TRAVELING

The Best Hunting GPS: A Must-have Off-road Accessory

Best hunting gps
Mark Foster
Written by Mark Foster

There’s nothing more terrifying than getting lost in the great outdoors. Sure, you’ll be able to last a couple days with your supplies, but when they start to run low, you’ll be wishing you could find your way back a lot faster. The thing with nature is that you’re at its mercy, anything can happen.

This doesn’t mean you should prevent yourself from exploring nature and all it’s glory, but you should be properly equipped just in case Mother Nature throws a curveball at you.

That being said, you’ll want to look at investing in something that’ll help track your movements. So, we’re going to show you the best hunting GPS on the market.

What Do Hunting GPS’s Do?

A hunting GPS is basically a technologically advanced compass and map. They come with a display screen where you’ll be able to see where you’re located on the map, the temperature, longitude and latitude and terrain features. This will help you map out where you are and where you need to be going.

What Activities Do You Use It for?

The great thing about hunting GPSs is that they’re versatile in features. In fact, for certain activities, your GPS will be able to provide you with specific features to make your journey easier.

GPS activities

Let’s take a closer look at the activities you’ll be able to do with a GPS.

  • Geocaching: Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity where you use a GPS to navigate and discover containers called geocaches. They’re marked in specific locations around the world.
    That being said, geocaching is highly dependent on GPS devices. Some models will feature a built-in paperless feature for marking down container information, making it easier for you to navigate your way around.
  • Biking: If you’re a biker, there are a couple features which you’ll be specifically interested in. The GPS can come with a biking unit that comes with cadence and heart rate sensors for training.
    Most GPS units also come with a handlebar mount for your bike, however, be aware that this will create extra vibration against your gps.
  • Hunting or hiker: If you’re a hunter or hiker, GPS units are perfect and a must-have for you. When going off the beaten path, you need a GPS unit that’ll support you.
    Your GPS will be able to display topomaps and street maps, allowing you to find your way around easily. With hunting GPS units, they also can come with a GPS collar for your dog.
  • Street Driving/ Off-roading: If you want to use a GPS for off-roading/street driving, you’ll need to look for one with a larger screen and touch-screen options. You’ll be able to find yourself around any town in the world with one of these.

Now that you know the various activities that you can do with a GPS, you need to look at some of the features you’ll be needing.

Features in A Hunting GPS

Before we show you the best handheld hunting GPS, you need to know what to look for in one.

  • Waterproof: If you’re going to be hiking in the elements, you need to make sure that your GPS is waterproof. Do not buy a GPS that requires you to wrap it in five plastic bags.
    It’s not going to last. This feature may result in you spending a couple more extra dollars, but it’ll pay off in the long run. This device is your support for when you get lost, so you want to make sure it’ll work in extreme weather conditions.
  • Voice prompts: This isn’t entirely a feature that you must have. However, it can be extremely helpful when you’re unable to use your hands to hold the GPS.
  • Mapping ability: Make sure that your GPS is able to display topographic maps and street maps on the display screen. It’ll make navigation easier.
  • Map Storage: You want to make sure that your GPS has a slot for a memory card. That way, you’ll be able to save your maps onto the card and use them for your next journey.
  • Sensitivity: Depending on where you’ll be, you want to make sure your GPS is sensitive. If you’ll be in thick forest, your GPS will need to be sensitive in order to detect location. So, look for a high-sensitivity chipset, you’ll have to pay more, however, it’s worth it.
  • Screen size: Make sure that you don’t have to squint in order to try to see the map. You want a screen that’s big, easy to read and is bright.
  • Battery life: If you’re out in the wild, the last thing you want is your battery dying. Battery life can vary greatly depending on the model you’re looking at and how much you use it. So, if you’re backpacking, try to look for a GPS with long lasting battery power and lightweight spare batteries,
  • Internal compass and altitude sensor: Basic GPS units are usually only able to show direction while you’re moving. However, you can get one that has a built-in compass as well and show direction even when you’re not moving. If you’re an avid hiker, you can get one with a barometric sensor, which is more accurate.
  • Car/Bike mount: If you’ll be driving or biking, you want to make sure you have a mount to hold your GPS. Some mounts will also aid in reducing vibration.

Now that you know the features that you should be looking for in a hunting GPS unit, it’s time to show you the best GPS units currently on the market.

Top Products Review of 2017

Magellan eXplorist 350H

Magellan eXplorist 350H

Weight: 14.4 oz

Dimensions: 5.8 x 2.44 x 5.7 inches

Specific Features: topographic map contour layer

Best Use: hunting

Description: The Magellan eXplorist 350H is a GPS designed with features specifically used for hunters. It’s Alaska tested and is both waterproof and powerful in nature, great for hunting.

The interface comes with a high-sensitivity SiRFstarIII GPS with 3-5 meter accuracy so you’ll be able to navigate your way through backcountry with ease.

It comes with 30 hunt specific waypoints, preloaded GMUs and WMUs as well as a base map with contour elevations. In addition, once purchased, the eXplorist also comes with a 1-year free subscription to DigitalGlobe satellite imagery.

