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About Everything Wiki » Self-Development » How to choose a good travel navigator

How to choose a good travel navigator

03 May 2023, 06:09, parser
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Immediately warn that in the text you will not find the names of manufacturers and specific names of devices. Dozens of new gadgets appear on the market every year, while the old ones are discontinued, so such an article will quickly lose relevance. We suggest that we focus on general issues and find out what you need to pay attention to when choosing a GPS navigator for hiking or cycling.

Why do I need a navigator on a hike

Yes, in the past, they did fine without them. And still sometimes there are tourists of the old school who use only a paper map and a compass. But progress does not stand still, and there are fewer and fewer such people, because even the most inveterate conservative sooner or later realizes that GPS is necessary for hiking.

With the help of the navigator, the following important tasks are easily and simply solved:

  1. At the stage of preparation for the hike, a route is laid out and the necessary points are indicated (springs, parking lots, interesting places).
  2. During a hike, the GPS navigator allows you to determine your current location and accurately follow the planned path.
  3. After the hike, you can view the saved track to analyze your mistakes, remember the details or share the route with friends.

Navigator or smartphone?

Now, without exception, all smartphones have GPS system support. In addition, there is a huge amount of navigation software that allows you to use mobile phones to solve the tasks listed in the previous paragraph. Therefore, many novice tourists are tempted to save money on buying a navigator.

GPS navigator or smartphone?

You can do this only if you are going on a picnic or on a short easy hike around your dacha. But in difficult long journeys through sparsely populated areas, you still can't do without a special tourist navigator. And here's why:

    The GPS navigator has an enviable margin of survivability, while conventional smartphones are not too suitable for difficult operating conditions. Rain, frost, sand, sun, falling on rocks will easily disable your mobile phone, and you will be left without navigation.
  1. Most tourist navigators use replaceable batteries, so you can easily calculate and take with you a sufficient number of batteries for the entire route or, if necessary, buy them along the way.
  2. The navigator is designed for only one thing — to determine the location. In this regard, it is much more convenient to use it than a smartphone — a device that combines many different features.

I don't want to deny that smartphones also have a number of attractive qualities. Thanks to the abundance of software, you will not be limited only to those maps whose support is provided by the manufacturer of the GPS navigator. Sometimes you may need to contact someone, especially in extreme situations. Many tourists even on hikes do not want to deny themselves the pleasure of reading a book or listening to their favorite music.

Therefore , we can draw the following conclusions:

  1. In fairly difficult journeys through sparsely populated areas, a GPS navigator is necessary primarily because of its reliability and autonomy.
  2. In this case, the smartphone can only play an auxiliary role, that is, it can be used as a safety net and because of additional functions.

What to pay attention to when choosing a tourist navigator

A GPS navigator, like any other high-tech device, has a lot of different characteristics, but not all of them are equally significant. Sometimes the manufacturer focuses the buyer's attention on a bright, but not very necessary function (for example, the presence of a thermometer) in order to distract from other, much more important qualities.


I recommend choosing products only from those manufacturers who have been working for a long time and have earned authority in this field. Perhaps - what the hell is not joking? — your life and health will depend on the navigator, so let's put aside experiments and savings.

Durability and protection from external influences

Be sure to pay attention to this issue. On a hike, sometimes there are absolutely extreme conditions, so you need to make special requirements for gadgets.


This parameter affects a lot. Some manufacturers strive to impress users with large touch screens, loud beeps and powerful processors, but modestly keep silent that all this significantly increases the appetite of the device. Therefore, look for a reasonable compromise between technical bells and whistles and battery life, giving preference to the latter.

Maps, maps, maps

Travel navigators can be sold with or without integrated maps. In the latter case, it is important to find out whether it is possible to download and use custom maps, including raster ones. If the manufacturer has blocked this feature, you will have to buy "branded" cards separately, the cost of which may eventually exceed the price of the device itself.

Compatible with PC

You will prepare the route on the computer. And there you will upload the track after the hike. Therefore, make sure that your navigator has PC-compatible interfaces. The days of passion for proprietary connectors are almost over, but it's still worth paying attention to this issue.

Design, convenience, management

These parameters are quite difficult to estimate from pictures on the Internet, but they also matter. Try to find a gadget that you like outwardly and which is convenient to handle with one hand.

Technical specifications

The navigator must have a powerful processor to quickly scale maps, and enough memory to store them. However, most modern devices easily cope with such tasks, so you can not focus on this aspect.

And what is not worth paying attention to at all

Manufacturers often embed a number of additional functions in modern GPS navigators. Some models thus turn into multifunctional combines equipped with a barometer, altimeter, thermometer, camera, wireless interfaces, auto-routing function, area measurement and other engineering achievements.

Do I need all these bells and whistles on a camping trip? Probably not. Here is about the same situation as when buying a slow cooker that can cook three hundred dishes: it looks tempting, but in practice few people need it. Therefore, do not overestimate the availability of additional functions. It is much more important to focus on how the GPS navigator fulfills its main purpose.

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