Garmin eTrex 22x Review: Is It the Best Mid-Range Hiking GPS?

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9.1/10

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If you find yourself getting lost in the middle of an outdoor adventure, you may be wishing that you had brought a trusty GPS device with you. The Garmin eTrex 22x promises to be a rugged, multifunctional, easy-to-use piece of tech that will keep you on the right path every time.

The Garmin eTrex 22x stands out thanks to its long battery life, reliable GPS and GLONASS technology, sunlight-readable screen, and rugged body design that will hold up to anything life throws at you. In the box also comes a USB cable and documentation for the device.

As a company, Garmin leads the way in navigational technology, with a stronghold on the markets of GPS wearables and handheld devices alike. Garmin creates gadgets that are reliable, long-lasting, and practical, perfectly fit for nearly any road trip, trail run, or outdoor exploration.

Pros

  • Rugged with IPX7, compact and lightweight
  • 25-hour battery life
  • Sunlight-readable screen
  • Preloaded topographic maps and custom maps
  • GPS + GLONASS technologies (navigational accuracy)

Cons

  • Outdated interface: no touchscreen (uses thumbstick/joystick, which can be difficult for some)
  • No wireless connectivity or smart features
  • No barometric altimeter (less accurate altitude tracking)
  • GPS-based compass instead of 3-axis
  • Only takes replaceable batteries

For a full review of the various details and features of this nifty gadget, you can read our full Garmin eTrex 22x review below. 

Things to Consider Before Buying a Handheld GPS Device

Sale
Garmin eTrex 22x
575 Reviews
Garmin eTrex 22x
  • Explore confidently with the reliable handheld GPS
  • 2.2” sunlight-readable color display with 240 x 320 display pixels for improved readability
  • Preloaded with Topo Active maps with routable roads and trails for cycling and hiking
  • Support for GPS and GLONASS satellite systems allows for tracking in more challenging environments than GPS alone
  • 8 GB of internal memory for map downloads plus a micro SD card slot

A major aspect of any handheld GPS gadget is its screen. As the Garmin eTrex 22x is meant to be your trusty outdoor companion, its transflective screen is easy to read even in the sunlight without washing out the colors and reducing visibility.

Many of the upgraded devices today will feature a touchscreen, which is easy to use and responsive. However, there are drawbacks to a touchscreen, of course, such as difficulty using it with gloves or if you have trouble with finer movements of your hands.

The Garmin eTrex 22x, however, is not a touchscreen device. Instead, you navigate the on-screen menus using a multi-directional thumbstick (joystick) to select different options. The 22x also has a back button, menu button, and up and down arrows to zoom in and out of maps. While these work well enough, they are less intuitive to use and feel somewhat outdated.

Another major component of any outdoor device is waterproofing. True to its rugged nature, the 22x is waterproof down to 1 meter for up to 30 meters. For this, it receives a waterproof rating of IPX7.

Also, consider which navigational technologies the device is equipped with. The 22x can interface with GPS and GLONASS satellite system technologies to find your coordinates in a pinch.

While the 22x lacks a barometric altimeter, it still tracks altitude via GPS, although it will be less accurate than an altimeter. The 22x’s compass is also based on GPS. Again, this is less accurate than other devices that feature a 3-axis compass, such as the Garmin eTrex 32x.

Lastly, battery life is always important in our on-the-go world. While the Garmin eTrex 22x cannot charge via charging cord, it does take easily replaceable AA batteries. Overall, the device should last for 25 hours on a single pair of batteries.

Features & Benefits

Weight and Size

Weight and Size

The Garmin eTrex 22x is rather lightweight, weighing in at just 5 ounces, even with the AA batteries installed. This little device promises not to weigh down your pocket. Also, it is fairly compact, measuring 2.1 x 4 x 1.3 inches. However, keep in mind that this is much thicker than your average smartphone.

Navigational Technologies

GPS + GLONASS

GPS + GLONASS

The Garmin eTrex 22x communicates with two different satellite systems for optimal accuracy and speed: GPS, which is the United States’ global navigation satellite system, and GLONASS, which is Russia’s. Because it can interact with two systems, this makes the device more reliable when finding your coordinates.

More: Garmin Oregon 600 Review: Is It A Good Hiking GPS

Compass

Compass

The device also features a GPS-based compass. While it is easy to use, it isn’t as accurate as a 3-axis compass. A 3-axis compass uses a digital signal for higher accuracy and, with its tilt-compensated accelerometer, would keep you traveling the right way even if you can’t hold the device level at the moment.

That isn’t to say that the compass in the 22x is insufficient, but a 3-axis compass would have been a nice feature to include.

