will create and sync Pocket Queries and upload Field Notes. The GPS is pre loaded with the most popular geocaches in the world and a worldwide basemap. There is about 999 popular geocaches preloaded in the unit. If you are looking for a great outdoor experience, you can try searching the top 1000 geocaches worldwide!
The elaborate more on the paperless geocaching, it allows you to download more than 20 unique characteristics of each cache, including name, location, description, hider, size, difficulty, terrain, hint, spoiler, attributes and the last 20 user logs among a large number of details.
Generally, this GPS is compact, lightweight and it gives a solid feeling. For the product dimensions, it is 2.2 inches x 1.4 inches x 4.4 inches. The item weighs about 5.1 ounces.
For the Magellan eXplorist GC, a joystick control is available in the Global Positioning System which makes it extremely comfortable for navigation.
In addition, the battery life of this GPS is considerably good as it can generally last for 18 hours. Comparing to a phone, a GPS can keep track of you in an off beaten path or trail while keeping you informed of where to go. The battery also can be charged up with a USB cable.
Basically, an internal storage of 700MB is ready for 10000 geocache downloads. There is a USB connection available which means you can connect this device to your computer.
Since this unit does not come in a real manual, you would have to check out online sources on how to use it. This unit has lots of great setting which makes it even better with the new software update.
If you have decided to buy the Magellan eXplorist GC, you will get a USB Data Cable, 2 AA batteries and a user handbook. All and all, a perfect instrument for geocaching! It will definitely get you on top with most caches.
This is another masterpiece by Garmin. There is a base model of Garmin GPS 62 Handheld GPS Navigator, 1.7GB Compass & Altimeter, 3.5GB Compass & Altimeter, 3.5GB with Camera and 3.5GB with camera & maps. Basically, a handheld GPS with wireless connectivity.
Furthermore, this handheld GPS also has a high-sensitivity receiver. The high sensitivity quad helix GPS antenna can get unparalleled receptions. The Garmin GPSMAP 62 will amaze you with how well it gets a satellite signals even in deeply covered areas. You can always can a solid signal regardless of how dense the forest is. Overall, this GPS has great accuracy which is around 9 ft regardless of whether you are under a tree or a large metal object.
It is capable of picking up multiple satellite signals in your house even on “normal” GPS mode. With the WAAS enabled, you may even get an accuracy of even 5 ft.
The Garmin GPSMAP 62 handheld GPS navigator is also incredibly sensitive by accurately measuring your speed be it walking, biking or driving a car. To shed some light on the dimensions and weight, this GPS has a width of 2.4 inches, a depth of 1.4 inches, a height of 6.3 inches and a weight of 9.17oz.
If you are indoors, this GPS would take less than 60 seconds only to acquire the first satellite signal while it can navigate in 90 seconds or less. If you turn it off and on again (assuming that you accidentally off it), this GPS can navigate as soon as it gets booted.
The display resolution is also great with 160×240 pixels. The screen is also very easy to see under direct sunlight or during the night.
Moreover, the display type would be a 2.6 inches transflective, 65-K color TFT display. This 2.6 inches’ screen is a sunlight-readable color screen. The use interface might need a little getting used to but it is very user-friendly. Also, the interface can be customized to individual’s preference. This 2.6-inch TFT LCD display will provide a clear interface while using.
There is a menu bar that allows you to add shortcuts you could easily access by using the quit and page keys which makes switching different functions really easy. For example, you can alternate from map to compass, to geocaches or to elevation plot easily.
If you plan to ride a bike or a vehicle while using a GPS, this GPS would make it seem like a breeze. This GPS also supports BirdsEye Satellite Imagery through subscription which integrates satellite images with your maps.
The Garmin GPSMAP 62 Handheld GPS navigator has an amazing battery life of 20 hours. The power saver feature will also work great. The control buttons are easy to use and intuitive. The screen is large enough and bright enough that you have no problem seeing the maps and information, even when you have the unit mounted on my bike or any vehicle.
You can load the free maps inside the built-in storage of 1. 7GB.If this capacity is not enough, a microSD card slot is available for use albeit it is not included. The Garmin GPSMAP 62 has built-in worldwide base map with shaded relief. You may also add a wide array of detailed topographic, marine and road maps. The 1.7GB onboard memory will actually be enough for you to download high resolution topo maps of a few places.
The paperless geocaching is great because it will take you directly to the cache. If you love geocaching, this GPS is definitely for you as you can utilize the paperless geocaching which makes it incredibly convenient. If you use your cellphone to view logs or hints, it is not feasible because there may be rain which spoils your phone if it is exposed to it.
Since it may take you a lot of time just to enter geocache coordinates by hand into other GPS, this GPS downloads them directly into the unit in seconds. You will get the coordinate, cache information, log records and hints within a short time! The unit also manages the found caches in a separate space for ease in recording the findings on the geocaching website. This GPS would also have amazing accuracy to get you to the cache site.
The GPSMAP 62 Handheld GPS navigator supports geocaching GPX files for downloading geocaches and details straight into your unit. You may also explore routes uploaded by millions of Garmin connected users and share your experience with the community in Twitter or Facebook.
This GPS is really suitable for adventure as it is durable and waterproof. As a bonus, this GPS has a 3-axis compass with barometric altimeter. This GPS is rugged and tough, meaning it can withstand most conditions Mother Nature has to offer including heavy rain. Generally, a rugged and waterproof navigator!
Even so, this GPS does not have Bluetooth function. One more thing to be wary of, Garmin’s website only specifies that the GPSMAP 62s only accepts up to 4 GB of MicroSD card storage. A Micro SDHC card can also take its place.
There might be a squeaking sound near the power button which is the side of the GPS when the power button is on. There might be some complaints about this but this is actually not a big deal. There may be a bit of hassle removing the caches from the unit because it cannot be done with the unit itself, you have to plug it into a computer and delete the files using a computer. The manual does not provide guidance on this, hence it is wise if you check out this article. Also, the USB cable that comes with it is only 19 inches.
The file structure is totally illogical. Many functions are NOT where you would think they are and you struggle again and again. Hence, there must be a bit of getting used to.
If you plan to buy the Garmin GPSMAP 62, the package includes the unit, a quick start guide, a belt clip and USB cable. The actual user manual is found in the memory of the unit itself as a .pdf file, in a folder labeled “Documents”. This GPS is really easy to use and it will help you find your way when you need it the most!
These are best hunting GPS that can be found in the market! Be sure to choose the best GPS that fits your needs and wants. If you would to share your thoughts on the best GPS in the market, please comment below. Fancy a hunting jacket?