How to Use Handheld GPS for Hiking – Step by Step Guide In 2019

Going for hikes comes with great excitement for any traveler. However, when visiting remote or isolated areas, navigation problems may set in. You should understand how a handheld GPS device closes the gap and helps you enjoy that valued trip.

Unlimited possibilities present themselves when you talk about handheld GPS gadgets. As much as there are lots of potentials when it comes to the use of GPS, many people are not knowledgeable about how best to utilize these devices.

Understanding how to use handheld GPS is the first bold step to successful hiking. You do not want to get lost in the middle of a wilderness where no support or help is accessible. A handheld GPS helps anyone retrace footsteps to the start point of an adventurous journey.

Before buying a GPS device for during your trip, first know all the considerations and options at hand.

What to consider when buying handheld GPS 

There are several things to consider before deciding to buy a handheld GPS gadget. Generally, quality is the first consideration if you need to get the best experience from these kinds of devices. Here are five critical factors:

  1. Durability is on top of the list of considerations before making that crucial decision of buying. Make sure that the device suits the diversity of environmental conditions. For example, find out if it withstands high temperatures to freezing temperatures. Check that the compass works well and since most compasses use magnets, test it before your much-awaited hike to avoid disappointments.
  2. Battery quality is another critical factor to put in mind. Ensure the battery type is replaceable; always ensure the batteries are of standard sizes.
  3. Memory underestimation is bound to bring failure especially if you plan using it in extreme locations where your way point plotting is inevitable. When hiking in the woods, it is prudent to get a handheld GPS device that has external storage that works well with the internal memory. Always check reviews to gain insights from customers who understand better about these devices.
  4. Functionality plays a vital role when buying handheld GPS gadgets. Confirm that buttons are suitable for the conditions of your hiking environment. The design of devices takes into consideration the different settings. Some are good for road navigation while others are excellent for outdoor off-road recreational trips.
  5. Another critical thing to watch out for is the screen size. People tend to overlook the screen size, but it is worth noting that large screened devices come with better receivers which are essential for the accuracy of signal reception.
  6. Put in mind the simplicity of the user interface when shopping around for handheld GPS devices. It is wise to give preference to those devices that are easy to operate. That saves you the hassle of troubleshooting problems that may arise from the complexity of some devices. Again, reviews from users help you in making comparisons that are of great help in reaching final decisions on which one to consider for purchase.

How to Use GPS Device 

  1. Handheld GPS devices work by pinpointing the gadget to the location where one is standing. Transliteration is the name of the whole process; it is a concept used in surveying and navigation. Generally, it compares the absolute and relative location which correlates to find the best place.
  2. Worldwide there are more than 24 satellites present in space. Those satellite orbit the earth planet while relaying signals. In the process, signals received from these devices help determine real-time positioning based on coordinates captured.
  3. Usually, GPS systems work through comparison of triangulates based on the actual position one is standing. Once signals relayed, reach the receiver of a handheld device and you will have the three signs notifying you of your location, the gadget triangulates the exact position within 15 meters proximity precision.
  4. With a map loaded on the gadget, it is easy to match coordinates of any destination of choice. And for the remembrance of a route, it is essential for a user to set way points that get recorded in the device. In that case, it is easier to trace back to the beginning point of your journey.

Let the map which you place on your handheld device, help you to identify the coordinates of whatever position you prefer and make it your finish point. Trail maps and city maps are critical resources for adventurers and tour guides in ensuring successful hikes. It is an effective way of understanding the topography and knowledge on what to expect before a walk. That way you will appreciate the safety situation of your adventure.

Tips for Getting The Best Out of a GPS

Whether your trip involves going to the woods, geocaching experience or a healthy hike, you should learn a few tips on that will aid you to get the best out of handheld GPS devices. Discover the following tips and pick a few for your upcoming hike.

  1. Ensure that you make regular updates to the software versions of your handheld GPS device. That way you reduce lag time in map loading and overall functionality of the gadget. For devices with web updates, connect to quality internet from time to time for the versions to be up to date.
  2. Never forget to carry spare batteries for uninterrupted, they save the day when the battery unexpectedly drains all charge. Most power batteries do not occupy much space and therefore no excuse for not packing them before your hiking adventure.
  3. To save on memory space, clear track logs that take up lots of space through way point plotting. If you cannot do without relying on way point plots, only pick the key points using landmarks such as hills, bridges or rivers. That way, you avoid continuous plotting that takes up more space.
  4. When recording signals with your handheld GPS, make sure it is on an open space to prevent distortion of signals. Obstruction always reduces the accuracy of GPS readings which may mislead the exact location record. At all times, test your device before leaving for an exploitative journey to ensure the reliability of your gadget.
  5. Make the user manual a friend; carry it along with the invention to help in troubleshooting. Usually, the manuals guide one on the types of antennas and how to use them. As an example, there are different antennas, the most common one being quadrilateral helix antennas. That gadget either has an inbuilt or external. When using it, always point them to the sky or patch it parallel to the device.
  6. As you use the handheld GPS, hold it at shoulder height to reduce obstruction. If you do not get accurate readings, turn and turn until you get the best point for interpretations. Note that when you are taking readings, stand still!
  7. For better accuracy in specific areas, consider using the Wide Area Augmented System (WAAS) compatible gadget. Different regions and continents have particular satellites tilted to capture accurate information about their fields. Always stay informed when visiting these areas and buy recommended WAAS devices for the better signal reception.
  8. It is worth noting that handheld GPS devices are more distracting as compared to cell phones. You should be keen so as not to mislead yourself when using the method.
  9. Learn all the features that enhance the performance of the gadget. One highlight is the “turn on position averaging. ”That feature is essential for calculating signal averages which increase the level of accuracy.

Examples of Handheld GPS Devices

There are lots of tools out there for your pick. Having a little knowledge puts you on a head start towards making the right choice of a method. The top manufacturers of GPS devices include Garmin, Tremble, Lawrence, and Magellan. Examples of tools available in the market include:

Handheld GPS for Hiking
  1. Garmin makes an extensive collection of handheld GPS device that provides for BirdsEye Topo, Garmin 24k series, the city navigator and OSM. Most of the devices serve the different purpose whether you need one for the aerial view or city view, Garmin offers the options.
  2. Trimble is a leader in producing varieties of handheld GPS devices. Most of Trimble's gadgets run on differential GPS which links several receivers to improve on the accuracy of readings. The differential GPS from Trimble is commonly referred to as DGPS. R7and R8 are the most common receivers in their line of manufacturing.
  3. Magellan devices include Magellan explorist 350H, Magellan CX0310SGXNA explorist 310, Magellan RC5190SGLUC Road mate Commercial 5190T-LM among others. All these devices adapt for use in different environments, whether it is the road or rough terrains. Bottom line is a delightful hike for anyone wishing to explore the world.
  4. Lawrence is another manufacturer that has a wide variety of gadgets which include Lawrence iFINDER H20, iFINDER handheld 16 Channel, iFINDER handheld 16 Channel, iFINDERLarence Handheld Hunt Hunting unit. These varieties are but a few examples, their lots of types that one can choose from.

Always make you journey explorative and fun by carrying with you those devices that will serve you the best.

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