Best GPS Watch For Hiking. Are you an outdoor enthusiast? Camping with your friends, pitching a tent, and hiking through the hills.
These activities are for a vacation getaway from your schedule busy days at work, having the career stresses, and want to get in touch with nature.
However, if you are hiking, how do you find your way? If you go to a park, there are signs and trails you can follow to keep you on track.
Don’t you think someway you want to escape from these trails? But you could get lost!
Even if you can read a compass or maps, a good quality hiking GPS system is better than that. For the easy track of your location, you can now use the best GPS watch for hiking as an essential piece of hiking equipment. You choose a watch with a compass.
What are the benefits of having a GPS watch for hiking?
There are several reasons why you should purchase a GPS watch for hiking. However, before you get those benefits, you have to purchase a nice and reliable GPS watch.
Here are some of the benefits of a GPS watch while hiking.
1. Easy to locate
This is the main reason why most hikers are using GPS watches. With a GPS watch, it very easy to locate lost hikers.
Any law enforcement or park operator has to activate the device on the computer and they will find the exact location of the lost hiker. Hiking can be dangerous and at the same time, a GPS watch can be a savior.
2. Get closer to nature
Using a GPS watch for hiking can be exactly what is required to get you back into nature. You do not have to bring along your map or your compass.
You have your best GPS watch for hiking as a trusty piece of equipment guiding you while hiking. All you have to do is focusing on the beauty of nature around you and take a moment to look around to enjoy the scenery. You can use a watch with a compass.
It is a great thing to getting out and exploring the world around you. Forge your own path as you hike, viewing new spots, discovering new locations, and new landmarks.
With a GPS watch for hiking on your wrist, these new trails you are following, are stored and documented in its memory bank. If someday you want to go back you can use the same trail again with the documented data.
What to consider when purchasing a GPS watch for hiking?
1. Battery life
Today, it is likely that you have a smartphone. But you know that battery life is one of their weakest points. If you are heading for a longer hike, then a GPS watch for hiking is going to be a sensible choice for you to make.
Let’s be honest, smartphones are fragile. Sure they can take a beating and still function, but imagine trying to use a GPS app on a shattered screen.
A GPS watch unit is designed to be used outdoors and can take bumps and scrapes in the course of a hike. While a smartphone is so fragile to be used outdoor!
Most GPS watches are accurate within 1% to 3% that means the watch would measure a 10-mile hike anywhere between 9.91 miles to 10.09 miles. It is still very close but it is not 100% accurate.
With a GPS watch, the distance will not be the same as hike distance. This is because hiking being measured on the tangent, but it is due to GPS accuracy issues.
Reasons to purchase GPS watch for hiking
1. You do not need your phone
Since you will be hiking outdoors, it would be inappropriate to hold your phone. Carrying around a bulky phone can be distracting for hikers.
When you carry your phone, you can listen to music and this could be a safety hazard due to not being aware of the surroundings. It also meant a decline in your hiking performance.
You could get slower times due to looking down at the screen of your phone. Having a GPS watch is suitable for holding when hiking. GPS watches work like normal watches. The GPS watch wraps around and straps to your wrist meaning to record all the important data without hassle.
Some GPS watches for hiking can allow you to download and listen to podcasts or music. You can purchase wireless earphones, having to hear your music in a nice GPS hiking watch is a game-changer.
2. Track your daily activities
Your GPS hiking watch can be used outside of hiking. Wear it on your wrist during day-to-day activities. Record how much physical activity you are doing in 24-hours. You will be aware of how much and how long your move and if you need to adjust your lifestyle for better health.
The benefits of doing active lifestyle are significantly life-changing. Being daily active means to have a lower blood cholesterol level, a lowered risk of type 2 diabetes and cancer, a lowered risk of a heart attack, having stronger muscles and bones, and improving mood.
3. Track the heart rate
Many GPS hiking watches offer built-in heart rate monitoring or known as the optical heart rate. Measuring your heart rate can be effective using this feature.
Monitoring how effective the body is at pumping blood when hiking on hills or long stretches of road, can be essential for altering and creating training plans. The rate is measured by the number of times the heart beats per minute. When you stop hiking or walking, the heart will beat lower compared to when you are in a hiking session.
As your heart strengthens and you become fitter, your heartbeats are fewer times per minute. When you are active, the heart will be stronger and becomes more efficient at pumping blood.
Having a GPS hiking watch that can gauge your heart rate with accuracy means you can track the trajectory of your training.
4. Offer advice on recovery
Some GPS watches for hiking offer post-hike advice on how long the body will take to recover. It is important when you are training for trying to condition the body to a specific level of fitness.
Watches like the Polar offer quick post-hike recommendations of how long you should rest before hiking again. This is an excellent tool to avoid over-training and minor injuries.
