What to Look for in a Handheld GPS

What to Look for in a Handheld GPS
Hand-held GPS can be found at a variety of price points. While some features such as the paperless geo-caching option are not for everyone, there are other important features to look for that will increase your GPS' accuracy.

Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS)

Look for a GPS enabled with WAAS, which increases the accuracy of a GPS to within 3 meters.


12-Channel Parallel Receiver

A GPS with a 12-channel receiver is capable of tracking more satellites, which means you have less chance of losing a satellite signal when you are in a heavily wooded area.


Waypoints are coordinates a user can store in the GPS for points of interest along the way. It's perfect for hiking where you can take the path that follows your waypoints.


For hiking, look for a hand-held GPS with a tough case that won't break if you drop it and a waterproof rating of at least IPX 7, which means it can withstand being dropped in up to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes.

Battery Life

If you'll be taking your GPS on a camping trip, look for a unit with a long battery life or one that takes AA batteries so you can easily replace them.


Article Written By Shiromi Nassreen

Shiromi Nassreen has been writing professionally since 2005. She specializes in travel and outdoor topics, and her articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including "DISfunkshion Magazine" and Matador Travel. Nassreen holds a Bachelor of Arts in theatre studies from Rose Bruford College of Speech & Drama.

Keep Me Informed

Weekly newsletters, announcements and offers from Trails.com to your inbox.

Sign me up!

We HATE spam and promise to keep your email addresses safe and secure.