Pick The Best Geocaching GPS For You   Recently updated !

Camping handheld geocaching GPS
Handheld GPS Units for camping
Geocaching Camping Gear
Camping and Hiking Gps Units

All GPSs are not created equal, and the most expensive one is not always the best one for you.

Deciding what you need from a GPS unit, and how you will be using it – especially for geocaching – are the first things you need to do before you can pick the best handheld GPS for your needs.

GPS Questions Checklist: by Gus
There are a few basic qualities any GPS unit should have if it will be used in a camping and hiking environment:

  • Waterproof – plastic bags and protective cases can help, but in an outdoors environment – especially camping and hiking, you want waterproof. Fortunately, most good units are, but be sure.
  • Easy to read – screen size, and the type of display is also important. You will soon be dissatisfied with screens you have to squint to see, or study to decipher.
    • look for the largest screen in your price range, and color screens have *transflective properties which make it easier to read in bright sunlight.
  • *Quickly and accurately locks on a signal – Ability to receive a signal through tree cover, the windscreen of your car, or while your GPS is inside your pack or pocket.
  • *Waypoints – these are location points that are set, stored, and displayed. A good unit will be able to store or set at least 100 waypoints. Many can do up to 500
  • Good (replaceable) battery life- rechargeable batteries are ok, but replaceable batteries require a lot less thought.

These are other techie-type features that can be important to individual needs, and these are generally listed in the product details, and verified by customer reviews.
Features like:12 parallel channels, possibly an external antenna, (not always necessary), and WAAS-enabled, (pinpoint cache positions with more accuracy), is nice to have, but not absolutely necessary. As is an altimeter function. Let your wallet be your guide for these extra features.

GPS units can be as cheap as $30 – $40, or as expensive as $600 – $700, but there are a lot of good GPS systems perfect for camping and hiking geocaching in the $75 – $100 range.

Top recommended, (by customer reviews), GPS units are listed below, but again, consider your specific needs when you consider which one is best for you. And your budget of course.

Top Pick Handheld Geocaching GPS

Magellan eXplorist 110 handheld Geocaching GPS

#1 Top-Rated Pick – Entry-level – 4.5-Star Consumer rating
Magellan eXplorist 110 Handheld GPS

This GPS easily rated its top-pick status. It was designed specifically with geocaching in mind, so it has the features you want built-in, and already configured for use. Plus, its price of $99.99* makes it a super bargain as an entry-level GPS for new geosearchers.

*Like most products, there are good – better – best models. The eXplorist also has several variations, with the best being the See the Magellan eXplorist 110 North America Waterproof at around $150.


  • A vibrant 2.2″ color transflective screen provides the best readability in direct sunlight
  • The World Edition includes a detailed road network, water features, and urban and rural land use.
  • Download and view more than 20 unique characteristics of each cache and view, search, and filter them right on the screen. Details include name, location, description, hider, size, difficulty, terrain, hint, and recent logs created by other geocachers
  • Paperless geocaching and 500 MB user memory
  • Waterproof, and submersible

There is a lot more to be said about this GPS, but here is a short promo from Magellan…

Out of the box and ready to go, the eXplorist 110 is rugged, waterproof, and submersible (IPX-7). … The eXplorist 110 supports paperless geocaching, which allows you to download more than 20 unique characteristics of each cache, including name, location, description, hider, size, difficulty, terrain, hint, spoilers, attributes, and last 20 user logs among a number of other details.

It is important to note that having all those geocaching features built-in has a cost – you will need a site membership to use the extras. Like the cache hints and details options. But the eXplorist does come with a free 30-day premium membership trial, so you get to see how it works before signing up for the extras.

There are much more geocaching features built-in, or available for this GPS model – you can see them all at Magellan eXplorist 110 reviews.

Get all the information and advice you need to jump-start your new geocaching hobby.
From the “For Dummies” series to more advanced tips and tricks, and, hiking-formatted log books – these selections will provide the “fine points” of geosearching.


Garmin etrex geocaching GPS
#2 Pick – Entry-level GPS – 4-Star Consumer rating
Garmin eTrex Geocaching GPS

A very good entry-level GPS that could be a #1 pick for you.

Like the Magellan, there is a series of eTrex models, with a starting price of around $160. Also, like the Magellan, the eTrex models include functions specifically designed for geocaching.

One plus, (according to consumer reviews), that beats the Magellan is the ease of one-handed operation with the eTrex models. Depending on the hiking environment – this could be an important plus.

But… like most comparable-product comparisons – both have similar features, and that is the case with this Magellan vs. Garmin comparison. They both do what you need them to, and they do them in similar ways. The Garmin eTrex has geocache “find, list, and details” functions that will, right-out-of-the-box help you start your geosearch. And it also has all the – much-touted – easy and fast position acquisition and satellite-lock abilities that are important to searchers.
Here is Garmin’s promo of these capabilities:

Rock Solid GPS

With its high-sensitivity, WAAS-enabled GPS receiver, eTrex 20 will locate your position quickly and precisely, maintaining its GPS location even in heavy cover and deep canyons.

With added HotFix and GLONASS support, you can count on faster positioning and a more reliable signal – whether you’re in deep woods or just near tall buildings and trees, you can count on eTrex 20 to help you find your way when you need it the most.

As mentioned, the Garmin could have been a co-#1 pick. There isn’t really anything that makes it less capable than the Magellan. It is a very good entry-level GPS that works well for experienced geosearchers too.

So unless you have very very specific function needs: how do you decide which model is best for you?

Check out their stats. See which one appeals to you, looks cool, and looks like what you had in mind. And since both do what they are supposed to, and well – and both are similarly priced – it may come down to which one you like the looks of.

Here are the performance stats and customer reviews for the Garmin eTrex 20 Handheld GPX.

Notes and discussions:

Geocaching with an app for your smartphone

For city and urban geocaching, or folks that want to “give it a try” before spending money for a GPS unit – a geocache app for your smartphone is an inexpensive way to go.

Geocache apps are specific to smartphone operating systems, like; Googles Androids and Apple’s iPhones. Here are some examples of both:

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