Garmin eTrex 10 Hiking GPS Review

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The Garmin eTrex 10 is an entry-level GPS navigation unit, but it’s so sturdy and handy that many people might prefer it to much more powerful units. Some GPS units are the size of a small tablet, but the eTrex is more like an mp3 player. It’s ruggedized to take an enormous amount of abuse without failing, and since it uses AA batteries instead of onboard rechargeable batteries, it has fewer systems to break down and fewer accessories to keep track of.

Garmin eTrex 10 Hiking GPS 

Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator

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The eTrex 10 is as simple as a compass. It has a grayscale readout, and doesn’t show detailed maps. It simply uses GPS and related GLONASS satellite information to project your route and the waypoints along the way. For many people, GPS hiking devices that offer much more functionality at a higher price point are overkill. If you’re just trying to find your way in a straightforward fashion and don’t want to scroll through a lot of menus to find the information you need, the eTrex 10 might be just the device you’re looking for.


  • Ruggedized handheld GPS navigation unit
  • 2.2-inch monochrome display
  • Waterproof to IPX7 standards
  • Paperless geocaching support
  • Uses two AA batteries
  • Lasts for up to 20 hours on one set of batteries
  • 1.3 inches x 4 inches x 2.1 inches
  • Weighs 5 ounces
  • 2.2-inch wide display
  • 128x 160 pixel screen resolution
  • Flash memory card slot
  • Mini-USB cable connection
  • Alarm clock
  • WAAS enhanced GPS reception with GLONASS support
  • 1-year limited manufacturer’s warranty


There are six manual buttons on the housing of the eTrex. There are zoom in and zoom out buttons on the side to change the view on the screen as well as navigate through menu lists when they’re called up. There’s a menu button on the left side that you double tap to get the main menu. There’s a back button on the opposite side to bring up the last thing you looked at. The Garmin has a power button on the right side that will turn on the screen to display the time and date along with battery status and the strength of the GPS signal. Short taps on the power button also change the level of illumination of the backlight. There’s also a big toggle button on the front that navigates through menus or pans the map depending on what mode the device is in. It’s also used to select waypoints by mashing down on it instead of moving it around like a joystick.

A Plain Interface With Indistinct Text

The display on the e Trex 10 is fairly plain. The text is fairly fuzzy, and everything is in gray scale. Grayscale screens are a little harder to read outdoors than color screens, and the low resolution on the e Trex 10 makes this unit slightly harder than most.

A Handy Size To Carry Around

There’s a mounting spine on the back of the unit if you want to affix it to a bicycle or small watercraft instead of carrying it. Many users opt to use a carabiner clip to the can carry the unit on their clothing instead of in a pocket or in the hand all the time. The unit is so small that you could hang it on a zipper on a jacket pocket and not be annoyed with it bouncing around while you walk.

Geocaching Has Never Been Easier

People who like to geocache love the reliable and accurate information that the eTrex 10 supplies. Because the unit uses only regular swappable AA batteries for power, it’s easy to keep the unit working without worrying about finding a place to charge it. Don’t know what geocaching is? Read this article! The GPS is supplemented by the GLONASS network, so if you use it for a direction finder in the far north or in urban areas you’ll get better reception than even some top-of-the-line units can provide.

Pick Your Own Waypoints or Use the Defaults

The eTrex 10 selects waypoints for you on routes based on important or notable spots along the way, but you can always add them as you go by depressing the joystick on the front of the unit when you reach them, which is very useful if you want to repeat a trek later or mark a geocache.

Profile Feature Makes Multiple Uses Easy

The eTrex 10 has a useful Profile feature, which allows you to switch between recreation, geocaching, fitness, and marine uses. That’s a useful feature if you want to use one device to do a number of things but don’t want to scroll through a bunch of screen every time you use the device.

The unit will run for a 24 day on one set of batteries, so if you have a supply in your pocket you can go off on camping or hiking trip and not worry about being stranded with no juice nearby.


  • GPS and GLONASS support supply very accurate positioning information
  • Long battery life
  • Paperless geocaching support
  • Spot-on track navigation
  • Small and easy to carry
  • Powers up and finds satellites quickly and reliably
  • Rugged case is nearly indestructible
  • Very inexpensive for a GPS-capable device


  • Monochrome screen isn’t always easy to read outdoors
  • Doesn’t display detailed maps, just tracks and waypoints
  • Not much onboard memory
  • Instruction booklet doesn’t supply much information

Final Verdict

Garmin eTrex 10 GCB Handheld Hiking GPS Geocaching Bundle

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The Garmin eTrex 10 is one of those devices that amaze you when you see how accurate and handy it is and how little it costs. Over 65 percent of users give the eTrex 10 four or more stars, and most of the complaints about the device are not about the way it works, but more that the user wished they’d bought a more elaborate version like the eTrex 20 or eTrex 30. Many users would prefer to have a color screen instead of grayscale, but don’t consider it a defect in the model. Users say that the eTrex 10 is so affordable that they buy extras and give them out to family members as gifts, and families can afford to give one to every member in a camping party in case someone gets lost. For an affordable entry into GPS navigation, you can’t go wrong with an eTrex 10.