gps for fitness

December 15, 2014

Tips when buying GPS Hiking Receivers

It is essential for one to have a sense of direction and to be able to track your position when going on any type of hike, long or short. It will be ideal that you should have at least some knowledge of using a compass if you are planning to explore unchartered paths. But even then, anyone is still prone to getting lost. GPS hiking receivers, which are mobile, handheld and lightweight, let you have a  sense of where exactly you are on the map whenever you need it.

Knowing where you currently are is just one use of a hiking receiver, and knowing where you have been is definitely another priceless benefit that you’ll really be thankful for.

Specific units allow you to track your way and record it, so that the next time you want to go back to let’s say the same forest waterfall you stumbled upon on one of your hiking days, you can still find your way back to that same place.

When considering buying a GPS hiking receiver, route tracking should not be the only feature to take into consideration. You should also consider:

  • Displays
  • Routing/Waypoints
  • Accuracy
  • Water-Resistance
  • GPS Hiking Displays

Displays: From the non-graphical to the three dimensional types, there are a lot of variations to choose from when it comes to display. It would be wise to stay clear of non-graphical units. Colored screens would be better, but without a special screen technology called Trans Reflective, it would be hard to view under direct sunlight. A receiver with a map display would be preferable.

Routing & Waypoints: Units that allow for way points and routing are more preferable. This way, you can record the routes you’ve taken, track your progress, and set way points to guide you on your way. You can also set your own way points, just like in the example we gave earlier on our hidden waterfall.

Accuracy: Accuracy can vary per unit, but most units will be calibrated and precise enough. If precision is what you’re looking for, you would prefer one that uses Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS). Make sure that the area you will be hiking in offers this service! WAAS utilizes additional satellites to better track your position on the map for utmost accuracy.

Water-resistance/Waterproof features: A lot of GPS units are not waterproof. It would be ideal to get a waterproof or water-resistant unit if it would be mostly used in the outdoors. It’s just too easy to stumble and drop your new $100+ GPS Hiking receiver in a nearby puddle!

Lastly, stay within your budget. You can still find great GPS Hiking units ranging from $100-$150, and you can even stumble upon some great discounts and deals.