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Best Outdoor Handheld GPS - 2016

Best Outdoor Handheld GPS - 2016

Fri 6th November 2015

-- This article has been updated. You can read the latest version here --

As we enter 2016 we have to again ask the question - what is the best handheld GPS currently on the market is for walkers and walking in the UK. 

Here at GPS Training we use these GPS units every day to train people how to use them – what is the best GPS for walkers?

A few new GPS models for walkers have come onto the market last year which has certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons and with some of the new Garmin handheld GPS Systems coming with the new Garmin TopoActive mapping instead of the traditional Ordnance Survey Maps it has certainly changed things around a fair bit.

Memory Map, SatMap or Garmin – which is the best handheld GPS unit for walkers?

Here at GPS Training we sell and train people to use all these makes of GPS units so we can give clear impartial advice, we are actually the largest UK retailer of Outdoor GPS Units so we speak to lots of people pre and post-sale and you certainly give us great feedback on each of the Handheld GPS models.

Memory Map GPS unit – If you are a Memory Map fan (i.e. you have the software on your PC, please note it does not work on a Mac) and are thinking about buying a Memory Map GPS it is worth considering. But first if you are thinking of buying a Memory Map Outdoor GPS I would download the Memory Map app onto a smartphone and see what you think. As frankly the Memory Map GPS unit is just an app running on a waterproof mobile phone. Itís OK, but it is just an app.

SatMap GPS unit – The SatMap Active 12 GPS is really growing on me. It is simple to use and it does what it says on the tin. As it is the only Outdoor Handheld GPS to come with HD maps on the GPS screen the clarity is second to none unless are in bright sunshine. What I hear you ask, but yes the screen on the SatMap Active 12 is hard to see in bright sunshine.

Garmin GPS unit – Garmin are the market leaders for Outdoor GPS units. The reason is because they are the best. They have a good range of units so suit whatever the budget and the screens on the better models are truly stunning. The Garmin GPS screens on the better models made of Ďgorilla glassí so you canít break them and the brighter the sun gets the better the screen gets.

So my answer to the question – What is the best make of Outdoor Handheld GPS – Garmin

So letís look at the Garmin range of Outdoor GPS units, which is the best Garmin Outdoor GPS?

Garmin eTrex 10 – £99.99

Basic black and white screen. Frankly a pointless piece of kit. If you want one donít ring us at GPS Training as I will not sell you one. I would rather make no money than sell someone something I know they will be disappointed in. Sadly other retailers donít have the same ethos.

Garmin eTrex 20x and 30x – £169.99 and £209.99

Updated late 2015 year to the x version of the unit to add more memory and a better screen. Again a budget GPS with a small joystick which is not easy to use. If you can afford it I would spend a little more on an eTrex Touch, which is a better Outdoor GPS.

Garmin eTrex 25 and 35 touch with birdseye voucher – £219.00 and £250.00

This range came out in summer this year and to be honest have taken the Outdoor GPS market by the scruff of the neck. A great little Outdoor Handheld Touchscreen Garmin GPS and superb value for money. It comes with the new Garmin TopoActive mapping which we really like and you can add 1:25k maps to this unit using the voucher that you get in the box if you buy the GPS from us here at GPS Training (please note not all retailers have this offer).

Garmin eTrex 25 and 35 touch with full GB maps – £299.99 and £329.99

These units are the same as mentioned above but in April 2016 the came bundled with full GB OS mapping (normally £199.99 if bought seperatly) so it made these great units even better.

Garmin GPSMap64s - £349.99 (with full UK maps)

This isa  great four season GPS unit as it has buttons. Garmin only update their map cards every four years. This unit (and all the others we sell at GPS Training with full UK maps) have the most recent map card in. A great Garmin Handheld GPS with buttons and veery popular with us here at GPS Training.

Garmin Oregon 600 and Oregon 650 - Now discontinued 

Now before I go any further - with the Oregon GPS units we sell here at GPS Training please note I am talking about the prices here with full UK mapping. 

The next person who rings me up and tells me they can buy it cheaper (or even worse has bought it cheaper) but there unit came with no UK mapping I will personally give them no sympathy. I am fed up on consoling people who have solely bought the lowest price Oregon GPS they have found only to realise that it has no UK map card and the map card we bundle in with our GPS units is worth £200.00 if bought separately.

So donít get conned by units on the largest online retailer in the UK that sell Oregon GPS units with no UK maps or even worse buy one of those grey import Oregon GPS units (which makes me smile as Garmin UK are refusing to support the grey imports being sold by one online retailer as the units are being shipped out of Egypt) that come with no map cards.

