Best Handheld GPS

Handheld GPS Receivers to Get Out of a Sticky Situation

Handheld GPS receivers are great for navigation, field collection, and getting to where you want to go.

Whether you’re hiking, geocaching, fishing, snowmobiling, or hunting, a GPS can help guide you in the right direction.

Sure. They’re no replacement for a paper map and compass. But in a survival situation, a GPS can seriously help you get out of trouble (especially #3 below).

One of the major challenges is finding the best handheld GPS receiver to fit your needs. Fortunately, we are here to guide you through some of the best GPS available today.

Let’s start with our top pick – the Garmin eTrex 30X as the best handheld GPS receiver.

1. Garmin eTrex 30X

#1 For Versatility – Affordable and flexible GPS with expanded internal memory storage to hold more topo maps.

Garmin Etrex 30
  • 3.7 GB Micro SD Card
  • Usage of Micro SD Cards with free topo maps available online
  • 1.4″W x 1.7″H display size
  • Built-in shaded relief basemap
  • 24 hours battery life (AA batteries)
  • GPS+GLONASS – Acquires quickly and accurately in challenging terrain
  • Store 2000 waypoints
  • Light in weight and water-resistant

2. Garmin GPSMap 64st

#1 High-Sensitivity GPS – Rugged GPS with superior antenna using GPS + GLONASS technology

Garmin GPSMap 64ST
  • Signal boost (GLONASS is better at higher latitudes)
  • 1.43″W x 2.15″H color screen
  • 250,000 preloaded caches
  • 100,000 topographical maps
  • 1-year subscription to birds-eye satellite imagery
  • 8GB of memory for more topographical maps
  • MicroSD card slot

3. Garmin InReach Explorer+

#1 For Safety – Long battery life and ideal to keep in touch for safety and being in remote locations.

Garmin InReach Explorer
  • Satellite communicator with Global Iridium
  • One of the best GPS for battery life
  • SOS for search and rescue with the GEOS Safety Center
  • Two-way text messaging
  • Bluetooth to phone with the Garmin App
  • GPS tracking to share location
  • Smaller display at 1.4″W x 1.9″H
  • Longer battery life (100 hours) depending on the mode

4. Garmin Montana 680

#1 For Display – Rugged, large, and bright touch screen with landscape/portrait orientation and GPS+GLONASS

Garmin Montana
  • Large touch screen display
  • 10.2 ounces extra weight
  • 8 Megapixel Camera + Geotagging
  • Preloaded with 100,000 topographical map and 250,000 geocaches
  • 1-year subscription to birds-eye satellite imagery
  • BaseCamp software for pre-planning trips
  • 22-hour battery life (AA batteries)

5. Garmin Oregon 700

#1 For Ruggedness – Screen is sized like a smartphone with a touch screen, built-in Wi-Fi, and navigation features.

Garmin Oregon
  • Rugged touchscreen with portrait and landscape orientation.
  • Better antenna with GPS+GLONASS technology
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and camera
  • 8 Megapixel Camera + geotagging
  • Preloaded TOPO U.S. 100K maps; includes 1-year BirdsEye Satellite imagery subscription
  • 1.5″W x 2.5″H sunlight-readable screen

Garmin Handheld GPS

We like Garmin because they communicate easily with any computer. Besides that, they integrate well with BaseCamp for planning any outdoor activity.

In particular, we like the Garmin Etrex 30X for its all-around versatility, expandable storage, battery life, and affordable price. This is our #1 best handheld GPS receiver.

The Garmin GPSMap 64ST is a really close second without any apparent flaws.

What GPS receiver do you use? And why do you like it the most? Please let us know with a comment below.

Subscribe to our newsletter:


  1. I need GPS tracker to be used with my GNSS receivers while at same time do Observations on the field or to monitor my rovers all the time

  2. Some people still prefer a classic handheld GPS. Especially, when they are doing field collection.

    I agree with your comment. Use your smart phone when you can. I wouldn’t spend any extra money if you don’t have to. Here are some apps for navigation – 10 GPS Apps For Navigation [Android and iOS]

    If it’s for data collection in the field, go with QField for open source. QField has an app for Android or Apple. It’s been getting a lot of positive reviews.

    For Esri users, of course there’s Collector and Survey 123.

  3. Is this a Garmin advertisement? There are a multitude of apps for smart phones these days that do everything a Garmin can do and more for a fraction of the cost.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *