It goes without saying that navigation when hiking is the one key factor that can never be ignored! Even when hiking on well signed paths, it pays to know where you are. This way you can estimate how long it should take to either reach the next destination, or to backtrack to your start point should the need arise. In terms of safety, it is absolutely essential to know how to get from point A to point B, and a good hiking GPS plays its part in this.
Whilst a hiking GPS should never be a direct substitute for carrying a map and compass, it is a tool that everyone can use with relative ease. It doesn’t take long to pick up how to use the GPS, and it can be a lot simpler when it comes to measuring your elevation and distances, and estimating hiking time between locations.
The key points to look for when it comes to choosing a hiking GPS, are its accuracy, battery life, availability of maps, and user-friendliness. The speed with which it can pick up a GPS signal is also a factor to consider. It might be tempting to use an app on a mobile phone, but the results and accuracy are much less reliable than a purposely designed GPS for hiking, and in some cases, very dangerous. If you decide to take the GPS route for navigation, a dedicated, lightweight hiking GPS is the way to go.
A hiking GPS is ideal for – Finding your position in bad weather, estimating distances between points, finding your elevation, a backup to map and compass.