OUTDOOR best gps for hiking and geocaching

Published on July 25th, 2015 | by Mark


Best GPS for Hiking and Geocaching

The best GPS for hiking and geocaching is one that you can rely on for accurate information in the most austere conditions. There are many different handheld GPS models on the market but there is only a small handful that will work when you need them the most.

Whether you are a hiker or into geocaching (1) you really need a reliable GPS system. Not all handheld GPS systems are reliable and unfortunately typically you find out that your system is not reliable when you need it the most. Of course there is no worse time to find out that what you thought was a great handheld GPS is not than when you are trekking around the woods lost.

Getting lost or not being able to fully participate in a geocaching event because your GPS is just not as functional as you thought it would can really ruin your day. Seeking out the best handheld GPS can be time-consuming. There is a lot of information to filter through. This buyer’s guide can help you to find one that will meet your needs and perform as it should without having to filter through tons of information.

After reviewing many GPS systems that could be used for hiking or geocaching the list was narrowed down to three of the best GPS for Hiking and Geocaching.

Garmin GPSmap 64s, Etrex 30 and Dakota 20 all made the cut for very specific reasons.  A comparison of the Garmin 64s vs Oregon 600, muscled the Oregon 600 right off the “best of list”. Each of the GPS systems rank “best for” either hiking, geocaching or both.

Why Choose the Best?

A lot of people find out the hard way that choosing the best GPS for geocaching beginner or hiking beginner is very important. GPS systems that are complicated to use are certainly not the best choice for someone that is just getting started. You could wind up lost, not lost a little bit but really lost if you do not choose the best GPS that is user friendly.

There is a learning curve with each GPS system the goal when you are searching for a system that is best for geocaching beginners is that the learning curve is not that steep.

Hiking requires having a GPS with you so you do not get lost and geocaching fun cannot be had without a GPS. Buying the best (not the most expensive) GPS increases the fun AND keeps you safe.

The Top Three

There are certain things that are mandatory in a GPS. You want it to be really durable especially when you are using it for hiking and geocaching because it is not unusual to drop your GPS. You also want them to be at least weather resistant so that you do not have to worry about bad weather and destroying your GPS.

You want a handheld that can pick up a wireless signal that is strong and reliable and you want it to be relatively easy to use. While this criteria seems relatively simple to meet, oddly enough there are plenty of systems that fall short. Frankly in many cases when you are making a purchase the brand does not hold as much as weight as it does when you are purchasing a GPS system.

You just cannot afford to be wrong with a GPS system. One of the driving factors in choosing the top three that are listed here was whether the brand itself was reliable. Garmin is one of the best known names in GPS technology and is the manufacturer of the three best GPS for hiking and geocaching.

Garmin GPSmap 64s, Etrex 30 and Dakota 20 all Garmin models and all easily meet the criteria of what it takes to be the best GPS for geocaching and hiking. 

Garmin GPSmap 64S


  • Sunlight capable reading display that has 240X160 pixels.
  • Crisp imagery.
  • Quad helix antenna with a high quality receiver that quickly will pinpoint your position.
  • Worldwide map base.
  • 1 year free Birds Eye View included which can be renewed
  • Electronic compass that allows you to get direction without having to hold flat.
  • Built in barometric altometer to help you keep track of the weather.
  • Bluetooth® and ANT+™ connectivity that geocaches your location so you can share with others.
  • Connects wirelessly to Garmin cams and other Garmin equipment.
  • Smart Notification allows you to receive, email notifications and other information so you do not have to dig around in your back pack for your phone.
  • Offers photo navigation so you can download geotagged photos from online sources and navigate to them effortlessly.
  • Comes with 250,000 preloaded caches from Geocaching.com that includes hints and other information for increased geocaching fun.
  • Loaded with Base Camp Software.

GPSmap 64S from Garmin has all the bells and whistles you could want. It is also waterproof and shock resistant so if you get it wet, drop it or mistreat it you will still have reliable system. The receiver works with both Russian GLONASS and US Satellites so no matter where you are you will be able to receive a signal. It is an awesome piece of equipment. The one thing that may give you some pause about buying the GPSmap 64 S is the price. The price can range greatly from vendor to vendor but plan on spending about $300 on this system.

>>>Check the current Price and Read more reviews from Customers.<<<

Garmin Etrex 30 


  • Worldwide base map.
  • Shaded eye relief to allow for easy viewing of the display even in bright sunlight.
  • Electronic compass works even when you are holding the unit at an angle.
  • Powerful WAAS receiver that can locate your position even in heavy cover positions.
  • Features a 2.2 in., 65k color display that can be viewed in bright sunlight
  • Uses Russian GLONASS and US Satellites
  • Uses Garmin TOPO US 24 K Maps
  • Offers wireless unit to unit information transfers.
  • Built in Altimeter to track barometric pressure changes and track altitude.
  • Allows wireless unit-to-unit transfer of routes, tracks, waypoints and geocaches; works with Montana-series, Oregon-series, Dakota 20, GPSMAP 62S, 62ST, 78S and 78SC devices
  • Support GPX files used for geocaching and dl’ing geocache location details right to the unit.

The updated Etrex30 is the entry level handheld GPS from Garmin that is great for geocaching beginners. It has easy to use one handed button operation. It is durable, waterproof and easy to use. It is a great entry level GPS that offers many of the bells and whistles that it’s more expensive relatives offer without the price tag. This model is about $60 less than the GPSmap 64s, you can snag a refurbished model for about $100 less right here.

>>>Check the current Price and Read more reviews from Customers.<<<

Garmin Dakota 20


  • 20 hours of battery life
  • Waterproof and super compact (can fit in the palm of your hand)
  • Easy to view screen even in bright daylight.
  • Loaded with Base Maps
  • You can add more maps easily
  • Tilt compensating electronic compass
  • Shares data wirelessly with other units
  • Geocaching friendly
  • Touch screen
  • Built in Altimeter to locate altitude
  • High intensity receiver

The Dakota 20 offers 20 hours of battery life WITHOUT the backlight on continuously. It is waterproof rated, shock rated and easy to use. It has a touch screen for navigation which can be a blessing and a curse but really comes down to personal preference. It offers all the bells and whistles that you would hope to find in a high quality handheld GPS. It’s compact size is a nice feature as is the 3 axis electronic compass. It is chunkier than the other two models that made the list but the added girth gives it a nice rugged look and feel.

>>>Check the current Price and Read more reviews from Customers.<<<


Really choosing the best GPS for personal use comes down to one reason; Why limit yourself? Without the right tools you are limiting the possibilities of where you can go and your confidence in getting there. It is not enough to just have a GPS when you really want to explore. You have to have the best GPS for hiking and geocaching to really get the most out of both experiences.

Garmin is a well respected name in the industry and a pioneer in GPS. You can read about the company here.

Of all the GPS products that could have made the best of list Garmin was able to beat them all out. If you want to really travel beyond and explore with confidence than one of the three handheld GPS models are going to take you there.

Get accurate geocaching information every time to enhance the fun. Share your location easily with any of these three models. Overall if you need a reliable GPS anyone of these three will do it for you.

(1) read more about geocaching: https://www.geocaching.com/guide/default.aspx

About the Author

is actually a super running fan.

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