Anyone who likes to hike on a regular basis knows that the sport usually entails more than just a good pair of shoes. Hikers regularly spend money on the latest gear in order to enhance their experience, and why shouldn’t they? One of the best pieces of technology for hikers – especially as of late – is GPS, or Global Positioning System. GPS technology has been around for quite a while now, but it has just recently broken into the mainstream for hikers. With GPS on your side, you can enhance your hike tenfold.
Adding GPS to your hiking arsenal can do wonders for your enjoyment of the sport. For the most part, hikers follow trail maps that safely guide them from one point to the next. Those who stray from the path often live dangerously, as they might not know what’s around the corner. GPS technology allows you to do this with the added safety cushion of having an idea of where you’re heading. A high-quality GPS will give you all the information you need in order to plan your own backwoods hike; something that would be nearly impossible without a similar type of technology.
GPS can be useful in a variety of different situations. For instance, some people like to use it lightheartedly in order to play games while hiking. Because GPS allows you to type in specific coordinates, you can have what many people consider to be a high-tech scavenger hunt. This is called “geocaching,” and is actually a very popular sport/hobby practiced by thousands of people throughout the world. Geocaching can turn any hike into a monumental adventure!
What many people don’t realize is that GPS can be a life-saving piece of technology to have on your side. One of the biggest fears of avid hikers is getting lost in the woods, mainly because it is very possible to let this happen. Amateur hikers in particular often find that straying from the trail almost always means getting lost for a few hours. If it is cold or dark out, this can be very dangerous. Fortunately, with GPS technology in your hand, you can get out of just about any situation. GPS allows you to see where you stand in relation to your surroundings, something that a map and a compass simply can’t do for you. For the ultimate in safety, nothing beats having a GPS on hand.
The type of GPS you use for hiking really is up to you. While some people prefer to use stand-alone GPS units because of the wide variety of features they often exhibit, others are content with downloading GPS apps for their smart phones. Because many smart phones come equipped with GPS abilities, you can multitask with one device, saving you the need to spend what can sometimes amount to hundreds of dollars on a standalone GPS.
So if you’re looking to mix things up a bit with your hikes, consider picking up a GPS device or utilizing your phone’s GPS abilities; once you try it, you’ll never turn back!