Getting lost in the wilderness is the last thing we want when we have prepared for such a long time for hunting. This is particularly worse for hunters who travelled alone and there were no clear trails to follow. Therefore, a hunting GPS will come in handy in these situations.
Getting the best hunting GPS will assist hunters in navigation, observing sunrise and sunset timings, understanding where the wind blows before placing the hunting stands, and complying with hunting regulations. For example, it can help the hunters in distinguishing public and private land so that the hunters do not hunt in unauthorized area.
BE WARNED: That this piece is a pretty long piece because I thought it would be useful to cover each GPS unit comprehensively. Since a GPS unit is a pretty complex machine, I thought it would be helpful to go into the details and talk about each characteristic and feature, making this review more comprehensive than most reviews that you have came across.
Aspect to look into
The features I look into for the best hunting GPS includes affordability, ability to be water resistant, weight, screen display, and/or any additional feature. I will comment on each of the feature in the following products.
We will look more in-depth into what aspects we should look out for in the best hunting GPS after the review.
Best Hunting GPS Comparison Table
|inReach Explorer+||Check Price on Amazon||2.3 inch||8 ounces||100 hours||Buttons||You can get
send and receive
|eTrex 20x||Check Price on Amazon||2.2 inch||4.96 ounces||25 hours||Buttons||The most
which has a
its really durable
(but it has a steep
|Montana 680t||Check Price on Amazon||4.0 inch||10.2 ounces||16 hours||Touchscreen||Get improved
faster fixes with
this GPS unit
where it's able to
lock-on to you
faster than any
|Oregon 650t||Check Price on Amazon||3.0 inch||7.4 ounces||16 hours||Touchscreen||The most user-
friendly GPS unit
which has great
allowing you to
|GPSMAP 66st||Check Price on Amazon||3.0 inch||8.5 ounces||16 hours||Buttons||You'll get
sure its ready for
|GPSMAP 66i||Check Price on Amazon||3.0 inch||8.5 ounces||35 hours||Buttons||This GPS unit has
the most features
anywhere in the
and GEOS 24/7
Top five rated Hunting GPS
Overview of the Company – Garmin Ltd is a public listed company in the United States that was founded in 1989 by Gary Burrell and Min Kao in Kansas, United States.
The company specializes in GPS technology for varies activities including outdoors, aviation and automotive.
The company’s mission is to create superior products for automotive, aviation, marine, outdoor, and sports that are vital for their customers.
Product Overview – I thought it would be helpful to list down the models available for the inReach series and a brief description of each of them. The inReach series is really popular because of the availability of the satellite communication. This means that when you have no mobile coverage, you can still obtain satellite coverage and message your loved ones and call for help. Here’s an overview of the available inReach models:
InReach Explorer+ – This is the GPS unit we are currently reviewing. This unit can last the longest (100 hours). Also, there’s a 24k TOPO Map of the United States, allowing you to view your maps in detail.
GPSMAP 66i – The GPSMAP 66i also made it to the list as one of the best hunting GPS. It’s has all the important features including InReach satellite messaging, Interactive SOS functionality (Requires subscription) and providee live weather forecast.
However, if you are navigating consistently with the GPSMAP 66i, it will only last up to 35 hours, which is the shortest battery life span amongst the GPS units in the InReach Series.
InReach SE+ – The functionalities in the InReach SE+ GPS is highly similar to the InReach Explorer+ but it comes without built-in maps and navigation.
InReach Mini – The InReach Mini is basically a smaller version of the InReach SE+ that only has half of the battery life, it’s half the size (which makes it really portable) and has only half of its weight.
Why is this Number 1? – The Garmin inReach Explorer+ is selected to be number 1 in the list because it is unique. Unlike other GPS units, the Garmin inReach Explorer+ has an excellent coverage especially with its satellite communication functionality. Coupled with the comprehensive topo maps, you will be ready to go deep into the forest for hunting.
Coverage – The device allows you to have communication with the outside world with its 100 percent global Iridium satellite coverage. It enables you to reach out to your loved ones whenever you are out in the wilderness as it provides a two-way text messaging from anywhere.
Weight and Product dimensions – The device weighs at 8 ounces and has the size of 2.7 inches x 6.5 inches x 1.5 inches.
Battery Life – With careful use, this device can last up to 100 hours. Do note that when you buy the GPS, the iridium battery comes with it.
Unlike ordinary GPS units that only receive signals from orbiting GPS satellites, the InReach battery is built to last 100 hours even when the device is required to also send messages to different group of communication satellites located miles in space when the unit is set at default (where the GPS unit checks for satellite every ten minutes), which is pretty impressive.
If you are concerned about the battery life, there are some habits you can pick up along the way to help with reducing the amount of electricity used. The habits include decreasing screen brightness when you are not under direct sunlight and turning it off when it’s not in-use.
Screen Display – The screen is smaller (2.3 inch) than other flagship GPS devices. Although it is not as bright comparatively (the screen resolution is 200 x 265 pixels), it still works fine under bright sunlight. This is perhaps to save the battery power for additional function to send messages.
Still, the details on the screen is still readable at noon of a sunny day just by cupping the hands over the screen. For instance, I can see the topo maps with full detail with altitude rings clearly marked and showing the type of terrain. I can see even some stores and business names in the town.
Compared to most high-end GPS, the screen is considered a bit small. Do note that the device does not support touchscreen. The screen works fine under bright sunlight although it’s not extremely bright.
Waterproof ability – The device has the rating of IPX7, which means that it could withstand heavy splashing and rain. The device work perfectly fine when it is exposed to water but not when it is immersed in the water for a long time. The rating suggests the maximum immersion duration to be 30 minutes at the depth of less than 1 meter.
Satellite Communicator – The inReach Exploerer+ is primarily a combination of GPS and satellite communicator. The satellite communicator allows you to send and receive messages without relying on cell signal.
