Best Handheld GPS Trackers in 2023

Best Handheld GPS Trackers in 2023

Best Handheld GPS Trackers in 2023

When it comes to hiking and backpacking, having a reliable GPS tracker by your side can significantly enhance your outdoor experience. In 2023, the market is filled with advanced handheld GPS trackers designed explicitly for adventurous souls like hikers and trekkers. These GPS devices offer many features to help you navigate through challenging terrains and ensure your safety during the journey.

Let's explore the key features to look for in a hiking GPS tracker, so you can choose the best companion for your next outdoor adventure.

Key Features to look For in a hiking GPS Tracker

While hiking, you will need a portable gps tracker to carry on. Here are key features to look for in a hiking GPS tracker:

Screen Size and Readability

A crucial aspect of a hiking GPS tracker is its screen size and readability. Opt for a device with a screen that strikes a balance between being large enough to view maps comfortably and compact enough to carry without weighing you down. Additionally, ensure that the display is easily readable even in bright sunlight, so you can navigate with ease in various weather conditions.

Touchscreens vs buttons

When choosing a hiking GPS tracker, consider the interface type that suits your preferences. Touchscreen devices offer user-friendly navigation and ease of use, allowing you to access various features with a simple tap. On the other hand, button-operated GPS trackers might be more reliable in extreme outdoor conditions, as they are less prone to malfunctions caused by water, dirt, or cold temperatures.

Battery life

Battery life is a critical factor, especially during extended hiking trips. Look for a GPS tracker that offers long-lasting battery performance to ensure it can accompany you throughout your journey without running out of power. Some models come with power-saving modes to conserve battery life, which can be particularly handy when you're on multi-day treks.


Durability matters when you're exploring the great outdoors. Opt for a hiking GPS tracker that boasts a sturdy and rugged construction. A robust case will protect the device from impacts, water, and dust, ensuring it can withstand the challenges of your hiking adventures.

Satellite Messaging and SOS

Safety is paramount when hiking in remote areas. Choose a GPS tracker with satellite messaging capabilities, enabling you to communicate with friends, family, or emergency services when you're outside the reach of traditional cellular networks. Some devices even come with SOS features, allowing you to send distress signals and receive assistance in case of emergencies.


GPS trackers rely on satellite signals for accurate positioning. Look for a device with reliable reception, even in challenging terrains like dense forests or deep valleys. A strong and consistent GPS signal ensures you won't lose track of your location, providing you with peace of mind during your hike.


The speed at which your GPS tracker acquires and refreshes location data matters, especially when you're on the move. Faster acquisition and refresh rates lead to quicker and more accurate navigation, helping you stay on the right path without any delays.


Waypoints are essential for marking specific locations or points of interest during your hike. Ensure your GPS tracker allows you to create and save waypoints, so you can easily return to those locations or follow a pre-planned route on your future trips.

Experts Top GPS Picks For Hikers

Garmin GPSMAP 67i

Price: 599.99$

The Garmin GPSMAP 67i, boasting a generous 3” sunlight-readable color display, offers two-way messaging, interactive SOS, and global Iridium satellite network support. Enjoy preloaded TopoActive mapping, multi-band GNSS navigation, and seamless smartphone pairing for weather updates and Geocaching Live. Plan trips effortlessly with Garmin Explore, access premium mapping content via Wi-Fi with Outdoor Maps + subscription, and benefit from an extended battery life of up to 165 hours in tracking mode.

Garmin Montana 700

Price: 599.99$

The Garmin Montana 700 is ready for any adventure. With MIL-STD 810 ruggedness, a 5” glove-friendly touchscreen, and multi-GNSS support. Enjoy preloaded TopoActive maps, 3-axis compass, and barometric altimeter. Stay connected with Wi-Fi, BLUETOOTH, and ANT+ technology for BirdsEye Satellite Imagery, location sharing, and more.

Garmin eTrex 32x

Price: $229.99$

The Garmin eTrex 32x features a 2.2” color display, preloaded Topo Active maps, and GPS/GLONASS support for challenging terrains. Enjoy 8 GB memory, 3-axis compass, and up to 25-hour battery life.

Additional Essential Equipment for Hiking

Hiking can sometimes lead to unexpected challenges. Despite the thrill, the great outdoors can be unpredictable. Statistics show that a significant number of hikers find themselves lost or disoriented each year. The dense woods, changing weather, and intricate trail networks can be treacherous, especially for those less experienced.

There's a simple solution that can provide an added layer of safety to your hiking escapades: The Spy Spot GPS Tracker GL300MG

Spy Spot GPS Tracker GL300MG

Price: 89$

The Spy Spot GPS Tracker GL300MG is your ultimate companion for outdoor exploration. With continuous GPS tracking, you can hike confidently, knowing your location is always within reach. Its compact size (3.1" x 1.6" x 1.1") and extended battery life offer unmatched versatility.

Not just for hikers, parents can breathe easy too. Outfit your children with this tracker to keep tabs on their adventures, granting them freedom while ensuring their safety.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need GPS for hiking?

GPS technology offers numerous advantages for modern hikers. A GPS tracker provides real-time location data, precise navigation, and additional safety features that can be invaluable during your outdoor excursions. While not a strict necessity, having a GPS for hiking significantly enhances your overall experience and security on the trail.

Does GPS work in mountains?

Yes, GPS technology works in mountains and other rugged terrains. GPS signals are transmitted from satellites orbiting the Earth and can penetrate through most obstacles, including mountains. However, dense tree canopies, deep canyons, or heavy cloud cover may occasionally disrupt GPS signals. In such cases, choosing a GPS tracker with excellent reception capabilities becomes even more critical.

Is GPS better than phone for hiking?

While smartphones with GPS apps can serve as rudimentary navigational tools, dedicated hiking GPS trackers offer several advantages over phones. Hiking GPS devices are designed to withstand outdoor elements, have longer battery life, and are more reliable in remote areas with poor or no cellular coverage. Additionally, using a dedicated GPS tracker conserves your phone's battery and ensures you always have a reliable means of communication during emergencies.


In conclusion, choosing the best GPS tracker for your hiking adventures can make a world of difference in your outdoor experiences. When looking for a hiking GPS tracker, consider factors such as screen size, battery life, construction, and reception to ensure you have a device that suits your needs and can withstand the challenges of the wilderness. With the right GPS tracker by your side, you can confidently embark on your hiking journeys, explore new trails, and make lasting memories in the great outdoors.

Enjoy your hike and stay safe!