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Best GoPro | Sporting Guide

gopro camera

Action cameras have revolutionized the way we capture memories during outdoor adventures. Nowadays there are many brands and features available but the undisputed champion in the action cam market is the GoPro. They revolutionized the camera industry in 2004 with the introduction of their initial camera. At the time, it was a 24mm camera in a waterproof housing that could be mounted on a helmet, backpack or just about anywhere else. It was modest technology in today's terms, but it was a groundbreaking concept that would soon open a new sector of the outdoor gear marketplace.

In this article, we will take a look at GoPro's impressive lineup of cameras. We'll break down the various options and price points on ten of their top products and give you our top pick based on performance and value. To choose a favorite, we dug deep into the technical specs of each camera on the list and laid out some pros and cons to help you choose a camera that meets your needs.

Comparison Table

Product FAQ

black gopro

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1. What Is A GoPro Camera?

A GoPro is a small digital camera that is marketed specifically for sports and outdoors enthusiasts. They offer a range of different cameras in various sizes with a mix of different functional options. Some have ultra-high resolution and power while others have lower-tech specs but a lighter price tag.

2. What Does A GoPro Do?

These cameras essentially function like a traditional digital camera. What sets them apart, however, are their low-profile housing and action-oriented features.

3. How Do These Cameras Work?

gopro

Image via Pexels

These cameras are most commonly seen housed within a mount and attached someplace close to the action. This can be on top of a bike helmet, at the end of a surfboard, on the dashboard of a race car, or on a sky diver's wrist. They are often triggered from a remote location like a wrist strap or and hand unit, but can also be triggered with timers and, in some cases, motion activated sensors.  

4. Where Can You Buy GoPros?

These are usually available through a mix of online and brick and mortar retailers. Since they occupy both the sports and tech spaces, you may find them in either sporting goods stores or technology retailers. The best deals are often available through Amazon.com. 

How We Reviewed

For this article, we checked out ten of GoPro's top offerings and picked one overall standout. To make our final selection, we compared each unit's overall specs and price. Additionally, we considered warranty coverage offered by the manufacturer for each product as well as overall availability in the market.

Models We Reviewed

  • Hero7 Black
  • Hero6 Black
  • Hero5 Black
  • Hero
  • Hero5 Session
  • Hero7 Silver
  • Hero7 White
  • Fusion
  • Hero4 Black

GoPro Hero7 Black

Sale
GoPro HERO 7 Black
  • HyperSmooth Video Stabilization Get gimbal like stabilization without the gimbal. HERO7 Black predicts your movements...
  • Time Warp Video Capture super stabilized time lapse videos while you move about a scene. Increase the speed up to 30x to...
  • Super Photo: Get the best photos automatically. With Super Photo, HERO7 Black intelligently applies HDR, local tone...
 

Features

The Hero7 Black takes over from the Hero6 as the brand's newest flagship camera. It's a powerhouse unit in a small package boasting true 4K as well as raw footage potential. They have upgraded this unit with some user-friendly features like an expanded touch screen, voice commands, HyperSmooth image stabilization, and 10 meters of water protection. Still resolution hits a solid 12MP and 4K can shoot at up to 60fps, so it's a solid choice for semi-pros and weekend warriors.

Warranty

GoPro offers an impressive 30-day satisfaction guarantee on all of their cameras. They can be returned for any reason within that period for a full refund. They also cover their cameras against manufacturer defects for one year.

Pros

  • Pro level resolution
  • HyperSmooth stabilization
  • Excellent water protection
  • 4K and raw video

Cons

  • Only 1-3 hours of battery life on a full charge
  • Voice commands can be slow
  • Screen can slow to respond

GoPro HERO6 Black — Waterproof Digital Action Camera for Travel with...
  • HERO6 Black automatically sends your footage to your phone where the app turns it into a QuikStory an awesome edited...
  • With 4K60 and 1080p240 video,HERO6 Black delivers 2x the performance compared to HERO5 BlackWith an all new GP1 chip...
  • With our most advanced video stabilization yet, HERO6 Black captures super smooth footage, whether it’s handheld or...

Features

The Hero6 Black was the reigning king of the GoPro line until the arrival of the Hero7. This camera offers many of the same technical features as the Hero7 Black including 4K video at 60fps and 1080 at 240fps. This camera does not include some of the new bells and whistles like the improved image stabilization, but that could be a feature worth passing for this camera's decreased price.

Warranty

This camera is covered by GoPro's 1-year warranty and 30-day satisfaction guarantee.

Pros

  • Same quality video and stills as Hero7 Black
  • Prices have dropped 
  • Same touch screen

Cons

  • Lacks the newest features
  • Older voice command can be jittery

GoPro HERO5 Black — Waterproof Digital Action Camera for Travel with...
  • Stunning 4K video and 12MP photos in Single, Burst and Time Lapse modes Charger not included
  • Durable by design, HERO5 Black is waterproof to 33 feet (10 meter) without a housing
  • Additional GoPro HERO5 Black Features + Benefits below on item page Time Lapse Photo Intervals: 05, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, 60...
 

Features

The Hero5 Black features 4K video at 30fps, 1080p at 120fps and 10 meters of water protection. This is quite a bit less resolution than the Hero7 Black and Hero 6 Black, but it's still probably more than enough power for the average user. Like the other elder statesmen of the lineup, the price has dropped considerably on this camera making it a good choice for someone who wants top-notch features but also wants to save a little cash. It also features a 2-inch touchscreen, an early version of their voice commands and GPS.

Warranty

Like the Hero7 Black and Hero6 Black the Hero5 Black enjoys a 1-year warranty and 30-day satisfaction guarantee.

Pros

  • Great resolution for most users
  • Lower price
  • Premium interface

Cons

  • Several generations old
  • Screen can be laggy
  • Voice commands can experience some glitches

GoPro Hero

GoPro HERO — Waterproof Digital Action Camera for Travel with Touch...
  • 2 Inch touch screen quickly switch between modes, frame The perfect shot and check out your footage on the 2 inch...
  • Waterproof + durable built tough and waterproof down to 33 feet (10 meter), Hero goes where your smartphone can't to...
  • Voice control ​  control your hero hands free with simple voice commands like “GoPro, Start recording” and...
 

Features

The Hero is a simpler offering to the lineup, but not by much. The main difference between the Hero and the Hero 5, 6, and 7 Black editions is that the hero does not shoot 4K. This could be an issue for those seeking the very highest level of video. For most users, however, the Hero's 1080p at 60fps will give beautiful HD results. This camera is also housed in the same body as its more expensive cousins so it will give waterproof performance down to 10 meters.

Warranty

The Hero is backed by a 1-year warranty as well as the same 30-day satisfaction guarantee.

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Excellent value
  • 1080p HD video

Cons

  • No 4K
  • Same size and weight as more powerful models

GoPro Hero 5 Session

Sale
GoPro Hero5 Session (Renewed)
  • Stunning 4K video and 10MP photos in single, burst and time lapse modes.
  • Durable by design, Hero5 Session is waterproof to 33ft (10M) without a housing.
  • This model does not feature an LCD screen for real-time video viewing
 

Features

The Hero 5 Session has the same video specs as the Hero 5 Black, but it's in a smaller housing. This camera has no visual screen but rather just a big button to stop and start the video. All of the monitoring on this camera is done via a wifi app connected to a smart device.  It has a slightly lower battery life at around 2 hours, but it's also nearly half the weight of the full-size Heroes.

Warranty

This has a 30-day satisfaction guarantee and a 1-year warranty.

Pros

  • Super light
  • Powerful video
  • Low-cost 4K option 

Cons

  • No visual screen
  • Must monitor using an app
  • Same voice command issues as bigger Heroes

GoPro Hero7 Silver

GoPro HERO 7 Silver
  • 4K30 Video get stunning 4K video that's as amazing as the moment itself. You can also shoot time lapse videos to turn...
  • Rugged + Waterproof Share experiences you can't capture with your phone. HERO7 Silver is tough, tiny, totally...
  • Intuitive Touch Screen with a touch screen and simple, streamlined capture modes, it's easy to jump right in and get...
 

