Best GPS Tracker for Hiking, Backpacking, and Geocaching

Best GPS Tracker for Hiking, Backpacking, and Geocaching

If you love spending time outdoors, then you know how important it is to have a reliable GPS tracker. After all, there’s nothing worse than getting lost in the wilderness! That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best GPS trackers for hiking, backpacking, and geocaching. Whether you’re looking for a simple tracker that will help you find your way back to the trailhead or a sophisticated device that can track your every move, we’ve got you covered.

List of GPS Tracker for Hiking, Backpacking, and Geocaching:

1. Garmin GPSMAP 64st

Garmin GPSMAP 64st is a high-quality GPS Tracker designed for Hiking, Backpacking, and Geocaching.

The dual GPS/GLONASS satellite sensors help you navigate accurately. The quad-helix antenna makes sure that the signals are always strong from the satellites.

Garmin GPSMAP 64st comes with 8 GB of onboard microSD Storage, a 2.6-inch bright color screen, and is preloaded with TOPO US 100K maps. 

GPSMAP 64st supports paperless geocaching, thanks to 250,000 preloaded caches with all the information from Additionally, it comes with an impressive battery life of 16 hours and wireless connectivity via Bluetooth and ANT+ technology.

With the 3-axis compass with barometric altimeter, Garmin GPSMAP 64st starts at $349.99.

2. Garmin Oregon 700

Garmin Oregon 700 does an excellent job on and off the usual routes due to the dual navigation system (GPS and GLONASS) and high-performing ABC (Altimeter, Barometer, and Compass) sensors.

With the built-in Altimeter, you can monitor ascent and descent precisely and the 3-axis electronic compass keeps your location or bearing whether you are moving or not.

The unique TracBack Feature and a bright 3-inch color touchscreen available on Garmin Oregon 700 allow you to navigate back to the same starting point where you started.

‘There is extensive support for multiple mapping options like BlueChart g2 HD (meant for water navigation) and the infamous City Navigator NT for accurate driving directions.

There are multiple connectivity options available viz. WiFi, Bluetooth, and ANT+. It also supports paperless Geocaching via 

Oregon 700 from Garmin can be purchased at $399.99 from the official Garmin website.

3.  Spot X 2-way Satellite Messenger

Spot X offers a 2-way satellite messaging service when you are beyond the cellular coverage or off the grid.

All you need to do is connect Spot X to your smartphone via Bluetooth to the Spot X app and you can access all your contacts and contact easily with friends and family. You can also communicate with the Search and Rescue services in a risky situation.

SPOT X can be also used as a dedicated communication device as it has its own US Mobile number. This allows your friends and family to message you directly at any time.

Spot X provides customizable tracking intervals ranging from 2.5 to 60 minutes so that you can efficiently track your journey with Spot’s cloud-based mapping system which is quite easy to use.

There is a built-in compass and programmable waypoints so that you don’t miss your way home and you can use the check-in feature to let your well-wishers know that you are fine.

At the moment, SPOT X 2-way Satellite Messanger is priced at $249.99.

4.  Garmin inReach Explorer+

Garmin inReach Explorer+ comes with all essential GPS features like sharing of location, vital SOS functions, and navigation for your local or international adventures in nature.

The 100% Global Iridium Satellite network (Subscription-based) provides unique two-way texting. Furthermore, you can pair your Garmin inReach Explorer+ with compatible mobile devices to download maps, US NOAA charts, and color aerial imagery using the free Earthmate app.

With the pre-loaded DeLorme TOPO Map, the Garmin inReach Explorer+ comes with onscreen GPS routing, a compass, an altimeter, and an accelerometer. You can share your locations and tracks using the MapShare page and embed in on your website or social media platform.

The SOS in the case of a critical emergency is sent to the GARMIN IERCC team which is accessible in over 200 countries, making them a global leader.

The Garmin inReach Explorer+ will cost you $449.99. Subscriptions for other plans are additional and you will have to purchase them separately.

5.  Suunto Traverse Alpha

If you are not up for handheld GPS Tracking devices, Sunnto Traverse Alpha will suit your need as it is a GPS-enabled smartwatch that is equipped with dual GPS/GLONASS sensors suitable for outdoor activities like hunting, trekking, and fishing.

Features like a moon phase calendar, shot detection, sunrise alert, weather trend, and red backlight for nighttime will keep you equipped for difficult times during your exploration.

This awesome GPS Tracker made in Finland is made with military-grade components and is a steal at $524.95.

Do you need a GPS for hiking?

Even the most experienced hikers carry a GPS tracker as it allows them to navigate new trails and areas with confidence and they can be worry-free about being lost and left stranded without any help. Your GPS tracker can be your best companion if it is of good quality.

Most of the good-quality GPS trackers are loaded with multiple other sensors like an Altimeter, compass, preloaded maps, and other utility tools which can be really useful in the time of need. So, you need to carry a GPS tracker when you are outdoors, either solo or with your group.

Does GPS work without a phone signal?

Yes, GPS is capable of working independently without a phone signal and you will still be able to communicate even if you are off the grid. Your GPS tracker is installed with its own GPS transmitter which receives a signal from the navigation satellites and uses it to notify you of the accurate positioning.

Further, the preinstalled maps on your GPS trackers will also use your position to locate your exact geographical standing.

What is the easiest GPS to use?

Almost all GPS trackers are quite easy to get used to as we are a generation that has mastered using much more complicated smart devices. There is a small learning curve where you will need to check and explore the features of a particular GPS tracker. And that is it.

But, If the particular device has to be picked for its ease of use, any Garmin GPS tracker viz. Garmin GPSMAP 64st, GPS Oregon 700, etc are quite user-friendly and are designed in such a way that the user faces the least complexities while using them.

Smartwatches for Hiking Vs Dedicated GPS Trackers for Hiking

Smartwatches and GPS Trackers are two feasible options when it comes to tracking during outdoor hikes and exploration. Let’s compare them and see –

1. Accuracy

GPS-dedicated smartwatches and handheld GPS trackers are similar in accuracy. Still, some GPS Trackers like Garmin GPSMAP 64st come with a dedicated triaxial antenna which offers unmatched reception of the signals. 

2. Battery Life

Dedicated GPS comes with a bigger battery compared to smartwatches. Smartwatches can last from 1 to 3 days on a single charge whereas dedicated GPS can last up to 10 days.

3. Visibility

The displays on dedicated GPS trackers are larger and sunlight-readable compared to most smartwatches. 

4. Durability

GPS Trackers are designed to withstand and function in rough environments whereas not all smartwatches are built for that purpose. 

Can I use my phone’s GPS for hiking?

While smartphones are great with features like GPS and ABC sensors, they are not recommended for serious hiking or trekking as they are prone to easy damage during falls.

Once the display is broken, the phone is pretty much useless. Further, smartphones have many features and high-quality displays that drain the battery quickly.

So, it can be used for short vacations and easy-track trekking but not for professional trekking.

What is and How accurate is a handheld GPS and which one is best for Hiking?

Handheld GPS is a portable screen device just like your phone which can be used for specific tasks like exploring maps and navigating your way during your trekking or hiking.

Handheld GPS trackers are more accurate tracking devices because they are embedded with antennae for excellent reception of signals.

Out of the many great handheld GPS Trackers, I would suggest Garmin GPSMAP 64st as it is loaded with all the crucial features and quite budget-friendly.