​Best Hunting GPS in 2019- Buying Guide & Review


BY James Brown​, 7 Minutes


So you are looking for the best hunting GPS before you kick off your hunting season, Just to make sure that you are not worrying about getting lost into the woods in your expedition.

Hunting game is an intense sport and sometimes you just have to leave your Hunting blind and chase the game.

While chasing the next deer, chances are you went too far from your initial setting and you could not keep track of your location, in other words: you are lost.

One of the worst things that can happen to a hunter and to make things worse, there is no rescue team for help. Carrying a good GPS unit with you is always a smart choice especially if you are going out alone; it makes your hunting experience worry-free.

There are a plenty of GPS units out on the market, which makes it tricky to choose which one to go for especially if you are just starting.

We believe a good GPS unit must have following things: Features, reliability, reception, display quality, storage, size, topographical details and easy to use. We’ve narrowed down the list to top 5, lesser options equals easier for you to choose, which one is the best.

Before you read further, it is important to know why having a hand held GPS unit is better than the GPS in smartphones. For one thing, Simply the GPS in watches (there are some exception) and smartphones is designed to work mainly in cities, they are not built for wilderness. For another, GPS units intend to log and save curtail spatial data.

Generally, GPS devices are a tougher; they are designed to build for all weather condition unlike your smartphones.

OUR TOP THREE PICKS

Garmin inReach Explorer Plus- best hunting gps

InReach Explorer+

Get the latest price and user reviews on Amazon, Click Below.

Garmin Fenix 3 HR

Get the latest price and user reviews on Amazon, Click Below.

Garmin GPSMAP 64s-best hunting gps

Garmin GPSMAP 64s

Get the latest price and user reviews on Amazon, Click Below.

The Foretrex 401 is a low budget GPS unit prefered by people who go for expedition into challenging terrain. It can be used by hunters as well as hikers and campers.

The GPS unit is easy to handle, lightweight and feels a bit bulky on the wrist makes it a good device for you in budget

GARMIN FORETREX 401-best hunting gps

The Garmin FORETREX 401 has a high sensitive receiver, which delivers fast signal acquisition and lock for reception, plus a fairly cheap GPS unit which comes with Gramin’s patented Hotfix technology to help with better accuracy and performance.

It’s ideal for deep in the forest and narrow canyons. It comes with a black and white LCD display with a resolution of 100 X 64 pixels.

This GPS unit has a great unique feature is its ability to keep track of heart rate and pulse of the bearer.

On top of that it also has the capability of keeping track of routes, tracks and pathways simultaneously makes it complementary for people with heart problem or people who are generally into fitness. In addition, Foretrex 401 is waterproof.

With a battery life of up to 17 hours in GPS mode, the device uses two AAA batteries. This Small device can strap onto your wrist making it handy for those who carries multiple things in hand while exploring.

Another great thing about FORETREX 401 is that it supports dual position readout which is great for those who want to view their location in multiple formats. In spite of that, FORETREX 401 tracks back all of your data during your hunting session which again is great if you want to know the precise location and for how long you were in the forest.

Nevertheless, the device also features a trip computer, sunset time as well as hunting and fishing information. In addition, the device is Computer compatible allows you to load waypoints and paths via USB 2.0

the device will provide the most valuable information you will need when out hunting, it is easy to use, and it is quite famous not only amongst hunters and fisherman but Army man as well.

Overall, it’s a pretty good device, the only thing it lacks is that it doesn’t have a colored Display.

The Good Stuff:

  • Comparatively small
  • Low Price
  • Accuracy is on point
  • Navigating way points is easier
  • Sturdy and tough
  • Decent battery life
  • Comfortable wrist strap

The Bad Stuff:

  • Altimetric is not that accurate

The Garmin Etrex 30X is designed especially for hiking to move in challenging terrain without worrying about getting lost while hunting or hiking.

The gametrix 30X is an upgraded version of etrex 30 with a better and high resolution display and with more internal memory and an excellent battery life.

GARMIN ETREX 30X- best hunting gps

Garmin ETREX 30X is a very compact device, It comes with more memory than the previous version ETREX 30 and a 2.2 inch colored screen (240 x 320) without backlight though it works just fine in the sunlight.

The GPS unit doesn’t have touch screen but it is controlled by a little joystick as well as the buttons on the sides.

Compared to the Garmin 20X, this unit also has a Barometric altimeter, which tracks changes in pressure to spot your precise altitude, and can be used to plot barometric pressure over time. it also has an electronic 3-axis Compass which is great because you can use it at any angle you desire rather than keeping it flat.

The GPS unit comes with a Garmin active mapping, means it’s an open source mapping which is not an ordinary map; open source map gives a good overview of the whole terrain you are in.