With the satellite communicator, you can explore anywhere, communicate everywhere. You can basically go anywhere and still exchange messages with cell phones, while you can use your GPS to track and even share how far you have progressed.
As long as you can get some sky (ideally), the GPS will be able to get your messages out and obtain responses back. Usually, the time it takes for the messages to be sent or received depends on how much sky is made available.
Track and Share your location – Besides, you may track and share your location with family and friends throughout your journey by turning on the tracking function. On their side, they are able to see your whereabouts by using the web-based MapShare portal on their computers or mobile devices.
Basically, the inReach device will be able to send waypoints at preselected time intervals, so that your friends and family can track your whereabouts.
Trigger Interactive SOS – You are also able to trigger an interactive SOS to the 24/7 search and rescue monitoring center in case you were in any danger. With this device, you will be able to text back and forth about your emergency and get confirmation from GEOS that help is on your way.
GEOS is the world leader in emergency response solutions and monitoring. Once it received your SOS, it tracks your device and notifies the emergency responders in your area. Before help arrived, it will engage in a two-way texting with you to provide you with updates and critical information.
With this functionality, you are one button away from an international search and rescue service which will send help immediately while trying their best to stay in communication with you.
Additional Feature – Besides, the Garmin inReach Explorer+ can be paired with mobile devices with the Earthmate app. This application provides you with a number of maps, color aerial imagery, as well as US NOAA charts.
Get Weather Wherever you are – The inReach weather forecast service will be able to provide detailed updates concerning the weather, wherever you are. As noted above about the additional feature, the GPS can be paired with the smartphone or tablet through Earthmate app. You can check out the weather conditions through those appliances as well.
Built-in-Navigation Sensors – The Garmin inReach Explorer+ has built-in navigation sensors including a compass, a barometric altimeter and an accelerometer.
24,000-scale (full-scale plot map) – The Garmin inReach Explorer+ contains both functionalities including having the inReach satellite communicator and an on-board GPS that has 24,000 scale maps of US and Canada.
With this functionality, you will be able to accurately locate yourself on the topo map. Even when you are on the go and you drop a waypoint, the inReach will be capable of drawing a route for you to follow through the map or even the built-in compass.
Comprehensive Topo Maps – The GPS is equipped with topo maps which have full details. The altitude rings in the map are clearly marked. Also, you are shown the type of terrain too. You can even see some business names given around town.
Pretty Costly – I would highly recommend the InReach of people who wants a satellite communicator where you can send and receive messages anywhere or even contact the Search & Rescue team. If you don’t want this feature, you may want to look at another GPS.
Besides buying the GPS, you need to subscribe to the Iridium Satellite and GEOS Search & Rescue services, which requires you to pay a yearly subscription fee. However, you can save some cost by choosing the “Freedom” plan which allows you to activate and deactivate the InReach on a monthly basis. Of course, the only downside for using this method is you need to purposely activate your subscription before you go for a hike or a hunt.
Updating the Device – After purchase, I would highly recommend that you look out for updates. The devices tend not to be updated with the latest firmware which may cause some issues later.
Whom is this for – This device is suited to anyone who wishes to have access to communication when he or she is going on a venture. In addition, the SOS feature could potentially be a lifesaver.
Suitable for going off-the-grid – If you are carrying the inReach Explorer+, you will never get out of reach. This handheld GPS is manufactured with satellite communicators that are designed for people who want to roam deep into the wilderness without compromising your ability to communicate with your loved ones.
Even if you are going to backwaters or an international outdoor adventure, this GPS is capable of providing location sharing, navigation and SOS function.
Fulfill your communication needs – The inReach Explorer+ allows you to connect with the outside world despite being in remote areas.
Even if you need to communicate to fulfil your professional needs, the inReach Explorer+ will definitely be a suitable candidate.
Do note that the ability to send messages is not limited to just inReach users, but you can send text (SMS) on their smartphones or even to their emails.
Excellent Battery Life – Despite the need for the GPS unit to communicate with various satellite units, the battery life is still amazing. Since it can last up to 100 hours, you should be able to make it back safely without any need of charging the GPS unit while you are out in the woods hunting.
Rating – The Garmin inReach Explorer+ is one of the best-rated ones so far, getting a rating of 4.4/5.
|Excellent Coverage||Requires updating|
|SOS Feature||May be costly|
|Great battery life|
On the outset, eTrex 20x is a navigator and it provides a basic information to experienced hunters who has a good sense of direction and has acquired well-developed survival skills.
Series – The eTrex 20x is basically an upgraded version of the earlier eTrex 20, which Garmin decided to stop manufacturing, but you can still get the second-hand version.
Basically, the eTrex 20x has an enhanced screen resolution and an expanded internal memory capacity.
This are just the important characteristics which I found important to highlight. If you are interested in knowing the specifics, you can check out Garmin’s eTrex owner’s manual which comprehensively covers the Garmin eTrex series specifications and features.
Coverage – The device includes a preloaded worldwide basemap that provides some basic information. You could add your own maps from wide arrays of sources such as BlueChart g2, BirdsEye Satellite Imagery, HuntView, or TOPO 24K. This is made possible by the expandable internal memory from its original 3.7 GB device memory.
Product dimensions – The device weighs at 5 ounces and has the size of 2.1 x 4.0 x 1.3 inches. The battery usually last for 25 hours.
Screen display – The screen display of eTrex 20x has upgraded from the eTrex 20 version with better screen resolution. The device boasts a greater resolution with 240 x 320 display pixels for improved readability and a 2.2-inch 65K color display.
Memory Capacity – You can load more maps with the Garmin eTrex 20x because the GPS itself has an internal memory with 3.7 GB and you can even have additional memory as there’s a microSD card slot.
With this huge memory capacity, you will be able to load a variety of maps including TOPO 24k maps, HuntView, BlueChart g2, City Navigator NT and BirdsEye Satellite Imagery.
Batteries used – You need two AA-sized Lithium ion battery for the GPS to function.