Geocaching

The 22x can store GPX files that you upload from your computer using the included USB cord. Then, on your device, you can see the map as well as the terrain and hints. This makes the device perfect for geocaching.

More: Check our review of Garmin GPSMAP 64st GPS here

BaseCamp Software

Using the integrated BaseCamp Software, you can keep all your custom maps and trails organized in one place. This software is also great for sharing your routes with friends or planning upcoming trips.

Preloaded Maps and Storage Space

Storage Space

There are preloaded TopoActive (topographic) maps showing all the important details of trails and streets, perfect for geocaching or navigating to your favorite spots. With an expandable 8 GB of storage space, you can easily upload your own maps onto the device for future use.

Also, with a subscription, you can integrate BirdsEye Satellite Imagery into your maps to add detailed satellite images. You can also use City Navigator maps to have the device give you turn-by-turn directions as you drive.

Overall, the Garmin eTrex 22x can store up to 3,000 map segments, 250 BirdsEye images, 2,000 waypoints and favorite locations, 200 tracks, 200 routes, and up to 10,000 track logs. There is a MicroSD slot for up to 32 GB max storage space.

Waterproofing

Waterproofing

As it is rated to be IPX7 waterproof, the 22x can be immersed in up to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes without getting damaged. This is an excellent device if ruggedness is one of your main priorities.

More: Garmin Montana 680t Review: Worth Buying as Hiking GPS?

Battery Life

One possible downside of the 22x is that it can only be powered by two AA batteries, meaning no built-in rechargeable battery and the device does not charge via a charging cord. However, thankfully the device manages a fairly long battery life of up to 25 hours. Also, it is very easy to replace the batteries.

Here is a video that shows how to install the batteries:

Screen Type and Interface

With its transflective display, the 22x is very easy to see in the sunlight. This way, you won’t have to turn on a backlight, which saves battery life. The display size is rather small at 2.2 inches diagonally, with rectangular dimensions of 1.4 x 1.7 inches and a resolution of 240 x 320 pixels.

The device does not have a touchscreen, so some may see its interface as outdated. To select items on the screen, you must use a little joystick (Garmin calls it a “thumb stick”). This thumbstick is multidirectional and can be moved around to highlight different areas of the screen. To select, press the thumb stick inwards so that it clicks.

The 22x also has up and down arrows, which zoom in and out of your maps. There is also a menu button for navigating quickly to the menu options, as well as a “back” button to easily return to the previous page.

Here, you can see the thumbstick in the top right corner of the device. Also note the back and power buttons on the right hand side, as well as the menu and up and down buttons on the left.

More: Garmin inReach Explorer+ Review: Your Companion for a Wonderful Expedition

Feature Type Feature Specs What This Means
Weight 5 oz (141.7 g) Lightweight
Size 2.1” x 4” x 1.3” Compact size, but slightly thick
Display Transflective 2.2 inch display Not a touchscreen, but easy to read in sun
Waterproofing IPX7 Withstands being submerged in water of up to 1 meter for 30 minutes
Navigational tech GPS + GLONASS Quickly and accurately gets your location
Maps Stores up to 3000 map segments, 250 images, 2000 waypoints, 200 tracks, 200 routes, 10000 track logs A lot of storage for maps and tracks
Battery Life Two AA batteries 25 hours battery life Uses standard disposable batteries
Automatic turn-by-turn navigation Yes Gives turn-by-turn navigation directions
Barometric Altimeter No Because it has no altimeter, the 22x tracks altitude via your GPS signal, which is less accurate
Compass GPS-based compass Easy to follow but not tilt-compensated
Retail Price $199.99 Mid-range

Social Proof

You can read about a few of users’ experiences below:

Social Proof 1
Social Proof 2
Social Proof 3

Alternatives

Garmin eTrex 22x vs 30x

Sale
Garmin eTrex 30x
575 Reviews
Garmin eTrex 30x
  • Explore confidently with the reliable handheld GPS
  • 2.2” sunlight-readable color display with 240 x 320 display pixels for improved readability
  • Preloaded with Topo Active maps with routable roads and trails for cycling and hiking
  • Support for GPS and GLONASS satellite systems allows for tracking in more challenging environments than GPS alone
  • 8 GB of internal memory for map downloads plus a micro SD card slot

The Garmin eTrex 30x is an incredibly similar device to the 22x. Both are compact gadgets with the same overall size and weight. Also, they both feature a 25-hour battery life, IPX7 waterproofing, a transflective non-touch screen, and GPS and GLONASS. They can store the same number of map segments, tracks, routes, and waypoints.

While the 30x was released in 2015 and has been discontinued, it does have some upgraded features. It has a barometric altimeter for tracking altitude, as well as a 3-axis compass, which is more accurate than the 22x’s simpler GPS-based compass.

