Mountain GPS – Buying Guide, Opinions and Analysis
The mountain GPS is a very useful device for hiking, trail running, paragliding, mountain biking or other similar activities, as it helps you know your route, heart rate, speed, altitude and other important data. Therefore, we recommend the Garmin eTrex 30x, which is a handheld GPS with a 2.2-inch screen, a 3-axis compass, a barometric altimeter, among other advantages. Also, the Suunto Traverse watch could help you in your mountain adventures, with which you can see the distance, altitude, speed and your route in real time. Also, it has Bluetooth to pair your phone and transfer the data to an app.
The 9 Best Mountain GPS – Opinions 2022
There are many types of GPS on the market, each of which can be used for specific activities. For that reason, it is best to review several options on the Internet and compare their qualities, so you will determine if the model you buy suits your requirements. Below, we show you several reviews with some of the best mountain GPS of 2022.
Garmin GPS for mountain
1. Garmin eTrex 30x handheld GPS with 3-axis compass
This is a Garmin GPS for mountains with a 2.2-inch color screen that you can use in outdoor activities such as hiking, trail running, geocaching, MTB, among others. On its screen it shows the TopoActive map of Western Europe, as well as various data such as routes or altitude. However, you can add more advanced maps according to your requirements, since it has 4 GB of internal memory. Also, it is possible to expand the storage with a MicroSD card.
Perhaps it is the best mountain GPS for your outdoor sports activities, as it has a practical 3-axis compass that will help you discover your new routes with precision.
On the other hand, it should be noted that it is available in several languages, including Spanish, you can even use it with the Russian positioning system, since it is compatible with GLONASS.
Garmin could be the best mountain GPS brand, since it has been specialized in manufacturing this type of product since 1989. Here we explain its most outstanding pros and cons.
Map: The pre-installed map is of Western Europe, including countries like Spain, France, Germany, Malta, Portugal, etc.
Storage: Although it incorporates a 4 GB memory, you can also expand it with a MicroSD card to install many more maps.
Screen: Its 2.2-inch color screen makes its user interface very comfortable.
Update: To update the firmware you will have to expand its memory with a microSD.
If you want a Garmin GPS for mountains, we recommend this model, since it has precise navigation through GPS and GLONASS. In addition, it has the Track Manager function, to see where you are and comfortably adjust the registration of your activity.
As for its design, don’t worry, since it has a practical 4-inch touch screen, large enough to see the routes or maps clearly. Likewise, it works with a rechargeable battery and offers a range of up to 16 hours. And, as if that were not enough, it is a waterproof GPS, so do not worry if you are in full activity and it rains.
In addition to this, this is a versatile GPS that you can take anywhere by car, bicycle, boat and even in your hand or backpack when hiking or trail running.
Perhaps it is the best mountain GPS of the moment, so be sure to see its most important aspects, which we present to you below.
Map: It has an overview map of Europe, but you can also install other maps for free if you wish.
Autonomy: Its autonomy is 16 hours if you use the rechargeable lithium battery. Plus, it lasts up to 19 hours if you put in AA rechargeable batteries.
Screen: The screen is touch and has a large size of 4 inches, so you can see the maps much better.
Case: It does not come with a carrying case, however, its rubberized case protects it from some unforeseen bumps.
Mountain GPS Watch
3. Suunto Traverse GPS Watch for Hiking and Hiking
If you want to know which is the best mountain GPS for hiking, perhaps you should see the qualities of this Suunto watch, since it is used to calculate steps, calories, speed, altitude, distance, etc. In addition, it offers weather information and a storm alert, so that you are very well informed when climbing the mountain.
This mountain GPS watch also has a simple user interface, thanks to its 5 configuration buttons. One of them will serve to activate the light or flashlight function, which is very useful at night or dark days. Also, there is a button to start recording your activity and review data from previous days.
In another order of ideas, we must highlight its GPS and GLONASS navigation, for greater precision regarding your location and route tracking.
These are the pros and cons that have made it a very practical and functional GPS watch, so pay attention to each feature.
Data: Offers a variety of data, including GPS time, altitude, heart rate, speed, and distance.
Autonomy: Thanks to its rechargeable battery you can enjoy up to 100 hours of autonomy.
Notifications: Suunto Traverse notifies you about calls or messages as it is compatible with your phone.
Alarms: It is not possible to set multiple alarms on this watch, only one, which for some buyers could be a nuisance.