The Garmin ETREX 30X can store up to 2000 waypoints and the battery can lasts up to 25 hours with two AA batteries which is just great.

Another good feature of this GPS unit that are useful to hunters is its alarm clock, you can set the alarm and turn the GPS OFF, the device awake itself up and it automatically searches for satellite.

Another good thing about Garmin ETREX 30X is that it is fully outdoor optimized, just download topo 2008 maps which covers most of the terrains, forest and mountain.

The GPS unit is completely weather proof and water proof (It can withstand half an hour into water at 1 meter depth).

The device has an internal storage of 3.7 GB which is great as you can download verity of maps including TOPO 24K, HuntView, BlueChart g2, City Navigator NT and BirdsEye Satellite view(subscription based).

If you want share your waypoints, geocaches, tracks, routes and other useful information, you can share it with other Garmin compatible devices which is great when you are hunting as a team.

The Good Stuff:

  • Outstanding high resolution display
  • Remarkable battery life
  • Quick satellite reception
  • Handy design
  • Various options for different outdoor activities
  • A set of various activity profile for different setting
  • Small body frame and light weight device
  • A variety of different collection of maps

The Bad Stuff:

  • Despite a high resolution,the screen size is small
  •  The device lags when zoom-in and zoom-out

The Garmin GPSMAP 64s is a sturdy and reliable GPS unit designed for extreme conditions. It's faster and much better ability to lock in with the satellite with its predecessor 62s is top notch.

The powerful processor running the device makes it a superior device than other GPS unit in the same range.

Garmin GPSMAP 64s-best hunting gps

The only reason why the Garmin GPSMAP 64s is not on the top of the list is that of its battery life, though it still runs on a good 16 hours before it shuts down.

This GPS device is powerful, rugged and highly accurate making it very reliable with an accuracy of less than, an impressive 10 foot which makes it an absolute best handheld gps for hunting.

The device comes with high quality TOPO US 100k maps and Birds-EYE 3D images covering nearly the entire planet preloaded in the system and has open access to built-in GLONASS System from Russia and GPS System from the USA with a quad helix antenna which makes it absolutely precise.

The Device uses highly sensitive technology making it great for a remote location like deep forest and mountain for campers.

GPSMAP 64s is a lightweight, tough built and made to withstand all weather conditions.

It also comes with a tilt-compensated 3-axis electronic compass with a barometric altimeter that helps you track your altitude by tracking the change in atmospheric pressure without holding it level(made for people who are constantly moving) which is great because you can forecast potential change in weather if you keep track of the air pressure.

The screen is 2.6 inches colored, non-touch, sunlight readable and works with the traditional AA batteries.

The device also uses Bluetooth and wireless connectivity with an 8 GB of internal memory, which is good for saving, coordinates from the web. Plus, you can pair your iphone 4s or more recent version of iphone with GPSMAP 64s to use the smart notification feature synchronizing any text, email or important notification from your Iphone to GPSMAP 64s.

And, it can support an external micro SD card which is not included in the package.

Another great feature this device has is loading custom maps, which are perfect if you have an android device. Just install custom maps, take a picture of a paper map and geo reference it using Google maps, the file can easily be uploaded to your GPSMAP 64s.

Overall it’s a really good product, its sturdy, reliable and accurate making it one of the best from Garmin’s under same price range.

The Good Stuff:

  • Better than its predecessor in every way.
  • Easy to operate in rugged conditions without a hiccup
  • An improved and better cadence sensor
  • a huge list of outdoor oriented features
  • Ability to transfer file via bluetooth
  • Good battery life using AA batteries

The Bad Stuff:

  • Not user friendly for beginners
  • No wireless data transfer to desktop

Garmin fenix HR can easily be Garmin's greatest watch if you look at the feature and performance it delivers.
This water resistant device can measure your heart-rate, track your fitness activities without losing accuracy of its GPS.

Long lasting battery, accurate activity tracker, easy to use interface, you name it the device has it all. That is why fenix 3 HR is one of our top pick

By far this is the best GPS wearable we have come across. The Garmin Fenix 3 HR is GPS watch, outdoor watch, sports watch as well as heart rate monitor, activity tracker and sleep tracker.
 
Fenix 3 hr is a device really made to impress, by far its the best gps watch for hunting that we have seen, it’s so burly, hardy and extra sturdy yet it is really comfortable to wear, makes you wanna wear it all day long. The device has a sapphire dome lens that makes it unbelievably resistant to wear and tear.

Fenix 3 also has a stainless steel bezel that houses the antenna.

Beneath the watch, it houses few sensors including a heart rate sensor which measures heart rate through your wrist running 24 X 7 where it can actually show you a graph both on the watch and within Garmin connect, which is great for people who want their calories burn and their sleep data during the day making it an impressive all-action watch it appears to be.