To be honest the best way is to give us a call here at GPS Training and we can then talk through the options available for UK customers when buying a Garmin GPS.

Anyway moving on from the pitfalls the Oregon 600 is the best GPS unit for walkers currently on the market. 

The Oregon 650 is also good but please be aware the camera has a large effect on the battery life.

Garmin Montana with full UK maps – £399.99 (Montana 600) £469.99 (Montana 610) £509.99 (Montana 680

There are still lots on Montana 600 units on the market. These have been replaced by the Montana 610 and 680. As usual you will find loads of cheap Montana 600 GPS units on the market but the reason they are cheap is that you are buying 10 year old technology. Rather you than me!

The Montana 610 and 680 are great units if you want that larger screen (i.e. you wear glasses and donít want to wear them when out walking). The main problem with the Montana 610 and 680 is that it comes with no UK maps. But here at GPS Training we have bundled these units with full UK mapping (and yes they are 2015 map cards). 

Garmin Monterra – £649.99 with full UK maps

Again please donít ring me if you want one as you will regret it. Garmin dabbled in the world of running a Garmin GPS using an Android operating system and here it is. Not a great unit but an expensive price.

So what is the best Outdoor GPS for 2016?

If you are on a budget I would certainly go for the eTrex 25 touch with full GB maps - £299.99 – more here

If you walk through all four seasons I would go for the Garmin GPSMAP64s - £349.99 - more here.

If you can afford it the Garmin Oregon 600 is the best GPS currently on the market and at £369.99 it will be the best money you have spent this year – Now discontinued

Please do give us a ring and talk to a GPS expert and donít forget we donít just sell you a GPS we trach you how to use it in with the price.

If you buy from GPS Training you also get - 

- Free Webinars (online seminars) - worth £39.98 - to get you to grips with your new Garmin GPS you get FREE places on our two Webinars - Getting started with your Garmin GPS and Getting to know BaseCamp (for both PC and Mac users).

- Receive a FREE copy of getting started with Your GPS guide - compiled exclusively by GPS Training for our customers.

- Receive a FREE copy of our factsheet - Garmin BaseCamp explained. We have both PC and Mac versions of this factsheet.

- Receive FREE access to the Garmin GPS training - online resource (worth £11.99) 

- FREE set up of your GPS unit (including installing and checking mapping card and setting unit up for UK) before it leaves GPS Training. So you take it out of the box and can start using it straight away.

- FREE ongoing support from our GPS training experts.

- Buy any GPS online from us and pay just £3.95 delivery. All GPS units are kept in stock and is sent out Royal Mail Special Delivery, so it will be with you the next working day (if ordered before 16.00).


Posted By: David Barlow | Thu 17th December 2015

Which is the best unit in cold weather when wearing gloves, e.g. In Scottish winter? Is the Oregon 600 usable in these conditions?

Posted By: Andy - GPS Training | Fri 18th December 2015

Hi David, the unit that we would recommend for cold weather when wearing gloves would be the Garmin GPS Map64s, we currently have this reduced by £50.00 until Christmas supplied with full GB OS 1:50k Mapping. The Oregon is a great unit but you do need to take your gloves of to use it. Both units have a high weather rating of IPX7. Regards Andy GPST

Posted By: Helen Smith | Sat 13th February 2016

I'm looking for a GPS for geocaching - needs to have decent battery life (or AAs that I can keep as a backup), and be able to use in all weathers. Do the touch screens still work in the rain? (I've been using my smart phone and it thows a bit of a wobbly when the rain goes on the screen and thinks I'm selecting things that I'm not). Is there any GPS that would enable me to download the cache information without physically connecting to a PC (via bluetooth from my phone for example)?I would like to see what models would fit my needs before settling on a budget. Thank you.

Posted By: Jon - GPS Training | Tue 16th February 2016

Thanks for your question. Yes the touch screen works in the rain as you can lock the screen on any Garmin GPS unit (and the map etc still move under the locked screen). We really like the Oregon 600 and also the eTrex 25/35 Touch GPS unit for Geocaching depending if you want full UK OS maps on the unit. Please do give us a call and we can go through the best option for you budget.

