Garmin GPSMAP 64s Review - Mountain IQ

Garmin GPSMAP 64s Review

Garmin GPSMAP64s

Winning the best overall hiking GPS is the Garmin GPSMAP 64s unit. The Garmin unit offers great coverage, even in thick forest or deep valleys it is still able to locate and maintain your precise location.

Although slightly bulkier, the GPS is user-friendly, durable and reliable, making it the best overall performer.

Finding yourself the right GPS can be an overwhelming task considering the sheer number of makes, models and reviews out there. To make your life easier, check out our expert review on the best hiking GPS.

Garmin GPSMAP 64s Review - Best Overall (5/5)

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Garmin GPSMAP 64s - Detailed Review

Being fully waterproof (with a waterproof rating of IPX7) means that you can use the versatile Garmin in all weather.

The 2.6" colour display screen can easily be read in both low and high light conditions, and even when the screen is on its dimmest setting it is perfectly visible in from early morning to mid-day. 

The device has roughly 16 hours of battery life and is powered by two AA batteries, meaning it’s easy to charge or bring spares.

In terms of price, the Garmin GPSMAP 64s is the pricier of the hiking GPS we reviewed, however, it’s by no means a rip-off as you definitely get what you pay for in terms of ease of use, versatility and additional functions.

We liked the fact that the Garmin GPSMAP 64s has clearly been designed with the avid hiker in mind. Its durable, albeit slightly bulky, design mean that it can withstand a bit of roughing without you having to worry about it breaking. 

The buttons, although less quick and elegant than touch screen, mean it can easily be used in cold conditions.

Lastly, its excellent coverage in all types of terrain means that you can trust the GPS wherever your adventure takes you.

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What we like
  • Excellent coverage due to GPS/GLONASS and quad helix antenna
  • Display that can easily be read in all conditions
What we dislike
  • Bulkier
Key Takeaway

The Garmin GPSMAP 64s is a fully waterproof, durable in all weather conditions with a good size display and 16-hour battery life GPS device that, therefore, comes at a slightly more premium price.

Key Features 

Reception Quality

The Garmin GPSMAP 64sunit features both a Quad helix antenna and high-sensitivity GPS and GLONASS receiver, giving sharp reception and good visuals. GPS that use GLONASS can lock onto your position quicker, meaning a faster and more accurate reading.

Even in forests or deep canyons the handheld Garmin GPS was still found to offer good coverage.

Preloaded Maps and Mapping Software

The Garmin GPSMAP 64s comes with a built-in world base map and a year BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription. The BirdsEye maps provide a true representation on your surroundings by providing hi-res colour imagery. 

However, adding more maps to the Garmin is an easy process with the devices 3.5GB of internal memory and MicroSD card slot.

In terms of mapping functions, the Garmin comes with free Basecamp software which lets you view and organise maps and routes. Live Tracking means that others can follow your adventures in real ti me via Garmin Connect.

The GPS’s barometric altimeter can be used to keep an eye on the weather (as you can plot barometric pressure) as well as pinpoint your altitude. Not only that, but the device comes loaded with 250000 preloaded geocaches for you to explore.

The GPS is custom map compatible and you can navigate to geotagged photos. The GPS also has tide tables and sun/moon information, which can add valuable information to your hiking adventure. And the devices automatic routing means turn by turn routing on paths.


With 3.5GB of internal memory and a MicroSD card slot (card not included) the Garmin has plenty of space for new maps and routes.

Out of the all GPS that we tested the Garmin GPSMAP 64s and 64 have the most internal storage space.

Compatibility with Devices

The Garmin GPSMAP 64s is Garmin Connect compatible (an online community where you can share data) and has Smart Notifications and Live Tracking.

Smart Notifications mean that you can receive alerts from your smartphone (depending on your phone) and Live Tracking allows others to follow your journey in real time.

Wireless connectivity via Bluetooth and ANT+ mean that you can easily share your adventures with other compatible devices.

Battery Life

With 16 hours of battery, the Garmin has a shorter battery life in comparison to the other GPS devices tested. But as the unit makes use of 2 AA batteries, it is easy to take extra batteries along with you if you are worried about being in the wild for longer than this.

Having standard batteries means that you can also use solar panels, or portable chargers to power up your device while on route.

Touchscreen vs Buttons

The Garmin opted for buttons as opposed to touch screen. While this makes the device slightly bulkier and slower, it means that you can still use the GPS in cold weather conditions, as you can still operate the device while wearing gloves.

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