Features

The Hero7 Silver packs nearly all of the power of the Hero7 Black and withholds only a few features. The Silver will shoot 4K, but only at 30fps compared with 60pfs on the Black. Still image quality also drops to 10MP on the Silver compared with 12 on the Black. Two other key differences are that the Black offers the HyperSmooth image stabilization and live streaming. Neither of these are available on the Silver. 

Warranty

This camera has a 1-year warranty and a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.

Pros

  • 4K30 video
  • Touchscreen
  • Voice commands

Cons

  • Shoots 4K30 as opposed to 4K60
  • No live streaming
  • No HyperSmooth image stabilization 

GoPro Hero7 White

Sale
GoPro HERO7 White — Waterproof Action Camera with Touch Screen 1080p...
  • Rugged + Waterproof Share experiences you can’t capture with your phone. HERO7 White is tough, tiny, totally...
  • Intuitive Touch Screen With a touch screen and simple, streamlined capture modes, it’s easy to jump right in and get...
  • Full HD video  HERO7 White records beautiful Full HD video. You can also shoot unique time lapse videos to turn longer...
 

Features

The Hero7 White simplifies things down again from the Hero7 Silver. This camera maxes out at 1080p at 60fps, 10MP stills, and 2X slo-mo. While it has the same waterproofing and 2-inch touchscreen, it lacks WDR mode, GPS chip, HyperSmooth, and live streaming. Making it an affordable choice for someone coveting a current model camera at a lesser price.

Warranty

This camera is backed back the same 1-year warranty against manufacturing defects and 30-day satisfaction guarantee.  

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Touchscreen
  • Voice commands
  • Lower cost

Cons

  • No 4K
  • Older image stabilizations 
  • No GPS chip

GoPro Fusion

GoPro Fusion - 360 Waterproof Digital VR Camera with Spherical 5.2K HD...
  • Spherical video + photos capture incredible 5.2K videos and 18MP photos of everything around you by shooting in every...
  • OverCapture Turn 5.2K spherical videos into traditional 1080p videos from any angle right on your phone. Full...
  • Transform spherical photos into traditional shots Crop 18MP spherical photos any way you want to create standard...
 

Features

The Fusion represents the highest-end camera on our list. This camera is a 360-degree VR machine that is waterproof and loaded with a spherical lens. It will capture video at a stunning 5.2k which can be downgraded as far as 1080p. It will also shoot 18MP stills and is compatible with most smart devices through built-in wifi. This is a powerful device and comes at a cost, tipping out at the very top this range.

Warranty

This has a one-year warranty plus a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.

Pros

  • 5.2k spherical video
  • 18MP stills
  • Immersive VR quality footage

Cons

  • The highest end price
  • Requires high-performance SD cards

GoPro Hero4 Black

GoPro HERO4 BLACK
  • Professional 4K30, 2.7K60 and 1080p120 video, 720p240 video for super slow motion playback and 12MP photos at up to 30...
  • Built in Wi Fi and Bluetooth support the GoPro App, Smart Remote and more
  • Improved camera control and built in video trimming lets you create and save short video clips right on your camera
 

Features

Like the other representatives on this list from the Hero family of cameras, the Hero4 Black is powerful and easy to use. It boasts 4K30, 2.7K60 and 1080p120 video, and 720p240. It also captures 12MP photos and includes a smart interface that allows for quick video editing on the fly. Unlike the Hero7 there is no option for the HyperSmooth image stabilization here or live streaming. Being a much older model, however, the Hero4 Black could be a great choice for those focused on 4K video at a fraction of the price.

Warranty

Despite this product's old age, it is still covered with a 1-year warranty and 30-day satisfaction guarantee.

Pros

  • 4K30 video
  • Excellent value
  • App accessibility

Cons

  • Not waterproof
  • Waterproof case can be clunky and add weight
  • Out of date model

The Verdict

gopro

Image via Pexels

Since their introduction to the market, GoPro has rolled out an impressive selection of action cameras. Today's marketplace features a wide selection of products from the company ranging from the comparatively humble Hero through the cutting-edge Fusion. There are a lot of competing brands and replicas out there, but in our opinion, you're better off sticking with the genuine article.

Out of the various cameras on our list, we think the number one overall choice is the Hero7 Black. It's at the higher end of the price spectrum, but we feel this feature rich camera is worth every penny. When compared with the other cameras in the Hero7 line, the Black packs a huge punch for not that much more money. While the GPS functionality and streaming features are nice, the true power of the Hero7 Black is the 4K60 video camera and 12MP still camera. The added bonus of HyperSmooth image stabilization makes this camera worth the extra cash.

Bottom Line: You may have budget constraints or specific functions in mind when seeking an action camera. If you're in the market though, we recommend you take a close look at GoPro's complete line. There will almost definitely be something there that meets your needs and fits within your budget.

The Best Point And Shoot Camera For The Outdoors

girls holding cameras

Many outdoor athletes swear by their point and shoot camera, and why not? As outdoor athletes, we see all kinds of amazing things: wildlife, sunsets, physical feats, and more. For some, just witnessing these things is enough, but others want to be able to capture these moments and share them with their loved ones.

Comparison Table

canon camera

​Image Source: pixabay.com

When shopping for a point and shoot camera, there are plenty of things to consider. If you’ve dabbled in photography in the past, then you’ll be familiar with many of the pros and cons that come along with popular cameras and their features. But if this is a new venture, you might be overwhelmed by the options. To begin, let’s take a look at why point and shoot cameras are the best choices when it comes to outdoor sports photography.

Why Invest In A Point And Shoot Camera?

When it comes to capturing the great outdoors, point and shoot cameras are almost always the best tool for the job. But what exactly makes them superior to other camera options, like DSLRs and smartphones?

Point And Shoot Vs. DSLR

You might be tempted to haul a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera out into the woods. But this is best left to professional photographers or true enthusiasts. DSLR cameras are often fragile and quite big. They also require extra accessories like additional lenses and external flashes to take even a basic photo.


Of course, there is nothing wrong with using a DSLR to capture sports or nature photographs. But the photo-taking needs to be the primary reason for venturing outside. For hikers, snowboarders, mountain bikers, and other outdoor athletes who just want to snap the occasional image, a DSLR is just too big and clunky to haul around. Plus the setup is slow and labor-intensive, unlike an always ready, all-in-one point and shoot camera.

While high-quality point and shoot cameras are available,DSLR cameras can easily reach into the thousands. And specialty lenses, tripods, flashes, and other accessories cost even more. Not only does this make the initial cost of a DSLR camera much higher, but the cost of potential damage becomes very prohibitive as well.

olympus camera

​Image Source: pixabay.com

Point And Shoot Vs. Smartphone

​Now that almost every smartphone includes a built-in, high-quality camera of its own, you might be tempted to solely rely on your phone for photos and video. However, there are a few drawbacks to this that make investing in a dedicated point and shoot camera worth it.

Your smartphone’s camera can drain its battery faster than most apps, and this can leave you in a bad spot if you rely on your smartphone for maps or GPS. Most smartphones are also small and difficult to grasp in precarious situations, so constantly pulling it out to snap photos can put it at risk of serious damage. A point and shoot camera’s photo quality will also generally be better than your smartphone’s, even if the Megapixels seem similar at face value. A point and shoot camera can zoom, change aperture size, and make other adjustments that allow for better photos and videos.

​Since smartphones have such a wide scope of use, it’s much harder to compare the price of using your smartphone’s camera to investing in a point and shoot camera. But since point and shoot cameras have become so affordable in recent years, there is little holding you back from purchasing one of your own.

​How We Reviewed

For our review of some of the top point and shoot cameras currently on the market, we wanted to find the camera best suited for outdoor sports enthusiasts. This meant that the right camera couldn’t just capture excellent photos and videos. It also needed to be able to easily fit in a pocket or backpack and withstand dropping, moisture, and other damaging conditions.

