Handheld GPS Device For Walkers And Adventurers
Handheld GPS Device For Walkers And Adventurers

GPS devices are used to find the position of a person by using satellites. People use them in their cars, but they are also useful for walkers and adventurers. They are especially helpful when people don’t have a map or Internet connection.

Users can use GPS devices in two different ways: to navigate off-road or to navigate on-road. They work by telling the user where they are located and how to get back on track if they go astray.


Time was and going anywhere on a walking trip or adventure and you’d have to take with you scores of maps and navigational equipment, none of which was particularly suited to being used in bad weather if you wanted to avoid the possibility of getting lost within the first few miles. The advent of satellite navigation, or GPS for walkers and adventurers, has changed all that, so that you can now set off on your journey with just one handheld GPS device to direct you safely from place to place. However, just what should you be looking for in a handheld GPS device if you’re a walker or adventurer and how can you get the most out of it?

A Typical hand-held GPS Device

Garmin GPSMAP9.6

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Garmin etrex Touch 35 Handheld GPS Navigator 19.6

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The SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger Review

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Having a sturdy and waterproof case is an absolutely essential criteria to consider when choosing to buy a hand-held GPS device. A plastic case is fine, but check that it has a rubber gasket where the front and back casings meet. You’ll also find a rubber gasket to be useful when you’re operating the GPS device and it’s wet, it will give you a much better grip on the device and let you hold and operate it, pressing the buttons with just one hand. The durability of a hand-held case is where they will always score well overusing your cell phone with a GPS app.

Hand-held GPS Cases

Most hand-held GPS are powered by two AA batteries, which may or may not be rechargeable ones, so make sure the back casing is reasonably easy to remove in order to change the batteries whilst you’re out. I would avoid a hand-held GPS device that has a bespoke battery that has to be charged inside the unit, or worse from a USB port. After all, how are you going to do that in the middle of nowhere?

The front case will incorporate the screen which needs to be bright and a high-definition one so that it is clearly viewable even in strong sunlight. Obviously, a color screen should be preferred to a black and white one, but remember this will drain the batteries more quickly.

getgear GPS Unit Case for Garmin inReach9.7

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TUSITA Case for Garmin eTrex Touch9.6

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TUSITA Case Compatible with Garmin9.5

TUSITA Case Compatible with Garmin
Amazon Choice

  • Case Compatible with Garmin GPSMAP 66s 66st 66sr – Silicone Protective Cover – Handheld GPS Accessories

We thought it is Best not to Get to Technical here!

The circuit Board

Without getting into too much technical detail there are a few things to think about regarding the circuit board in a handheld GPS device. The circuit board is the heart and brains of the unit. 24 satellites orbiting the earth twice a day at 11000 km an hour create the GPS data, which is accurate to at worst 15m. However, having a WAAS-enabled circuit board, that’s Wide Area Augmentation System a US-based satellite network; and EGNOS, the European system which is now operational – means your level of accuracy will increase tremendously to within 5m at worst. There will be some memory stored on the circuit board, but the latest models also allow you to add a memory card, such as an SD card, which is useful if you want to store lots of routes or will be away for some time.

Detail on hand-held GPS Maps

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Other handheld GPS Features

You’ll be able to decide between devices with full national mapping services pre-loaded and ones that have built-in databases of maps to access on the move. Fully topographic maps can be bought for some models, but these maps are still quite expensive and, if you’re good at interpreting the ordinary maps anyway – might not give an awful lot of detail. Personally, I wouldn’t buy a hand-held GPS unless it incorporated an electronic compass and barometric altimeter, which simply saves having to carry yet more gear around with me. I’d also want one that can navigate around a route/walk using waypoints and can record my journey with a track-log, giving me information such as journey distance and speed, etc.

GPS on a Smartphone

GPS Device or Smartphone with a GPS App?

Every time the GPS device will win for a serious walker or adventurer. First off regarding the case, quite simply you won’t be able to rely on a Smartphone to be waterproof or not crack the first time it is dropped! Another plus for hand-held GPS devices over Smartphones is the battery life. With a Smartphone, you won’t have the choice of buying one that you can easily insert new/charged batteries into and have to be able to recharge its bespoke battery, which means accessing a power outlet somewhere. If you’re out in the wilderness with a purposely made GPS device you can simply insert some new batteries that you’re carrying with you.

Magic Earth Navigation Maps9.6

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MAPS.ME — Offline Maps and Navigation9.6

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GPS Offline Custom Map Navigation9.6

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Safety First – But Have Fun Walking With Your GPS Satellite Navigation

Safety First Using handheld GPS Device

OK, so you’ve got a sophisticated piece of equipment in your hand – but that’s no reason to leave common sense at home. If the straight line it gives you between two points is perilously close to a cliff edge or other potentially dangerous area, you just might want to think twice about how closely you’re going to follow its suggestion. You still have to interpret and understand what the device is telling you, so you could still get lost using a GPS. In which case you still need to make sure you take all the appropriate life-saving gear, that’s recommended by all of the experts. But, for all the need to be careful, most of all – have fun and enjoy yourself.

GPS Garmin inReach9.6

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GPS Garmin Montana 680t9.6

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Garmin GPS MAP 66s9.6

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