5. Some models are suitable for triathletes
If you like to swim, run, and cycling, a GPS watch for hiking is all triathlon-friendly and is waterproof. These watches have training modes for swimming, cycling, and running, meaning you can get as many advantages as possible with your GPS watch for hiking. If you are not a swimmer or a cyclist, getting a GPS watch with these features might suggest you to these disciplines later on.
You may feel the waterproof and cycle features are going to waste, so it will encourage you to try other sports.
6. The style
The style that you wear is vital to boosting your self-esteem and confidence. Style helps you to express yourselves as human being, reflect your personality, and present yourselves in public. Style is important to humans.
Wearing a GPS watch for hiking can be an integral part of your style. They are a good accessory to invest in.
Watches for hiking may look sporty, funky, cool, and give users a premium look and feel.
7. Records a bunch of data
These GPS watches they are designed to record data on your hikes. There are different sets of data and they are useful.
They can record how far you hike, speed, heart rate, elevation, and location. Once the data is recorded, you can access them easily using the watch screen or by connecting to an app.
List of 10 best GPS watch for hiking reviews
1. Garmin Instinct GPS Watch
The Garmin Instinct GPS Watch has a lot of features including solar charging that will extend the battery life for longer adventure activities.
Other features of this Garmin Instinct GPS Watch are navigation course, TrackBack, elevation data, uploading of GPX routes, and storm alerts. The TrackBack will allow you to follow waypoints back to your starting location.
It is a GPS navigation watch and one of the best outdoor watch.
Other outstanding features is heart rate monitor on board with a pulse oximeter to help your training and trekking at altitude and should be good enough for your big treks.
You can view your smartphone notifications also. You have a smartwatch mode with a battery life of twenty-four days to up to fifty days with normal exposure to sunlight.
This Garmin Instinct GPS Watch has added power-saving modes to deliver an unlimited use of the basic watch mode. While in GPS mode, the battery-life can go thirty hours to up to seventy hours when you switch to the UltraTrac battery saver mode. You can also add the battery life with a regular solar charging.
This Garmin Instinct GPS Watch provides Camo, Tactical, and Surf versions for some added tracking support. The Garmin Instinct Solar should give sufficient features to make it an excellent outdoor GPS watch companion. It can also be used as a mountaineering watch.
- Access multiple global navigation satellite systems (GPS, GLONASS and Galileo)
- Body battery energy motor
- Stress tracking
- Pulse ox
- Wrist based heart rate
- Sports apps
- Solar battery
- Power manager
2. Polar Grit X – Polar GPS Watch
The Grit X – Polar GPS Watch is the first outdoor GPS watch from Polar, that offers excellent and at a competitive price. Because you need outdoor GPS watches that require good battery life, this Polar GPS Watch can provide forty hours of full GPS tracking. You can even get an extended to up to one-hundred hours using its power-saving mode.
Since this Polar GPS Watch is crafted to focus on recovery and endurance, the FuelWise feature can provide you with planning your adventure. You can set the Polar GPS Watch plan your time to eat, how much you should eat, and remind you on the go.
On recovery matter, the Polar GPS Watch provides sleep tracking with accuracy, running stats, and VO2 Max. It is a major feature set with the 10-LED array heart rate monitor.
One major part of this Polar GPS Watch is navigation, work out by a tie-in with navigation app Komoot with added a lot of useful detail. You can also utilize the Hillsplitter feature that tracks your descents and ascents. It will display whether you are losing time on the slopes.
On price, this Polar GPS Watch is highly recommended and the GPS watch can test the limits of your endurance with sports science. It is a GPS navigation watch and one of the best outdoor watch.
- U. S. Military standard 810G
- Passed for extreme temperatures, drop, humidity and water resistance
- Built-in GPS
- Automatically detected uphill and downhill stats
- FuelWise fueling assistant
- Plan multi-day routes
- 10-LED array heart rate monitor
3. Coros Vertix
This Coros Vertix is an outdoor GPS watch that is an impressive multisport watch. The Coros Vertix has a 48mm size in diameter that includes some touchscreen functionality with many features.
If you are on a trail running and hiking adventure, the Coros Vertix covers the basics in terms of satellite system support and dedicated modes. You can build your own GPX routes and import GPX routes.
When you are reaching high altitude, you can utilize the pulse oximeter to keep you safe exploring and can monitor your heart rate. The GPS watch for hiking also features notification support.
You can rely on its battery life that can excel to forty-five days in regular use, sixty hours in full GPS-mode, and one-hundred and fifty hours in UltraMax mode. The Coros Vertix really can hold up for weeks.
The value of the big battery life, the solid tracking, and apps like Strava, the Coros Vertix worth the price. It can also be used as a mountaineering watch.
