Top 8 Best Backcountry GPS Navigations and Trackers Review For Hiking

The backcountry GPS are devices that aid one to navigate directions and locations while on outdoors. The GPS devices are useful in different areas since they also have inbuilt maps that enable one to know the direction or the places they travel to.

What Is the Best Backcountry GPS For Hiking?

Quick Pick on the Best Backcountry GPS Tracker and Navigations For Hiking

The 8 Best Backcountry GPS Reviews

These GPS devices are compatible with smart devices like phones for easy control and navigation to the backcountry. If you need a quality backcountry GPS for camping or trekking, here are the top 8 best models to consider buying.

1. Best Handheld – Garmin in Reach Explorer and Handheld Satellite Communicator

cheap backcountry gps

Are you an adventurous person who loves the outdoors? Well, this is a reliable GPS device to buy so you can notify your family members you are okay while away.

2 Way texting modes

This Garmin GPS gadget is equipped with the global Iridium satellite coverage to enable you to communicate with people from different locations through texting. However, note that to access this app, you need to pay for a subscription.

Emergency communication

The device also features the interactive SOS that runs 24/7 if one needs emergency rescue while away.

Compatible with smart devices

You can easily pair this GS track device with other devices like a smartphone to download apps such as maps that you may need while outdoors.


  • This Garmin GPS device comes with preloaded TOPO maps
  • It is compatible with smart devices for easy acquiring more apps
  • The device has an in-built compass and other measuring units like a barometer and accelerometer
  • It has quality material construction


  • To access the two-way texting mode, you have to pay for a monthly subscription



2. Best Cheap Price – Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator For Backcountry

using backcountry gps

If you need an affordable GPS tracker device that can still keep your map intact while n outdoors, this right here is the perfect option to acquire.

Compact and lightweight

Carrying and holding this GPS device is easy and comfortable since it features a compact size and lightweight design.

Waterproof material construction

This GPS device is crafted with IPX7 standard waterproof materials that safeguard it from damage if it gets to contact with any wetness while outdoors.

Durable battery

This energy-efficient device is powered by double-A batteries that can last for up to 20 hours when the device is continually used.


  • This device can help you to estimate time and distance between two points
  • It has a heavy-duty and waterproof material construction
  • It has a compact and lightweight structure for comfort
  • The device is affordable


  • This device does not have any map which may inconvenient people going to further areas for adventurous events



3. Best Waterproof For Backcountry Hiking – Gramin GPSMAP 64sx Handheld GPS with Altimeter and Compass

choose backcountry gps for outdoor

Know where you are going and the right direction to take while outdoors using this excellent GPS device. This GPS gadget is designed to fit outdoor waters since it has a waterproof casing.

Preloaded map

It is super easy and fast to map where you are going and the area you have come from using this GPS device. It features preloaded TOPO maps for the USA and Australia locations.

Multiple apps notifications

This GPS gadget ensures you know where you are thanks to the multiple apps like a compass, Glonass, barometric altimeter, and Galileo.

Wireless connection

You can connect this GP device with your smartphone to notify people where you are.


  • This GPS has pre-installed maps
  • It has a waterproof material design to fit rainy seasons
  • The screen is large for easy preview of the findings
  • The GPS is compatible with Bluetooth


  • The installed TOPO map is for Australia and the USA only.



4. Garmin eTrex 30x Handheld GPS Navigator with 3-axis Compass

backcountry gps for hiking

With a 2.2 inch LCD, one can have a clear view of the findings on the device. It also has a compacts size for portability.

Colour display technology the screen

This GPS device has 65k colors to ensure you get an excellent view even when using it under high sunlight.

Large memory and micro SD card compatible

You can download more maps to install on this GPS device since it has a large memory, and it is compatible with an SD card for additional storage.

Inbuilt sensors

This GPS device has the three-axis tilts, a compass, and a barometer altimeter that measures the surroundings. It immediately reports the findings in altitude, pressure changes, and even barometric pressure.


  • This GPS device is light and small for comfortable holding
  • The screen provides a clear view even in sunlight
  • It has a large memory for more storage needs
  • It is wireless for easy syncing with other devices.


  • This GPS device does not have a lock mechanism.




5. Best GPS Watch – Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Premium Multisport GPS Watch

backcountry gps guides

This is the most comfortable and most sleek backcountry GPS device to consider getting. It is convenient since it is working as a watch for convenience.

A solar-powered GPS watch

You don’t need to worry about this GPS watch quitting to functioning while outdoors since it continually recharges when exposed to the sunlight for extended use.


Other than using it for outdoor, the watch helps to track one’s health like the heart rate and the sleep patterns for good rest.

Multiple TOPO maps

This smartwatch has over 2000 maps for different places in the world, so you can thoroughly enjoy your outdoors while still tracking your steps and safety.


