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best GPS for geocaching

Best GPS for Geocaching (Great For Fishing Too!)

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Geocaching is a great way to get active, explore nature, and have fun. If you take your geocaching hobby seriously, you’ll need a handheld GPS device to help you find your way to the next cache. While most smartphones have some GPS capacity, it won’t have the same accuracy and capabilities as GPS devices offer.

So, what is geocaching exactly? It involves searching for caches hidden by other people, with just some coordinates from Geocaching.com to guide you. It’s a fun and inexpensive way to spend the weekend with friends or loved ones. Plus, all that time out in nature can reduce your stress levels, improve your mood, and boost your overall health too! [1]

To get the most out of your hobby, you need a hand help GPS device. These gadgets make it so much easier to navigate around, so you won’t waste time wandering around, lost!

Here’s our roundup of the best hand held GPS devices on the market right now! First, we’ll share the most important features that a geocaching GPS should offer. Then, we’ll get onto the reviews. We’ve reviewed the top products according to their functions, durability, screen size, and more.

Best Standalone GPS
Garmin eTrex 32x, Rugged Handheld GPS Navigator
Best Wrist Mount
Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS
Best GPS Watch
Garmin Instinct, Rugged Outdoor Watch with GPS,...
Garmin eTrex 32x, Rugged Handheld GPS Navigator
Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS
Garmin Instinct, Rugged Outdoor Watch with GPS,...
Very long battery life
Very lightweight
Long battery life of 16 hours
Durable & water-resistant
Wrist Mountable
Very lightweight
Uses GPS and GLONASS
Extra-sensitive GPS
Can also track your heart rate
Best Standalone GPS
Garmin eTrex 32x, Rugged Handheld GPS Navigator
Garmin eTrex 32x, Rugged Handheld GPS Navigator
Very long battery life
Durable & water-resistant
Uses GPS and GLONASS
Best Wrist Mount
Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS
Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS
Very lightweight
Wrist Mountable
Extra-sensitive GPS
Best GPS Watch
Garmin Instinct, Rugged Outdoor Watch with GPS,...
Garmin Instinct, Rugged Outdoor Watch with GPS,...
Long battery life of 16 hours
Very lightweight
Can also track your heart rate

Our Buying Guide

Here’s what to look for when choosing the best geocaching GPS device:

Durability

It’s essential that your geocaching device is durable, waterproof, and able to withstand the elements. You may be caught outside in rain showers, bright sunlight, or cold temperatures. Your GPS needs to be sturdy and built to last. You can also buy a screen protector and cases for extra protection if you’re worried about dropping it.

Battery life

The battery life on GPS devices is one of the biggest reasons you need a proper GPS device, rather than just using your smartphone. The GPS feature on your phone will zap the juice on your phone, and then you’ll be stuck in the countryside with no navigation system to find your way to the cache (or back home!).

The best geocaching GPS devices will have a long battery life, ideally 6+ hours.

Screen size

The bigger the screen, the more easily you can read it to see where you are. However, a bigger screen will also mean a bulkier device overall, so it depends on what your priorities are. Some GPS devices also offer extra features like backlighting for low light conditions or higher contrast for readability in bright sunlight.

Weight

When you’re hiking to far-off locations, you don’t want to be weighed down by your GPS. You’ll also be carrying water, snacks, and other essentials, so a lightweight geocaching device is a bonus.

Price

You need to find a GPS that fits your budget. We’ve reviewed a range of products from affordable devices to premium gadgets with additional features. So, now you know what you’re looking for, let’s get stuck into the reviews!

The Best Geocaching GPS: The Reviews

GPS for geocaching

Garmin eTrex 32x

Garmin eTrex 32x Handheld GPS

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This kit contains everything you need for geocaching, hiking, and camping out. The star feature is the Garmin eTrex 32x Handheld GPS, a handy tool that fits in your hand and helps you navigate confidently. The Garmin eTrex has a large, full-color screen with 240 x 320 pixels, making it easy to read with just a glance. It’s all set for you to get out in nature, preloaded with topography maps and supported by both GPS and GLONASS satellite systems.

The Garmin eTrex has a super-long battery life of 25 hours, allowing you to reach even the most remote points. The internal memory space is 8GB, with a MicroSD slot for extra storage. The eTrex 32X is just as rugged and practical as other models in the range, like the Garmin eTrex 30X. It’s water-resistant and hardwearing, with a screen that is bright and clear even in direct sunlight.

With the Garmin eTrex 32x, you also get a USB cable, rechargeable batteries, a memory card, and a charger – everything you need for your GPS to function well. Also included are a handy flashlight and emergency bracelet, so you can stay safe wherever you are.

Pros:

  • Very long battery life
  • Comes with everything you need for a safe hike
  • Durable & water-resistant
  • Uses GPS and GLONASS for accurate and reliable navigation

Cons:

  • No manual included – you can download it online
  • Not for anyone on a tight budget

Garmin Foretrex 401

Garmin Foretrex 401 Hiking GPS

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The Garmin Foretrex 401 is a highly-rated GPS device that won’t break the bank. It’s not as expensive as the high-end models, yet it packs many of the same features. So, what does the Garmin Foretrex have to offer?

First off, this GPS is highly sensitive and won’t lose signal, even in the most remote locations. The black and white display is easy to read and simple to navigate. While the screen is on the small side at 1.42 x 0.91 inches, it clearly shows your location, direction, and more.

The Garmin Foretrex 401 is also extremely compact and lightweight. You can mount it on your wrist to keep your hands free, and you won’t even feel it there. If you’re all about traveling light, this slim GPS is for you. It even comes with some cool features like sunrise/sunset times and information for hunting and fishing.

