We turn to thewirecutter.com to get the skinny on the best backcountry GPS. Why the thewirecutter.com? Simple. thewirecutter.com‘s staff spend hours on research, interviews the world’s most knowledgeable experts and conducts extensive testing to find THE very best item in each category.
“If you’re an adventurer or frequent hiker (or something of a data nerd) then I’d recommend a dedicated handheld GPS for the backcountry. And I’d suggest you swallow hard and pay up for the Garmin Oregon 600, which is $400 or $480 when preloaded with American topographic maps. Why not a cheaper model? Because of the 600’s touchscreen, basically.
While not as sharp as a smartphone’s screen, the 600’s screen is sharp. It’s also bright enough to read in Arizona sunlight, extra durable and controlled with familiar pinch-n-swipe gestures—things no other GPS can claim. About the size of a deck of cards and weighing 7.4 ounces, the gadget has all the features you need, starting with great satellite reception and decent 16-hour battery life. At least a couple of the features are overkill, but, well, if you want an easy-to-use GPS, then unfortunately you have to pay for a full-featured one.
Anyone who will regularly use a GPS in the snow or rain or on horseback may want our pick from last year. It’s not as good overall, but it’s cheaper, glove-friendly and storm-ready, thanks to old-fashioned buttons that control a non-interactive screen.”