The Polar brand GPS mountain watch offers a compass, altimeter and weather information with a 2-day forecast, so it can be a great ally for your days of hiking, cycling, hiking, among other outdoor activities.
Another aspect that we can highlight about this GPS watch is that it measures the distance traveled in real time, as well as the speed. In this way, you will be able to evaluate your crossings and check if you have improved in the activity. We also mention that it has the Hill Splitter function, to detect ascents and descents without problems. And, if you are concerned about durability, this watch model offers military-grade quality, withstanding extreme temperatures, humidity and shock.
On the other hand, with this watch you can use maps from all over the world offline, being very practical for places where there is not much GPS coverage.
If you still don’t know which mountain GPS to buy, check out the positive and negative features of the Polar Grit X, it may be the watch you’re looking for.
Tracking: It is capable of tracking your pace and speed in real time, thanks to its Komoot function.
Robustness: Something important in a mountain watch is its resistance and this model meets that quality very well, since it withstands shocks and water up to 100 meters.
Autonomy: Its battery offers a range of 40 hours with the GPS activated, so you will have enough time for several days without having to charge the watch.
Notifications: While you can turn on notifications from the phone you’re pairing with, you won’t be able to choose which app to receive notifications from.
GPS for mountain routes
5. G-PORTER multifunctional GPS device
This may be the best value for money mountain GPS, since it is one of the cheapest, but it has a 1-inch screen where you will see your routes. It also has two buttons to start or stop the recording of the routes at any time of your journeys.
In the same way, you can export the routes in various formats, GPX or KML, it is even possible to load other existing routes downloaded from the Internet. Also, you can set how often you want a waypoint to be recorded, for example, 5 or 10 seconds.
On the other hand, the lithium battery that this GPS for mountain routes incorporates has a range of 12 hours, so you will have enough time to record one or two full days of mountaineering. Another important quality is that its compact design makes it easy to carry in your pants pocket.
This is one of the smallest mountain trail GPS out there, so maybe it’s what you’re looking for right now. Therefore, here we present the most important pros and cons of this device.
Measurement: In addition to recording your routes and exporting them, it measures the altitude and speed that you take in your sports day.
Screen: Its screen offers lighting so you can see each data more clearly.
Autonomy: Since it comes with a rechargeable lithium battery, you can enjoy sufficient autonomy for one or two days, with a total of 12 hours.
Complexity: It does not have a very intuitive interface and the instructions are basic.
If you need a GPS watch for mountain routes, the Garmin Instinct could meet your requirements, so read the features that we explain here.
It is a Garmin GPS watch with a sporty and elegant design in yellow and black. Plus, it’s 810g US military standard, which means it can withstand bumps, dust, moisture, and even rain.
In addition to this, it is compatible not only with GPS, but also with Galileo and GLONASS, so it offers several possibilities for precise and fast navigation. Another aspect that makes it stand out is its high functionality, as it detects altitude, heart rate and stress levels, so you can monitor your progress in the sport you do. Likewise, with its Tracback function you can return to the starting point through the same route.
Do not forget to review the pros and cons of this GPS watch, as it is possible for you to choose the product that best suits your requirements.
Compass: Its 3-axis compass will help you know your position on the map and which direction you should go.
Notifications: On the watch you can see the notifications of the paired phone, so that you are always informed.
Waterproof: Because it is a certified 810g watch, you can wear it in water up to 100 meters.
Screen: A little more sharpness and color is missing on the screen, but this does not affect its positioning accuracy.
7. TwoNav Horizon GPS for Mountain or Hiking with Screen
This mountain GPS has a 3-inch touch screen capable of viewing on sunny days without problems. In addition, it has a barometric altimeter and an electronic compass, so you can see more data, apart from the GPS position.
In the same way, we mention that it has a memory of 8 GB, which is enough for more than 30,000 maps from providers such as OSM and TomTom. It also has a rechargeable lithium battery capable of offering a range of 10 hours.
Also, we can say that it is a quite functional GPS, since you can use it in your hand or change the rear cover to mount it on a bicycle. In addition to this, you can broadcast your activity and performance live, thanks to SeeMe.
And, for your greater safety, you can send emergency notifications if an unforeseen accident occurs.
This is one of the most complete GPS in the comparison for outdoor activities, so check the following aspects to see if it is the product you need.
Maps: More than 30,000 maps will be available to you with this mountain GPS device, so you can make routes in many places in the world.
Application: With the Land application you will plan routes safely. This is compatible with Windows and Mac.