​Portability is arguably the most important factor in a good outdoor camera. So our review began with finding some of the smallest, yet still high-quality, point and shoot cameras on the market. We then looked at each of their standout features, product specifications, and how past and current users rate them. While we were most concerned with each camera’s performance and durability, we did include retail pricing in each of our product summaries. Our review wraps up with how we think these cameras compare to each other, as well as which point and shoot cameras ultimately became our favorite.

The Best Point And Shoot Cameras For
Outdoor Enthusiasts

When shopping for an outdoor camera, photo and video quality are just a small part of the decision process. An outdoor point and shoot camera must also be lightweight, portable, and durable. But which camera brings each of these traits to the table?

We looked at the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II, Sony Cyber-shot WX220, Fujifilm FinePix XP120, and Olympus Tough TG-5 to determine which point and shoot camera offered the best features for outdoorsmen and women. Here are our thoughts:

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II

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Canon PowerShot Digital Camera [G7 X Mark II] with Wi-Fi & NFC, LCD...
  • The advanced video capabilities of the Power Shot G7 X Mark II camera can capture moments in the quality they deserve
  • Features a large 1.0 inch, 20.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor that helps capture high quality images and videos with a wide...
  • An aperture value of f/1.8 at the wide angle and f/2.8 when fully zoomed to a factor of 4.2x (24 100 millimeter), this...

The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II is a lightweight point and shoot camera from one of the world’s largest camera manufacturers. While this camera is compact and fairly smooth, it does feature a small grip on one side that makes for a more secure grasp when holding or using the camera.

The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II has a three-inch LCD touchscreen, which can tilt at a variety of angles. This is especially useful when using a tripod or taking photos in awkward positions, but may become cumbersome when trying to capture split-second images. However, there is no optical viewfinder. Users must rely on the LCD screen when taking photos, which can be a dealbreaker for some traditionalists.

Product specifications

​The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II features a one-inch sensor with 20.1 Megapixels.  The camera’s built-in flash has a range of up to 23 feet. The camera itself weighs 304 grams and has a lens aperture of F1.8-2.8, big enough to capture images in otherwise dim conditions. The lens is equipped with both manual and autofocus.

The Canon Powershot G7 X Mark II can capture HD video up to 1080p, though many photographers now expect their camera to capture 4k video. The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II also features built-in Wi-Fi and NFC (similar to Bluetooth). While these features don’t have much use in the great outdoors, they make uploading your photos much simpler once you’re back home.

Customer reviews & pricing

Overall positive reviews referenced the camera’s impressive photo quality, manual control options, and built-in image stabilization. Customers who rated the Canon Powershot G7 X Mark II poorly referenced the lack of an optical viewfinder, battery life, and issues with the lens focus.

Lower-priced models are often refurbished, so use caution if you are hunting for a deal. The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II is available directly from Canon, as well as from Amazon, BestBuy, and B&H.

Sony Cyber-Shot WX220

Sony DSCWX220/B 18.2 MP Digital Camera with 2.7-Inch LCD (Black)
  • 10x Optical / 20x Clear Image Zoom G Lens, 182MP Exmor R CMOS Sensor for superb low light images, BIONZ X engine for...
  • Operating temperature:32-104°F/0-40°C.Smooth Full HD video recording in 1080/60p, Simple connectivity to smartphones...
  • In the box: Rechargeable Battery (NP-BN), AC Adaptor (AC-UB10C / UB10D), Micro USB cable, Wrist Strap, Instruction...

​The Sony Cyber-shot WX220 is a tiny point and shoot camera that can fit into almost any pocket. Its compact design makes it easy to fit into a waist or backpack but could pose a dropping risk if taking photos on the fly. While a wrist strap can be attached directly to the Sony Cyber-shot WX220, you will need a case if you want to attach a neck strap. But doing this makes the camera’s small, lightweight design rather pointless.

​The Sony Cyber-shot WX220 has a 2.7-inch LCD screen, but, again, this point and shoot camera has no optical viewfinder. Tactile buttons to the right of the screen allow the user to navigate the menu and change settings.

Product specifications

​The Sony Cyber-shot WX220 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor with 18.2 Megapixels. The built-in flash has a maximum range of just over 12 feet. The camera only weighs 121 grams, including batteries. The lens aperture ranges from F3.3-5.9, which might pose some issues in dim lighting or at night. The Sony Cyber-shot WX220 has autofocus but does not have an effective manual focus option.

​The Sony Cyber-shot WX220 point and shoot camera captures HD video up to 1080p and has several special settings including 360-degree panorama, filters, and extended self-timers. This camera also features Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity.

Customer reviews & pricing

Reviewers who enjoyed the Sony Cyber-shot WX220 referenced the compact design, plug-and-play ability, and affordable price. Customers who were less-than-satisfied with this point and shoot camera discussed fragile construction, cumbersomely small design, and poor image quality.

​Olympus Tough TG-5

Sale
Olympus TG-5 Waterproof Camera with 3-Inch LCD, Red
  • New 12 MegaPixel Hi Speed Image Sensor for improved low light performance and noise reduction
  • Underwater: compensation: -2 EV to +2 EV (in 1/3 EV steps); Bright F2.0 high speed Lens; Video Recording format :...
  • Dual Quad Core TruePic VIII Image Processor 3.0 inches 460k Dot LCD Monitor; Focus Range Normal: 3.94 inches (10...

​The Olympus Tough TG-5 certainly lives up to its name: this point and shoot camera is practically indestructible. The camera’s body can withstand underwater submersion up to 50 feet deep, drops from up to 7 feet, and temperatures well below freezing. The camera is even dust-proof, so sand and other small particles won’t scratch or gum up the lens. Other rugged features include anti-fog glass and buttons designed to be used even when wearing thick, insulated gloves.

​The Olympus Tough TG-5 also includes a built-in GPS system and compass. These features work together with Olympus’s smartphone app, which associates your photos and videos with their geographic location. This is perfect for hiking, rock climbing, rafting, and other activities where you’re constantly on the move.

Product specifications

​The Olympus Tough TG-5 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor with 12 Megapixels. This point and shoot camera, despite the sturdy build, only weighs 250 grams. The camera’s impressive flash range reaches up to 25.9 feet. The lens features an aperture of F2.0-4.9, which offers plenty of room to adjust for dim or bright light conditions. The Olympus Tough TG-5 includes autofocus and manual focus modes.

​The Olympus Tough TG-5 can capture 4k HD video, the highest resolution currently available on the consumer market. This rugged camera also includes built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, as well as the aforementioned GPS system.

Customer reviews & pricing

Positive reviews discussed factors like the ability to take underwater photos, overall durability, and autofocus mode. Customers who rated this point and shoot camera poorly mentioned faulty waterproofing, poor image quality, and short battery life.

​Fujifilm FinePix XP120

Fujifilm FinePix XP120 Waterproof Digital Camera International Model...
  • 16. 4MP BSI CMOS sensor Fujinon 5x optical zoom Lens
  • 28-140Mm (35mm equivalent) water, shock, freeze, and dustproof
  • Full HD 1080P video recording at 60 fps 3. 0" 920K-dot LCD monitor

​The Fujifilm FinePix XP120 is a rugged camera specifically designed to be used and abused in the great outdoors. Like the Olympus Tough TG-5, the camera’s body protects against four damaging elements: water, dust, drops, and freezing. While the Fujifilm FinePix XP120 is beaten out by the Olympus Tough TG-5 in shock resistance, it can submerge 15 feet deeper than its competitor. This point and shoot camera has a Cinemagraph mode, which creates unique moving photos, and the camera’s dedicated underwater mode adjusts for skewed color balances when submerged.

​The Fujifilm FinePix XP120 has a three-inch LCD screen but has no optical viewfinder. This screen has a special anti-reflective coating for easy viewing under direct sunlight. Fujifilm’s Camera Remote app syncs with the Fujifilm FinePix XP120 for remote control over photos and settings.

Product specifications

​The Fujifilm FinePix XP120 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor with 16.4 Megapixels. The built-in flash reaches just over 14 feet. This point and shoot camera weighs 203 grams, including the weight of the batteries. The lens aperture has a range of F3.9-4.9, leaving something to be desired for both light and dim conditions. The Fujifilm FinePix XP120 is equipped with autofocus but does not offer a manual focus setting.

