Backpacking GPS Units

GPS units have made backcountry navigation easier than ever.  While it is always good to have traditional means of navigation while backpacking (ie. a map and compass), GPS units can make navigation enjoyable and provide additional opportunities for exploration.

Modern GPS units are more reliable than ever, with higher precision and stronger antennas to receive location signals in canyons, forests, and even amongst skyscrapers and urban canyons.  In addition, newer GPS units offer an entire suite of features that enhance the outdoors and navigational experience.

Top Backpacking GPS Picks

eTrex 30 Worldwide Backpacking GPS

Featuring HotFix and GLONASS support, the Garmin eTrex 30 Worldwide GPS Receiver offers a strong, reliable signal to help you find your way in tree cover or less than optimal conditions...
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Garmin Oregon 550T

While offering a little less battery life than other relevant models, the Garmin Oregon 550T Backpacking GPS is packed with features. It has a very generous 3" touchscreen display...
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DeLorme Earthmate PN-60 Backpacking GPS

The full-featured DeLorme Earthmate PN-60 Portable GPS Navigator is rugged, easy to use, and is perfect for explorerers, travellers, and backpackers...
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Magellan eXplorist 510

The Magellan eXplorist 510 is a durable, waterproof backpacking gps unit. Using the integrated SiRFStarIII chipset, this gps unit provides up to three meters accuracy and utilizes...
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Garmin eTrex Venture HC Backpacking GPS

Inexpensively priced, the Garmin eTrex Venture HC is a high sensitivity GPS receiver suitable for all of your backcountry adventures. This WAAS- enabled GPS receiver locates your position quickly and precisely and can maintain your position in heavy tree cover or deep canyons...
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Color High-Sensitivity Mapping Handheld GPS

Never get lost again! This super high-sensitivity GPS unit is able to locate your position quickly and precisely, because it is equipped with a high-sensitivity, WAAS-enabled GPS receiver that works easily in thick forest coverage, steep canyons or even on city streets surrounded by skyscrapers...
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Garmin eTrex 20 Worldwide Handheld Backpacking GPS Navigator

It's hard to get lost with the eTrex 20 Backpacking GPS. Featuring a sunlight-readable, 2.2 inch color display that is loaded with a basemap covering the entire globe in shaded relief, the eTrex 20 is perfect travellers and backpackers...
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DeLorme Earthmate PN-40 Waterproof Hiking GPS

This GPS unit is an incredible package, not only do you get the powerful DeLorme Earthmate GPS...
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Garmin GPS 60CSx Handheld GPS Navigator

The Garmin GPS 60CSx Handheld GPS Navigator is 7.5 ounces of pure magic. This unit easily tracks your position through heavy cover, steep canyons and around tall buildings...
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Bushnell GPS BackTrack Personal Locator

The Backtrack is a totally new concept with GPS. While this doesn't have the traditional mapping capabilities of most GPS units, this one has a very simple purpose in mind – to guide you back to your original starting point. We love the ease of use, simplicity, and size of this GPS unit which will guide you to your original location...
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Wilderness Navigation

Wilderness Navigation

Wilderness Navigation is an ideal book for learning how to route find in the wilderness. This guide covers multiple means of navigation, including map-and-compass and gps route-finding.

Choosing a GPS

There are a lot of GPS units on the market today, choosing the correct device depends on your needs and how you will be using your GPS receiver. Our introduction to finding the perfect GPS unit for your backpacking adventures helps you decide which features you need, and which you don't.
Choosing the right GPS receiver


BackpackingGPS is a result of our desire to easily find backpacking equipment that meets our very specific needs. In April of 2007, we embarked on our first long distance hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. Minimizing our load for this adventure was the first step in the creation of this website, since at the time there weren't adequate tools for searching backpacking gear.

While we didn't use GPS units on our long distance hike, offering the ability to search for GPS units suitable for backpacking seemed like a natural extension of our tool. We hope this website will help you to find the GPS unit that will meet your hiking and backpacking needs.

Happy Backpacking!

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