Garmin eTrex 30

8.5 score
(TheGearHunt) score (8.5)/10

Our TheGearHunt score is based on 3 different factors: Editor's rating after in-depth testing. User ratings submitted on this page Overall score from the "reviewmeter" based on reviews across the web the weight of each factor is: 40% editor rating 15% user ratings 45% reviewmeter.
Editor rating: 9.0 / 10
User's rating: based on 0 user ratings
1 star
2 star
3 star
4 star
5 star
Add your Rating
Garmin eTrex 30 Review Facts

In today's day and age, GPS technology is available in a lot of our devices from phones to tablets to now watches. This allows us to know where we are pretty much at all times including when we are lost. They are also handy when tracking younger children especially when they are traveling on their own (like on their way to school or to parks). They are handy pieces of technology that some people struggle to live without. Handheld GPS technology is also quite handy, especially because if they are advanced enough, they do not rely on wireless technology in the same way our phones, tablets, and watches do. Handheld GPS units are especially handy when used for camping, hunting and hiking as this will help us stay in the loop with our location as well as for our loved ones to also know we are okay. They are also commonly used in fish finders as this can help with fishing and hunting due to their abilities to offer GPS spot tracks, rubs, feeding areas, and hot spots. Adding these types of markers will assist the hunter and fisherman with the success of their trip. They are also handy during these trips as it will help the hunter or fishermen find their way back to docks, restrooms, and their home base. For alternate use, they are helpful for hikers and bikers as it will help guide them back to their favorite routes and can also help performance if used for speed competitions.

This article focuses on the Garmin Etrex 30. Garmin is a very popular brand for tracking, GPS and locational services. Garmin has been around for 30 years and has always specialized in tracking and locational services. We looked at the Garmin Etrex specifically because of its popularity with consumers. We looked at what consumers liked and disliked about the handheld GPS unit. We also looked at the important aspects of GPS units which is technology and features. This helps justify the cost and the value of the product. Finally, we looked at the construction of the unit, as well as material used to build it in order to determine its durability and reliability. We took all this information and comprised an in-depth review to assist you with your next handheld GPS purchase. This is our comprehensive review of the Garmin Etrex 30. We hope that this article helps you with your next purchase. Enjoy!

Editor's Pros & Cons
  • This GPS unit is small enough to fit in a shirt pocket but still offers a decent sized screen
  • This GPS unit also offers a decently accurate elevation measure 
  • The unit offers auto navigation, making it easier and more inititive when in motion
  • This GPS unit offers numerous different functions and features
  • This unit can be fairly complicated to use if the user is not familiar with technology 
  • This unit does not come with a lanyard for easier carrying
  • This unit isn't easy to type with due to small and less than intitutive keyboard 
  • This unit can be a little hard to read with aging or poor eye sight  


The basic features of a GPS are the features that all GPS units should include. This is stuff like maps, hot spots, and a screen display. With this product, there is a 240 X 320 display that offers improved readability to previous models. This is confirmed by consumers. They said that there is a noticeable difference between this version and the previous versions. The screen is also readable in the sun which is especially important because this product is typically used during outdoor adventures. If the screen can't be read in the sun, this would be an issue. This product also offers an internal memory of expanded maps in order to provide GPS instructions even when out of range. This is important because this is what encourages consumers to buy a product like this rather than using the GPS apps on their phone- these have larger memories for this type of use in order to provide maps even when out of cell phone ranges all day. Overall, this product offers basic features that are all reliable which is positive.


Advanced features are usually the features that are unique to this type of device, as well as potentially unique to the manufacturer. This GPS unit offers a worldwide base map with shaded relief which is fairly unique to this type of product. Usually, they only offer within Canada and the United States. It also offers a 2.2-inch sunlight readable display, as mentioned above, however, what is unique about it is that it also offers a 65 K color display as well. This brings lots of color and design to the GPS unit making it easier to read. Unfortunately, many reviewers found the screen to be a little busy and complicated to read at times. This seemed to be those who aren't super familiar with technology though. This should be considered before buying the product. The keyboard also seems to have some issues in that it is a little hard to type on due to its lack of intuition, as well as how hard it is to see with aging eyes. The Garmin eTrex 30 also offers a 3-axis compass and barometric altimeter which helps those who are climbing gauge altitudes. Reviewers were happy with its accuracy stating that though it does not report entirely accurately it is enough considering the price of this unit compared to actual climbing readers which tend to be quite expensive.


