Tag - walking

Best Outdoor GPS unit

Best Outdoor GPS unit for Christmas 2020 and 2021

What is the best Outdoor GPS unit for 2020 and early 2021? This is a question we get asked lots as 2020 draws to an end.

It is been an amazing year for Outdoor GPS navigation. After the dreaded Covid 19 lockdown, many more people headed into the outdoors.

This has seen a massive increase in people looking for Outdoor GPS units to navigate them.

Last year The Guardian officially said walking is ‘No longer just an activity for older people with sticks, rambling in the countryside is catching on with a new generation’, it is now officially cool. You can read the article here.

GPS units – New Outdoor GPS units for late 2020.

It has been a busy second half of 2020. Garmin continued to dominate the sector, by launching a staggering six GPS units at all price brackets.

From the budget Garmin GPSMAP 65s, which has really livened that part of the market up right through to the stunning, large screen, Garmin Montana 700 range (read our review here).

With the new Montana 700 range having the option of two-way satellite communication being incorporated into this top end unit it has certainly shook the GPS market up lots.

Therefore, there is now even more Outdoor GPS units when looking at what is the best Outdoor GPS unit for Christmas 2020 and 2021. But don’t worry we have produced a great toot to guide you through them all.

GPS chooser bot – let us guide you through the process

In late October the Outdoor GPS Shop officially launched the Outdoor GPS chooser bot. This automated GPS chooser will ask you a few simple questions.

These questions include what you will be using your GPS for, what features you would like on your Outdoor GPS unit and your budget.

With this information from you the Outdoor GPS chooser bot analyses the answers you have given and recommends the best Outdoor GPS unit for you.

It rates the results in a % score on how well each Outdoor GPS unit will meet your requirements. Then it lists the best Outdoor GPS unit for you at the top of that list.

It is free and no personal information is requested from you.  Get yourself a tailored recommendation.

GPS Unit selector

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  • What primary activity will you use the GPS unit for?

  • What secondary activity will you use the GPS unit for?

  • Would you like GB maps or GB and European maps?

  • Would you prefer a touch screen (easier to input information) or button (you can use with glovers on) GPS unit ?

  • Would you like a large screen on your GPS Unit?

  • Would you like your GPS to run from AA batteries or built in battery?

  • Would you like two way satellite communication (subscription required)

  • What is your budget?

  • Based on your selections, these are the best options for you...

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Blencathra

Hill skills and planning

Whatever your planned activity for the day or multiple days, be honest with yourself about your hill skills and planning for both you and your fellow walkers, it’s all about having the knowledge, fitness, and ability.

We all like to kid ourselves that we are fitter, or indeed more capable than we are. It pays to be honest with yourself and why not look at improving your planning and hill skills.

Plan before you go and carry the correct gear – hill skills and planning

Carry a map and compass and know how to use them. Compliment these with your Outdoor GPS unit or GPS watch. And don’t forget those spare batteries for your GPS unit and backup power pack for your phone and watch.

Every year thousands of people end up calling for help because they are lost and/or tired. Nowadays paper maps may seem unnecessary, but they are light to carry and their batteries don’t run out of charge!

For simple guides to map reading and using a compass check out the GPS Training online resource (free course)

Plan for the least able member of your group – hill skills and planning

For example, if reaching the summit is going to be a challenge then switch to a lower level walk that you can all enjoy and achieve comfortably.

If you are out with friends please do respect them. You are not going out to prove your ability you are going out to build friendships so don’t push them beyond their capabilities.

Know your limits – hill skills and planning

If the weather, ground conditions or route are beyond your capabilities or equipment, consider your options. It’s OK to choose a more suitable route or to turn back. Remember to allow enough time for the least able member of your group.

Plan your escape routes, how will you get off the planned route at x, y and z if the weather suddenly changes.

If you’re doing something new or going somewhere new…

Why not go with a qualified guide or instructor, think about signing up for some training?

If you are looking for GPS training our partners at GPS Training have some great courses, both online and physical GPS training courses around the country.

It costs nothing to plan and think about your adventure ahead before you set off and gaining further training is fun, like-minded people wanting to gain new skills.

Check the weather and be prepared

Weather in the hills – plan before you head off

Weather in the hills – what to do before you head into the hills.

Yes, in the UK we are a little obsessed with the weather. But keeping an eye on the weather is essential when planning your walk in the hills.

When heading out into the hills being prepared for the weather can make a big difference as to how you feel at the end of the day.

Be flexible

There’s no shame in changing your plans.

Choose a different route or turn back if the forecast doesn’t look too clever; if the weather closes in unexpectedly or if the conditions turn out to be more difficult than you’d expected.

If you are heading for the hills and realise that reaching the summit is going to be a challenge, then switch to a lower level walk that you can all enjoy and achieve comfortably.

Check the latest weather forecast before you set off and alter your plans if need be

Check the weather forecast – the Met Office (https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/) is a good place to start.

Remember to check conditions for different points on your route, for example, if you are heading for the hills find out how cold and windy it will be at the top of your climb, and also what level the cloud base will be.

Don’t forget to take into consideration the wind chill factor.

Many of the new generation GPS units will give you a live weather update as you are ‘out in the field’, so this can be invaluable so you can alter your route if the forecast and weather conditions change.

Don’t forget, the sun sometimes shines!

If this is the case don’t forget your sunscreen and sun hat!

And don’t forget your Outdoor GPS unit.

Planning is key, plan your route before you head off and transfer this to your Outdoor GPS unit or Multisport GPS watch.

Then whatever the weather brings you will be able to navigate at ease.

Essential walking kit for a walk

Essential walking kit for a walk

If you are heading out into the hills or even on a low-level walk what kit should you be taking with you, what essential walking kit when heading out for a walk? I know these days many people are wanting to walk light, but there are a number of essentials you should be taking with you.

If you think of anything that we have missed, please do let us know.

Clothing

The correct clothing at the very least will make your walk more comfortable, but it could also prevent much worse. Things like waterproofs will help you tackle the elements, but avoiding materials like denim and cotton where possible will help you dry quicker and maintain your body temperature. Lots of thin layers are the key so you can take off and put on as need be.

– Breathable base layer
– Insulating mid-layer
– Walking trousers, not jeans
– Waterproof jacket
– Waterproof over-trousers
– Hats & gloves
– Sun hat
– Rucksack/daypack

Footwear

Arguably the difference between a pleasant walk and an unpleasant walk, getting the right footwear and thus caring for your feet is of the utmost importance.

– Walking boots/shoes. Need to be comfortable and well-fitting
– Walking socks, these must be breathable – Mohair, Marino or other specialist socks

Rucksack essentials

The art of being prepared isn’t just in what you wear, it’s what you take with you to be ready for every eventuality. These can literally make or break a day in the hills for you.

– Fully charged mobile phone in a dry bag, something like an Aquapac
– Map & compass (even if you use GPS)
– Torch or head torch
– Bottled water
– Flask of hot drink
– High energy snacks
– Spare warm clothing
– Spare socks
– Survival bag (just in case)
– Emergency contact details
– First aid kit
– Suncream
– Sunglasses

If you think we have missed anything out of our essential walking kit when heading out for a walk please do let us know.