Pros:

  • Very lightweight
  • Easy to carry – just mount it on your wrist to stay hands-free
  • Smart TracBack feature to help you find your way to your starting point
  • Extra-sensitive GPS

Cons:

  • It can’t measure your heart rate (you need to buy an add-on monitor)
  • Black and white display – no color
  • No instruction manual included

Garmin Instinct Outdoor Watch

Garmin Instinct Outdoor Watch with GPS

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If you don’t like the idea of a handheld GPS, check out the Garmin Instinct. It’s a stylish yet practical outdoor watch that comes fully equipped with GPS. It’s not cheap, but it comes with all the features you’d expect. These include a compass, barometric altimeter, and heart rate monitor, among others.

You’ll be prepared with three different satellite systems at your fingertips (GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo). There’s no chance of getting lost with this helpful tool. It’s also built to last, with waterproofing to 100m, as well as being shock-resistant.

This watch allows you to stay on top of your notifications (if you want to!). You can also connect to the Garmin app to share your stats or plan your trips before you set off. The battery lasts up to 16 hours, but if you switch to the battery-saving mode, that soars up to 40 hours. So, it’s suitable for even longer trips for the most enthusiastic hiker.

If you like to challenge yourself to long-distance hikes in search of the most challenging geocaches, grab the Garmin Instinct Watch. It’s lightweight, easy to use, and rugged enough for all outdoor pursuits.

Pros:

  • Strong construction and waterproofing
  • Long battery life of 16 hours
  • Very lightweight and easy to use – no need to carry an extra device
  • Can also track your heart rate and activity
  • Speedy satellite connections

Cons:

  • The screen is quite small
  • Heart rate monitor isn’t always accurate
  • The app can be confusing to navigate

Garmin GPSMAP 64x

Garmin GPSMAP 64x Handheld GPS

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The Garmin GPSMAP 64X is packed full of advanced features that will make your life easier. This GPS device boasts GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo tech, so you’ll never get lost with this by your side. But it also can track your location accurately and plan your routes. You can even record your route and follow the same trail back to your starting point.

The GPSMAP 64x has a robust, water-resistant construction. Whatever you throw at it, this gadget can handle it. The color screen is easy to read, even in the brightest light.

As soon as you receive your Garmin GPSMAP, you’re ready to set off. That’s because it comes preloaded with topographic maps, including all the local trails and roads for a wide range of locations.

Pros:

  • Extra-long battery life of up to 16 hours
  • Large buttons for easy operation
  • Advanced features like a route planner
  • Lots of memory

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Can lose signal occasionally

Magellan Triton 1500

Magellan Triton 1500 Waterproof Hiking GPS

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If you’re looking for an affordable geocaching GPS, start here. The Magellan Triton 1500 is small enough to fit in your hand, yet it has a detailed, full-color touchscreen display. It’s lightweight at just 1.13 lbs and fully waterproof, so you can take it out in all weathers. It has a battery life of up to 10 hours, so you won’t need to worry about your GPS running out of battery when you’re in the middle of nowhere!

With a large storage capacity, you can keep all your maps on here. It also allows you to look at photos and listen to music or audiobooks to pass the time.

The Magellan Triton 1500 has everything you need to get out and explore the countryside. It isn’t packed with high-end features, but it’s a simple, functional device that is easy to use.

Pros:

  • Full-color touchscreen display
  • Fantastic value for money
  • Features an LED flashlight for extra safety

Cons:

  • Not as many features as other models
  • The screen is quite small

GPS for fishing

FAQ

What is a good GPS for geocaching?

In our opinion, the best GPS for geocaching is the Garmin eTrex. It’s hardwearing, durable, and easy to use, plus it comes packed with handy features and topo maps. If you prefer a GPS watch instead of a handheld device, the Garmin Instinct is the best model out there right now.

Do you need a GPS for geocaching?

If you go geocaching often, you need a GPS instead of just using the GPS on your smartphone. The reason is that you can store hundreds of maps, track your route, and more. GPS devices will also have a much longer battery life – you don’t want your phone battery to run out halfway through your hike!

What is the best geocaching app?

There are some great geocaching apps out there, but the features vary from app to app. Most work by logging into your geocaching.com account and then showing you maps to the caches. For a free app, we prefer the official app from Geocaching.com. If you want extra features like the ability to download maps and filter your searches, the Cachly app is excellent. It’s affordable at just $4.99 and available on iOS (but not Android).

How do you geocache on a Garmin GPS?

You can download geocaches right to your Garmin GPS by following these steps:

  1. Sign up for an account at geocaching.com.
  2. Connect up your GPS to a PC.
  3. Download the Garmin Communicator Plugin from the Garmin website.
  4. Search for geocaches in your chosen location and click on one.
  5. Select the ‘Send to my GPS’ button on the Geocache info page.
  6. When the ‘Send to GPS’ window pops up, select your GPS device.
  7. The cache location will be sent right to your GPS – you’re ready to go!

The Wrap Up

A great geocaching GPS is a must-have gadget if you like to get out regularly and hunt for caches. It’s a rewarding and challenging activity, but GPS handhelds make it easier to find your way around.

Whether you’re looking for a basic GPS device or you want something with advanced features, take your pick from the reviews above. They’re the best GPS devices for geocaching around right now, combining durability, functionality, and value for money.

If you’ve got any questions, don’t hesitate to drop a comment below! Then, head over to Fly Fisher Pro for more gear reviews.

References

[1] https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/sour-mood-getting-you-down-get-back-to-nature

[2] https://www8.garmin.com/support/download_details.jsp?id=3607

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