The battery life is also pretty lengthy and will give you 18+ hours of life with just two AA batteries. The screen is also a pretty good size and can be read in both sunlight and night.

Related: If you want something a little smaller in size, TomTom has a GPS watch. It’s easier to carry and is hands-free. However, not recommended for hunting – you’ll want the extra features. But if you’re hiking or biking, this watch is a good alternative option.

Bushnell BackTrack Hunt

Bushnell BackTrack Hunt

Weight: 6.08 oz

Dimensions: 6 x 2 x 10 inches

Specific Features: Accurately predict peak animal activity

Best Use: hunting

Description: The Bushnell backtrack hunt is an exceptional hunting GPS unit. Its screen is HD with all its materials being tested for high-performance. Compact and small, however, this GPS is highly durable and water resistant.

It can log up to 48 hours of trip data, store and locate over 25 locations and displays temperature, distance, elevation, latitude, time and barometric pressure. In addition, you’ll also get information on the sunrise, sunset, moonrise and moonset.

So, for hunting, you’re all set with your data that’ll give you the best hunt. What’s cool about this GPS is that it can accurately predict the peak of animal activity based on the data presented.

So, you’ll be able to know when the best time to hunt is. Bushnell is a well-known company so they provide their customers with a 1-year warranty on all their products.

Related: If you’re looking for a handheld GPS, this one is probably the most compact you’ll find. However, you also have the option of making it a hands-free device by getting a Bushnell BackTrack D-Tour Armband, so, you can just strap in on your arm and you’re free to go.

Garmin Rino 610

Garmin Rino 610

Weight: 12.6 oz

Dimensions: 2.2 x 2.4 x 7.5 inches

Specific Features: glove friendly

Best Use: hunting

Description: The Garmin Rino 610 is a high-sensitivity WAAS-enabled waterproof GPS unit with 1.75GB of built-in memory. What’s different about this unit is that it’s designed with a quad helix antenna, so you’ll have your position found accurately and quickly.

It comes with a worldwide base map so you’ll be able to find yourself wherever you are. The maps come with detailed topographic, marine and road maps while also letting you download satellite imagery and integrate them into your map.

You can also interact with your friends by sending them your map via unit-to-unit text messages – another great feature if you get lost in a group. The BaseCamp feature also allows you to organize future trips and share them with your friends.

Garmin is highly known within the hunting community for producing outstanding equipment, so you’re in safe hands with the Garmin Rino 610.

Related: Garmin produces a couple other hunting GPS units, all of the high quality and durability. However, if you aren’t a fan of the helix antenna, then you can always opt for the Garmin Oregon which is another great alternative for a GPS unit that’s more streamlined in design.

Bushnell BackTrack G2

Bushnell BackTrack G2

Weight: 3.2 oz

Dimensions: 6.2 x 9.9 x 1 inches

Specific Features: Ergonomic shape

Best Use: hunting, backpacking, hiking

Description: The Bushnell backtrack is an ergonomically shaped, lightweight and compact GPS unit that’ll be able to go on the road with you, wherever you are.

Its high-sensitivity gaps receiver will make sure you’re accurately displayed on the map and the self-calibrating digital compass will always point you in the right direction.

The compact GPS personal locator is very simple in design with only 2 buttons to maneuver the device. You’ll be able to store 3 locations onto the device, not as many as the other devices reviewed, but it’s fine for smaller trips and if you’re not looking to store numerous maps onto it.

What’s great about this unit is because of it’s size, you can easily store this in your pocket or purse. It’s also water resistant, so, it’ll be able to withstand a couple rain drops.

Related: This unit isn’t the most ideal for hunting, however, it’s great for other outdoor activities. If you don’t need the extra features that many hunting GPS units provide, then this one will do the job for you perfectly. If you want more features than consider the Garmin eTrex 20x or the Magellan eXplorist 350H.

Garmin 60C

Garmin 60C

Weight: 48 oz

Dimensions: 7.8 x 2.4 x 1.9 inches

Specific Features: geolocation games

Best Use: hiking, hunting

Description: If you’re looking for a GPS unit that’ll withstand the test of time, this is one of them. The Garmin 60C has a 30-hour battery life that’ll be able to take you through any terrain you desire. It’s sunlight readable and has a transflective TFT display.

It’s the newest generation of GPS units, meaning it comes with a faster processor, permanent user data storage, outdoor calendar and internal memory for maps. In addition, Garmin made sure that the exterior is highly durable, rugged, waterproof and lightweight.

It has an accuracy of 10 feet in North America and comes with 50 reversible routes, 10,000 track points and 500 waypoints – impossible for you to get lost.

If you want to challenge yourself and friends, it comes with geolocating games for those that are into treasure hunts. If you’re looking for a fully featured GPS handheld device, then this is the one that’ll take you far in your journeys.

Related: Garmin has an exceptional set of GPS units, however, this one comes with all the bells and whistles that you could possibly ever want. If you want a larger screen than the Garmin eTrex is another good option.

