If you are not familiar with GPS navigation systems, you should take a look at the GPS hiking receiver buying tips and important features to look for in the hand held device before you buy one. This will ensure that you will be buying a device with all the required features; that you have not doled out the money in vain and that you will not get lost while hiking, for lack of features or because you didn’t understand the info it gave.
Decide On Mapping or Non Mapping. You could either buy a GPS hiking receiver with base map or one without it. The one with maps will provide directions to your area of interest. The non mapping will not have this and you should be able to read and plot map coordinates if you are going for them. These will be cheaper though.
Go For GPS With Compasses and Altimeters. Compasses and altimeters will give you an idea of your location wherever you are. It is always better for a hiker or a camper to have a compass on hand. It will supplement any other data that you have.
Accuracy Of Your Device. There are devices which provide accuracy within fifteen meters of a way point. Others, such as differential GPS devices and ones which use Wide Area Augmentation Systems (WAAS) give better accuracy, such as within three meters of the Way point. Decide what level of accuracy you want.
Size Of The Device. There are GPS hiking receivers which can be strapped on to your wrists and others which are bigger and look like mobile phones. The watch like ones will have smaller screens, but will be easy to use while hiking. The bigger ones will have more readability.
Decide On Computer Interface. Check whether the device is compatible with your computer. If you mean to travel a lot, go for a device which will allow its maps to be replaced or upgraded.
Decide On Memory Required. If you are going for a mapping GPS hand held receiver, you would like to have one which will hold your maps and other information such as Waypoints-locations which are stored in the devices’ memory in longitude and latitude, which will help it to navigate (more way points will give you better navigation), and Point of Interest- information about restaurants, gas stations etc. Go for devices which allow you to download the Point of Interest information. You can either go for GPS hiking receivers which have slots for memory cards or go for ones with in built memory. If your maps can be upgraded, you could even go for smaller memory.
Good User Interface. Look for a hand held GPS hiking receiver which is easy to use. It should also be easy to read and understand. You do not want to get lost because you couldn’t read the device. Decide whether a GPS hiking receiver with a color screen is required since color can be helpful to some.
Add On Software Packages. You may purchase add on software packages which will give you better directions or which will allow you to upload your own maps, way points and point of interest. If you do buy them, make sure these software packages are compatible with your computer.
Power Supply. If you mean to be outdoors for a long time, buy devices which have long battery life. Also remember to buy additional battery packs, as many as you may require depending on the time you mean to spend outdoors. You may even buy a solar powered GPS hiking receiver.
Accessories and Additional Features. Buy devices fitted with belt clips etc which will allow you to keep the device handy. If you mean to use the GPS device near water, go for a water proof one; different grades are available in this case. Also, buy a case for the device so that it remains protected even if it slips and falls on a hard terrain.
With a suitable GPS hiking receiver with proper battery backup, you won’t have to fear about getting lost. Very handy indeed.