GPS for outdoor enthusiasts

We're used to having GPS in the car - it has saved many marriages and taken the stress out of navigating, especially if you're alone. But have you thought about 'recreational GPS'? No? Neither had I until I read a few articles that sang the praises of using GPS when cycling or walking.

GPS units used to be large and clunky. I used one for surveying and had the joy of strapping on a huge backpack in gorgeous day-glo yellow...The battery was the largest part! Nowadays technology has advanced and the components have shrunk to make portable and durable hand-held GPS a practical choice for anyone interested in exploring the great outdoors.

GPS for Bikes

It's hard to read a map and cycle at the same time! For a performance cyclist whether you're training or cycling for pleasure, being able to navigate quickly as well as time your run and monitor your body's responses are useful. There are several GPS units on the market tailored to the avid cyclist. Most will optimise the route for cyclists by avoiding busy roads and using cycle tracks.

The Mio Cyclo 505HC is one of the latest on the market. It comes with a range of functions and in the reviews I read, the most useful one is a route planner that gives you a choice of routes from your location at a distance that you have specified. It also comes with heart and cadence sensors. It's available from Halfords and Evans Cycles.

Alternative GPS are available from Garmin. Although they don't have quite as many gizmos as the Mio, the reviews are robustly in favour of the Garmin based largely on the fact that it comes with the mounts that you need included. The quality of the graphics is also high and the range of features allows you to train indoors or out in any weather. Some models also come with a built-in barometric altimeter so you can monitor your ascents. Don't forget to order online and use forward2me's secure international shipping.

GPS for Walkers

If you're a serious hiker, hand-held GPS is a sensible option. Once again, Garmin come out top in most reviews. The Garmin Oregon 600 has a touchscreen display and the most usable interface as well as being very robust. One point made was that very few hand-held GPS units have as good a touch-screen as most mobile phones.

If you walk occasionally, a smart phone with the right apps will do a decent job although you might need to get a weatherproof case. Check out the iphone range or the Samsung Galaxy s4 as a reasonable alternative to a full-blown dedicated GPS. All you'll need is the right app and there are even some good, dedicated cycling apps to choose from.

Something else very important to mention is the availability of worldwide maps. Garmin and TomTom have quite extensive maps available (at a cost). Garmin devices also let you use 3rd party (sometimes free) maps. Please check before you buy that there are compatible maps available for the countries you're in or visiting.

No excuses for getting lost anymore!