Speed Navigator: Garmin Colorado 400t GPS

With a quad-helix antenna and preloaded topo maps, the Garmin Colorado 400t is the fastest of GPS units.

Data nerds and anyone in a hurry will love the 400t. A scroll wheel replaces the usual scattering of buttons, making every menu option accessible with just your thumb. That means hikers can drop waypoints and check navigation screens one-handed–and barely lose stride while doing it. The compact quad-helix antenna has a wide beam that sniffs out satellites even in signal-choking locations like deep canyons. After a trek in Yosemite's backcountry, one tester reported, "I rarely lost a signal along the Merced River–even with 1,000-foot granite cliffs on both sides." And with a port for a second antenna, you can increase accuracy from feet to inches. The 400t comes preloaded with shaded-relief topos and 3D maps for the entire United States–worth at least $100 if you had to buy them separately. Testers also appreciated the 3-inch color screen, electronic compass, and barometric altimeter. Bonus: This unit and the Garmin Oregon play free geocache games (track Bigfoot!) available on wherigo.com. Reader service #101

  • Street price $449
  • Weight 7.5 oz.
  • Battery 2 AAs
  • Expandable memory Yes, SD
  • Infogarmin.com