Garmin launches handheld hiking GPS with unlimited battery life

Woman using Garmin eTrex Solar device while hiking
(Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin has launched its first handheld GPS navigator with solar charging, letting you explore off-grid for much longer – possibly forever. It's been a busy week for Garmin, with the launch of the Descent Mk3 and Descent G1 dive computers on Tuesday, and the Quatix 7 Pro on Wednesday, but this will be the most exciting new release for hikers, campers, bikepackers and geocachers.

Much like Garmin's Instinct Solar and Instinct 2 Solar GPS watches, the eTrex Solar could run indefinitely on a single charge in the right conditions. Even when you don't have 75,000 lux shining down on you, it'll keep you on track for over two months of solid adventuring. In Expedition Mode, the eTrex Solar will run for up to 1,800 hours without using its embedded solar charging at all.

Multi-band GPS helps the device pinpoint your location more accurately, even in tricky locations like under dense tree cover and near cliffs where it can be hard to get a clear line of sight to a satellite. There's also a built-in digital compass to give you an accurate heading even when you're standing still (see our guide how to take a bearing).

Woman using Garmin eTrex Solar device

(Image credit: Garmin)

The eTrex Solar connects to the Garmin Explore app on your phone, which lets you create routes and then sync them to the device. There's unlimited cloud storage for them, so you don't need to worry about having to delete old ones. You can also receive smart notifications from your phone when it's connected to the eTrex Solar via Bluetooth.

Into geocaching? You can get automatic cache updates, including descriptions, logs and hints right on the device. Each cache you find will automatically upload to a saved profile when the eTrex Solar is connected to your phone.

Rather than peering at a tiny watch screen, you can follow your route, see waypoints, track your location, and find your way back on a 22in high-contrast display that's easy to read even in bright sunlight.

It's built like a tank too. It's rated IPX, which means it can be submerged in up to a meter of water for up to 30 minutes without damage, and has a tough case designed to shrug off knocks and drops.

The eTrex Solar is available now direct from Garmin for $249.99.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.