Best Hunting GPS (Aug.) 2017 – Buyer’s Guide and Review

By Walter J. Farrell | GEAR

After 30 hours of intense research, crowdsourcing opinions and hands-on testing, we concluded that the Garmin Foretrex 401 is the best hunting GPS available in 2017 among all we have reviewed. It is equipped with all the basic features of a GPS while also adding more useful feature such as heart monitor and Tracback, a feature that allows you to retrace your steps in your route [read more].

Let’s get things straight.

You want to be a hunter, right?

You want to experience the thrill of hunting, but you have this huge fear that you might get lost on your way. Not to mention about the danger.

You might have read about GPS systems and how they would benefit you on your future hunting trips and so you scour through the internet to learn everything you can and trying to find the right GPS unit.

But the question is, with so many excellent options out there how do you know which one suits you best? Which one offers the greatest spec to price ratio and which hunting GPS that is actually accurate?

Today, you will learn how to choose the right hunting GPS, our top 5 picks and lastly, after hours of research and evaluation you will discover our recommended hunting GPS at the bottom of the article.

You ready?

Good, let’s begin!​

Product NameAverage battery lifeCameraDual-band GPS/GLONASS satellite positioning 
Garmin GPSMAP 64st-First Runner Up16 hoursNoneYes
Garmin Montana 680T-Second Runner Up16 hours8 MPYes
Magellan eXplorist 610 GPS –Longest Battery Life18 hours3.2 MPNo
Garmin eTrex 30X16 hoursNone No
Garmin Foretrex 401-Editor’s Choice16 hoursNoneYes

What Should I Consider Before Buying a Hunting GPS?

Before going into detail with the products and our reviews of each of them, let us first scrape the surface and talk about the things you need to consider before buying a hunting GPS.

It is not advisable to just jump the gun and buy a “best deal” hunting GPS you see in the mall or rely on an opinion from an under experienced hunter. As with any hunting gear or equipment, there are several aspects you need to look into before buying a hunting GPS.

We have highlighted the 5 most important, which are: satellite reception, speed, display quality and lastly mapping software.

1. Satellite Reception

According to Lifewire.com, the speed of locking your position depends actually on the size of the antenna. This means that if your GPS has a larger antenna then it can lock your position faster. Also, the number of satellites on your area while affect the accuracy of the present displayed image of your location.

The better performing GPS’s make use of the satellites owned by the United States Department of Defence that is 24 in totality. These GPS units will be using these satellites to track your location and provide other details. A few more advanced units are able to 3D lock your position in real time.​

2. Speed

The speed of the processor of the GPS is also very important when assessing which unit to buy. The receiving end of the GPS, no matter how accurate it is, will not do much of an impact if the processor is as slow as a Windows 95 computer.

​You can assess this by entering a certain location and then wait for it to show the proper coordinates. Moreover, boot up time is also a clear indication of the unit’s processor speed.

3.​ Display

​Display is also one of the aspects that you need to look into before buying a hunting GPS. You need to look for a unit that has a display that is waterproof, durable, offers good readability and with a good size.

​According to EpicWilderness.com, displays that are usually made of plastic, contrary to what most believe, are actually more reliable when it comes to durability. Those that are made of glass easily break and are not able to withstand the harshest climate and conditions. However, displays that are made with fiberglass are better options as they make it more robust and durable.

​You need to also look for a display that is waterproof. In hunting, you should expect unexpected shifts in climate and weather. One moment you are baked like a pastry in the oven under the extreme heat of the sun, the next moment, you are under a curtain of intense rain. With this, it is better to equip yourself with a waterproof GPS.

Readability is of utmost importance when choosing a hunting GPS. Under direct sunlight, it becomes more and more difficult to read what is in the screen. This is true even for smartphones.

The fact that GPS displays have a lower resolution, the problem becomes bigger compared to the usual smartphones. Because of this, it is better to look for a unit that has a backlit display. This will come in handy also in locations that are poorly lit.

Lastly, size is a defining factor when it comes to displays. But this factor actually depends on your preference. Usually, displays can range from 3 to 5 inches. Look into your prospects online and determine the screen size or you can check it physically when you buy it in a store.

How We Assessed and Evaluated These Products

In our evaluation and assessment of the products, we have searched hard over the internet and looked over every review site that mentions about hunting GPs. In our search we have shortlisted approximately 50 hunting GPS for our list. This was not an easy task as we had to pick only 5 that stood above the rest.