Functionality: Its functionality is very broad, since you will be able to see the altitude, speed or distance of the route at all times.
Autonomy: Perhaps you can only make a route with a full charge, since its autonomy is a bit low, 10 hours.
8. Bryton Rider 450T Wireless GPS
Apart from its GPS and GLONASS function, it is capable of reading the altitude, speed and distance of your routes, being useful for hiking, backpacking, trail running and, above all, mountain biking. In addition, it offers full GNSS support so you can record your trip with high precision.
With this GPS model you will have no problems viewing the data, since it has a 2.3-inch screen. You can see up to 10 data on a single page, so you can easily see your overall performance. You can even pair this GPS device with Shimano, Campagnolo EPS and SRAM eTap electronic gear systems.
In another order of ideas, we mention that you can enjoy sensors for cycling cadence, as well as heart rate, which is essential for your health. In other words, you will be able to track your physical resistance, so that you can improve progressively.
Since it is one of the best GPS for mountain biking, it is not a bad idea to review its most outstanding pros and cons, so here we show them to you.
Settings: It is possible to use this GPS to control Shimano electronic devices, so you can change gears or speeds more comfortably.
Sensors: It has speed, cadence, heart rate and altitude sensors, so it is a fairly complete device.
Versatility: Its OpenStreetMap function informs you where you are and what direction you should take, so you will always go on safer paths.
Coverage: It would be nice if it was also compatible with the Galileo navigation system, however, it does support Glonass and GPS.
9. Maybe Multifunctional Digital Barometric Altimeter Compass
It is a GPS made with ABS material and a compact design. In addition, it measures 10 x 6.6 x 2 cm and weighs only 126 grams, so you can comfortably carry it in your pocket or hold it in the palm of your hand. In the same way, we mention that it offers IPX4 certification, that is, it supports splashing water.
Another important aspect is that it has a compass, barometer, hygrometer and even provides altitude information, which is essential in any activity in the mountains, for example, camping, hiking, MTB, skydiving, paragliding and others.
As if that were not enough, this device works with GPS and Beidou, in other words, it detects your position with the American and Chinese positioning system that has also made great strides today.
Although it is one of the cheapest GPS, it has great quality and provides positioning accuracy, so here we show you its outstanding advantages and disadvantages.
Measurement: This device measures altitude, time, humidity and also has a compass that helps you position yourself better at any time.
Accuracy: Its accuracy in tracking routes and global positioning makes it a versatile GPS.
Light: It has a white emergency light on the top with which you can get out of trouble if you have an accident.
Support: It is missing that it brings a support to be able to mount it on the bicycle.
This time we have prepared a guide to buy the best mountain GPS. With it we want to help you learn about the characteristics that the most versatile GPS should have for hiking, MTB, backpacking, paragliding, trail running, among other mountain activities.
There are different types of GPS to use in the mountains, among which those for hiking and cycling stand out. The former have a special design to carry in a backpack or pants pocket without problems. On the other hand, the cycling ones have a support to mount them on the bicycle handlebar.
However, there are many watch-type products on the market, which go on your wrist. They sometimes offer the same functions as the devices mentioned above, so they are suitable for both hiking and mountain biking.
Navigation and positioning system
When you review a mountain GPS comparison you should review this point, because there are several positioning systems and perhaps one of them is more accurate in your city. If you are on a mountain where there are no satellites nearby, the signal from the navigation and positioning system will be less accurate or, in some cases, such as caves or tunnels, completely absent.
That is why when buying a GPS device you should check the product description on Amazon or its official page, to determine which systems it is compatible with, for example, GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou.
GPS is the United States Space Force Global Positioning System. Its coverage covers the entire earth and it is one of the best known systems in the world of mobile phones. For its part, GLONASS originates from Russia, so many users who use navigation devices and live in that country prefer that they are compatible with said system.
As for Galileo, we can say that it is one of the most popular navigation systems today, along with GPS and GLONASS. It was created by the European Union and is quite accurate, so it could be useful for mountain sports or other outdoor activities carried out on this continent.
The other navigation system is Beidou, which was created in China and promises to be the most imposing rival of GPS. In addition, since 2018 it offers global coverage, so it would also be a good option for navigation devices in Europe.
In the end, the system you should choose is the one that offers the best results for the country or area where you will carry out the mountain activity. To determine this, look for information on Internet pages or forums, since there are many people talking about it.
Before asking yourself how much a certain mountain GPS costs, make sure if it comes with pre-installed maps or offers free downloads of them. We say this because it is a fact that greatly influences the price of the navigation device. However, you may be able to find a cheap mountain GPS on Amazon, because there are a wide variety of makes and models there.