The benefit of the 22x is that it features preloaded topographic maps. The 22x also has 8 GB internal space, while the 30x has only 3.7 GB. However, both devices do have a MicroSD slot for expandable storage. Also, it is worth mentioning that the 30x is more expensive.

Comparison

  • Both have GPS and GLONASS
  • Same physical dimensions and weight
  • Both are IPX7 waterproof
  • Same battery life
  • 22x has more internal space (however, both have expandable storage via microSD card)
  • 30x has no preloaded topographic maps
  • 30x is more expensive
  • 30x has a 3-axis compass and barometric altimeter

If you like the Garmin eTrex 22x but want the barometric altimeter and more accurate compass, consider the Garmin eTrex 30x.

Garmin eTrex 22x vs 32x

Sale
Garmin eTrex 32x
575 Reviews
Garmin eTrex 32x
  • Explore confidently with the reliable handheld GPS
  • 2.2” sunlight-readable color display with 240 x 320 display pixels for improved readability
  • Preloaded with Topo Active maps with routable roads and trails for cycling and hiking
  • Support for GPS and GLONASS satellite systems allows for tracking in more challenging environments than GPS alone
  • 8 GB of internal memory for map downloads plus a micro SD card slot

The Garmin eTrex 22x and 32x are, again, very similar devices. They are the same physical size and weight with a 2.2-inch transflective screen, and they both sport GPS and GLONASS capabilities for navigational accuracy.

Also, they can store the same types and numbers of routes and maps. Both have 8 GB internal storage. They are both IPX7 waterproof and require two AA batteries for their 25-hour battery life.

There are some major differences, however. First, the 32x is equipped with wireless connectivity capability through ANT+, so that it can connect to other ANT+ devices. The 22x, on the other hand, requires use of the USB cable to sync data to a computer.

Secondly, the 32x sports the updated 3-axis compass with tilt compensation, so you can use the compass even if it isn’t level. The 22x sports a simpler GPS-based compass without tilt compensation. Another improvement on the 32x is that it features a barometric altimeter to track your altitude more accurately.

Comparison

  • Both have GPS and GLONASS
  • Same size, weight, and storage space
  • Same battery life
  • Both are IPX7 waterproof
  • 32x has wireless connectivity (ANT+), while 22x must use a USB cable
  • 32x has tilt-compensated 3-axis compass, while 22x has a GPS-based compass
  • 32x has a barometric altimeter
  • 32x has a higher price point

If you are seeking a device with the same size and weight as the 22x but with upgraded features, like a barometric altimeter, 3-axis compass, and wireless connectivity, check out the Garmin eTrex 32x.

Garmin eTrex 22x vs 10

Sale
Garmin eTrex 10
575 Reviews
Garmin eTrex 10
  • Explore confidently with the reliable handheld GPS
  • 2.2” sunlight-readable color display with 240 x 320 display pixels for improved readability
  • Preloaded with Topo Active maps with routable roads and trails for cycling and hiking
  • Support for GPS and GLONASS satellite systems allows for tracking in more challenging environments than GPS alone
  • 8 GB of internal memory for map downloads plus a micro SD card slot

The Garmin eTrex 10 is a more entry-level device with a lower price point. While it also features GPS and GLONASS, a 25-hour battery life, IPX7 waterproofing, a transflective easy-to-read screen, and the same compact size and weight as the 22x, there are some downgrades.

The eTrex 10 has less internal memory (6 GB) and lacks a microSD slot for more space. Therefore, the eTrex 10 cannot store as many waypoints, locations, tracklogs, and routes as the 22x. The maps on the 22x will also be more detailed. The eTrex 10 also does not come with any preloaded maps, and you cannot add your own custom maps to the device.

Also, while the 22x can give turn-by-turn driving directions, the eTrex 10 does not have this capability. Lastly, the eTrex 10 features a monochrome (non-color) screen with a lower resolution.

Comparison

  • eTrex 10 has much less internal storage space, and the memory cannot be expanded
  • eTrex 10 has no preloaded maps or custom maps
  • Maps on the eTrex 22x are much more detailed
  • eTrex 10 cannot give turn-by-turn driving directions
  • eTrex 22x has a color screen with much higher resolution

If you want a trusty GPS device but don’t need upgraded features like a color screen, turn-by-turn driving directions, custom maps, or expandable storage, the Garmin eTrex 10 may be the device for you.

Conclusion

Outdoor enthusiasts and road trippers alike will have great use for a rugged, reliable device like the Garmin eTrex 22x. Featuring an easy-to-see screen, compact size, long battery life, accurate GPS and GLONASS, waterproofing, and expandable storage, the 22x will lead the way on many adventures.

Check out the Garmin eTrex 22x here.

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