  • This smartwatch is comfortable to wear for long
  • The watch features multiple installed TPO maps
  • It has a rechargeable lithium battery that also charges with sunlight
  • The battery is long-lasting since it can keep the charge for 21 days


  • It is an expensive watch




6. Best Sunlight-readable – Garmin GPSMAP 66i GPS Handheld and Satellite Communicator

using backcountry gps

If you are willing to spend extra dollars to buy a quality and durable GPS device for your adventurous outdoor jobs, this right here is the perfect choice of a device to purchase.

Large 3-inch display

You don’t have to strain when viewing the readings on the screen of this GPS device since it is super large for clear viewing.

Preloaded mapping

This device is equipped with preloaded TOPO maps to guide you navigate around, and it is compatible with the Birdseye satellite imaginary, which you can download using other smart devices.

High compatibility

This device is compatible with other Garmin devices like the explorer website and apps so you can easily navigate and understand outdoor paths.


  • This device is powered by a rechargeable battery that is quite long-lasting
  • It is compatible with other Garmin apps and website to acquire more additional navigating help
  • It has a large display screen
  • It features inbuilt maps.


  • This device does not store or give updates like the weather forecast



7. Garmin GPSMAP 66st Handheld Hiking GPS For Backcountry 

pick the best backcountry gps

This is a premium GPS gadget from Garmin that features the new Birdseye satellite imaginary subscription and inbuilt TOPO maps for easy navigation around.

Global mapping

This gadget is equipped with TOPO maps from different parts of the world for convenience and tracking of the areas you visit.

Compatible with other devices

With the Birdseye satellite imagery, you can connect this GPS device to download more maps and apps from smartphones.

Weather forecast

You can view the weather forecast of different areas you visit since it has the weather forecast for updates.


  • This device is compatible with smartphones
  • It has a large LCD for clear viewing
  • It is compact for convenient holding to read
  • It has different installed maps from various parts of the world


  • This GPS device does not record and store information about the outdoor findings




8. Best For Biking – Garmin Edge 1030 3.5 GPS Cycling Bike Computer with Navigation

choose the best backcountry gps

This is a good and quality GPS device for clear or people involved in cycling activities.

Large LCD

This Garmin GPS device is designed with a 3.5-inch screen to ensure you have a clear view of the readings even while on the move.

Preloaded maps

The device comes with a pre-installed cycling map to help you navigate around when cycling on various locations.


The gadget is light in weight to ensure the user is comfortable when carrying to use it.


  • The device features the message communication connection
  • It has preloaded Garmin map to use while on outdoors
  • It has a large LCD for clear viewing
  • It is excellent for off-road rides since it provides accurate navigation feedbacks


  • Best suitable for biking



How to Pick the Best Backcountry GPS For Hiking?

Choosing the best backcountry GPS for hiking might be challenging since the market is flooded with different kinds. However, we are going to provide you with what you should know when picking your backcountry GPS.

backcountry gps for hiking

1. Battery life and the options for charging

This is one of the crucial considerations you should consider. Since you might want to spend a long time while hiking, you might find your GPS device battery running low. However, take note of battery life. When it comes to charging options, confirm whether it can be a charger with portable power banks.

2. Price

Before you narrow down the specifications, you would want your hiking GPS to possess, price should come first. All you have to do is a sample out of the devices that fall on your price range and narrow down to their specifications. Whatever the size of the budget, I can guarantee that you won’t miss one.

3. The weight

since all the backcountry hiking GPS devices are portable, the eights often vary. During hiking, we always get exhausted, and carrying a heavyweight device is boring. We usually prefer the lighter one that we won’t even feel it under our bags.

4. Durability

these devices’ lifespan often varies though how long they last often depends on how you handle them. Apart from the indicated lifespan, it would be best to consider the laid guidelines to not interfere with it hence shortening its lifespan. Go for a more durable device so that you won’t be replacing regularly.

5. Waterproofness and display

During hiking, we often encounter streams, and sometimes, while crossing them, you might find your bag being splashed with water. It is good to go for the waterproof devices to turn your hiking experience into boredom. However, the display is another key feature; some are designed with touchscreens while others are not.

5. Touchscreen vs. Buttons

The GPS technology system has improved, and more GPS devices are touch screened design. However, buttons are still being preferred, especially in marine electronics. With a touch screen, you can pinch-to-zoom with your fingertips, increasing the data’s visibility compared to the GPS device using buttons. Comparatively, the touchscreen gives you a room to customize the device while your customization is minimal. The button interface is more durable as it is prone to less damage compared to the touchscreen. Generally, any of the two can be best for you, depending on your expectations and specifications.

6. Display

The display is an important factor that you should consider when it comes to backcountry GPS devices. They are always designed differently; hence you will find varying screen sizes and display the information.

 –Screen Size

The decision on the screen size of the backcountry GPS devices often depends on the user. Some prefer small-sized, while others go for the large size. However, always choose the screen that will provide you the easy reading of the information. Most of the device’s screens range from 3.5 inches to 4.3 inches, but the manufacturers often come with new designs.


When it comes to the information displays, devices often give information in different formats. The readability is sometimes based on how visible the data are and might consider screen size as one of its determinants. Be conversant with varying forms of the display.