The device comes with a silicone band (black) which is quite soft and tough against discoloration.

The device is also water resistant down to a ridiculous 100 meters with a battery life of an impressive 6 days on average and 16 hours on fully GPS mode. In addition to the battery, the device works on Russian GLONASS satellite and EPO system with GPS from the USA providing more accuracy.

The display on this device is full 1.2 inches colored, sunlight readable, high resolution and remarkably clear, makes it a great device for hunters and campers.  

Another good thing about Fenix 3 HR is that it can utilize multiple WiFi hotspot connectivity which is great because you can sync your data with Garmin connect, automatically.

The Fenix 3 HR certainly isn’t cheap but the quality it delivers is noteworthy.

The device is 82g standing at 16 mm off your wrist. You can connect Fenix 3 HR with your smartphone via Bluetooth and it doesn’t really affect your battery the only thing we don’t like about Fenix 3HR is that for no apparent reason you have to keep your cell phone’s GPS ON if you want the two devices to stay connected.

Final verdict, we really loved the device, it has so much to offer like an awesome battery life, quality sensors and Garmin connect and much more.  

The Good Stuff:

  • The built-in heart rate monitor is accurate and provides an accurate readings of your activity
  • Exceptional battery life
  • Highly accurate and reliable fitness monitor that can record multiple metric in your training
  • High resolution, clear and bright display
  • Highly accurate GPS that keeps tracks of your path and location without any problem
  • Can support various sport activities
  • Feels comfortable to wear

The Bad Stuff:

  • Sometimes it doesn't track the fitness activity as efficiently as it should

Top Hunting GPS: Honorable Mentions

The Garmin 64st GPS is a well-equipped gps unit with a well made GPS navigator. The device can locate you even in the deepest of the canyons and densest forest making you adventure worry free.

The only reason this device is not in our top 5 is because its sibling GPSMAP 64s is already on the list.

Garmin 64st GPS- best hunting gps

Let’s get to some basics first, 64st comes with a wireless connectivity, compass, altimeter, one year subscription to the Birdseye view along with 100K topo maps.

The device weighs 9.2 ounces comes with a 2.6-inch screen, which is easy to read in the sunlight, and it is big enough for you to read what is on the screen with ease. The body of 64st is coated with exterior rubber for better grip even that fits into your hand perfectly even if it is wet.

Due to the rubberized coating, the overall frame of this device is a tough built, protecting the device against accidental falls.

We really like the external antenna, it ensures that you won’t lose the network even in deep canyons, forest or remote location while maintaining the accuracy.

With a great antenna, it comes with GLONASS giving it the ability to accurately pinpoint the location down to about three meters.

At the back of the device, you will get a port for an external antenna and a USB port for data transfer and wall charging.

Another great feature it offers is you can transfer or share your garmin data like routes, GPS tracks or waypoints with another device of same capabilities.

With the Bluetooth it ensures your text messages and emails are in-sync with your device. Also, the customer service of Garmin is top notch we rarely face any problem with them whenever we call them.

The 64st comes with built in 8 Gigabytes of storage with an ability to store up to 5000 waypoints which you will never come close to exhaust unless you are constantly hiking, camping.

The compass is 3-axis compass. The buttons really work well during winters as you do not have to take off your gloves you use the device.

Beside 100k topo maps, it features marine’s maps and road map making the unit usable for multiple activities. Another great feature of this map is that you can scan the paper map and download it onto this device allowing you to see where you are at on that map.

The Good Stuff:

  • High sensitive GPS and GLONASS positioning systems
  • Quad helix antenna guarantees best reception
  • The App is free to use
  • One of the most durable GPS unit we have come across
  • If you are in united states, expect it to map out in all sort of terrain
  • Wireless bluetooth makes it easier to share data
  • 8 GB internal memory

The Bad Stuff:

  • It is not made for a long hike or a long hunting session of more than four days as the battery lasts upto 16 hours

The Bad elf 2200 GPS pro is designed to work with Apple devices like iPhone, iPad, and iPod. With functions like data logger and a receiver the device is a quite simple handheld GPS unit.

Device consist of large display with green backlit that can measure and display location, velocity, altitude, heading and GPS lock position with the ability to lock in your coordinate on a push of your button.

Bad elf 2200 GPS pro- best hunting gps

Bad Elf GPS pro is one of the first third party GPS manufactured specifically for smart devices. The original version of Bad elf pro is a plugin unit. Bad elf pro is a GPS Bluetooth device, which can be used with all of your GPS application.

The backlit LCD display speed, heading, altitude, accuracy, time and battery life.

