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Garmin Foretrex 401 Review I Best Handheld GPS System?

If you love hiking, camping, or just being outdoors, chances are you’ve spent your fair share of time being lost while exploring. Isn’t it awful when you get lost hiking, and then have to waste an hour of time trying to retrace your steps so you can get back to the main path, or back to your camp site?

What’s worse are those scary moments where you think you actually can’t find your way back, and fear you’ll be lost until someone finds you. Instead of leaving these frightening moments up to chance, why not purchase a GPS that can keep track of your location for you?

In this review I’ll be looking at a highly regarded GPS for outdoorsy people: the Garmin ForeTrex 401.

What the Garmin ForeTrex 401 is All About And Why You Should Care

Garmin-Foretrex-401-Waterproof-Hiking-GPS-amazon-buyGarmin ForeTrex 401 is a GPS navigator specifically designed for outdoor activities. It is very thin and mounts onto your wrist. As you would expect, this GPS determines your location by using its GPS receiver. It is able to remember the steps that you took, so you are able to retrace your exact steps at any time for any reason. Garmin ForeTrex 401 enhances this feature by implementing advanced technology that ensures dense tree covered areas and remote areas receive fast and accurate satellite reception. Why should you care? Well, doesn’t this sound like a solution to tracking your outdoor excursions so you won’t get lost?

Top Features

Garmin ForeTrex 401 has a lot of features which make it likeable and effective. For a travelling GPS, it’s small and light. This makes it very transportable—plus, let’s be honest, it’s really annoying to carry bulky items around. Its high contrast screen is equipped with an LED backlight. This is important because you can use the GPS in the dark, such as if you’re traveling outside at night. It also has waterproof protection, which keeps the GPS safe in rain, as well as wetter conditions.

Garmin ForeTrex 401 features several amenities which boost its GPS tracking ability. These include:

  • A high sensitivity receiver, ensuring accurate and fast satellite detection.
  • A built in electronic compass used to help you determine direction
  • A Barometric Altimeter, which tells you what altitude you are at. This is especially helpful for climbing mountains.
  • “Dual Position Readouts”. This feature lets you view your position from multiple formats, including latitude, longitude, the Military Grid Reference System, and many others. This enables you to really understand where you are, and is an added benefit in addition to the high sensitivity receiver.

What’s New in the Garmin ForeTrex 401
That You Cannot Find in Other Products

Garmin ForeTrex 401 is equipped with a really cool feature I called the TracBack Feature. What this does is it allows you to view routes and follow them by using technology exclusive to this product. So basically, you can pre-program these routes through the user-friendly computer-compatible design of this GPS, which allows you to load waypoints and various routes directly from your computer via USB. This is really helpful for pre-trip planning. As part of this TracBack feature, you can also calculate facts from your GPS such as the maximum speed you travelled during an excursion, the average speed you traveled, the distance you traveled, the time it took you to travel, and much more.

Does Garmin ForeTrex 401 Work?

It works very well and is much faster, due to its high sensitivity receiver, at receiving accurate satellite information than many other GPS systems on the market. Plus, with a battery life of up to 20 hours, it really shouldn’t be that much of a problem using it in one hiking session before heading back to your campsite—unless you’re out for more than 20 hours! One reviewer succinctly summarized some of the most helpful features about the Garmin ForeTrex 401:

People who have tried this product say it is much smaller than you may think. Its display and controls are simple to use, and overall the product does everything you want.

Why You Should Think Twice
Before Buying the Garmin ForeTrex 401

Garmin-Foretrex-401-Waterproof-Hiking-GPS-amazon-buyIn a perfect world, every product you purchased would work exactly as you wanted. Since we don’t live in a perfect world, it goes without saying that this product is not perfect. Below are some criticisms I found while researching the product:

  • It may take customer service over email a while to respond to you, while customer service over the phone might have delays and transfers as they try to answer your question.
  • Even though the satellite detection is pretty fast, it is not as fast as some people would like it to be and thus there is a wait time before the GPS can determine your location.
  • The actual look of the product could be improved according to some people, perhaps with a different overall design.

Where to Buy the Garmin ForeTrex 401 From

Garmin ForeTrex 401 GPS can be purchased from a variety places online, but I recommend purchasing it from Amazon. Amazon usually offers really dependable customer service and reliable shipping. You can currently buy this product from Amazon for $176.95 with free shipping.

So should you get this product? In my opinion, if you’re looking for a helpful guide to use when you’re outside hiking, or in a new area, this product is a good purchase. It will help you not get lost, remember where you travelled in case you ever want to re-visit that area, and will allow you to store whatever information you want on your computer. Chances are if you’ve reading this far, you could really benefit from this product for all of those reasons.