How to Use a Handheld GPS Unit

How to Use a Handheld GPS UnitGlobal positioning systems (GPS) are popular accessories for cars and boats and can be very helpful when hiking and backpacking. Handheld GPS systems are portable and built for rugged country. Many backcountry hikers have come to appreciate handheld GPS systems because they give adventurers the freedom to explore without the risk of getting lost.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Handheld GPS
  • Compass (for off-road use)
Step 1
Turn on your GPS unit and allow it time to locate itself via satellite reception. This may take a few minutes.
Step 2
Use your location map to survey the area surrounding you, if needed.
Step 3
Select the "Find Location" option, and enter either a street address or coordinates if your GPS unit accommodates these.
Step 4
Hit "Go" to begin navigating.
Step 5
Follow the directions detailed by your GPS unit. If you are navigating by coordinates, you may need to use a compass to point yourself in the right direction and make your path more efficient.

Article Written By Jonathan Croswell

Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.