How to Use a Handheld GPS for Hiking

How to Use a Handheld GPS for Hiking

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If you are a devoted hiker, you may be considering including a handheld GPS device in your kit. The inclusion of this device will help you be able to plot out your trek before going and stay on it when you actually hit the trails.

By having access to a bunch of satellites, you will be able to be much more accurate in finding where you are than with a good old-fashioned compass and map.

But like with every piece of technology, there are always a lot of questions. Which model should I go with? And once I get one, just how do I use this GPS device to elevate my hiking experience?

In this article, that is the question we will be looking at in-depth. So keep reading if you need to know how to use a handheld GPS for hiking.

Why Use GPS for Hiking?

GPS is helpful when venturing out into the great outdoors. No matter if you are going out for a simple hike or a week-long adventure, it will be a useful addition to your gear — we promise!

The data that it gives you will help you stay on track by being aware of other things that could impact your excursion (i.e., the weather).

With most handheld GPS units, you will have access to your elevation, direction, scopes, and longitudes. This will help you course-correct should you stray, or stay on track.

A GPS additionally makes it simpler for a hiker to find previous locations such as their favorite camping sites or that magical lake you just happened to stumble on months ago.

Most GPS devices will allow you to store data as you travel, and that makes it easy to create your own unique trails that you can return to or share with friends and family.

How to Use a Handheld GPS for Hiking

The very first thing you should do whenever getting a new device is to read the manual. Once you have done that, you can move onto the more specific aspects of the GPS device.

One of the biggest things to get a grasp of is what waypoints are available to you. These are markers that will be programmed or able to be programmed into your treks so that you can use them as guideposts.

These waypoints will make it easy to create your trail from the comfort of your own home (that is as long as you have directions on where you are going). Most units will allow you to set up a starting point and craft a trail to your final destination by using these points.

Then you will transfer that data into your GPS. Now you just have to get kitted up and head out, safe in the fact that you have plotted out your course and are prepared to navigate it with confidence.

One note that we would like to make — the process will depend on the model you have purchased, but the concepts are all the same.

How to Use a Handheld GPS for Hiking

Climbing with Your Handheld GPS

GPS devices have vastly improved way-finding for outdoor enthusiasts. They are built with programs that empower you to design trails and navigate those maps with ease. A GPS can also keep you up to date on how far you have traveled as well as how long it took you to get there.

Even with this tool, though, most seasoned hikers still feel that you should understand the basics of way-finding without a device.

If you are an amateur explorer, you should do your first trek with someone who is familiar with using GPS and hiking in general. It would be best if you also stay on marked trails. Many suggest starting with short treks and building up to the more intense ones once you have got the hang of everything.

Another tip is to make sure you have a backup means of navigation. The device runs on a battery, and you don’t want to end up stranded on the way with n0 navigational means to get back to your destination.

Final Thoughts

So that is how to use a handheld GPS when hiking. Make sure to take care when plotting your course and know that the process to do this will depend on the unit.

By adding this piece of equipment to your gear, you will be able to enjoy your trip with less worry and stress. This will allow you to truly enjoy your time communing with nature.

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