Handheld GPS units aren’t just for hardcore explorers anymore. Indulge your inner gadget geek and consider bringing one along on your next adventure. With features like backtracking, waypoints, extended battery life, automatic routing capabilities, color screen, and an electronic compass and altimeter, these easy to use devices can come in handy whether you’re traveling the backcountry or the globe.

cf-md.jpgGarmin eTrex Venture Cx    
Pack more detail into your adventure with the eTrex Venture Cx. This popular handheld navigator has a bright color screen and microSD card slot for expandable memory, and it can route you on roads or off, for wherever your travels take you.  And, eTrex is IPX7 waterproof, so it can take an accidental splash or dunk in the water and still continue to perform. With eTrex, your adventure can last and last — up to 32 hours on just 2 AA batteries. While you roam, you can store up to 1,000 waypoints in memory for easy retrieval. Just enter the point you want to go to, and eTrex points you to your destination (no street or terrain maps). To get home, use Garmin’s exclusive TrackBack® feature to reverse your track log and help you navigate back to your starting point. Price $246. www.garmin.com

Atlas_MNS.jpgBrunton Atlas
At a touch, the Brunton Atlas GPS StormWatch feature will predict the next 12-hours’ weather, bring you daily weather trends, and a 36-hour history. Add an altimeter function and the TrueMagnetic direct-access digital compass, and a StraightHome™ feature that allows you to find your way back to camp or the trailhead without satellite aid by just the push of a button, and you have a pocket GPS that truly navigates. Continuous GPS Navigation up to 12hrs; Batteries: 2AA;Two year warranty. Price $399. www.brunton.com

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog YourLifeIsATrip.com and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".