JEEP LIFE AND THE GREAT OUTDOORS
"Not all those who wander are lost"
The handheld GPS unit can be a great tool to add to your outdoor gear. Now remember, it is to assist you not direct you. Here are the basics you'll need to know.
LOCATION MARKER: A GPS will mark your current position. It will determine your present location from reading the satellites above. The accuracy is usually within 30 feet. Now, you do need a clear, unobstructed view of the sky for an accurate reading. Make sure you keep that in mind when you're trying to mark where you're at.
ROUTE NAVIGATION: A GPS will allow you to add markers as you go, like a trail head or landmark. You can also enter a place you are going to, to help with the route. Marking spots can help with returning to a familiar place if you get lost.
NAVIGATION: A GPS will help you navigate to the destination you want to get to. once you enter the waypoint, useful information will be available to you for your route. It isn't a step by step map, so don't think it works like your car nav system.
TRACK LOG: A GPS will give you a track log that will allow you to piece together a route by entering the waypoints saved in your GPS. Great for returning to the car if you get twisted up a bit.
A GPS is not however a replacement for your compass and map so make sure you're educated and know how to read your compass and navigate by way of map. Nothing takes the place of that knowledge.
Most GPS handhelds have the same basic essential functions, so pick the one works best for you. Personally I prefer one with the strongest built in antenna I can find.
Lastly, I think it's worth mentioning that using your smartphone GPS is not the same thing. They lack battery life, durability, some of the features of a GPS, and most importantly... a smartphone often relies on the carrier and coverage area to work.
Be smart, be safe, and most importantly... get outdoors, and find an adventure!