Waterproof ability – eTrex 20x has water rating of IPX7 which means that it is water resistant and not water proof. It could withstand splashes and rain. I would not advice this device to be immersed in water for a long time.
Preloaded Basemap – The Garmin eTrex 20x comes with a worldwide basemap with a shaded relief. The display size of it is 1.4 inches x 1.7 inches.
Basecamp software – The eTrex 20x comes with the BaseCamp software which allows you to view and organize maps, waypoints, routes and tracks.
With this software, you can easily plan your trips as it allows you to create adventures that you can share with your family members or friends.
The BaseCamp software will display a topographic map data in either 2-dimensional or 3-dimensional format in your computer screen, which includes contour lines and elevation profiles.
Furthermore, you can transfer unlimited satellite images to your device when it is paired with the BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription.
Automatically Fix your Location – The GPS is equipped with a highly-sensitive WAAS-enabled GPS receiver, HotFix satellite prediction and GLONASS support.
All of these functionalities allow the eTrex to locate your position quickly and precisely. The GPS unit will be able to maintain its location even when there is a heavy cover or a deep canyon.
Once you press the power button, the unit will be able to lock-onto your location almost instantly.
Supports Geocaching – The eTrex series supports geocaching GPX files, where you will be able to download geocaches and details straight into your unit.
Basically, the eTrex is able to store and display important information including the location, terrain, difficulty, hints and descriptions. You don’t have to manually enter the coordinates too.
You can download the cache locations GPX files from geocaching.com.
The GLONASS Satellite is a system developed by Russia. It’s superior to the GPS satellite because the GLONASS receive is able to lock into a position approximately 20 percent faster than the GPS.
Compatible with HUNT OnxMaps – The eTrex 20x has a place for you to place map chips. You can download the free Garmin Basecamp using your USB port and even zoom into them. Once you zoom in enough, the onxmap will be activated and the GPS will show you what’s in your chip.
Rating – The Garmin eTrex 20x has a pretty decent rating of 4.0/5. Considering that it’s sold at a pretty fair price, being rated at 4.0/5 is pretty reasonable.
Tedious to set-up – You may need to spend some time to set-up the device before it can function efficiently. You need to download several programs in order to get it to work properly. I would highly recommend that you refer to several youtube videos and blog posts on the topic so that you can set it up much faster.
Outdated Software – This GPS would definitely be great for basic use. However, if you are looking for something more detailed, this GPS may not be suitable. For example, the BirdsEye aerials are out of date and you need to download the current ones.
Steep Learning Curve – The eTrex 20x is a great GPS. However, it has a steep learning curve for first-time GPS users.
You need to download Garmin’s BaseCamp and update Etrex’s software through BaseCamp. After that, you need to download compatible maps into your GPS unit.
Whom is this for – This device is suited to anyone who only requires basic information or anyone who does not want to spend extra money on additional features deemed fancy.
Great for General Use – The eTrex 20x is durable and really easy to use too. The GPS is highly versatile where you will be able to use it on ATVs, bicycles, boats, cars or even hot air balloons.
Since the eTrex 20x isn’t as accurate as those GPS at the higher-end of the spectrum, the eTrex 20x would definitely be a good fit for people who don’t really need accuracy.
Really Rugged – The Garmin eTrex series is obviously rugged and dependable. It’s really easy to use too not to mention it’s highly affordable. If you are often careless with your gear and want something really durable, the eTrex 20x would definitely be suitable for you.
Excellent for Recording your Travelling Route – If you like to record your travelling route while you are on your trip, the eTrex 20x will be able to do this efficiently. After recording your travel, you can review your journey using the recorded gpx files on Google Maps and on Google Earth.
This would definitely be important for hunting trips especially when you want to know where you have placed your hunting stands.
Easy Navigation – With the relevant country maps updated and downloaded from websites, you will be able to navigate from point A to point B with ease.
Portable – Since this unit is relatively small, it’s easy to put it into your pocket and bring it around.
However, since this unit is small, I would highly recommend that you use a string to attach it to your backpack or your pants for example so that it wouldn’t go missing. Remember to store the GPS securely when it’s not in use.
Great for Waypoint-to-Waypoint Navigation – If waypoint-to-waypoint navigation is what you are looking for, the eTrex 20x will be able to efficiently meet your needs. This is considered as one of the best hunting GPS in the market when it comes to affordability and meeting your needs to obtain proper navigation.
Comparison with the eTrex 30x
We have comprehensively reviewed the Garmin eTrex 30x in our comprehensive buyer’s guide on the best hunting GPS under $200. The important characteristics such as the display size, resolution, routes and automatic routing option is the same. However, the eTrex 20x does not have the Barometric altimeter and electronic compass unlike the eTrex 30x.
|Supports Geocaching||Takes some time to set-up|
|Supports various types of maps|
Speed and accuracy are what you need to know when it comes to Garmin Montana 680t. The Garmin Montana has a friendly user-interface and high-resolution screen for easier reference.
If you are looking for a GPS unit that is made from rugged materials and has job specific features to help you navigate, I would highly recommend the Garmin Montana 680t.
Since we only highlight the important characteristics available, you may want to check out the Garmin Montana 610/ 680 owner’s Manual.
Improved positioning and faster fixes – The built-in 3-axis compass, barometric altimeter and access to both GPS and GLONASS satellites enable improved positioning and faster fixes. Not to mention, the GPS is great at maintaining your positioning too.
At the same time, the highly sensitive satellites, WAAS-enabled received and HotFix satellite prediction allows the device to locate your position precisely no matter you are in deep woods, near tall buildings and trees, or surrounded by canyons.
This GPS unit will be able to lock-on faster than any other GPS unit which you have came across.
Preloaded U.S. 100K Topographic Maps – The Montana 680t also comes with preloaded topographic maps and a BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription for full-color maps. You can have 4,000 waypoints and 200 saved tracks to navigate from. Plus, you will have access to 250,000 preloaded worldwide geocaches from Geocaching.com.