​The Fujifilm FinePix XP120 features HD video recording up to 1080p. Other built-in features include panoramic mode, filters, Wi-Fi connectivity, and Instax printing.

Customer reviews & pricing

Positive reviews mentioned the camera’s durability, compact size, and water resistance. Negative reviews discussed susceptibility to drop damage and confusing transfer software.

​Our Verdict

vintage camera

​Image Source: unsplash.com

While each of these cameras has its benefits and drawbacks, they’re not all created equal. Our personal favorites are the Olympus Tough TG-5 and the Canon Powershot G7 X Mark II. Yes, these cameras are more expensive than their competitors. But their sturdiness, durability, and photo quality make them worth the investment. If you expect your camera to take a beating out in the field, we’d opt for the Olympus Tough TG-5. But if you’re more interested in taking high-quality photos and are willing to carry a more fragile camera to do so, we suggest the Canon Powershot G7 X Mark II.

​If the price is a major concern for you, then the Fujifilm FinePix XP120 is our compromise. Although it’s lens and flash aren’t quite the same quality as the competition, its durability will ensure it serves you for many years. After that, maybe you’ll be ready to take the plunge and invest in a more expensive point and shoot camera model.

Best 10 Handheld GPS Devices for Outdoor Sports

drive with gps

The thing about technology is, it's ever evolving. It’s amazing how much GPS has transformed since it was first rolled out in 1995. Today, more than ever, we depend on GPS devices to know where we are, and how to get where we are going. Having a handheld GPS is equivalent to having a map or a compass in your hands. Not just one map though, all the maps. And a compass that knows where you are, and can read itself to get you where you want to go.

Therefore, owning a great handheld GPS for your outdoor adventures is a smart idea. It's a tool that contributes immensely to your passion for exploring and on some rare occasions, even to your orientation and safety. If you have some GPS experience, say in your car or on your bike, then you already know a little about them. However, finding the right handheld GPS for you can seem daunting. What features are you looking for? How much will it cost, and will it do what you need it to?

How to Choose the Right Handheld GPS Device

How to Choose the Right Handheld GPS Device

navigation

Image Source: Pixabay.com

A portable GPS is ideal for outdoor activities including sports. There are plenty of models and brands of handheld GPS. Many also cost a pretty penny, since they are for professionals looking to get the best devices out there. But, you don’t need to panic, we searched for handheld GPS models to help you find the best one for your needs. Including your budget. Here are a few examples of outdoor activities where a handheld GPS would be useful.

  • Rafting
  • Hunting
  • Geocaching
  • Boating
  • Hiking
  • ATV
  • Mountain climbing

But, why a handheld GPS, why not just use your smartphone?

Because they are so advanced, you might feel your smartphone is enough for an outdoor expedition, but what if you drop it? And, even though there are rugged mobile phones and tablets in the market, what about batteries? How long can you go between charges running that GPS? Your smartphone might have all the apps needed for an outdoor sporting activity, but standalone devices still have a lot of benefits. A great handheld GPS will be shockproof, waterproof and run on AA batteries.

Your cell, a map, and a compass may seem like enough tools. And, learning how to read a compass and a map, and while you are at it, mastering the art of sky charting are truly valuable skills for outdoor people. There’s nothing like that Boy Scout feeling of finding your way, right? But, a portable GPS will allow you to experience your adventures without fear that the wind will take your map and leave you lost. Or, that you will drop that fancy phone and shatter the screen. It also allows people who may not be able to find their way with those tools to explore the great outdoors. Here are some of the important factors to look out for before purchasing a handheld GPS.

Weight

While it might not be crucial, weight is an important consideration when picking out a handheld GPS. A bulky device may make things more difficult, especially if you are in that geocaching challenge along with your crew. A good rule of thumb is to get a device that does not weigh more than seven ounces. Anything over that becomes a weight concern, considering you will have to carry it for quite a while.

Battery

When it comes to battery life, it's safer to rely on your skills mastering a physical map or compass. But it's even better if your handheld GPS has good battery life, as it doesn’t make for a great story when you get lost in the woods. The most reliable handheld GPS devices on the market offer as much as 10 to 25 hours of battery life. To be on the safe side, it's better to get a device that has a 20-hour limit, the lowest being 15 hours.

Satellite accuracy

location

Image Source: Pixabay.com

More often than not, a larger handheld GPS unit will have a better reception and give a more accurate position, thanks to its huge antenna. A handheld GPS used for hiking will triangulate your exact position to about five meters. There are devices in the market that will achieve a 3D lock on the user's position quicker, offering centimeter accuracy. However, those types of handheld GPS devices are big and expensive.

With that in mind, any handheld GPS device that as a 3-meter (about 10 feet) accuracy is more than enough. Avoid getting the slim ones, the ones with a bigger antenna are better for increased satellite reception.

Speed and ease of use

It doesn’t matter how much you love touchscreen devices when it comes to your handheld GPS, you should probably avoid it. Handheld GPS devices are designed to be easier to see in bright light and resistant to bad weather conditions. Also, they will not need your bare hands to function, and they are more forgiving on your battery life. The large, brilliant, touchscreens we love are battery-eating fiends.

When you plan on inputting a lot of data into the device, that touchscreen does come in handy though. The user-friendliness of a device matters. Especially when it comes to a handheld GPS device. Some of the basic operations that you will need to perform include.

  • Arcing
  • Editing waypoints
  • Editing and creating tracks
  • Navigating to a waypoint

For these kinds of operations, your configuration buttons are crucial. It will also matter a great deal how fast your handheld GPS perfoms these actions.

Mapping

Every single handheld GPS device on the market has it's own mapping software. Garmin Basecamp is the most popular, closely followed by Magellan Vantage Point. Both of these softwares are available for an annual fee. DeLorme handhelds come with a free Topo North America topographic software. Users can access free maps from GPS File Deposit as well.

Features and options

The above factors represent some of the most basic and sort-for features. However, there are plenty more options that you can discover in a reliable handheld GPS device. For example, getting a GPS device with the following would be ideal.

  • Bigger internal memory (1GB)
  • Navigational routes
  • Barometer altimeter
  • Track log points
  • Electronic compass
  • Color display
  • Backlight
  • Camera

How We Reviewed

destination

Image Source: Pixabay.com

We want you to have an extremely easy time choosing and purchasing the perfect unit for you. The best handheld GPS devices on the market are in our review. We chose them according to consumer reviews, product descriptions, user complaints, and positive customer feedback online. We have compared them with rival products as well to create a reliable, unbiased selection.

Best Handheld GPS Devices

Here are the top handheld GPS devices for outdoor sporting. You will find summaries of each product including its features, prices, rating, and warranties if available.

Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO U.S. 100K with High-Sensitivity GPS and...
  • Sunlight Readable 2.6 inches color display. Display size : 1.43 x 2.15 inches and 2.6 inch diag (6.6 centimeter)....
  • Expanded Internal Memory 8GB.Display resolution 160 x 240 pixels. Interface: high speed USB and NMEA 0183 compatible
  • DUAL BATTERY SYSTEM Use with 2 traditional AA batteries (best with Polaroid AA batteries), or the optional rechargeable...

The Garmin 64st is a topnotch rugged and full-featured device from Garmin. This device has a reputation for excelling in the right places. This 2.6-inch color screen handheld GPS device is fluid when it comes to zooming, making navigation painless and easy.

It has a notable helix antenna that features both GLONASS and GPS technology allowing additional signal boost when in different environments. This device features 250,000 preloaded caching and about 100,000 topographical maps. With the Garmin 64st, you get full year access to BirdsEye satellite imagery. It has an 8GB internal memory that makes adding additional maps quite easily. What’s more, this handheld GPS device features a three-axis tilt-compensated electronic compass.

