A handheld GPS device is an excellent navigational tool for outdoor activities such as hiking, backpacking and climbing. Of course, GPS won't do you much good if you don't know how to use it. Whether you have a basic tracking GPS or a more advanced mapping model, you'll want to understand the basics of its operation so that you can effectively use it in the wilderness.
Tips & Warnings
Always enter the parking lot or trail head as a waypoint so that you can navigate back to it.
Use lithium batteries and carry an extra pair.
Depending on your GPS device, you can probably enter waypoints in a variety of ways, including coordinates, one-button entry of a location where you're standing and pointing to it on the mapping software.
GPS does not replace a map, compass and traditional navigation skills. GPS is not as reliable, and a map and compass should still be carried on any extended trip in the wilderness.
Your GPS unit needs a clear view of the sky to get a fix from satellites. If there is dense tree or rock coverage overhead, you may not be able to rely on your GPS.
Article Written By Joe Fletcher
Joe Fletcher has been a writer since 2002, starting his career in politics and legislation. He has written travel and outdoor recreation articles for a variety of print and online publications, including "Rocky Mountain Magazine" and "Bomb Snow." He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers College.