Product dimensions – The device has the size of 2.9 x 5.7 x 1.4 inches.
Weight – This GPS weighs at 10.2 ounces.
Battery Life – The device could last up to 16 hours (if powered by lithium-ion) or 22 hours (if powered by three AA batteries).
Screen display – The screen occupies the majority of the device interface. It is a 4-inch dual orientation screen with a menu filled with features. While it is a touchscreen, it is also glove-friendly at the same time. You need not take off your glove when you are using the Montana 680t.
The 272 x 480-pixel screen giving you vivid colors and high-resolution images. You would be able to read the screen under sunlight without cupping your hand over it.
The 4-inch wide screen will give you vivid colors and high-resolution images.
Glove-friendly touchscreen – The GPS unit comes with a glove-friendly touchscreen display. If you are wearing gloves often, this GPS would be suitable for you. This is especially useful when you are hunting because you’ll likely be wearing hunting gloves while you are on the move.
What does the package come with – If you purchase the GPS brand new, you can get a Lithium-ion battery pack, a USB cable, an AC charger and a QuickStart Guide. If you are buying it second-hand, you may only get the charger.
Waterproof ability – The device has the water rating of IPX7, which is water resistant. Even if there’s a downpour in the woods while you are hunting, the hunting GPS will be able to withstand it.
Camera – The Montana 680t comes with an 8-megapixel camera that has the ability to autofocus. There’s even automatic geotagging as well.
Automatic Geotagging – The device comes with 8-megapixel digital camera. You can capture the view throughout the journey and the photos will be automatically geotagged with coordinates, allowing you to navigate back to the same place in the future. You’ll be surprised at how accurate it is when you are capable of getting back to the exact spot.
Supports Geocaching – The GPS supports paperless geocaching GPX files where you can straightaway upload geocaches from Geocaching.com. This means that you don’t have to manually enter coordinates by referring to printouts.
Just by uploading the geocaches, the Montana 680t will be able to store and display important information including location, terrain, difficulty, hints and descriptions.
Birdseye Satellite Imagery subscription – When you purchase the Garmin Montana 680t, you will get a 1-year Birdseye Satellite Imagery subscription. With this feature, you can accurately see your surroundings.
Track Manager – This GPS unit has the ability to organize and navigate through different waypoints, routes or track logs. Also, you can easily start or stop the recording of the track logs.
Rating – The rating for the Garmin Montana 680t is pretty decent, with a rating of 3.7/5.
Slow Map Loading – The GPS unit has a hesitant map loading speed and incongruous zooming where the page will move from your location as you zoom.
Whom is this for – Montana 680t would suit anyone who wish to have a more comprehensive experience during hunting as it provides you with great navigation tool and high-resolution camera.
Suitable for Hiking/ Hunting – The Montana 680t is great for hiking or hunting because the 680t is glove-friendly, comes with preloaded TOPO U.S. 100K maps and even has a 1-year BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription.
All of these adds up to providing you an excellent experience when you are hunting and using the GPS to navigate.
Easy Navigation – Since this is an easy-to-use touchscreen device, you can easily navigate through the device which helps save time when getting information.
If you prefer using touchscreen to navigate through your device rather than pressing buttons, the Montana 680t is for you.
Also, this would mean it would be much easier entering information like waypoints, entering coordinates and even searching for waypoints.
Ideal for Preplanned trips – This GPS unit is generally great. It will work almost flawlessly if you plan your backcountry trip in advance by using the Basecamp software, Huntview chip and the 24k chip. After setting where you want to go, the GPS can take you there with ease.
Fast and Accurate GPS signal – This GPS unit is able to lock onto a coordinate accurately and quickly. There are also multiple signal sources too which helps increase the coverage.
|Fast and accurate positioning||The GPS Unit Loads pretty slow|
|Easy to navigate|
|Rugged and waterproof|
Oregon 650t is on par with Montana 680t as one of the best overall handheld GPS on the market and here’s why.
Coverage – Oregon 650t provides you with US topographical maps and a worldwide base map.
Storage – In case you want to add your maps, you can easily do so as there are 4 GB of internal memory space and a microSD slot for your utilization.
There are other options which cost lesser including the 1.5 GB and 3.5 GB options too.
GPS & GLONASS Systems – Similar with the Montana 680t, it uses both US GPS system and the Russian GLONASS systems to triangulate your position. You can enjoy the best of both system and get the most accurate position.
Product dimensions – Oregon 650t has the size of 2.4 x 4.5 x 1.3 inches.
Weight – The Garmin Oregon weighs 7.4 ounces.
Battery Life – The GPS unit has a dual battery system. You can choose to either power the device with 2 AA batteries.
Alternatively, you can use the device with the rechargeable internal NiMH pack. The internal NiMH pack charges when your GPS unit is connected to an external power source.
With this, the device should be able to last around 16 hours.
With the dual battery system, this makes it more portable than the Montana 680t.
If you purchase a new set of Garmin Oregon 650 or Garmin Oregon 650t, the battery pack will be included.
Screen display – The screen size is 3 inches, slightly smaller than the Montana 680t; this is perhaps due to the smaller overall size of the device.
Although the resolution is 240 x 400 pixels, in direct sunlight, the screen is still vibrant, and the display is as clear as a bell.
Style – The Garmin Oregon 650t comes in several styles such as the Base Model, having ONLY an added Digital Camera, having a unit which with Topographic Maps or having a unit with both the Topographic Maps and Digital Camera. This allows you to customize according to your needs.
Weight – The GPS unit weighs 7.4 ounces.
What’s included – When you purchase the Garmin Oregon 650t GPS unit, you will also get the NiMH battery pack, USB/charging cable, AC adapter, Carabiner clip and Documentation.
Since we only covered the important characteristics and features of the GPS unit, I would highly recommend that you read the Oregon 600 Series Owner’s Manual (Long Version) or the Oregon 600 Series Quick Start Manual (the Short version) if you would like to know more about the specifics on how it will work.