Sale
Garmin eTrex 30x, Handheld GPS Navigator with 3-axis Compass, Enhanced...
  • UPGRADED DISPLAY Features a 2.2” 65K color sunglight readable display offering increased resolution (240 x 320...
  • LOAD MORE MAPS Large 3.7 GB of internal memory and microSD card slot lets you load a variety of maps, including TOPO...
  • PRELOADED BASEMAP Includes a worldwide basemap with shaded relief

The Garmin eTrex 30x is a budget handheld device with a 2.2-inch 240 x 320 resolution display. It might not be the largest device, but it works well in direct sunlight. It also includes a built-in Basecamp feature Garmin with shaded relief. The Garmin eTrex 30x handheld GPS has an additional 3.7GB of internal memory that is expandable via MicroSD.

The Garmin eTrex 30x has an inbuilt three-axis tilt that makes navigation and location identification much easier. Its GPS receiver and HotFix satellite prediction help to maintain a signal even if you are in deep in the canyons or in heavy cover. It can store up to 200 routes and about 2,000 waypoints making your next expedition even easier to plan for before you set out.

Garmin inReach Explorer+, Handheld Satellite Communicator with TOPO...
  • 100 percent global Iridium satellite coverage enables two way text messaging from anywhere (satellite subscription...
  • Trigger an interactive SOS to the 24/7 search and rescue monitoring center
  • Track and share your location with family and friends. Water rating : IPX7. Battery : Rechargeable internal lithium ion

Garmin typically dominates the handheld GPS market. However, the DeLorme InReach Explorer offers 100 hours of battery life, making it an exceptional unit. It offers a host of features that are beyond your average handheld GPS devices such as SOS tracking and two-way satellite messaging.

Additionally, the DeLorme InReach acts as a tracker offering about 10 minutes to 4 hours of location transmission intervals. One limiting factor of this handheld GPS device is its display. At 1.8 inches, its small for today’s GPS devices. If you ask me, this small bump is worth overlooking for its superior battery life.

Magellan eXplorist 310 Summit Series Topo Map Bundle
  • The World Edition includes a detailed road network, water features, urban and rural land use, and a realistic shaded...
  • Brilliant, Sunlight Readable Color 2.2" Screen
  • Summit Series Topographic Maps

The Magellan eXplorist 310 summit grabs a spot on this list because it brings to the table a variety of functionality and maps that you should pay attention to when in the market for a handheld GPS. So what great features are these? First, a bundled-up topography of a variety of popular mountains throughout the globe, that’s better than a one-size-fits-all approach.

It also offers detailed road work, rural mapping and water features. Its 2.2-inch sunlight readable screen is on-par with most Garmin devices, with an additional paperless geocaching option. It’s not as user-friendly as the Garmin, of course.

Garmin Oregon 600t 3-Inch Worldwide Handheld GPS with Topographic Maps
  • 3-Inch sunlight-readable, touchscreen display with multi-touch capability
  • Dual-band GPS/GLONASS satellite positioning
  • Sensors (3-axis compass, accelerometer, barometric altimeter)

The Garmin Oregon 600t is popular for its display. It features a full superior sunlight-readable three-inch display. It also has a multi-touch functionality making it easier to pinch and get the exact location you are looking for.

The 600t comes with a Bluetooth and ANT functionality to offer additional connectivity. There are also topographical maps included ensuring that your expeditions go as planned. Garmin also has a 650t version of this device, with an inbuilt 8MP camera. In case you are hiking, you will probably have a phone with you, and you will want your GPS to focus on doing what it does best.

Therefore, going with the 600t for a lower price, and you will get Garmin’s Oregon line for a lower price than the 650t would be arguably a better bet.

Garmin Montana 610
  • PRELOADED GEOCACHES - 250,000 preloaded worldwide geocaches from Geocaching.com
  • SEE YOUR SURROUNDINGS - Includes a 1-year Birdseye Satellite Imagery subscription1. Display type : Bright, transflective...
  • GPS AND GLONASS - With its high-sensitivity, WAAS-enabled GPS receiver, Hotfix satellite prediction and GLONASS support,...

The Garmin Montana is a big hit with moto adventurers and hunters. A recent update earned it a name change from the 600 series to the 610. One of its defining features is its big 4.1-inch screen, raised bezel, and tough build. Its also got superb navigation capabilities. With this device, you get one-year access to GLONASS and Garmin’s BirdsEye Imagery. This handheld device has a 4GB internal memory that is expandable via MicroSD.

The Garmin Montana 610 weighs 10.2 oz with a lithium pack. It has an awesome battery life of about 16 hours, but you get close to 22 hours on lithium-ion 3AAs. Despite its inferior touch screen, its large color screen is easy to read.

Sale
Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide Handheld GPS Navigator
  • Rugged handheld navigator with preloaded worldwide basemap and 2.2 inch monochrome display
  • WAAS enabled GPS receiver with HotFix and GLONASS support for fast positioning and a reliable signal
  • Waterproof to IPX7 standards for protection against splashes, rain, etc

This handheld GPS device meets IPX7 standards, meaning its waterproof and can be immersed in one meter of water for about 30 minutes. This is a great feature, knowing that your handheld GPS device will not be harmed by heavy splashing or rainfall during an outdoor activity.

The Garmin eTrex 10 Worldwide measures 1.4 x 1.7 x 2.2 inches and weighs 9.1 ounces. It features about 50 routes and has 20 hours of battery life. With this device, you can save 200 tracks into its logging system, giving you a chance to re-visit old sites. Garmin’s eTrex ten receiver is WAAS-enabled with GLONASS and HotFix support.

Sale
Garmin 010-01772-00 Foretrex 601, 2 inches
  • Durable, constructed to military standards (MIL STD 810G); night vision goggle compatible
  • Works with GPS, GLONASS and galileo satellite systems to provide accurate positioning
  • Know where you are with navigation sensors, including 3 axis Accelerometer, 3 axis compass and a Barometric altimeter;...

After a successful run with the Foretrex 401, Garmin has finally replaced it with the 601. Its unique design takes the basic style of a handheld unit but in a lighter and smaller form for handsfree use. The Garmin Foretrex 601 weighs 3.1 oz with a two-inch screen that is small compared to your average handheld GPS device.

Probably due to the 401’s popularity, Garmin decided to improve on it rather than making wholesome changes. Some of the notable changes are its 48-hour battery life while in navigation mode. A discouraging thing about the 601 is that users can’t download TOPO maps. The only option is to use the three-axis compass for navigation and the old-fashioned breadcrumb trail.

Sale
Garmin Montana 680t
  • PRELOADED GEOCACHES - 250,000 preloaded worldwide geocaches from Geocaching.com
  • SEE YOUR SURROUNDINGS - Includes a 1-year Birdseye Satellite Imagery subscription1
  • GPS AND GLONASS - With its high-sensitivity, WAAS-enabled GPS receiver, Hotfix satellite prediction and GLONASS support,...

At the very top of Garmin’s handheld GPS models, is the Garmin Monterra. So, what makes this device so unique? Well, despite its stratospheric price tag, it runs on an Android OS (Operating System). The OS makes it compatible with Wi-Fi, customizable display, and ability to download outdoor related applications.

This device is so advanced it looks like a smartphone. It has 1080p video functionality together with an 8MP camera that will automatically geotag the user’s location. The downside of the Monterra is it still fall short with the user experience. Even with the numerous updates, it's not free from a few bugs. Its complexity and price tag often leave users questioning if it's worth the purchase.

Sale
Garmin etrex Touch 35
  • Touchscreen - 2.6-inch color, capacitive touchscreen display
  • Activity profiles - easy-to-use navigation for multiple activities, including climb, hike, hunt, bike, geocache, fish...
  • Electronic compass - all models offer a 3-axis tilt-compensated electronic compass, which shows your heading even when...

This device is a build-up from the popular eTrex series. Just like the name indicates its an eTrex with a touchscreen. Garmin did a pretty good job with the nice quality touchscreen. This device is based on the eTrex 30 model and includes a better electronic compass, altimeter and wireless sharing between other Garmin devices.

This handheld GPS device, like newer Garmin devices, has received various complaints with its firmware. Most users complain of frozen screens and dropping waypoints. While Garmin always sorts this out, they get its reliability from their top-selling eTrex 20x. Still, the eTrex touch is a worth buy for your outdoor activities weighing 5.6 oz with a battery life of up to 16 hours.