If the mountain GPS does not have any map installed, you will have to download it separately, which can be a free or paid process, depending on the model of your device.
The maps can be of Europe, Asia, America, etc., even if they are of a continent, they do not necessarily include all the countries, being another aspect that you should review. However, when you use the GPS in a single country, for example, Spain, it is not necessary that you have the map of other countries, because you will surely not use them. It would even take up unnecessary space in your device’s memory.
The memory of the GPS device can be internal or external, the latter through MicroSD memories. Not all mountain GPS offer this information on the Internet, but in case you find it, value the devices with more space, for example, from 4 GB onwards. The storage will allow you to save more data from your previous routes or to install additional maps on the device.
There are mountain GPS that have very little storage space; you won’t even be able to update firmware or various maps on them, so they could easily become outdated.
This aspect is very important if you are going to make long journeys or trips, in which it will take several days to go up or down. In other words, in this sense, a mountain GPS with more than 15 hours of autonomy will serve you well. On the other hand, if you are going to carry out simpler or shorter activities, a GPS with 10 hours of autonomy or less would be sufficient.
Frequently asked questions
Q1: How to use a mountain GPS?
Basically, to use a mountain GPS properly you must select the map of the place where you will do your activity. Then, it is necessary to record the route you are going to take. You can find this option in various places, depending on the GPS model you have.
Later, start your activity and on the way you can review the general data of the journey, which is normally found in the Processing of Journey option. There will be the travel time, distance, speed, ambient temperature, heart rate, etc. This is data that you can also change or organize, according to your needs and preferences.
Q2: Can I use a mountain GPS on my bike?
Without a doubt, the mountain GPS can be used on a bicycle, but for this you must have a support to mount it on the handlebar. It is important that you do this, since by staying fixed on the handlebar you will not have to let go of your hands to see the speed, route or the data that you want to know on the road.
Also, there are GPS mountain watches that can also be useful for cycling, because they measure speed, altitude, distance, heart rate or other important data in that sport.
Q3: How to read a mountain GPS?
The most important thing is to know how to read the route on the map, because otherwise you could get lost. The map has different streets or roads and marks your location with a point or triangular symbol, sometimes this is blue, but this varies depending on the model of the GPS equipment. There from the place where you start the tour will be called the starting point.
Another symbol that you can see on the map is the flag, which represents the arrival point. When you do the route for the first time, a line is drawn according to the streets or shortcuts you take on the way to reach the flag. In the future you will be able to read the same map with the route that you have previously done yourself, to practice again and improve speed, time, physical resistance, etc.
Q4: How to charge a mountain GPS?
You can charge the mountain GPS with a USB cable, connecting it to the computer or to a wall adapter. The first thing will be to carefully remove the rubber or safety cover that some GPS models have in the charging port. This charging port is normally protected to prevent water from entering it when you are doing outdoor activities.
Next, connect the USB cable so that the connectors on each end match the ports on the GPS and the computer, respectively. At that time the GPS will turn on and start charging. In some GPS, the state of the load appears on the screen; if yours offers this feature, unplug it when it’s fully charged.
Q5: Can I use the mobile as a mountain GPS?
Yes, many current mobile phones come with sensors such as accelerometers, GPS and even offer weather information. In this sense, they will serve to use them as GPS for hiking, backpacking, paragliding, cycling or other activities. However, some data such as heart rate or altitude may not be compatible with a mobile.
Another aspect that you should know about it is that there are mobile applications with many options to use as a mountain GPS device. You should try the app that best suits your needs, so you can climb or descend the mountain more efficiently.
Q6: Why my mountain GPS has no signal?
You will not always have a signal on your GPS, because there are obstacles that interrupt the communication of your device with the navigation satellites. For example, if you are in a valley, the satellite signal may be interrupted by mountains around you.
Also, sometimes you have no signal when you go through caves or tunnels; the latter, for example, immediately cut off the GPS, GLONASS, Galileo or any other navigation system signal.
Q7: What autonomy does a mountain GPS have?
The autonomy may vary depending on the brand and model of the device, as well as the use you give it. However, they almost always last 10 to 30 hours of operation on a single charge. If you use the screen lighting at the maximum brightness level, the energy may last less than what the manufacturer indicates in the user manual. A solution for you to enjoy your GPS for much longer is to connect it to a Power Bank while you go up or down the mountain.