Waterproof ability – The water rating follows the industrial standard of IPX7, which means you should handle it with care to prevent it from dropping into lakes or ponds.
However, I would recommend that you only expose the GPS to minimal moisture and not bring it to water-intensive activities such as kayaking.
Sensors – The GPS unit is equipped with sensors i.e. the 3-axis compass, the accelerometer and the barometric altimeter.
This means that you’ll be able to get your bearings. You will know where you are heading even when you are standing still.
The barometric altimeter tracks the change in pressure to help pinpoint your altitude.
Take excellent photos and automatically geotag them – The camera feature of 8 megapixel is already outstanding. What is more is that it comes with an LED flash feature that allows you to take brighter photos. Not to mention, you could geotag your photos for your future use.
Wirelessly Share your Routes – With the Adaptive Network Topology (ANT) and Bluetooth technology, you will be able to wirelessly share routes, tracks, waypoints, custom maps, geocaches and even photos between GPS units.
With this feature, you can share those routes or waypoints 50 times faster with other wireless compatible Garmin devices.
You can transfer large files such as photos and Custom maps with ease.
Dual Orientation – Having the dual orientation feature basically means that you can flip the screen from landscape to portrait or vice versa by rotating the GPS unit.
Autofocus Camera – You can customize your Garmin Oregon 650t and choose to have a unit with or without the camera. It’s basically an 8MP autofocus camera that is equipped with LED flash or torch where you can digitally zoom in and out too.
Also, I thought it’s important to highlight that the photo you took will be geotagged with the location of where you took it. This means that you can navigate back to the exact spot of where you took the photo.
Furthermore, you can share the photos you took with the Garmin Oregon 650t to your family and friends too.
Fast Mapping and Positioning – With the highly sensitive GPS and GLONASS satellite tracking, The Oregon 650t has fast mapping and positioning capabilities. Also, with this many satellite tracking, it means that the GPS unit will have faster fixes be it under open sky or a heavily wooded forest while you are hunting.
Preloaded TOPO U.S. 100K Maps – You can customize your purchase option by choosing either to purchase a GPS unit with the Topo Maps or without them.
If you choose to have them, your GPS unit will have preloaded TOPO U.S. 100K Maps. With the Topo maps and worldwide basecamp with shaded relief, you are prepared to hunt in the woods.
With a map that has a scale of 1 inch for every 100000 inches and detailed accuracy, you will be fine hunting with the Garmin Oregon 650t.
Compatible with Gloves – The touchscreen on this unit is compatible with many types of gloves.
Reflective Display Technology – The reflective display technology is capable of increasing your screen’s brightness to the extent that the maps and what is displayed can be seen vividly even under the bright sun.
Customizable buttons – You can customize the buttons on the GPS unit. For example, if you buy the GPS unit with autofocus camera, with one touch you can have the image captured and waypoint marked.
HotFix® satellite prediction – With the HotFix® satellite prediction coupled with the WAAS and GLONASS enabled GPS receiver, and the sensors (which are the 3-axis compass, the accelerometer and the barometric altimeter), the GPS unit will be able to locate your position quickly and precisely.
It’ll be able to tell your location even when you are under a heavy cover too.
Rating – This GPS unit has a pretty good rating of 3.9/5.
Limited Map Details – If you are using it primarily for hunting or navigating in the outdoors in the US, it would be ideal. However, if you want pre-loaded maps of the city area, it may cost some money to get them.
The maps don’t have as much details as Google maps, but they should be able to help you navigate. If you want more detail, you may need to download the free maps separately or purchase the pertinent maps.
Whom is this for – Oregon 650t is best suited for someone who wishes to have more features packed into a single device. You would not be disappointed, especially after knowing that it is one of the best-designed handheld GPS in the market.
Made for Hunting/ Outdoors – As every outdoor enthusiast will know, it’s more convenient to have a GPS that is readable under sunlight. Also, it’s better if the GPS unit or phone has a touchscreen that is compatible with gloves. The Oregon 650t meets both requirements.
Since the GPS unit is made to be rugged, the GPS unit will be unfazed by dust, dirt and water. It’ll be able to withstand physical abuse when you’re on your hunting trip.
Easy Set-Up – Unlike some GPS models, the Garmin Oregon 600 or 650t are really easy to set-up. The software update is relatively quick too.
Great for Going to Outskirts – This GPS unit is excellent for getting around places without cell towers. Those are places where your phone’s GPS wouldn’t work.
If you know how to use a map and a compass, coupled with this GPS unit, there is little to no chance of you getting lost.
Extremely user-friendly – If you are not good with technology, you will love this GPS unit. It’s extremely user-friendly where a person with minimal tech skills can be able to operate it efficiently.
|Extremely user-friendly||Limited Map Details|
|Fast Mapping and Positioning|
The GPSMAP 66st is described as the premium handheld GPS not without a reason.
Model – You can choose to buy the base model, which is the Garmin 66s or the Garmin 66st (the model that comes with the Topo Maps). For purposes of explanation, I’ll consistently use the Garmin 66st in my explanation.
Do note that the GPSMAP 66st was manufactured with the intention of making it the successor of the GPSMAP 64 series. There are some upgraded features based on the GPSMAP 64 series design.
Coverage – This device is a multi-satellite handheld with sensors and TOPO Maps. With the Garmin GPSMAP 66st, you would have access to multiple global satellite system such as GPS, GLONASS and Galileo, which helps the GPS provide a positionings that are even more accurate.
This is important so that the GPS will be able to track where you are travelling even in the worst environments.
The GPS offers multi-GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) support too, which helps the GPS unit transmit data on positioning with ease.
Preloaded TOPO Maps (U.S. and Canada) – The device contains preloaded TOPO US and Canada maps (includes Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Contour lines at 75’ in U.S. and 30 meters in Canada) that shows you the geographical condition of the areas you are hunting.
