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4 Best Affordable Hiking GPS

A hiking GPS is a hiker’s best friend. The two most important rules of hiking are knowing where you are at the moment and knowing where you are heading. And for this, you just need a simple, hand-held device: a hiking GPS. Ever since GPS devices were invented, hiking has become much easier and more enjoyable.

Fortunately, being such a successful invention, the GPS technology has become widespread today. There are tons of GPS devices with varying features and prices. A great thing about hiking GPS devices is that their prices do not decide their quality. A cheap hiking GPS from the right brand can be the best device you have ever bought. You can find tons of affordable hiking GPS devices that are packed with fantastic features.

When it comes to the best cheap hiking GPS hand-held devices, Garmin has the lead. For years, it has consistently been releasing great products that are high-quality and full of useful features at affordable prices. For this reason, Garmin is a name that you can trust while buying an affordable hiking GPS.

Garmin has a vast range of GPS products to offer. For some people, it can be a challenge to find the GPS that is suitable for themselves. To make the selection easier for you, we have hand-picked the best cheap hiking GPS devices from Garmin.

Here is a quick comparison table for a quick insight if you are not much of a reader

 Best ChoicePremium Choice      Best Value for Money      
PreviewGarmin 22xGarmin 20x
ProductGarmin eTrex 22x  Garmin eTrex Touch 35Garmin eTrex 20x
Ratings4.3/54.1/54.3/5
More InformationBuy on AmazonBuy on AmazonBuy on Amazon

Best Cheap Hiking GPS of 2021 Reviews

1. Garmin eTrex 20x

Pros

  • Very inexpensive.
  • Durable.
  • Water-resistant.
  • Large screen with high resolution.

Cons

  • Software and user interface can use some improvements.

Robust design, water resistance, reasonable price—the Garmin eTrex 20x has features that make it a favorite for hiking lovers. At a very low price, the Garmin masterpiece offers a lot of features. So if you don’t want to spend a lot of money and still get enough functionality, the Garmin eTrex 20 is for you.

Even though the device comes with a pre-loaded worldwide base map, it allows you to load more maps like HuntView, City Navigator NT, TOPO 24K, and many more. The large 3.7 GB of internal memory and memory card slot makes all this possible. When it comes to screen size, the Garmin eTrex 20 has a large sunlight-readable screen of 2.2 inches with 65K color. What’s more, it offers an increased resolution of 240 x 320 pixels.

2. Garmin eTrex 22x

Pros

  • Dual satellite support.
  • Long battery life.
  • 8 GB internal memory.
  • Pre-loaded with detailed TOPO active maps.
  • Cost-effective.

Cons

  • Touch screen and interface are slightly below average.

Garmin eTrex 22x comes with all the basic features most Garmin GPS offer. This includes a sunlight-readable color display and a high resolution of 240 x 360. The Garmin eTrex 22x is much more advanced, and thus it is more suitable for experienced hikers. The unit comes with pre-loaded TOPO active maps, which has routable roads and trails for hiking and even cycling.

With its generous internal memory of 8 GB and a micro SD card slot, the eTrex 22x can download tons of new maps. The device uses 2 AA batteries and gives a battery life of up to 25 hours even if you’re continuously using the GPS mode. The eTrex 22x supports GPS and GLONASS satellite systems as well. Therefore, professional hikers can track in environments that are a little extra challenging.

3. Garmin ETrex 30 Worldwide

Pros

  • WAAS enabled GPS with HotFix satellite prediction
  • Dual satellite support (GPS and GLONASS satellites)
  • Precise heading and altitude pinpointing
  • Supports GPX geo-catching files
  • Water-proof to IPX 7 standards

Cons

  • Lags slightly during menu navigation.

The Garmin eTrex 30 Worldwide is named so because it offers a preloaded worldwide relief base map. It’s compatible with tons of detailed topographic, marine, and road maps. This includes BlueChart g2, TOPO US 24K, CityNavigator, and many more.

