The Best Hunting GPS Units Review

The hunting season may be here, and you need to equip yourself better this time. Therefore, there’s no other way to do so than to include the best hunting GPS unit in your list of important devices.

It’s especially the case if you go hunting in remote areas with no cellular service. Modern GPS units have features that allow you to contact your loved ones or authorities even without cell service.

And that’s not all the good you can get from these marvelous devices. Today, we’re highlighting the best hunting GPS units and what you should consider before buying one. 

Table of Contents

The Best GPS Units for Hunting

A hunter with his dog

(A hunter with his dog)

Here’s a list of the best hunting GPS units.

Garmin inReach Explorer+

The Garmin inReach Explorer+ is arguably the best hunting GPS unit. It has preloaded TOPO maps plus two-way messaging capabilities to ensure you can reach out to authorities. Additionally, Explorer+ allows you to share your near real-time GPS coordinates at selected time intervals.  

On the downside, the unit has a smaller 2.3″ color touchscreen that may be small for map functions. You can pair it with your smartphone to see and interpret a wider and more detailed map. 

Garmin GPSMAP 66i

The Garmin GPSMAP 66i is a top-tier hunting GPS unit that has stood the test of time and works exceptionally well. And, if you’re willing to spend more money, you would find no other value-for-money product than the GPSMAP 66i. 

The device boasts a crystal-clear 3″ color touchscreen that provides some of the greatest map-viewing features in the business. Furthermore, the unit has a Micro SD slot that allows you to expand its memory beyond its standard 16 GB memory. Other features include a barometer and altimeter so that you can keep an eye on changes in weather patterns and your elevation. 

Garmin inReach Mini

A man holding a hunting GPS unit

(A man holding a hunting GPS unit)

If you need a lightweight, compact hunting GPS unit with longer battery life, go with the Garmin inReach Mini. Despite its smaller size, the inReach Mini packs most features in bigger Garmin GPS units. 

Additionally, it supports two-way messaging, interactive SOS, and current weather forecasts. The small screen makes it tedious to type out messages or read maps without a smartphone connection. 

Magellan eXplorist 350H Handheld GPS

The Magellan eXplorist 350H is an excellent alternative to the Garmin devices. It has a smaller 2.2″ screen, multiple preloaded maps, and 18 hours of battery life. Additionally, the unit is waterproof (IPX-7) and rugged for unforgiving outdoor hunting activities. 

Also, the Magellan eXplorist 350H has a high-sensitivity GPS chip with a 3 to 5-meter accuracy. And, given that it’s cheaper than most Garmin devices, I consider the eXplorist 350H a good deal.

Why You Need a Hunting GPS Unit

A hunter determines the route on the GPS navigator

(A hunter determines the route on the GPS navigator)

If you’re a hunter, chances are high that you may have been considering buying a hunting GPS unit or already own one. Generally, hunting GPS units are beneficial tools that aid in tracking and improving your hunting experience. Here are some reasons why you should use a GPS unit while hunting. 

Hunting GPS units help hunters find their way to and out of vast hunting grounds and remote areas. Therefore, GPS units can give you better directions to new hunting zones and paths on the maps.

Better Signal Reception Than Smartphones

Some people prefer using their smartphones for navigation while hunting. However, smartphone GPS apps are only good in areas without trees that may block the GPS signal. 

On the other hand, hunting GPS units pick GPS signals and give accurate coordinates. All GPS units have GPS chips and antennas that can pick signals from satellites, even in remote and forested areas. 


A couple looking at a smartphone while searching for direction in a forest

(A couple looking at a smartphone while searching for direction in a forest)

Hunting is sometimes dangerous as you may be trapped away from everybody else. Luckily, some GPS devices have functionalities like an SOS button or an integrated two-way radio for raising alerts. Having one may help you raise awareness or call for help in case you find yourself in danger. 

Better Efficiency

A hunting GPS unit’s primary function is to improve your hunting experience by improving efficiency. Its features allow you to plan routes and formulate better hunting strategies.

Additionally, it can alert you to avoid areas with low success rates and favor areas with better returns. 

Tracking Weather

You can pair your hunting GPS unit with your smartphone to integrate weather information into your maps.

Similarly, most modern GPS units have built-in weather-tracking capabilities that help hunters study prevailing weather conditions. 

What to Consider When Buying a Hunting GPS Unit

Father and son sitting in a bush and hunting down an animal

(Father and son sitting in a bush and hunting down an animal)

There are hundreds of hunting GPS units globally. Across the globe, you’ll hear people preferring one hunting GPS device over the other- and for a reason.

Here are crucial factors you should consider when buying a hunting GPS unit. 

Accuracy: Considering the accuracy of a device is crucial when purchasing a hunting GPS unit. If you like hunting, especially in remote areas with poor signal reception, you’re better off buying a GPS unit. 

Durability: Hunting GPS units are tougher than most smartphones, making them suitable for hard and unpredictable hunting activities.

Furthermore, some hunting GPS units are tougher and more reliable than others. To be safe, go with the most durable one you can find.

Mapping Capabilities: Go for a hunting GPS unit with detailed mapping capabilities. Furthermore, the device should allow you to store maps for offline hunting. 

Two-way messaging capabilities: You must consider communication while selecting your device. Therefore, go for hunting GPS devices that allow two-way messaging or radio.

Weather resistance: Hunting is an outdoor activity, and the weather can, at times, be unforgiving. Therefore, go for a hunting GPS unit that’s water and dust resistant

Weight: Hunting is an activity that relies on efficiency and being as quick as you can. Therefore, most hunters prefer to be light for quicker reflexes by using GPS units worth their weight. 


Can I use my phone as a hunting GPS?

Absolutely. There are many smartphone GPS apps that you can use while hunting, including onX Hunt and Gaia. However, most offer basic functionalities, and you’ll have to pay more to access premium features. 

Are hunting GPS units expensive?

Generally, you can find a good quality hunting GPS unit for around $200 to $400. The cost of hunting GPS units varies significantly according to features and brand reputation. Therefore, cheaper models will cost less than $100, whereas high-end models cost upwards of $600. 

Can hunting GPS units lose signal in heavily wooded areas?

Hunting GPS units can lose their signal reception in heavily wooded areas. The reason is that dense trees form canopies that weaken or block GPS signals from reaching your GPS unit’s receiver.

Consequently, your GPS unit may fail to give you the correct coordinates. 

Final Remarks

In conclusion, hunting can be dangerous, especially when you’re alone in the wild. It even worsens when you lose cellular service or your phone runs out of battery.

You can equip yourself with a hunting GPS unit and enjoy its accurate mapping and better GPS signal reception. 

However, not all GPS units are equal in functionality and pricing. Go for the best and make maximum use of their remarkable features.

Additionally, reach out for any clarifications or comments. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.  

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