With the TOPO Maps preloaded into your GPS unit, you will be able to see your surroundings with great detail, including terrain contours, topographic elevations, coastlines, lakes and even geographical points.
You could also have a BirdsEye satellite imagery (without annual subscription) to your device which could assist you in finding trails, parking, waypoints, etc. With both these features, you are basically ready to hit the trail.
Product dimensions – The size of the GPSMAP 66st is 2.5 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches.
Weight – This GPS unit weighs at 8.5 ounces. This is somewhat bulkier comparing to similar devices.
Battery Life – The device is powered using 2 AA batteries. The device could last up to 16 hours in GPS mode and 1 week in Expedition Mode.
You can put in rechargeable batteries too.
Do note that your battery will deplete quicker if you left the Wi-Fi on your device on.
Storage Capacity – It has come with a huge memory space up to 16 GB.
Screen display – The screen size is 3 inches with resolution of 240 x 400 pixels. The screen has sunlight-readable color display for easy viewing.
More specifically, the display size is 1.5 inches (W) x 2.5 inches (H) (3.8 cm x 6.3 cm); 3-inch diagonal (7.6 cm).
Also, I would like to note that the GPS is equipped with a high-resolution screen that is easily readable under the sunlight.
ABC (Altimeter, Barometer and Compass) Sensors – The device also come with ABC sensors, ie altimeter, barometer and compass.
The three-axis compass and barometric altimeter will help in pinpointing your exact location with great accuracy.
The built-in altimeter can provide elevation data, while the barometer can be used to help predict weather changes by showing you different trends in air pressure.
With the three-axis electronic compass, you will be able to get accurate readings on your bearings when you are on the move or stationary.
Waterproof ability – The water rating is set at IPX7, which means this device is able to withstand splashes and rain.
Expanded wireless connectivity – The highlight of GPSMAPS 66st would be its compatibility feature with other devices.
First, the expanded wireless connectivity is able to support Active Weather, where you can get real-time weather forecast when you paired it with compatible smartphone. There is an animated weather radar which you can use as well.
Second, you can connect the device with WiFi, Garmin Connect™ app, or Garmin Explore mobile app and website to enhance your user experience. The Garmin Explore™ website and app will be able to help you to manage your tracks, routes and waypoints. Plus, you will be able to review statistics from the field.
Third, you can use the Geocaching Live for mobile syncing and updates concerning your geocaching data.
Built-in LED Flashlight – it has a built-in LED flashlight that could be handy to you when you are in danger.
Night Vision Googles – The GPS unit is compatible with night vision googles, which makes it suitable for hunting at nighttime or during seasons when the sun goes down quick.
BirdsEye Satellite Imagery – You have access to BirdsEye Satellite Imagery with the direct-to-direct device downloads with NO ADDITIONAL CHARGES (No annual subscription billing).
Get True Representations of your surroundings – With the high-resolution photos and having realistic views of your routes, you will be able to see a true representation of your surroundings. This makes it much easier to find trails, clearings for campsites, locations to place your hunting stands or even to find parks.
This is possible because the GPS unit comes with BirdsEye Satellite Imagery WITHOUT the need for annual subscription.
Get Weather Updates – You can get weather updates if you pair the GPSMAP 66 series GPS with your device using Bluetooth to a compatible smartphone.
Basically, you can get real-time forecast on the weather including predictions for wind and clouds. With the live weather radar, you will know when is a good time to go for your hunt.
Great for Geocaching – The GPSMAP 66 series GPS has functionalities that makes it easy to enjoy geocaching. You can set the device to automatically update with all the latest caches from Geocaching Live, and the device will download the information comprehensively including cache description, logs and hints.
Your GPS Device will be able to update these geocache information when the device gets Wi-Fi connection or through Garmin Connect through a compatible smartphone.
This means that you can skip the work of manually entering coordinates since it’s automatically uploaded into your device.
LED Flashlight & SOS Beacon – The GPS unit comes with an LED Flashlight which will come in handy if you’re going to dark environments.
The SOS Beacon is made available so that you can signal for help when you need to.
Steep Learning Curve – To use the Garmin GPSMAP 66st effectively, there is a pretty steep learning curve.
You need to download different map types in the area you are visiting if you want to access both the street view and topo view.
If you need help operating this device, I would highly recommend that you go to Garmin’s Support website to find out more.
Whom is this for – This could be most up-to-date GPS produced in recent years. Those who are tech-savvy could use this GPS to better their hunting experience scientifically.
Great for Outdoor adventures – The Garmin GPSMAP 66st is excellent for navigating when you are going for an outdoor adventure be it hunting, hiking or even mountain biking.
User-Friendly – Even when you are offline or when there’s no cell service available in your area, the GPSMAP 66st is still capable of pairing with your Garmin Explore mobile app which makes it much easier for you to plan, review and sync important data such as waypoints, routes and tracks.
With the App, you will be able to review where you have travelled while you are still on your hunting trail.
This app makes it much easier for you to plan your future trips too.
The buttons are pretty easy to use so that should help you figure out what to press.
Tactical Utilities – The Garmin GPSMAP 66st will help prepare you for the worst.
The GPSMAP 66st has a battery life of 16 hours if you are consistently using it. Make sure you get extra sets of batteries if you are planning to use it more than 16 hours when you hit the trail.
If you are using it in expedition mode, the GPSMAP 66st can last for 1 week. In expedition mode, the screen shuts off and the GPS unit will enter into low power mode. At this state, the GPS device will collect fewer GPS track points.
Coupled with the LED flashlight and SOS beacon, you will be ready to face any adversity.
Solid Built – The GPSMAP 66st is built with military-standards for thermal, shock and water performance.
This means that your GPS unit can withstand constant abuse.