Garmin Foretrex 401

Garmin Foretrex 401

Weight: 3.1 oz

Dimensions: 0.9 x 1.7 x 2.9 inches

Specific Features: high-sensitivity with HotFix

Best Use: hiking, hunting

Description: The Garmin Foretrex 401 is a slim wrist-mount, making this a hands-free GPS unit that’s perfect for outdoor activities. It’s a high-sensitivity waterproof unit that comes with an electronic compass and barometric altimeter ideal for hikers, bikers, skiers, and campers.

What’s great about this unit is that you’ll be able to share your data by connecting it to your computer or sending it wirelessly to another device. The Foretrex keeps all your paths and displays it on screen. You’ll be able to retrace your steps without having to worry about your GPS failing you.

In addition, it comes with 17+ hours of battery life with rechargeable AAA batteries. You can also attach your GPS wirelessly to a heart monitor, cadence sensor or as a bike mount.

Related: Though you can use it for hunting, you’ll be missing some features that you may wish to have if you’re hunting. That being said, the Magellan eXplorist 350H is a more hunting featured GPS unit.

Garmin Waterproof GPS

Garmin Waterproof GPS

Weight: 7.7 oz

Dimensions: 2.7 x 1.2 x 6.2 inches

Specific Features: Marine-friendly

Best Use: hiking, hunting, camping, watersports

Description: Garmin Waterproof GPS unit is a high-sensitivity, marine-friendly device that’ll be able to handle whatever environment it encounters. If you’re canoeing, this device will be able to float in water without receiving any damage.

It comes with an 18+ hour battery life, so you’ll be able to last in backcountry without hesitation. It’ll track your location regardless of the conditions you’re in and it also has a built-in celestial data that’ll show you the sunrise, sunset and a hunting/fishing calendar.

You’ll be able to store data and transfer it to your computer via USB. It’s fairly simple in design which is what you want in a GPS, a device that’s easy to use and accurate.

Related: There aren’t many other GPS devices that are both land and water friendly and are on top of that good quality. If you’re looking for a device that’ll be able to withstand lakes and oceans, this is the one.

Garmin Montana

Garmin Montana

Weight: 10.0 oz

Dimensions: 5.7 x 2.9 x 1.4 inches

Specific Features: Preloaded TOPO U.S. 100,000 maps

Best Use: hunting

Description: The camo design may give it away, but the Garmin Montana GPS is a great device for those who are avid hunters. This GPS is fully loaded with all the features you could possibly want as a hunter.

It has a 4’’ dual-orientation, glove-friendly touchscreen display, making it easy to use while in hunting gear. The 3-axis compass with barometric altimeter will ensure that you always know where you are. It supports BirdsEye satellite imagery, Garmin custom maps and photo navigation and will give you 22+ hours of battery life with either a rechargeable lithium-ion battery or AA batteries.

If you’re planning your next group hunt, you can use BaseCamp to let you organize and plan your future trips. Durable and rugged, the Montana will be able to withstand any challenge you put in front of it and get you to where you need to go.

Related: If you can’t afford the Montana, the next best GPS unit is the Garmin GPSMAP 64st. It’s half the price, however, you still get all the must-have features.

Conclusion

You now know what GPS units are used for and the features that you should be keeping an eye out for when buying one. The GPS devices we reviewed above are the top eight GPS units on the market.

Choosing your hunting gps

So, now that you know the ins and outs, it’s time you went and checked out the GPS’s we reviewed for you. Make sure you know what features you’d like and take time in finding out which one best suits you. Happy hunting!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Foster
Mark Foster

Mark Foster loves to push his limits when it comes to survival in the wilderness. He might go for a 30-days adventure without any food or equipment except for a survival kit and a knife. We should mention that his survival kit has 122 items in it, so he know what he is doing. Mark is working on his book to share with the world all his experience gained during those brave adventures.

  • Beatris Bronson

    Bushnell hunt is awesome little tracker! I’m so satisfied with it! It is easy to use. I like it so much because it works great, compass feature also works fine, and it’s small enough to fit in a pocket. I often go hunting, and this tracker was very useful! It is ideal for hiking, as well.

  • Mark Foster

    This is a very good and trusted brand that’s why you get a one year warranty on your purchase. It fits right in the palm of your hand and that’s important, since a bulky gadget can be cumbersome. The simple interface is worth mentioning, as well. I hate complicated stuff, and this one is the simplest, yet accurate.

  • Lee Williamson

    I own the Garmin Foretrex and use it whilst hiking and hunting. I’m so used to my Garmin Vivoactive picking up GPS within 30 seconds so I was initially a little disappointed to find that the Foretrex takes a couple of minutes to pick up a signal. I’ve gotten used to it now though. Plus, it never loses the signal once it acquires it so I can’t complain! It’s very easy to use after only a short time playing around with it – creating waypoints, for example, is super simple. Would definitely recommend the Foretrex (and Garmin as a whole)!

  • Mark Foster

    I wonder why your Garmin Vivoactive is having trouble getting a GPS signal. There must be no line-in-sight between your Vivoactive and the satellites it is using. Yes, that can happen – so in order to determine your location, you need to be in the line of sight of at least 3 GPS satellites. If you still have no signal, do a soft-reset or you may remove the batteries and re-insert them again. See if that helps. If not, the hard-reset is needed – which in other words is similar to a factory reset.

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