It’s the season for heavy sweating again and our blood boils for the great outdoors. There are those who are veterans of the wilds looking forward to the same feeling of satisfaction from a day’s strenuous activities, but just like any activity in the world, there will always be newcomers who will try anything once.
Hiking is a particularly popular activity this summer. The rewards of a good hike are numerous, depending on where you go. Rather than go to the normal beach for a dip, why not hit a hidden spring somewhere deep in the woods or the mountains? Feel like going on an adventure? Well, there may not be any dragons, but you sure can find plenty of wood to chop and plenty of landscapes to overcome. Hiking is the adult form of little boy and girl’s imaginary adventure.
A common question in today’s newcomer circles is if carrying a GPS into a summer hike a necessity? Veterans may already know from experience, but a wise man once said that wisdom is not learning from your own mistakes, but from the mistakes of others. So what makes a GPS a necessity in these hiking trips?
Know Where You Are
This is a very straightforward reason. A GPS is definitely made for finding out exactly where you are. It is coupled with map data that allows you to track your whereabouts, direction, elevation and maybe even the weather conditions in your current location. While you may try to act cool and navigate by “instinct” or by following nature’s call, it would be wise to have a GPS by your side in case nature forgot to pay their phone bills.
Getting lost may have a spot of fun in it somewhere, but you don’t want to end up permanently lost. With a Hiking GPS, you would never fail to find your way back thanks to its amazing tracking technology. You would know if you are right on track or simply way off course. You may think that this takes away the fun of adventure, but do note that even the early adventurers relied on a map whenever they possibly can. Many of them may have lived longer lives if they had a GPS.
Better Than a Map and Compass
Some people would say that a true hiker wouldn’t use a GPS. They would use a paper map and a compass. Chances are these people are the same ones that will tell you that hiking is best done barefoot and that easy tents are for idiots.
Technology is there to help us live better lives or at least live at all. There are so many advanced things that a Hiking GPS can do for you that a regular map and compass can’t do. It can also do everything a map and compass can do for you.
Accidents do happen while in the wild. One should always be careful of that. In the event that you do end up in an accident, you may end up breaking your compass or shredding your map. Heck, a quick accidental dip in the river is likely to leave you without a map in the worst case scenario.
Hiking GPS are built to be durable against impact, pressure, dust and a dip in water. They are likely to survive and be there ready to help when you actually really need to navigate back to the road after an accident. I would never stop you from learning to navigate with a map and compass, but for when that fails, it helps to have a Hiking GPS ready to make the save.
Letting Others Track You
Probably the single most important function of a Hiking GPS is the ability to save your life by letting other people track your location. When in an emergency situation or when you are incapable of navigating back by yourself due to certain situations such as being trapped or injured, you don’t have time to be looking around and guessing your approximate location by map.
A Hiking GPS will be able to provide nearly instant, accurate, and important details about your location that a rescuer will be able to use to find and save you as soon as possible. In fact, by simply giving your coordinates, you are likely to be saved right away since chances are that your rescuer is using a GPS too.
Newer types of Hiking GPS devices have a direct link to emergency services. This turns your Hiking GPS into a beacon that can be tracked by other GPS device users in the nearby area as well as the most immediate rescuing authority in your general location. Some would even feature radio communication, which should further aid you in getting a rescuer right where you are.
Other Valuable Features
Depending on the Hiking GPS you choose, there are a number of information that it can provide to make the trip more about the activity rather than worrying about your direction, proximity, and location. With a GPS, everything is calculated for you so you can focus on the road and keeping yourself alive and well.
Some of the useful features a Hiking GPS may have include a waypoint tracker, alternative route calculation, distance traveled and distance yet to be traveled, weather conditions, emergency notifications, and even satellite radio communications.
When going on a hike this summer, don’t forget to take a hiking GPS along. You may or may not need it this time but just like carrying a medical kit is necessary, a hiking GPS is ready to save you in an emergency or serve as your personal hiking buddy.
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