Global Positioning System (GPS) devices are violently trying to replace my natural ability to navigate via the stars, street signs, compass, and hand-written scribbled notes. To add injury to insult, these devices are actually becoming more accurate and user friendly by the day making it much more difficult for me to get lost. If your current GPS looks like mine (check out the Chow bite marks on the top left) you need this list to help you find your next GPS unit — and bear in mind that a GPS device doesn’t have to be recently released to be great because some units get the nod only after the price drops.
Our Top 10 GPS gift guide:
For some good on-road action — or if you’re looking for a friend’s house in suburbia — check out these two systems: Garmin nüvi 2455LMT 4.3-Inch Portable GPS Navigator with Lifetime Map & Traffic Updates or Garmin nüvi 50 5-inch Portable GPS Navigator(US)
Personally, I expect and enjoy getting stranded on sand bars and not catching any fish; however, if this isn’t your idea of fun, start your GPS evaluation process with these: Humminbird 587ci HD Waterproof Marine GPS and Chartplotter with Sounder and Garmin GPSMAP 78sc 2.6-Inch Waterproof Marine GPS and Chartplotter
I stay in shape by taking physical beatings on the basketball court and getting lost hiking, both of which I highly recommend. But if you enjoy non-contact racing and keeping track of yourself of the trails, try these: Nike+ SportWatch GPS Powered by TomTom (Black/Volt) and Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS
I love wandering aimlessly (hiking), wrecking hopelessly (biking), and searching endlessly (geocaching), and if you do too, these might work for you: Garmin eTrex 20 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator or Garmin GPSMAP 62S Handheld GPS Navigator
There are apps that replicate dedicated GPS functions on your smartphone, and they’re getting better every year. For street use, MotionX GPS Drive for iOS is tough to beat at just $0.99. Apple’s built-in Maps app in iOS 6 or the Google-based version in previous generations of iOS is great for satellite views of your location in the not-too-deep woods. When you’re far away from streets and cellular service towers, we like Phil Endecott’s Topo Maps for iOS. Of course, you can find all sorts of options by going to your respective app stores and simply searching for GPS no matter what kind of smartphone you have — nearly all have some sort of built-in GPS unit these days. In fact, all the guys at Man Makes Fire tend to use a mix of GPS and maps apps on our smartphones depending on what we’re up to. Personally, though, I prefer to forget where I put the damn phone as often as possible without losing my wife or job (it’s a delicate balance).