We all know that technology has become so incredible that the phone in your pocket is basically a super-computer you can carry around with you. Make a call, browse the internet, watch movies, play games, and, of course, use it as a GPS if you’re lost on the streets of a town you’ve never visited before.
But there’s one thing you can’t do. You can’t very well pop out your smartphone to calculate your location when you’re in the middle of, say, the rain-forest, at the peak of Everest, or wandering the snowy banks of the Arctic. Not because those areas haven’t been mapped – thanks to those geniuses at NASA and beyond, pretty much the whole world is under satellite surveillance – but because of the extremely hostile environment.
If you’re going off-road, you’ll need a GPS device capable of handling intense weather and unforgiving landscapes. Here’s our top picks for the best GPS for extreme conditions.
Magellan eXplorist 710
Magellan are one of the main manufacturers of quality GPS, and although much of their range are in-vehicle sat navs, they do also offer portable GPS kits. If you’ve ever been geocaching, chances are you’ve come across one of their products. The Magellan eXplorist is their premium GPS, built for standard vehicle navigation and off-road hiking. The 710 features electronic sensors, an auto-focus camera, and accurate maps. But you expect that with Magellan, who have a pretty sturdy reputation for offering reliable equipment. That’s crucial if you’re miles from civilisation with only your hiking boots and a poor sense of direction for company.
Garmin eTrex Venture HC
This nifty little GPS from Garmin packs a whole lot of punch into a neat little package. Ok, it’s not going to win any design awards, but when you’re ploughing through a snow-drift you’ll be thankful for the eTrex Venture HC. It’s a compact machine with a standard battery life of around 14 hours, with a high-sensitivity receiver to ensure you never get lost. The colour screen map is a real beauty too, and with its 24mb internal memory you’ll be able to map your own preferred routes and waypoints as you wander.
Stesalit sXtreo GN11
If you want the very best GPS, capable of handling pretty much anything you can throw at it, you’ll want to invest in the Stetsalit sXtreo. This is the king of GPS, specifically designed for rugged environments. The GN11 isn’t just waterproof, it’s also shockproof and dustproof, which means it’s not going to break down on you when you need it most. It was originally marketed in India, where the climate can vary so incredibly, but has lately been released to a wider audience. Wherever you’re headed, the sXtreo will get you there. It also includes a nice feature: a USB port, so it’s capable of uploading new maps and waypoints.
Have you tried any of these on your expeditions? Which GPS will you pick for your Arctic adventure? Let us know in the comments.