In this evaluation, we narrowed down the GPS units by focusing on the important features and specifications. These include durability, ease of use, photo quality, battery life, size and weight, compatibility and most especially accuracy.

We have subjected all the 50 units to an objective scoring method concentrating on the factors mentioned above. We then collated these scores and organized them in accordance to which one is higher.

The methods in which we have assessed the products is through crowdsourcing from other review sites, as well as product testing by ourselves. The review sites we based our evaluation are from reputable ones which include Rangermade.net and Pickabow.com.

A combination of consumer feedback and product testing added more rigor and objectiveness in our evaluation. Moreover, there was no inducement from brands, vendors or manufacturers that would lead us to impartial assessments and conclusions. Hence we are free from making bias review.

The output of this rigorous process allowed us to come up with 5 of the best hunting GPS of 2017. In here we will give critical observations with each product and balance out pros of each GPS unit with honest cons. After all these reviews that are mentioned, we will finally reveal our recommended products.

Our Top Picks

1. Garmin GPSMAP 64st - First Runner Up

The first entry on our list is the Garmin GPSMAP 64st. This product is definitely a powerhouse when it comes to accuracy and efficiency.

Even though it does not flaunt a touch screen, its 2.6 inch sun light readable screen provides you with all the necessary information from a GPS.

It assures an accurate measurement of location and coordinates as it is equipped with a highly sensitive GPS and GLONASS receiver with a quad helix antenna.

The 64st is equipped with high quality TOP US 100k Maps and a 1 year subscription of Birds Eye (3D) Images. These specifications are already deal makers, however, this product has even more to offer.

The build quality is very sturdy and durable, which is a huge requirement for hunting trips. The Garmin 64st is able to withstand even the most harsh climates and conditions.

In terms of connectivity, it has wireless connectivity via Bluetooth technology as well as ANT+. With this, you are able to share your specific location to your friends via social media platforms. Want to share how far of the trail you have gone in facebook? No problem, the 64st can do that.

It comes with 8 GB of internal storage. If that is not enough, you can insert an SD card to further expand your storage capacity. Enjoy more with the product as its average battery life is 16 hours.

One downfall we have noticed with this product upon our testing is that the time measurements were sometimes inconsistent. In our test, the moving time and stopped time did not coincide with each other. After our test, we have concluded that this difference was brought about by the lack of sensitivity of the 64st to detect stoppage of movement.

What We Liked

  • Highly accurate location determination
  • Preloaded with several maps
  • Readable even under harsh sunlight
  • Robust construction

What We Didn't Like

  • Inconsistent time measurement

2. Garmin Montana 680T -Second Runner Up

Contrary to the first entry on our list, the Garmin Montana 680T has a more contemporary approach when it comes to display.

It’s because this one is apparently equipped with a 4 inch dual orientation touchscreen.

Want to take selfies? Want to capture the game as it passes in front you? No worry, since it features an 8 MP autofocus camera with automatic geotagging feature.

The Montana 680T is made of highly durable material that is sure to withstand any intense climate or situation. The product flaunts a black color for that extra stealth look.

Going into the more important specifications, the 680T is preloaded with TOP US 100k Maps as well as a 1 year subscription of Birds Eye Satellite Imagery Subscription. It has a built in 3 axis tilt compensated electrtonic compass as well as a barometric altimeter.

The maps that come along with the product are of high resolution and level of detail.

In terms of connectivity, you can always share routes and points wirelessly with other Garmin GPS users. You can also share your activity via social media platforms.

When it comes to its faults, we noticed that the Garmin basecamp tool apparently does not include unpaved roads and trails in the software. Because of this, you might be missing a lot on possible additions to your trail.

Another caveat is that sunlight visibility is not that good.​

What We Liked

  • Comes with 8 MP Camera
  • Preloaded with several maps
  • Responsive touch screen

What We Didn't Like

  • Poor sunlight visibility
  • Maps are not up to date

Another worthy entry on our list is the Magellan eXplorist 610 GPS.

This modest yet feature packed product comes with a 3 inch LCD screen that is responsive and has a high resolution display.

Aside from the options found on the screen, you can also have access to the features with the use of the button controls.

The GPS is built with rugged, waterproof and highly durable material that is definitely made for the harsh conditions of the outdoors. Equipped with a 3.2 MP camera, microphone and speaker, you have the capability of capturing special moments while exploring more of what is out there. The images are automatically geotagged.

The GPS comes preloaded with World edition map and Summit Series USA topographic mapping. These mapping software assure you of accurate locations and precise real time measurements of coordinates.