Bottomline

person holding gps mobile

Image Source: PIxabay.com

Whether you are deep in the backcountry or on open waters, accurate navigation is paramount. For recording tracks, route finding, or geocaching there is no more reliable, long-lasting navigator than a handheld GPS device. While it could never fully replace a compass or a map, they are extremely handy when it comes to planning and sharing recent adventures. Unfortunately, one unbeatable giant brand, Garmin, dominates the GPS market. However, we hope you will be able to make a well-formed decision from our detailed analysis that will suit your outdoor needs.

Rtic Coolers | Sporting Equipment Reviewed

waterproof jacket rtic coolers

Rtic Coolers disrupted the premium cooler market with their release in September of 2015, touting their new coolers as able to hold more ice yet at half the price of market-leader YETI. In the last few hotly contested years, the question remains: what is the best premium cooler on the market? We reviewed four popular models below while examining quality, pricing, cooling ability and more to answer that question.

Comparison Table

What Is an Rtic Cooler?

Rtic Coolers hit the market branded as the lower-priced but equal-quality answer to Yeti coolers. Available in several sizes, Rtic Coolers are perfect for a tailgate party, a day at the beach or a camping trip. They have earned a reputation already as sturdy and high-performing coolers that fit easily into the category of premium coolers.

Product Specs

cooler

Image Source: Pixabay.com

Among the most highly recognized benefits of Rtic Coolers are the long cooling life, sturdy construction and lower price point. Rtic coolers are available in sizes ranging from 20 quarts to 145 quarts.

How It Compares

We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how Rtic coolers compare to the competition. Read on for a detailed description of the pros and cons of each model. Below is a list of models compared.

RTIC Cooler (RTIC 45 Tan)
  • Keeps Ice up to 10 Days, Like a portable freezer
  • Integrated Locking System, Bear Resistant
  • Easy-Flow Drain Spouts, Lets the water out, keeps ice in

Ease of Use

The devil is in the details when it comes to ease of use for a cooler.

Easy to Open

When you're ready to break into your cooler for a cold drink or snack, there's nothing more frustrating than a stuck lid. Unfortunately, a good seal, which is a benefit, can make lids tough to open. Rtic took this into account when designing its handles in a way that is appropriate for even clumsy or large hands. By extending the lid of the cooler about a half-inch around the top, Rtic made its coolers easy to grasp and open.

Another benefit of the sufficient handles is that you'll be less tempted to tug on the T-latches, thereby lessening the risk of breakage.

Assembly Is a Snap

Rtic coolers ship completely assembled, so they are ready to use right out of the box. Sent in a plastic bag to protect from scratches or dings, you only need to unpack and unwrap and you are ready to go.

Travel Tied Down

The whole point of a cooler is that you are taking your food and drinks to go, right? Rtic has you covered here, too with molded tie down slots on the side of the cooler that make it easy to secure to a truck bed or boat.

Design Quality

Rtic coolers get their reputation as sturdy and well-built coolers due to a number of details that render them able to stand up to heavy use and be resistant to damage. Some of these design elements also positively impact insulation, usability and lifespan.

Rotational Molding Construction

While a lengthier process than some manufacturing norms, rotational, or “roto” molding ensures that Rtic coolers enjoy an even thickness in their walls, which is vital for coolers. The single-piece form that results from roto molding also provides added strength and avoids the hazard of broken seams where plastic pieces come together.

Tough T Latches

A cooler that doesn't latch properly is of little use to anyone, so luckily Rtic doesn't skimp on this important detail. The “T” design of the latch gives it more stability on the body of the cooler. In addition, the latches are made of durable yet flexible silicone that is much less apt to crack or corrode than latches made from plastic or metal.

A Tight Seal

Technically it's the freezer grade gasket that that serves as the seal that keeps air inside the cooler cold while keeping warm from getting inside. You can see this seal around the lid of the cooler. Rtic coolers boast a quart-inch wide and quarter-inch thick gasket that prevents leaks and adds to the insulation properties of the cooler.

Cooling Ability

What's more important than a cooler's ability to cool? For obvious reasons, this factor weighed heavily in the comparison between coolers.

Commercial Grade Insulation

Commercial grade insulation makes Rtic coolers more like portable freezers than your typical cooler. This is accomplished with two-inch thick polyurethane foam that lets these coolers retain ice for between five and 10 days.

Even Sides and a Thick Lid

Lids up to three inches thick add to the long cooling ability of Rtic coolers. In addition, roto molding also impacts insulation thanks to even thickness throughout the cooler.

Cooling Feet

Referred to as “cool lift” technology, specially-designed feet lift the cooler off of the ground and away from hot surfaces, increasing cooling time.

Warranty

The manufacturer's warranty for hard-side coolers is one year.

Pros

  • Rtic coolers boast long cooling ability
  • Roto molded walls with even thickness throughout
  • Lower price point than others in this category

Cons

  • Short warranty term
ORCA ORCG026 Cooler with Extendable flex-grip handles for comfortable...
  • 26-quart storage capacity
  • Durable, roto-molded construction
  • Lid gasket to ensure a perfect seal

A premium cooler that fits into a similar category as both YETI and Rtic, ORCA is an American-made cooler that scores highly for construction and cooling and comes in at a relatively modest price point.

Drainage Spouts

Orca boasts about its enhanced drainage spouts which claim to make draining water easier. Located on the side of the cooler, these are easy to use for smaller models but can actually be more awkward for models over 40 quarts.

Transportation

Orca cooler have the same type of handles as their competition but don't boast any additional features that help with carrying, such as extendable handles or wheels.

Cooling Ability

Orca's website claims that the coolers can retain ice for up to 10 days. These time periods can vary based on how often the cooler is opened, the amount of ice in the chest and other factors.

Design Quality

Overall, Orca coolers are known as high-quality, premium cooler that are made to withstand the usual wear and tear that a cooler may experience. A few premium features enhance their rating.

Rotomolded Walls

Like Rtic coolers, Orca coolers are constructed using rotomolding, ensuring even thickness throughout and eliminating pesky seams that can lead to leaks. The resulting evenly-thick walls are about two-inches thick, adding to its cooling time. The two-inch thick lid also helps with insulation.

A Solid Seal

There's little purpose to thick walls if cool air is allowed to flow past the lid. To prevent leakage, Orca coolers have a heavy freezer gasket that is sufficient for preventing leaks

A Whale Tale Latch

While we praised the sturdy construction of Rtic's T-Latch system, Orca has its own, equally effective spin. Shaped like a whale's tale in honor of the brand's name, the Orca latches are also made from flexible but sturdy silicone, providing a long life.

A Draining Problem?

Some reviews have identified issues with the Orca's drain plug leaking or breaking.

Warranty

Orca offers a lifetime warranty on its hard-side coolers.

 Pros

  • Lifetime warranty
  • True-to-size

Cons

  • No wheels or extendable handles
  • Possible weak drainplug
YETI COOLERS 10035010000 YETI Tundra 35 Cooler, (Desert Tan)
  • The YETI Tundra 35 is portable enough for one person to haul while still having an impressive carrying capacity of up to...
  • Ice stays ice thanks to up to 3 inches of PermaFrost Insulation and an extra thick FatWall design is certified...
  • The Rotomolded Construction makes the Tundra armored to the core and virtually indestructible so wherever you decide to...

YETI Coolers are a market leader since they popped onto the scene over a decade ago. The premium brand remains both a stalwart of quality and something of a status symbol at the beach.

Ease of Use

The YETI is an extremely-focused product that does the basics, and does them very well. With that said, the cooler is simple to use but doesn't boast a lot of bells and whistles to enhance usability.

Cooling Ability

YETI gained fame as a high quality cooler brand based partially on the line's very long ice life.

Keeping It Chilled

Thanks to its PermaFrost insulation which is created by pressure-injection of polyurethane, YETI has gained a reputation as a long-lasting cooling machine. The ColdLock Gasket is freezer-grade, ensuring a tight seal. YETI itself doesn't make ice retention claims, but some independent reviews put ice-life at around 100 hours.