Detailed Mapping – With sufficient storage space, you can download a 24k topo map into your device and navigate with this GPS looking at a detailed map.
|Get detailed maps (24k Topo Maps available)||Steep Learning Curve|
|Great for Tactical Use|
Product Overview – The Garmin GPSMAP 66i is part of the InReach series. As explained above (when we were reviewing the Garmin inReach Explorer+), each GPS in the InReach series has its pros and cons while all of them have satellite communicators which allows you to communicate despite having no mobile reach. (i.e. messaging using the Iridium network)
Also, it’s important to note that the GPSMAP 66i is the successor of the Garmin GPSMAP 66st.
Characteristics of the Garmin GPSMAP 66i
Product Dimension – The product dimension for this GPS unit is 6.4 inches x 2.6 inches x 1.4 inches.
Weight – The Garmin GPSMAP 66i weighs 1.28 ounces.
Colors – The GPSMAP 66i Handheld GPS comes in two colors – Black and Orange.
Coverage – The Garmin GPSMAP 66i has multiple Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) Support and Navigation Sensors, which helps the GPS unit determine your positioning accurately.
Display – The GPS has a large 3-inch sunlight-readable color display so that you can refer to your GPS and navigate with ease.
Battery Life – sThe GPSMAP 66i comes with an internal lithium battery which is rechargeable. The GPS will have around 35 hours of battery life if you are using it in 10-minute tracking mode and 1-minute tracking mode (with the display off).
If you are using the GPS in expedition mode with 30-minute tracking, the GPS should be able to last around 200 hours.
Features of the Garmin GPSMAP 66i
Interactive SOS – You can trigger an interactive SOS to the GEOS 24/7 Search and Rescue monitoring center.
Two-Way Messaging – Like all InReach models, the GPSMAP 66i is capable of two-way messaging using the Global Iridium satellite network. Do note that the satellite subscription is required.
Preloaded TOPO Mapping – The GPS unit comes with preloaded Garmin TOPO Mapping.
Birdseye Satellite Imagery Downloads – The GPS unit also comes with the direct-to-device Birdseye satellite imagery downloads without any annual subscription needed.
Active Weather Forecast – With cellular connectivity (and the Garmin Connect Mobile), you will be able to access the weather forecast so that you can plan your hunting trip in advance!
Besides the up-to-date forecasts, you will have predictive maps for temperature, wind, precipitation and clouds.
With the update on November 2019, you can receive weather forecasts through the Iridium satellite network.
Geocaching Live – The GPSMAP 66i is able to let you access geocaching live when there is cellular connectivity.
Compatible with Garmin Explore Website and App – With the Garmin Explore website and app, you will be able to manage your waypoints, routes and activities with ease. Furthermore, you can easily review your trip data from the field too.
This app allows you to plan, review and sync data (such as waypoints and routes) that’s available on your mobile device and your GPS. This makes planning for future hunting trips really easy.
When you use the app to sync the GPSMAP 66i with your mobile device, you will be able to access unlimited maps, aerial imagery and U.S. NOAA charts.
Furthermore, you can use the inReach features on your paired mobile device – where you can easily message and even access your phone’s contact list from the Garmin Explore app.
Satellite Communication – Only few GPS has satellite communication, and the GPSMAP 66i is one of them. You’ll be able to stay in touch with your loved ones even when you are out of the radar.
Furthermore, the GPS enables two-way messaging and LiveTrack location sharing through the Iridium satellite network. This means that you can stay in contact with your teammates or loved ones even when you are out on the hunting trail.
GEOS 24/7 Emergency Response – The handheld GPS allows you to trigger an SOS message to the GEOS 24/7 emergency response team where they will provide an interactive support when shit hits the fan.
Do note that to utilize this emergency response, you will have to pay a yearly subscription.
Short Battery Life Span – If you use the GPSMAP 66i in default mode, it will only be able to last up to 35 hours. The messaging function will especially eat out from the batteries because the message must be sent into space before reaching the other person.
Excellent for planning hunting trips – Since the Garmin GPSMAP 66i can be connected with the Garmin Explore Website and App, you can easily manage your waypoints or routes. This makes it much easier for you to plan your next hunting trip. You can even set out places to put your hunting stands easily too.
Navigate with Ease – There are a mixture of functionalities which makes the Garmin GPSMAP 66i to allow easy navigation.
With the Garmin Preloaded TOPO Maps and the Birdseye Satellite Imagery Downloads, you can get high-resolution realistic view of your routes, WITHOUT paying an annual subscription fee.
Accurate Bearings – The GPSMAP 66i is equipped with an altimeter, barometer and a compass, the GPS unit will be able to track your coordinates accurately despite being in challenging environments.
Suitable for bad weather conditions – Since the GPSMAP 66i operates using buttons, it can be operated well even during bad weather conditions. If you use a GPS with touch screen, you may not be able to navigate the device with ease especially when it rains when you are on your hunting trail or when you are wearing hunting gloves (unless the GPS touch screen is compatible with gloves)
Connect with Anyone – With the InReach messaging feature, you will be able to message anyone in the world that has a phone – where they will receive the text like they are receiving normal SMS text or emails.
The InReach will utilize the Iridium system that consists of more than 70 satellites to send the message across.
Hence, it may take a longer time to reach the person.
Also, I would recommend that you connect the GPS unit to your smartphone so that you can easily type the messages.
Get the Search & Rescue Response – To date, the Inreach SOS System has more than thousands of search and rescue responses. Therefore, you will be able to contact anyone even outside the mobile communication range.
Go Beyond Cell Coverage – If you are planning to go to places that are beyond cell-phone coverage, the Garmin GPS 66i is definitely a suitable GPS for you. Coupled with the InReach messaging, you will be able to put the minds of the people you love at ease.
|Excellent coverage||Short Battery Life Span|
|Easily manage your waypoints and routes|
|Get accurate Bearings|
Best Hunting GPS App – Best Hunting GPS App for Iphone
If you are looking for something with less upfront cost while still capable of helping you navigate when you’re hunting, your next best bet would be to get the best hunting GPS App. Here are my top two picks for the best hunting GPS App available.