The device comes with an extensive feature set, which includes GPS and GLONASS support, BirdsEye aerial imagery, and paperless geo-catching. In addition to that, the WAAS enabled GPS has HotFix support, which allows it to position faster and more accurately. The eTrex 30 includes a 3-axis electronic compass, which shows your heading at all times, and its barometric altimeter pinpoints your altitude with extreme precision.

The eTrex 30 Worldwide uses two AA batteries that give it an extraordinary battery life. What’s more, the eTrex 30 GPS is water-proof to IPX 7 standards. This means that it will work normally even if it is submerged for 30 minutes at a depth of 3 feet. All the above-mentioned features coupled with the lightweight body and exceptional battery life of the GPS make it an excellent choice for backpackers.

4. Garmin ETrex Touch 35

Pros

  • Pre-loaded topographic maps of US or Canada.
  • Geo-catching friendly.
  • 3-axis electronic compass with barometric altimeter.

Cons

  • Battery life is slightly shorter i.e. up to 16 hours.

The Garmin eTrex Touch 35 is like no other Garmin eTrex GPS unit. First off, the GPS has a massive 2.6-inch color, capacitive touch screen. Even though the device is more advanced, it has easy to use navigation for various activities, such as hiking, hunting, biking, fishing, geocaching, climbing, and so on.

The Garmin eTrex Touch 35 also features a 3-axis tilt-compensated electronic compass that accurately shows your heading even when you are standing still without holding it level. The eTrex 35 comes with built-in mapping, either Topo US 100K or Topo Canada maps.

With the eTrex 35, you also get wireless connectivity for smart notifications, 250,000 pre-loaded geocaches from geocaching.com, and virb action camera control. Like the eTrex 30, the eTrex 35 also includes HotFix satellite prediction for quickly and precisely locating your position in all types of landscapes.

Buying Guide

We totally understand how exhausting it can be to buy a nice hiking GPS for yourself. If you’re a beginner, the extensive list of GPS features and specifications can easily overwhelm you. Therefore, especially for newbies, we have simplified the GPS buying process. Of course, even experienced hikers can make use of our GPS buying guide. We have identified the five major GPS factors that you need to consider while buying a device for yourself.

Screen Size

Screen size is an important factor that is usually positively related to a product’s weight. Bigger screen size often means a heavier device. Therefore, you need to be careful what screen size you choose. If you’re not going to carry a lot of weight with you, you can afford a larger screen size. A larger screen size also often makes the product more expensive. So you need to keep your budget in mind as well.

Interface

Apart from screen size, the interface of your GPS is also incredibly important. The whole digital world has transferred to touch screens. Therefore, if touch screens aren’t your cup of tea, your choices will obviously be significantly narrowed. However, it is noteworthy that touch screens aren’t very helpful during winters, when you’re wearing gloves. So if you’re going to such a cold place for hiking, consider buying a GPS with buttons.

Features

No matter which hand-held GPS model you buy, it can provide basic navigation to you. However, since technology has become extremely advanced these days, you will find many GPS units with advanced features as well. The number and type of these features determine the price of the unit. So, in order to buy an affordable hiking GPS, you need to have a clear understanding of your requirements and buy the GPS device that can fulfill your needs.

High-end GPS units offer various useful tools like wireless transmission, an electronic compass, geo catching features, and a barometer. Identifying your needs is important to narrow down your choices and simplify your buying process.

Construction

Since hiking is meant to be done in tough conditions-of varying degrees-it’s important that your hand-held GPS device has a strong design. It should have a body that offers great shock-resistance as well as abrasion-resistance. Simultaneously, it should also be water-proof because water bodies are present in almost all types of landscapes. 

Battery

Long battery life is a must for all hiking GPS units. This is because hikers don’t get many chances to charge their devices. You should try and get GPS devices with at least 10 hours of battery life. This will also save you from changing your batteries repeatedly. If your hiking trip is going to be significantly longer, consider buying a solar charger.

Conclusion

All the above-mentioned GPS is undoubtedly the best cheap hiking GPS of the year. However, they all can’t be ideal for you. You need to identify your requirements first in order to choose the GPS that is the best for you. Once you know what your needs and budget are, you can easily choose the GPS unit that is best suited for your hiking tour.

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