HOW TO CHOOSE A GPS FOR HIKING AND TREKKING

Hiking is an exciting outdoor activity, full of unknown adventure experience. However, it is the first priority to keep hikers safe in the wild. An outdoor GPS tracking device will share real-time location of each hiker even when there’s no cellular service. 

Let’s see what we need to know to choose the GPS that best suits our hiking and trekking trips. The first thing is to see the characteristics that make a GPS more complete or better adapted for use in trekking and hiking (these may vary for other types of activities like mountain bike, mountain races, etc.).

The main features to consider when analyzing the devices are (they are not placed in order of importance):

  • Screen and manageability
  • Weight and size
  • Type of batteries
  • Memory
  • Construction, materials and protection of the device
  • Digital compass and barometric altimeter
  • Additional characteristics
  • Software and maps for the device
  • Usability with free software

 SCREEN AND MANAGEABILITY

As for its manageability, all the devices can be divided into two large blocks, the touch screen and the keypad. The general trend is towards touch equipment, as with other devices such as smart phones, tablets, laptops, etc.

In general, touch screen devices are handled more easily and faster. Its main drawback is its use with gloves. At this point we have followers and detractors of both devices equally and it is a bit of a personal choice. If our routes are mainly in cold, snow, etc. environments, being able to use the device without removing gloves is a very important option. Similarly, it is possible to use special gloves or special pencils for touch screens. As a rule, I opt for touch screens. The screen should have a good resolution and a size of at least 2 inches.

WEIGHT AND SIZE

As it happens when evaluating any object that is part of the equipment that we will carry during our routes, something to take into account is the weight that we are going to have to carry and the volume that is going to occupy us in our backpack. This weight must include the use batteries and replacement batteries. 

 

TYPE OF BATTERIES

Ideally, the equipment should use standard type interchangeable batteries. It is not at all recommended that they carry built-in batteries that we cannot exchange for a replacement. Likewise, the fact that the device can work with conventional AA batteries is always desirable, since this type of batteries can be found virtually anywhere. The equipment should last at least 10-12 hours running on the same batteries.
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