Posted By: David Fisher | Mon 29th February 2016

Hi, I'm most impressed with your purchasing advice on your web site. Just the info I wanted and impossible to find elsewhere. So impressed in fact I bough a garmin Oregan 600 from you last night, and am looking forward to getting it, regardless of the answers to the question below!Up until now I have been navigating with either OS 1:25K paper maps, or on my Garmin Etrex legend HCX, open cycle maps on various micro cards. ( Spain and UK). My activities are mainly walking and geo caching. I gave a separate Garmin for cycling. I am hoping these micro cards, ( I have the adapter) will work also on the Oregan when it arrives, because obviously although it will be great to have the OS 1:50K UK maps on the oregan, sometimes it may be nice also to have larger scale maps. And also can I purchase, if needed, an sd card or two with the OS 1:25K scale maps?Thanks a lotDavid.

Posted By: Jon - GPS Training | Tue 1st March 2016

David, thanks for your kind words, they are very much appreciated. Yes your open cycle maps will work in your new Oregon GPS unit. We really like those maps for cycling with as the just look 'lighter' on the screen. Thanks for your purchase, it is appreciated.

Posted By: Peter Tuch | Fri 23rd September 2016

Hi, i am looking for the device that is most likely to give accurate altitude readings as well, which would you recommend? Thanks, Peter

Posted By: Andy - GPS Training | Fri 23rd September 2016

Hi Peter Tuch, Thanks for your enquiry, within the Garmin Range of GPS Devices that we stock there are a number of models with Barometric Altimeters, accuracy will depend on correct calibration procedures which we can advise you on, if you could email us at and let us know the type of activities that you want to use the device for we can email you back some recommendations, for walking / hiking only the SatMap Active12 is also worth considering as it has an accurate Barometric Altimeter but this model also allows for Elevation data to be taken from the installed Detailed HR OS Maps, Regards Andy

Posted By: Lee Le Clercq | Fri 14th October 2016

Are the 1:25k maps available via the 'birdseye voucher' the genuine OS 1:25k?

Posted By: Jon Monks - GPS Training | Fri 14th October 2016

Lee, as long as you select that you are wanting to use the Birdseye Voucher to download 1:25k maps they are exactly the same as the paper maps. Don't worry if you buy a Birdseye Voucher from us we give you a step by step guide that takes you through the process of downloading the maps using the voucher.

Posted By: Jim Patton | Wed 7th December 2016

I am considering the Garmin Montana 680t for dual sport motorcycling in Spain and Portugal. I have gpx files for tracks through Portugal which are about 60 off road (i.e. on trails). Will the Topo Active map of Europe included with the Montana be a good fit for this sort of application?

Posted By: David Rowe | Mon 2nd January 2017

Hi Fellas: Looking for a GPS with HR capability that is suitable for road, track and trail bike riding. Currently have an old Garmin Forerunner 305 which has served me well for about 12 years, but looking to upgrade in order to provide better navigation capability. I also hike, so something that also would serve for basic route tracking would be a bonus. I can give further details as needed but wanted to touch base first. Not sure if this falls within your remit as your focus seems to be on hill navigation - impressed with the professionalism of your site, by the way.

Posted By: Andy - GPS Training | Mon 16th January 2017

Hi David apologies for our delay in answering your query your comment had not be send to us as an email, a unit that I would look at first would be the Garmin eTrex Touch35t with GB OS Mapping, this is a compact lightweight unit with a 2.6" colour touchscreen, it comes with a MTB handlebar mount and is a great unit for multi activities such as hiking, cycling or Mountain Biking, if you visit our homepage and look under GPS Store - Garmin units with full OS Mapping you will find the Touch Range of units, I hope this helps, please email us at if you need any more information, Regards Andy GPST

Posted By: Neil Harris | Sun 22nd January 2017

I am comparing the 64s and the Oregon 600, but would prefer access to 1:25 maps for hill walking all year round. What is the best way to purchase 1:25 maps with either of theses units.

Posted By: Andy - GPS Training | Mon 23rd January 2017

Hi Neil, thank you for your enquiry. We have several options available for these units with full GB OS 1:25k Mapping, we have some units with the slightly older version (2015) of the full GB OS 1:25k mapping at a reduced cost. If you Goto our homepage GPS Store Garmin units with full UK OS Mapping and scroll down to the bottom section you will see the following listed: - GPSMap64s with 2015 Premium Mapping £565.00, GPSMap64s with the newer 2016 Topo Pro Mapping £639.99, Oregon 650 with 2015 Premium Mapping £649.99 and Oregon 600 with newer 2016 Topo Pro Mapping £659.99, I hope this helps, please give us a call on 01669 621 044 or email us on if you need any more help or information, Regards Andy

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