7. GPS Receiver Types

Here are the types of GPS receivers;


GLONASS system provides information regarding the present time position, velocity, and navigation. You can easily track or even record activities, especially in urban areas. They are normally used to undertake military activities, rescue services, communication, environmental protection, and monitoring services.

  • Galileo

Galileo involves a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) that provides a piece of accurate global positioning information. With Galileo, you can easily obtain your exact position and benefits the emergency response services. It is also be used to monitor roads and even railways.

8. Mapping and Memory

gps navigation for backcountry

Due to advancing technology, mapping and memory have enabled the compilation of data into virtual images. The mapping provides an accurate and detailed map; the determination of distances is also achieved. All this operation often depends on the memory accommodated. The memory entails recording and storing the information or data recorded. The memory technology, including the spatial memory strategy depending on the assigned, can be categorized as short-term memory and long-term memory.

9. Battery Type and Battery Life

Picking the right backcountry GPS device with a quality battery is a key consideration. Be sure to go for consistent, good quality, long-running time, and how easy it is to replace. It is always important to confirm the condition of the battery regularly and taking note of the user guide. The life span of the battery often depends on how you take care of it. However, various factors dictate the battery life, such as the quality of your preferred GPS device.

10. Altimeter, Barometer, and Compass (ABC)

Most of the modern GPS watches are equipped with additional features as GPS watch possess a built-in altimeter, Barometer, and compass. An Altimeter will involve obtaining the height measurement above the mean sea level. With an altimeter, the receiver will give accurate elevation data, the ranges from 10m to 20m. They are engineered to resist any scratching and to last long. When it comes to Barometer, it involves the use of GPS based watches to take the readings of the air pressure and obtaining the altitude. This method requires a reference point when taking the measurement. Also, the compass plays the role of giving out coordinates of a specific location.

11. Dimensions and Weight

The dimension and weight often vary depending on the brands. However, these features are crucial when it comes to determining the intended place of use. If you are looking for a hiking GPS device, you will possibly go for the lightweight and small size. Similarly, there are GPS that is bigger and weighs more and don’t involve much transportation. So, before deciding on the brand you want to purchase, it is necessary to consider its portability, especially if you are looking for the backcountry GPS device.


What Is A Backcountry GPS Tracker?

Backcountry GPS devices refer to the tool that can locate and provide routing information of nearly inaccessible places by vehicles or nearly inhabited areas. It reads a map and compass to generate the tip of your current location, tracing your past and current location. Generally, this device is valuable for backcountry explorers.

Handheld Backcountry GPS Navigation vs. Smartphone GPS Apps

how to pick backcountry gps

Determining efficient GPS might not be easy. We are going to simply each one for you and recommend the more efficient GPS. When it comes to handheld GPS, they have a replaceable battery, while most of the smartphones have an inbuilt battery hence impossible to replace when low battery shuts it down.

Similarly, handheld GPS is often designed for remote areas compatibility compared to a smartphone GPS app, which you might not receive any data in a remote area. The handheld GPS is mostly water-resistant and can withstand any harsh weather conditions, but water might easily interfere with your phone in most smartphone GPS apps. With these distinguishing features, we recommend a handheld GPS.

But if you want to use your phone instead of handheld GPS, here are highly praised GPS app for recommendation:

Top 5 Best Smartphone GPS APP For Hiking and Backcountry Explorers


backcountry hiking apps


backcountry hiking app


backcountry hiking gps


hiking apps

#5.  MAPS 3D PRO

backcountry hiking

How Do GPS Devices Work in Backcountry Hiking?

A GPS device often uses four or more satellites to provide information on the device’s location. However, the location of the device is usually achieved after obtaining the distance between the active satellites. This process is obtained based on the trilateration calculation to come up with speed, the elevation of the object, and the position. These GPS devices are also in a place to calculate the time and velocity based on the distances obtained. Uniquely, when it comes to time, there is an allowance of timing error since the signal will read the device’s time, which is less accurate than the satellite’s atomic clocks. Once the device obtains the distance between the satellites connected with, its location is now revealed. For you to operate a GPS you should be able to know how it works.


How to Type GPS Coordinates into the Backcountry Navigation Device?

Feeding your backcountry GPS device with coordinates is not complicated. We have come up with easy steps that you should follow

  • Choose select categories then and go to coordinates
  • You can change the format of the coordinate system if you want to
  • Feed the device with the latitude and the longitude coordinates
  • Finally, go to view on the map

How to Use Phone For GPS in the Backcountry Hiking?

There are a variety of GPS apps available for smartphones, but Google Maps is a preferred GPS app. You will be required o download Google Maps if you do not have it and set it. Once you have set everything, you can now go to the search bar at the top of your screen and type your current location. Similarly, you can also add your destination and enter the starting point. It will ask you to choose the means of transport, and after that, you can now start the route.


These are the top 8 best backcountry GPS devices worth checking out. Some are suitable to travel with when going on a vacation in other countries since they have TOPO maps for different states. GPS devices have varying features that suit different user navigation needs. So, find the most appropriate GPS gadget from these models.