5 GPS Units to Help You Find Your Next Adventure
Having a reliable GPS unit with you on your adventures allows you to get lost from civilization without worrying about actually getting lost. GPS technologies are ever increasing and for many are a critical part of every expedition. And while you still want to be handy with the good ole’ fashioned compass, by utilizing a GPS unit in the outdoors, you can explorer farther away from home than ever before.
Magellan eXplorist 710 – $499.99
The Magellan eXplorist 710 is a top of the line GPS unit utilized by professionals and recreational users around the world. That’s because this 3” touchscreen device is easy to use and comes with about every bell and whistle you could ask for in a GPS unit. Preloaded with Magellan World Editions Maps, Summit Series Maps, and City Series Maps, you can literally go from doorstep to trailhead and atop the summit of your favorite mountain without ever having to pause and load different maps. With 3 GB of storage, the eXplorist 710 can hold 10,000 geocache profiles and with the 3.2 megapixel camera and microphone, snapping a picture or snagging some video at your waypoints is as easy as point and shoot.
Garmin Oregon® 650–$549.99
Garmin is no stranger to the GPS unit market, and they have earned their spot as one of the top retailers of GPS products. Garmin has GPS units for practically every activity under the sun including automotive travel, golfing, swimming, sailing, aviation, and much more. As part of that list, the Oregon® 650 is Garmin’s outdoor and hiking specific unit, and it delivers beyond the expectations set by the other product lines. Featuring a completely button-free interface, the Oregon® allows its users to accurately plot, plan, and track their adventures into the wilderness without the fear of not finding their way back. Along the trail, the Oregon® also has a 8 MP camera equipped to capture those stunning sunsets, and with an innovative dual battery system featuring a rechargeable internal battery pack and slots for (2) AA batteries, you don’t have to worry about losing any juice as you track, photograph, and enjoy your journey.
DeLorme inReach Explorer -$379.95 + Satellite Subscription Plan
The DeLorme inReach Explorer GPS Unit serves as an important communication link to everyone back in the civilized world. And whether you are utilizing the text messaging feature to stay in touch with your buddies back home, or you are sending out an SOS signal to the appropriate emergency responders, inReach allows you to stay relatively connected while you are getting away from it all. The Satellite plan that enables you to keep constant contact does come at a price, but with flexible options you can easily find the one that fits your budget and schedule. And despite the text features, this is not just some fancy cell-phone, and you can expect all the topographic maps, waypoint tracking, and trip planning that you’d expect from this top of the line GPS unit.
Garmin Epix– $549.99
Take all the reliability of your normal handheld Garmin GPS unit and throw it on your wrist with the Epix GPS Watch. Not only does this 1.4” touchscreen wristwatch feature everything you’d expect from a handheld Garmin GPS unit including advance tracking, Garmin TracBack® capabilities, and waypoint coordination, but as an all-in-one feature, the Epix is also an ultimate fitness training watch that can provide you with all the tools and technical data needed to reach your fitness goals. Featuring quick access and reliable mapping, you might not have considered a watch for your GPS unit, but with the Garmin Epix, it’s a worthwhile investment to look into. –$133.95
Trimble Outdoors Navigator – Free – $3.00/month
A more economical option that works for your shorter adventures is the Trimble Outdoors Navigator application for your smartphone and tablet. This application is leading the pack when it comes to accurately tracking your shorter hikes and creating waypoints to your favorite outdoor spots. The free application will let you do it all, while the Pro edition for $3.00/month unlocks some bonus features such as the ability to download maps directly to your device. And with loads of maps to be found on their website for navigation just about anywhere, this application can satisfy most of your short-term GPS needs. It should be noted however, although the Trimble Outdoor Navigator application does perform well, any smartphone application currently will fall short to the performance of the GPS units mention above. At this current day and age, hard-cased and purpose built GPS units will outperform a smartphone in battery life, weather-resistance, and all around ruggedness and dependability.
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