This type of product is typically used for situations that require a detailed GPS in areas that may not offer routing via phone or in areas that have no reception and a phone, tablet or watch aren't useful. This type of product is also typically used when out in rougher areas that may require a device that is small but durable or when a device that needs to be mounted like an ATV, bike or boat. This type of product is typically both durable and waterproof in order to provide longer use and to avoid breaking more expensive units like phones. They also tend to offer a bigger screen with colors and similar functionality to a phone. One issue that some reviewers found with this product is that there seem to be some issues with reporting on off-road trails and roads, however, this is typically with trails and these trails can be marked with this device so that even if the trail is not showing on the screen the user can mark where the trail is so that they can come back to the trail. This type of product is ideal for rougher sports that require mounting which is product does offer.


This product offers a 3-axis tilt compensated compass which allows those who are moving (even if the unit is not laying flat) to know exactly what they are doing correctly without the use of towers or wireless accessibility. It also offers enough storage to hold 2000 different favorite maps and 200 routes. It also holds 10 K point and 200 saved treks. This allows those using the product to not rely on any sort of loading or external storage to pull up their favorite spots or where to find entrance and exit points of trips. It offers 3.7 GB of memory. This product is also geocaching-friendly (paperless) which is handy. It also relies on the sun and moon information to add a new, more reliable level of reliability and less need for connectivity. The unit comes with a highly-sensitive receiver and USB interface that allows the user to share maps, routes, and treks with their friends. Overall, this product does not rely on connectivity but does offer a superior level of it. There were very few complaints about the units connectivity which is positive.


The battery life of this product is 25 hours of continuous use which is especially handy when on longer day trips. This also means, though, that it may require charging if required use is over several days. The battery of this product is 2 AA batteries which are not included. The website does recommend lithium ion in order to offer better battery length. This product is not rechargeable which some reviewers had an issue with. Though this does make it easier to use when out on longer trips without access to power. Many reviewers found that when in use the battery lasts longer if used on more basic features rather than advanced ones.


This product does offer numerous features that make the product quite detailed and handy to use, however, there were some that had an issue with how busy the product is. It is also harder to see with aging and poor eyes. This is an issue for those who are driving and traveling especially. The screen is bright and can be used in areas of high light which is extremely handy but even then the screen is a little hard to see in motion. The GPS does upload information faster than earlier versions and even comparable models which is positive. The product is also regularly reviewed as not being very intuitive which makes it a little harder to use. Overall, it seems that this product is better for those with more technological experience or for those who are willing to put the time in to learn. One reviewer even said that after a month they still had not experienced all that the unit has to offer which is positive.


This product is mid-range in price considering what it is offering. This product has numerous advanced features which makes it quite unique. It is also regularly reviewed as being fairly durable which means it will also live a long time. There is an SD slot to expand the memory of the product and has a USB connector that allows for updates. This means that this product will not go obsolete too quickly. The price is probably also as a result of the additional features like the barometer option which is not typical with household GPS units. Overall, the unit is worth the cost due to its value, durability, and opportunity for updates, all of which are positive.


Greater resolution through a decently sized screen
Offers improved readability through a pixel screen
Offers an expanded- 3.2 GB memory for holding maps, favorite spots and completed routes
Worldwide map base as opposed to just Canada and the United States
2.2-inch screen with 65 K color display
Sunlight-readable screen for better viewing when in lighter areas
3-axis electronic, internal compass that does not need to be held upright to work
Barometric altimeter for hikes and mountain climbs


The bottom line is that this product is a pretty good one. The primary issues that reviewers found are that this product does not offer enough detail when it comes to trail and off-roading which is a bit of an issue considering the products intended use. One counter point to that is that this product does allow for markings so that when a trail does come up that the rider likes they can mark off where it is. There is also constant updates available for the product so this could change with time. The other issue that some people found is that the screen can be a little busy and the keyboard is a little hard to use due to its lack of intuition when the user is typing. The screen is slightly customization which can help those using it to make it a little less busy, this will probably continue to be an issue regardless, though, for those with poor eyesight. Those who used this product were impressed by its durability and by its ease of use though (when used by someone with some technological understanding). They were impressed by the products functionality though and said that the updating and uploading speeds of this product are quite impressive. It can be used without the use of wireless which is handy due to its compass and expanded memory. It does not offer charging options, however, does take batteries which is handy for longer trips as additional batteries can be stored and used when the batteries start to go on this product. The price sits about mid-range, however, many reviewers praised it for its functionality considering its price which is positive. Overall, this is a good product and definitely worth consideration especially considering Garmin's highly regarded reputation.