The battery life of this device is impressive running 16 hours in a single charge, requiring 4 hours to completely charge.

There is a USB port at the back for charging. Though the pairing with IPhone is quite smooth, we faced a little hiccup while connecting it with an android device.

The GPS reporting rate is impressive, up to 10 times per second. Moreover, the performance of the GPS receiver is exceptional. The data log can be achieved by pressing the third button, which also serves as a position marker.

The log data can be transferred via email or social media. In addition, you can connect the bad elf pro to up to five device at once.

The Good Stuff:

  • Rugged body design
  • Outstanding battery life
  • Completely waterproof upto 1 meter for 30 minutes
  • Can store 100+ hours of tracking data
  • Can connect to 5 device at once

The Bad Stuff:

  • Only support ios devices
  • Cannot download trip data with any other device but iPhone

Our Top Pick

So there you have it, our top pick this year, Garmin inReach Explorer +.

The biggest draw you can get from this device is its communication capabilities allowing you to communicate 24X7 with anyone from anywhere in the world even though you’re out of range of a wireless network via text, emails or even Facebook and twitter and a dedicated SOS button making it one of the best handheld gps out there.

Its two ways ad hoc text messaging is spot on which is a big step up from Spot gen 3 satellite messaging.

Explorer plus uses the iridium satellite network which is primarily use for data transfer though you have to have a subscription for it to function, if you want to utilize the map features on this device, you need to either a monthly or an annual subscription.  

The InReach Explorer+ is an upgrade from their older inReach Explorer and is bigger and easily fits in your hand.

We really like the rubberized coating around it giving a strong grip. The device has an IPX rating of 7, means it can stay in water for up to one meter for 30 minutes.

One of the thing we really like about Explorer + is its exceptional battery life(Lithium Ion) of 100 hours at 10 minutes intervals, with built in chargeable battery, the unit can be charged in the field via solar panel or battery pack. Typically, the battery lasts 4-5 days if you are careful about the tracking intervals, using screen at minimum brightness, and turning off the device during the night.

If we talk about GPS, the Explorer+ comes with topographical maps included in the device, built in 3-axis compass, Altimeter and Barometer.

You can import and export the maps from Garmin’s website (inreach.garmin.com) where you can create your account, once it’s done then add or create contacts/emergency contacts or you can manually add it from the device, you can link your Facebook & twitter and set your preset messages as well.

The weather forecast feature lets you look up forecast information (Basic or Premium) this might be a good choice for those who want to avoid bad weather.  

Even if the plan is basic, it provides detailed hour by hour breakdown of wind speed, cloud coverage, barometric pressure and temperature etc.

Even though we can only recommend you, ultimately the choice is yours. There are lots of products In the market some of them have even better features  but the price is too high for them so we chose not to include them as generally people don’t want a device with plethora of features they can’t even use.

#1 Top Pick

Garmin inReach Explorer Plus- best hunting gps

inReach Explorer+

Why wait? Get this Hunting Gps now!

Things to keep in mind before buying The Best GPS Unit for Hunting.

You don’t want to be that person who will buy anything just because he saw an awesome ad with girls in the bikini regardless if the device lives up to its promises or not.

  • For better accuracy and dependability. Go for a device which has both US GPS and Russia’s GLONASS.
    Because if one system do not work at least you have the other for a backup, providing you with a peace of mind, which is priceless. Some of the models in the market today has the ability to lock in 3D position in remarkable time.

    The larger the size of the antenna the better it performs. If you have a choice, larger antenna is a smarter option.

  • Have a GPS with a clear and sunlight readable display no matter what. Also ensure that the screen has a backlight so you can read any relevant information on the screen.

    On top of that the images or maps appear on the screen should be simple to read no matter what the condition is.

  • If the Device comes with preloaded topographical maps, better, if not, make sure it can hold the maximum amount of detailed maps.
    Always remember to keep your maps up-to-date irrespective of if you want to buy the maps from the manufacture or not.

    Although there is an option of a paid map subscription but you can download free maps from the internet that are quite manageable. Two of the most praised sources are U.S. National Agricultural Imagery Program and the United States Geological Survey’s Seamless Data Warehouse.

  • If the device can’t stand a whole day with you in the terrains, then the device is not for you. Go for a device with at least 16 hours of battery life at minimum.

    Sometimes it is a matter of life and death and you always want to be on the safer side just I case.

    Always carry battery backup with you.

  • Generally speaking, the GPS unit comes with either a differential compass or an electronic compass, although electronic is preferred if it has a tilt compensated 3 axis compass built in which helps you in monitor the direction at any angle you’re standing it with.

Always have a unit with fast processing speed, it should interpret message as quick as possible and its startup speed should be fast, it would save you some battery life, which can be precious in emergencies.

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