7. Huntwise Hunting GPS App
Huntwise is an excellent hunting toolset. The app is loaded with a variety of important features for a hunter which I’ll highlight some of them below.
Characteristics of the Huntwise Hunting GPS App
Availability – It is available on both Google play and the Apple store.
Price – You can either opt for the free or the paid version.
With the free version, you’ll be able to get a taste of how the Huntwise Hunting GPS App feels. You’ll be able to touch the surface of what the App is capable of by getting started with land management and hunting forecasts. Do note that if you are using the free version, you’ll only be able to use the App when you are online. Some of the features which you can access include getting in-depth predictions (where you get the hourly and daily view), ScentDrift™ Animated Wind Map, Advanced weather data, you get to use the Map (both in Satellite, Topographic format) and use the Custom Map Markers and Shapes.
As for the paid version, besides the features provided in the free version, you’ll be able to you’ll be able to access offline maps, get 250+ Map Layers, Compare Stands by Wind, let you check peak movement time of the week, access 3D Maps, get useful information such as landowner boundaries and contact.
250+ Map Layers – You’ll be able to get 250+ map layers where you can toggle updated map overlays so that you can scout on your desktop and navigate using your smartphone.
Features of the Huntwise Hunting GPS App
Custom Markers – The Huntwise hunting GPS App allows you to make custom markers where you will be able to add up to 14 custom markers on your map.
Landowner Lines – You will be able to see public and private boundaries by utilizing this feature. Besides seeing public and private land boundaries, you’ll be able to see the landowner’s names and contact information.
Hunt Areas – You’ll be able to add boundaries and organize markers so that you’ll know the best hunting areas.
Easily Share locations with friends – You can easily invite friends to view pins and properties that you have marked.
Compare Stands – With this app, you’ll be able to compare stands by wind which can help you determine your ideal hunting spot.
3D Mapping – The Huntwise Hunting GPS App comes with 3D Mapping which allows you to view the topography from all angles. You’ll not navigate with the inaccurate, boring and flat topo maps.
Offline Maps – You’ll still be able to save the maps easily to your phone so that you can use it when you’re offline – which is usually the case if you go off the grid or go to a remote area to hunt.
Advanced Hunting Forecast – You’ll be able to obtain hourly and daily hunting predictions and weather forecasting – which are extremely helpful for you to plan your hunting trip.
HuntWise uses HuntCast which compiles real time data coupled with important hunting variables to predict which are the best time for you to hunt. You’ll be able to access advanced features such as Species Specific Predictions, Weather Forecasting and Scent Drift Mind Mapping.
Hunter’s Social Space – When you get the App, you’ll be able to access HuntWise’s social space. It’s a safe space for hunters to exchange information, ask questions and share their experiences. You’ll be able to read stories and check out thousands of photos on the App. This would be vital to keep you motivated for your hunt!
With this space, you’ll be able to keep a hunting log or share information about your favorite hunting gear too.
HuntWise app has all the important features which a hunter need. I’ll definitely recommend that you go for the free version and when you are ready, you can opt for the 7-day free trial. If you are interested, you can go for one of 2 options: either pay $4.17 monthly where you are billed yearly or pay $9.99 per month.
How to Pick the Best Hunting GPS
Let me say on the outset that picking the best hunting GPS will not be easy. There are many characteristics and functionalities that you have to understand before you will be able to pick the right one.
1. Choose a GPS with high Accuracy
There are some GPS units that comes with an altimeter, barometer and a compass. This will help the GPS determine your bearing, which makes determining your location much more accurate.
Without these features, the GPS unit should be able to locate you, but you won’t get a comprehensive reading on where you are at such as knowing your elevation point.
2. GPS Satellite Coverage
Ideally, the GPS should be able to get good coverage by linking to several satellite systems and getting the relevant data.
For example, the InReach model has extremely good coverage because they can connect with the Iridium satellite which most GPS units don’t even get coverage. With the wide coverage, you will be able to go anywhere in the world and you will still know where you are heading.
3. Number of Functionalities
Some GPS devices has a multitude of functions up their sleeves.
The Garmin GPSMAP 66i for example can connect to the Garmin App which makes managing waypoints and routes a cinch. This would mean reducing huge amount of time required when you are planning your hunting trips.
The Garmin GPSMAP 66st is compatible with night vision googles, has built-in LED Flashlight and has wide connectivity. All of these features will definitely contribute to making your hunting experience much more easeful and meaningful.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1) How do I load more maps into by Garmin device?
First, you can go to the website for free maps for Garmin brand GPS devices from Open Street Maps.
Next, you need to put in your email and select the build map. As a result, the build image will be created, and you will email a link when the image is ready.
Later, you just have to connect your GPS using your USB to your computer. Your GPS’s storage should show up in your computer.
Finally, at this stage, you just have to copy the map into the main Garmin directory.
Do note that there are other websites as well such as GPS File Depot which you can check out too.
2) What is a hunting GPS?
A hunting GPS is basically a GPS that has functionalities that can help you locate yourself despite being out of cell coverage in a short span of time.
Also, it will be important if you can easily plan your hunting trips and transfer the waypoints into the GPS unit. This will make a hunter’s life much easier.
3) Why do you need a hunting GPS?
Looking at what a hunting GPS basically is, we could say that it’s a GPS unit that can fulfil all your needs when you are on the hunting trail.
You should be able to plan your routes easily and get your location even when you are off-grid. Ideally, the GPS unit will be able to save waypoints which makes it much easier for you to locate where you placed your treestands. With this feature, you can also mark potential hunting grounds so that you can easily trace your steps back there too.
Also, the Interactive SOS feature that comes with the InReach series will definitely be useful as well, where you can immediately contact help 24/7 when shit hits the fan.
After recommending various handheld hunting GPS, I am sure you already have a preference for your own. Although each device has its own pros and cons, it would ultimately depends on what feature you would like to have or best suited to you. I hope with my sharing, you can make a wiser decision when it comes to purchasing the best hunting GPS.