The best Handheld GPS for Hiking and Trekking

best gps navigation compass review camping things to bring trekking guide to gps map reading

Navigation by the stars was good enough for our adventurer forefathers, and while it’s a great skill to have if you’ve got the time and inclination, having a compass and GPS map tracker on hand can make life a lot easier, and save you a lot of time when it comes to getting where you’re going.

For serious explorers, a solid GPS Navigation system and 3-axis compass are essential pieces of kit for staying safe and on track. We’ve picked a few of our favourite navigation devices, which combine a high-quality compass, GPS, altitude and barometric pressure indicators. There’s something here to suit every budget, and as always at Camping Things, we combine quality and value, to ensure you get the best, whichever one you pick.


Celestron Trek Guide Digital Compass

‘Intelligent navigation from the experts in telescopes.’

Celestron are known for their high quality telescopes, so accuracy and attention to detail are paramount to everything they make. The Trek is no exception, featuring first and foremost, an accurate digital compass. You’ll also see air and sea pressure readouts, along with current time, location and date, as well as a weather forecast with temperature display. And just because it fits, they’ve also included a small spirit level.

Build quality
We’re big fans of anything Celestron, having used their telescopes before. They’re all about quality and attention to detail, and what makes their telescopes great, shows in the Trek digital compass. Everything is precise, and the compass itself feels well made and perfectly suitable for the outdoors.


  • Digital compass, featuring headings and degrees. Backlit by a durable LED light.
  • Altitude shown in both feet and meters.
  • Air and sea pressure readouts.
  • Weather forecast with icons, plus temperature (F and C)
  • Time, alarm, month and year.
  • Comes with spirit level, lanyard and batteries.

Best for
The technical trekker. If you already own any Celestron gear, you’ll know that this is one for accuracy nuts.

Check prices on Amazon


Cammenga Official US Military Tritium Lensatic Compass

‘Official US military compass, used by the Marines.’

If total accuracy is what you’re after, and you’re not worried about add-ons like barometers and altitude meters, then the Cammenga Tritium is for you. This is the official compass used by the US military, and while other users have said that it takes a second or two for the needle to settle, that’s really not a concern, as once it does settle, you can trust that it’s totally accurate.

Build quality
Simply outstanding quality. The Tritium is built to accompany the Marines into the most extreme environments on Earth, so wherever you’re taking it, you’re assured a solid performance. The bezel, which used to be metal, is now plastic, which according to Cammenga, makes it easier to repair, should you manage to break it.

This is really simple; you’re looking at a world-leading analogue compass, which is designed and built to tell you which direction you’re going in. That’s all it does, and it does it very well.

Best for
Ultra-reliable navigation under extreme conditions.

Check prices on Amazon


Garmin Fenix Watch with Outdoor GPS Navigation

‘Stay on track and connected, with accurate barometric report.’

The Fenix is the first GPS navigation wristwatch to feature ABC (altimeter, barometer and compass) technology. Developed with serious adventurists, the Fenix is built to give you hands-free guidance throughout your journey. This self-calibrating smartwatch will guide you to where you’re going safely and bring you back again with complete accuracy, warning you ahead of time of any adverse weather.

Wirelessly connect the Fenix to other Garmin devices, and take advantage of the awesome 3-axis digital compass, to help stay on track, no matter where in the world you are.

Build quality
Like all Garmin devices, the Fenix is built with a passion for quality, and it shows. Extremely rugged and stylish, the display is clear and simple, and the wristband feels nice and secure.


  • Compass — 3-axis digital compass keeps you on track, despite the conditions.
  • Altimeter — Tells you the altitude accurately, and constantly self-calibrates to stay up to date.
  • Barometer — For measuring air pressure and predicting changes in weather
  • Temperature gauge — Accurately measure temperature in both degrees C and F.

Best for
Adventure trekking.

Check prices on Amazon


Garmin 64S Handheld GPS Navigation with Barometric Altimeter and 3 Axis Compass

‘Ultra-accurate topographical map of UK and Ireland.’

The quad helix antenna on the Garmin 64S makes fixing your location fast and accurate, and with a solid 3-axis compass built in, finding your bearings is a breeze. Comprehensive navigation features join an outstanding barometer and altimeter, and with the most accurate and up-to-date map of the UK and Ireland you’ll find almost anywhere, this is one bit of kit you don’t want to be without on serious treks.

Wirelessly connect to your smartphone, and get away from the beaten track with TracBack.

Build quality
Garmin quality, coupled with the latest in GPS navigation technology makes the 64S one of the best navigation devices on the market. Solidly built and simple to use, we love this one.

As well as being a leading compass and navigation tool, the Garmin 64S is also compatible with your smartphone, making it easy to share your progress with friends and family (and to show off how far you’ve climbed.)

The 64S also features:

  • Altimeter — Best-in-class elevation measurements, backed up by Garmin’s world-leading technology.
  • 3-axis compass — Always find your way quickly and accurately.
  • Wireless connectivity — Stay in touch with people back home or elsewhere on the trail.

Best for
Serious or team treks.

Check prices on Amazon


Garmin eTrex 20x Outdoor Handheld GPS Navigation with TopoActive Maps

‘Comprehensive and accurate navigation for Western Europe.’

Awesome for hiking, cycling and mountain climbing, the Garmin eTrex 20x is the updated version of the popular Garmin eTrex 20. It comes with enhanced screen resolution and an even more accurate map of Western Europe The eTrex 20x is rugged, affordable, and comes with mounts for bicycles and other kit. Track GLONASS and GPS satellites simultaneously with the eTrex. Also supports geocaching GPX files for downloading geocaches and details straight to your unit.

Build quality
As you’ve probably noticed, we’re big fans of Garmin gear, and the eTrex 20x is a fantastic update, and an awesome addition to any trekking kit. Superb build quality and outstanding performance.


  • Enhanced 2.2 inch, 65K colour, sunlight-readable display.
  • Durable and water-resistant, eTrex 20x is built to withstand the harshest conditions
  • Upgraded interface, still able to withstand dirt, dust and rain.
  • Pre-loaded topo map of Western Europe, SD card slot available for loading additional maps.

Lock onto 24 more satellites than GPS alone, making global navigation even more accurate and comprehensive. This is one serious upgrade, meant for serious trekkers who love to travel.

Best for
Technical trekkers in need of highly accurate European navigation.

Check prices on Amazon


Best GPS Navigation


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Our Choice - Garmin Fenix Watch
  • Quality
  • Functionality
  • Weight
  • Value


This is a high-quality piece of kit. The Fenix is the first GPS navigator wristwatch to feature ABC (altimeter, barometer and compass) technology. [amazon_link asins=’B00S9G2RRQ’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’campthin-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’b3d28edb-ce13-11e6-92a9-611eaf12da5f’]

User Review
5 (1 vote)

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  • The Garmin Fenix watch is an exceptional device, still a massive fan of a conventional compass but when the rain is coming at you and you just want off that mountain the watch is a great aid.

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