To add more features with this product, it has a barometric altimeter as well as a three-axis electronic compass for determination of altitude, weather, and information regarding directions.

Powered by 2 AA batteries, you are able to reap the benefits of the eXplore 610 to a total of 16 hours.

After extensive tinkering with the device, we did not notice any huge flaws. However, when it comes to loading data like maps, the experience was rather slow compared to other units. In addition, sunlight visibility was poor.

What We Liked

  • Comes with LCD screen and control buttons
  • Comes with several maps
  • 3.2 MP Camera
  • Three axis electronic compass

What We Didn't Like

  • Poor sunlight visibility
  • Sluggish loading of maps

The fourth entry on our list is the Garmin eTrex 30x which is a more improved version of its older sibling eTrex 30.

This recent upgrade flaunts a more high quality 2.2 inch display donning a higher screen resolution. In turn, this higher resolution results to enhanced sunlight visibility.

Constructed with rugged, dustproof and waterproof material, the eTrex is able to breeze through different climates and conditions.

Planning on a short dip in the lake after 4 hours of hunting? No need to worry, you can carry it around in the water.

It is equipped with a worldwide basemap with shaded relief. The data present is sufficient for you to go to several places with accurate measurement of coordinates. It also has a three axis compass and barometric altimeter.

Weighing only 6.4 oz, the eTrex is very light and compact making it suitable to be placed on your pocket or your hunting bag.

One issue we had with eTrex is that the maps were not up to date that much. After trying it by ourselves on the mountains, there were areas that were not included in the map such as small streams an unpaved roads.

What We Liked

  • Lightweight and compact
  • High resolution screen
  • Excellent sunlight readability
  • Rugged construction

What We Didn't Like

  • Maps were not up to date

5. Garmin Foretrex 401-Editor’s Choice

The last entry on our list is the Garmin Foretrex 401.

This GPS boasts of a highly sensitive GPS receiver along with their HotFix patented technology to have a more improved accuracy and reception in the midst of vast tree covers or deep canyons.

The unique feature about this product that sets it apart from the other four is that it is able to keep track of heart rate and pulse while also keeping the basic tracking of routes and pathways.

It’s that feature packed! This is very important especially for people with heart conditions.

The Foretrex is powered by 2 standard AAA batteries allowing it to last a whopping 16 hours. Another bonus feature is the TracBack feature which allows you to retrace your path on screen. Also it has dual position readout which allows you to view current locations ins several formats.

Sounds too good to be true? But wait, there’s still more! Additional features include trip computer, sunrise/sunset times, hunting/fishing information, electronic compass as well as barometric altimeter. To add even more icing to the cake, it comes with a strap so you can latch it on your wrist anytime you like!

The product seemed without a single flaw when we tested it during our review. If we were to nitpick, we would say that the strap was flimsy considering that the overall unit was very well constructed.

What We Liked

  • Comes with several features
  • Tracback feature
  • Heart Monitor
  • Accurate reception
  • Robust construction

What We Didn't Like

  • Flimsy strap

Our Recommendations:

Editor's PickGarmin Foretrex 401

Among the five different GPS units mentioned above, we chose the Garmin Foretrex 401 as the top pick. Choosing among the equally competent and efficient products mentioned above was a hard task.

However, because of the Foretrex 401 added features, it was hard not to be blown away with this simple yet high quality product. It ticked of all the boxes when it comes to the basics of GPS units but the heart monitor and Tracback features were definitely deal makers.

On our hands on testing, we experienced no glitch or sluggishness with the processor. The high quality display is also a huge plus. Because of this, we highly suggest the Garmin Foretrex among the others.

Runners Up: Garmin GPSMAP 64st and Garmin Montana 680T

Other worthy options were the Garmin GPSMAP 64st and the Garmin Montana 680T.

The Garmin GPSMAP 64st also excelled in performance and for offering excellent features. What we found most interesting about the product was that it shun brightly in the basic department. It offered accurate location determination.

It also was loaded with several maps across the globe. In addition, once you take a hold of it, you really notice how well built and rugged it is constructed.

The Garmin Montana 680T on the other hand is also a worthy option because of its high resolution screen and camera. When you go outdoors, you not only want to know specific routes or locations but also, you want to capture rare moments that are only seen when you head out into the outdoors.

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About the Author

Walter J. Farrell is an accountant who is very passionate about sharing his knowledge on high tech gadgets. He started AuthorityAdviser to help people know more about the products that are currently a hit in the market.

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