Design Quality

Another one of YETI's most touted benefits is the toughness of the product and its solid construction.

Rotomolded Walls

Like the other coolers reviewed here, YETI coolers are constructed using rotomolding, ensuring a single-piece construction and evenly-thick walls. These walls are up to three-inches on some models.

T-Rex Latches and Never-Fail Hinges

You read that correctly. YETI calls its own patented latch-design “T-Rex” and the company claims the latches will not break. As for the hinge system, YETI's “Never Fail” system is created by two hinge pins and an interlocking design for extra strength and a longer life.

Have a Seat

YETI's were built with the avid outdoorsman in mind, and for that reason, used heavy construction that made YETI coolers able to handle serving as a seat or a casting platform.

Warranty

YETI offers a five-year warranty for Tundra coolers purchased from an authorized YETI dealer.

Pros

  • Well-known brand
  • Sturdy construction
  • “Never-Fail” hinges

Cons

  • No wheels or extendable handles
  • Slightly smaller interior size than competition
Driftsun 45-Quart Ice Chest, Heavy Duty, High Performance Roto-Molded...
  • INSULATED: 45 Quart Ice Chest holds ice for days on end with up to 3” inches of commercial grade insulation, Freezer...
  • FEATURES: Military-grade nylon rope handles, GorillaGrip Non-Slip Rubber Feet, Molded Tie-Down Slots with Lock Plates,...
  • SERIOUSLY TOUGH: Virtually Indestructible Rotomolded Thermoplastic Construction with Heavy Duty Rubber ColdSeal Latches...

The most inexpensive option in this comparison, the Driftsun cooler has many of the same features as its competition while coming in at a significantly lower price point.

Driftsun offers a pretty typical cooler design, with the one nod to usability probably in the nylon handles that make carrying slightly more comfortable.

Cooling Ability

With two-inch roto-molded walls and a Thermalock Freezer-Style gasket, the Driftwood 45-quart cooler will provide about five days of ice retention, which is enough cooling for the average cooler user, though it's not as long as those boasted by Rtic or YETI coolers. The gasket is thick and creates a tight seal, which is a must in ice retention.

Design Quality

The Driftsun 45 offers rotomolding construction just like its peers. There are few upgrades to report.

Military-grade handles

While occupying a lower price point, Driftsun does offer some upgraded feature that impact its lifespan. Military-grade handles are tough and long-lasting.

Staying Tied Down

Because the tie-down slots are molded directly into the body of the ice chest, you can securely fasten the cooler without worrying about breakage.

Warranty

Driftwood offers a one-year warranty on all of its products.

 Pros

  • Lower price point  
  • Quality construction

Cons

  • Relatively new, unproven company
  • Shorter ice retention than peers

Conclusion

cooler bag

Image Source: Pixabay.com

Rtic coolers took the premium cooler market by storm by insisting on quality construction, long cooling life and even fun, varied colors. Further, by coming in at a lower price point than market-leader YETI, Rtic created a stir, and, in comparison to its peers, meets the premium market's high standards with no problem.

While the differences between the models reviewed here are very slight, we found that Rtic coolers offered the most value for the money, while sacrificing almost nothing in terms of quality or use.

If there was one significant con with Rtic Coolers, it would have to be the one-year warranty, which pales in comparison to the five-year or even lifetime warranties offered by YETI or Orca coolers. However, you can take some solace in consistent reviews, quality construction and long cooling life when choosing to purchase an Rtic cooler. 

10 Best Trekking Poles: The Best Guide You’ll Find

man trekking

If you enjoy hiking, trekking, or similar activities in mountainous regions, a pair of trekking poles could be your best friend. These handy devices can help to get a good grip on the terrain and also lessen the strain on your whole body. However, there are several kinds of trekking poles on the market today, so make sure you know what you’re getting before you make a purchase.

Curious to know how to choose the best trekking poles?

Comparison Table

Does the Need for Using Trekking Poles Even Exist?

The need for trekking poles may not be apparent to every climber, but it’s definitely there. Still, you need to know just how to make use of your trekking poles and choose the best kind for yourself accordingly. Otherwise, you might be lugging around an extra piece of equipment for no reason.

Trekking poles can greatly reduce the effect of climbing, hiking, and trekking on your body. In the long term, such activities can decrease your health. So when you're trekking in a harsh environment, you absolutely need some trekking poles to support you.

These strenuous activities can take their toll on your knees, feet, hips, back, and ankles. Before this happens, get your trekking poles as soon as possible! Plus, using trekking poles actually results in a higher level of muscle exercise than otherwise.

You’d be using around 90 percent of your muscles as opposed to the 40 percent when you trek without poles. This enhances the workout aspect of trekking.

This also means that you burn 46 percent more calories while trekking. Along with this, trekking poles can contribute to improving and maintaining your posture, balance, and upper body mobility. You can achieve all of this without the serious physical exertion that you get without trekking poles.

Why You Should Invest in Trekking Poles

using a Trekking Poles while walking

Image via Pixabay

Investing in trekking poles might set you back a few bucks and seem to be an added weight. However, they’re recommended additions to hikers and trekkers of all ages, not just the elderly.

To begin with, trekking poles distribute the strain from the lower body to the upper. You’re forced to use your arms with these poles, so your legs have less of a burden to manage. This comes in especially useful when you’re going downhill, which could be very hard on the knees.

Trekking poles are also necessary for balancing when the terrain is uneven or slippery. Even river crossing becomes much easier since the poles help to maintain a constant gait. Your pace becomes more efficient, rapid, and even.

Finally, trekking poles are also excellent for uses other than climbing. If you’re planning a mountain climb or hike that could take days, these poles can easily double as tent supports at night!

How to Choose the Best Trekking Pole According to Your Outdoor Activity

Getting the best trekking pole isn’t a matter of just looking at the prices, ratings, and reviews. It also depends on the kind of outdoor activity you prefer. Several top options are available to suit every need, so consider what kind of activity you'll need the poles for.

For instance, if you’re going to be trekking on varying terrain, it’s important to get a pair of trekking poles with an adjustable length. If you’re simply going to be hiking regularly, make sure that the length can be long or short enough to make a 90-degree at your elbow when the tips are near your feet.

If you’re going to be trekking uphill, you need to have a shorter pole. Steep slopes require short poles to provide climbing assistance without causing fatigue. For the downhill trek, longer lengths are best.

For varying terrain, an adjustable pole made of aluminum can be the best bet. This is a versatile, durable, and lightweight choice that comes in several different gauges. However, these won’t be suitable if you’re putting a lot of weight on them.

If you’re just going on a long, regular hike, a carbon-fiber pole should be the first option to consider. These are more lightweight than aluminum poles, but not as strong. For more rugged terrain, you might want to consider strong materials like iron or even wood.

How to Use Trekking Poles like a Pro

Alternate poles and legs

Get into the rhythm of putting your right pole with your left foot, and vice versa. If you lose this rhythm, walk a bit without your poles and get back into the pace wherever possible. With time, this will become instinct, and you can get into such a gait automatically.

​​Natural walking

​Walk with the poles like you’re just swinging your arms. Don’t think about what you’re doing with them, but keep them at a slight angle. This way, you can push off using them to move forward more easily.

​​Planting double

​When necessary, you can plant both the trekking poles at once. After this, take a couple of steps, and then plant the poles again. This is a useful trick for steep slopes. While going up or coming down, you might need this stabilizing practice.

​​Navigating obstacles

​Many trekking trials may have obstacles such as puddles, streams, river crossings, rocks, and logs. You can vault over the shallow obstacles using your trekking poles, or navigate around them. The poles will help you stay stable. Once you plant your pole down in a water body, make sure it’s secure before you use it for support. Lengthen the poles if the obstacle is deep.

The 10 Best Trekking Poles 

We now come to the best trekking poles for sale. There are many options with varying features, so take your time and get to know what’s available before you take the plunge:

Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork


Sale
Black Diamond 793661307143 Alpine Trekking Poles, One Size, Carbon...
  • Premium cork grip with dual-density top and adjustable 360-degree sewn strap
  • Non-slip EVA foam grip extension. Weight Per Pair : 475 g (1lb 1 oz)
  • 3 section 100% carbon fiber shaft

The Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork trekking pole just might be the best choice you can have in this category. The pair weighs 17 ounces, and it has a telescopic mechanism with a lever lock. The shaft is made of carbon, while the grip is a resilient, soft cork. This nicely balances the weight and strength. With Black Diamond’s name, you can be sure of getting the best quality and performance.

Overall, these poles are reported to be the best type for backpacking, hiking, and much more. However, they might be a bit too heavy for some. ​

​​Black Diamond Women’s Trail Pro Shock

Sale
Black Diamond Women's Trail Walking Pole, 59-125cm
  • Women's-specific, dual-density grip and plush-lined, 360-degree padded webbing strap
  • Non-slip foam grip extension
  • Double Flick Locks


The Black Diamond Women’s Trail Pro Shock might be the best trekking poles for women. Specially made for backpacking journeys, its total weight is 20 ounces. The lever lock and telescopic mechanism make for compact and secure equipment. The shaft material is aluminum, which provides a lightweight experience.

The grip is foam, making for a comfortable hold. Equipped with shock-absorbing technology, these poles have excellent performance and will keep your trekking safe. Customers have loved how these poles go easy on the knees and are simple to adjust. However, they’re also on the heavy side.​

​​Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber


Cascade Mountain Tech Aluminum Adjustable Trekking Poles - Lightweight...
  • HIGH QUALITY STRONG VALUE – Built with "Aircraft grade" aluminum – We source quality material and buy in bulk...
  • LIGHT WEIGHT & COMPACT POLES – 10.4 oz or LESS THAN a pound - Our aluminum poles provide hikers, walkers, back...
  • QUICK LOCK & EXTENDABLE: Need to adjust your pole height when trekking up a hill, or a downward slope? Our quick lock...

The Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber trekking poles are an excellent option for trekkers on a budget. One pair weighs around 16 ounces, with a telescopic system and lever lock. The shaft is made of lightweight and durable carbon. There’s a choice in the grip, which could be either rubber or cork. Both have their advantages, so it’s good for you to choose according to your preferences.

Reviews have praised this pair for providing various features at an immensely affordable price. However, this also means that these poles may not last as long as other options.​

Montem Ultra Strong Hiking/Walking/Trekking Poles


Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles, Black (Matte) , One Pair
  • 【EASILY ADJUSTED】Adjustable quick locks allow you to QUICKLY & EASILY lengthen the poles from 24” to 53” in...
  • 【FREE LIFETIME REPLACEMENT PROMISE】We at Montem promise to replace your poles for life. Shop the most trusted brand...
  • 【ULTRA STRONG & LIGHT 】Montem trekking poles weigh only 9.6 ounces per pole so you don’t feel weighed down -...

The Montem Ultra Strong Hiking/Walking/Trekking Poles are also an option that won’t break the budget. They weigh 21 ounces in total, which is a bit heavy for such items. They also have a telescopic and locking mechanism. The shaft is made of aluminum, providing a lightweight and adjustable result. With the grips made of rubber, you can be sure they're durable and reliable.

Customer reviews have praised the fact that while the construction isn’t as excellent as that of the higher-end models of this brand, the differences are subtle. However, the rubber grips might not be as comfortable as the cork option. ​

​​Montem Ultra Strong


Montem Ultra Strong Cork Hiking/Walking/Trekking Poles - One Pair...
  • 【EASILY ADJUSTED】 Adjustable bolts allow adventurers of any height to quickly lengthen the poles from 24” to 53”...
  • 【NEW IMPROVED MODEL!】 Strap up - Your trekking poles come with nylon straps to ensure the safest journey. Never...
  • 【ULTRA STRONG】 Crafted out of Aluminum 7075 - the same material used to build airplanes. Experience truly strong...

The Montem Ultra Strong poles are yet another budget option with high ratings and positive reviews online. Together, both poles weigh around 19.2 ounces. The foam grip is reasonably comfortable, while the aluminum shaft makes the poles lightweight. While this company is new in this field, they’re already known for their high-quality output at affordable prices.

The reviews for these poles have mentioned how customers have enjoyed the adjustment design of the hand grips. This makes the poles suitable for steep climbing. However, the design may not be too tough.​

​​Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z


Sale
Black Diamond Distance Z Z-Poles, 100
  • Slide Lock technology improves ease-of-use when locking your pole
  • Three-section foldable design with speed-cone deployment
  • Aluminum construction

The Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z poles are among the best collapsible options you can get for these items. They can weigh anywhere from 9.3 to 10.4 ounces, making for a relatively lightweight result. The folding style, carbon shaft, and foam grip all provide a comfortable experience.

Customers have reported an excellent experience with these lightweight poles, especially the rapid rate in which they can be set up and collapsed. However, the lightness also means more strain on your arms, since these poles aren’t adjustable. ​

​​Black Diamond Distance Z


Sale
Black Diamond Distance Z Z-Poles, 100
  • Slide Lock technology improves ease-of-use when locking your pole
  • Three-section foldable design with speed-cone deployment
  • Aluminum construction

The Black Diamond Distance Z poles are also collapsible. They weigh 12 ounces in total and can fold into a much more compact size when required. The additional weight is due to the aluminum shaft instead of a carbon-fiber material.

While customers have loved this collapsible pole, you should keep in mind that the adjustability isn’t an included feature. This might be problematic for those who want to get the poles for a variety of trekking expeditions. ​

​​Leki Corklite DSS Antishock


LEKI Legacy Trekking Poles
  • PA Safety Thermo grip for warmer hands including easily adjustable strap with safety release
  • Reinforced strap with convenient fleece lining for pleasant wear comfort
  • Speed Lock 2: Extremely fast adjustment of the pole length. 30% smaller, 25% lighter and 20% higher holding force - at...

The Leki Corklite DSS Antishock poles are true to their name, providing antishock technology while weighing 18 ounces. The grips are cork or rubber, while the shaft is aluminum. The antishock system serves to take a load off your body during your excursions. However, some people may not like this technology. It’s largely a matter of preference.

Overall, customers are satisfied with the trusty lever locks and interchangeable baskets in this pair of trekking poles. Still, they’re a bit on the heavy side and expensive to boot. ​

​​Leki Micro Vario Carbon DSS


LEKI Micro Vario Carbon DSS Trekking Pole
  • 100% HM Carbon Shaft
  • AERGON Thermo Extended Grip
  • Air-textured strap wicks and dries quickly

The Leki Micro Vario Carbon DSS might be the best trekking pole regarding anti-shock features. They weigh around 17 ounces and have a folding mechanism for easy storage and adjustment. The material of their shaft is carbon fiber, which gives you a lightweight experience.

Customers value the anti-shock technology available in these poles, even at the high price. The folding capacity of these poles also means that there’s less adjustability available. ​

​​Mountainsmith Halite


Sale
Mountainsmith Halite 7075 - Moroccan Blue Pair
  • Molded Cork/EVA/TPR handle
  • Aluminum Outerlock height adjustment levers
  • Four collapsible sections with vinyl coated cable connectors

The Mountainsmith Halite poles weigh 21 ounces when put together. This is a heavyweight as far as trekking poles go, but the folding mechanism makes sure they’re compact. This pair is also quite affordable for a collapsible pair, so this can be a great gift for beginners. There are also comfy cork handles, hiking baskets, rubber tips, and snow baskets included.

Customers have loved the cost-effective construction and compactness of this option. However, this pair isn’t as sturdy as the pricier poles. ​

Picking the Best Option

group of people trekking using a hiking poles

Image via Pixabay

Each of the trekking poles reviewed above will be great for your excursions on the mountains or hiking trails. See what your requirements are and pick the pair that fulfills them. For instance, the Black Diamond Women’s Trail Pro Shock gives you adjustment along with an anti-shock system. If you want a lighter weight, though, the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z is the answer.

Image via Pixabay

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