- 150-meter waterproof rating
- 150 hours in UltraMax GPS mode
- Unparalleled battery life with 45 days of regular use
- Titanium bezel with high-grade fiber watch body
- Sapphire glass
- Altitude acclimatization assistance
4. Casio Pro Trek – Outdoor GPS Watch
The Casio Pro Trek WSD-F30 has a monochrome face that by pressing a button can run the color map app. The Casio Pro Trek has optimal management of battery power that lets you reduce power consumption even during you check your current location on the map.
Casio Pro Trek was crafted as a fully functional outdoor GPS watch using the WearOS by Google platform. It will notify you of your phone while connected via Bluetooth.
Other notifications like email or apps will be delivered while connected to WIFI. You can also access many different apps inside the Google Play Store as necessary.
The Casio Pro Trek is developed for its durability by using military standards which are set by the US Department of Defense. Casio Pro Trek can operate in widely varied environments that offer 50m water resistance in the rain on a hike or surfing.
There is a Location Memory where you can log location on the map and track your route. The great thing about this Location Memory is that you can run with a wide variety of icons. Another way is to mark locations with voice memos by utilizing a built-in microphone.
If you get stuck in the dark during hiking, sunset or sunrise data can be utilized to help you out on the trails. If you are trying to fish or surf, you can utilize the tide information that is available to determine the best time to do the surfing or fishing.
The Casio Pro Trek has a dual display mode that can be used more of its outdoor watch features without sacrificing the battery life in the process. Other features including a host of sensors and baked-in apps.
You can measure everything from altitude to air pressure. You can take advantage of tie-ins with Viewranger as well as any other outdoor apps as necessary. It can be used as a mountaineering watch.
The Casio Pro Trek watch comes with two map apps: Mapbox and Google Maps. To open the app all you have to do is to press the top button on the watch.
By using Google Maps or Mapbox, you can see multiple different map views to meet your requirements. With these maps, you can see a satellite view of the terrain or a street-level map.
After you open the map and point to a certain location, you can download maps of up to fifty kilometers via your phone connection. This feature is really helpful to hikers because the majority of places for hikers have very minimal data signals.
- Wear OS by Google
- OLED (High Visibility)
- New Timepiece Mode
- 50 meter Water Resistant
- Digital Compass
- Activity Tracker
- Dual Layer LCD Structure
- Original Watch Face
- Casio Moment Setter App
- Case Diameter: 60.5 mm
- Environmental Durability MIL-STD-810G
- Low-temperature resistance (-10 °C)
5. Garmin Quatix 6 – Outdoor GPS Watch
The Garmin Quatix 6 is connected to some nautical data and is built for the water as well as other outdoor activities. If you are going for a boat ride, you can download up-to-date tide data via your smartphone.
You can get boat data such as wind data, temperature, depth, and speed when pairing to Garmin Chartplotters. You can control the onboard entertainment system, have an autopilot control, and waypoint marking.
The Garmin Quatix 6 already has preloaded activity profiles for your sports such as golf, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. Another feature is the preloaded compass, barometric altimeter, topographic maps, ski maps, and multi-GNSS support. It is a watch with a compass.
There’s a fish log, competition timer, tack assist, and a race countdown timer in the watch. The Garmin Quatix 6 has the addition of Garmin’s Power Glass display tech and solar charging powers to boost battery life while out hiking or at sea. Solar charging can provide you up to twenty-four days in smartwatch mode with normal exposure to the sun.
It comes with a titanium band and is waterproof up to 100 meters, to make sure you can swim.
- Connects with compatible Garmin chart plotters and other devices
- Autopilot control
- Remote waypoint marking
- Data streaming
- Sail racing assistance
- Built-in FUSION-Link Lite app controls
- Connected StereoActive products
- ANT enabled stereo models (RA70/BB100)
- Includes Elevate wrist-based heart rate
- Smart notifications
- Automatic uploads to Garmin
- Connect online fitness community
- Personalization through free watch faces and apps
- Battery performance: up to 2 weeks
- Up to 24 hours in GPS mode
- 60 hours in UltraTrac battery saver mode
6. Suunto Traverse Alpha
The Suunto Traverse Alpha is a great outdoor watch for hikers. With its GLONASS/GPS navigation, you can track your altitude, speed, and distance while you are fishing or hiking.
Before going on a hiking adventure, you can plan your routes and previews on the watch. It is supported by the topographic maps via Suunto’s Movescount app.
You have the ability to know storm alarm alerts and predict weather changes using the Barometric Trend, so you know when it is time to search for shelter. You will be informed about the sunset and sunrise times.
The Suunto Traverse Alpha has up to one-hundred hours of battery life. You can have an update of a push notification, texts, incoming calls, and GPS timekeeping from your Smartphone that is connected to the Suunto Traverse Alpha.
If you are planning a hiking adventure during the night, you can utilize the flashlight mode to allows the backlight as a torch for those late-night toilet calls. It is a GPS navigation watch and one of the best outdoor watches. It can also be used as a mountaineering watch.
- GPS and GLONASS for route and POI navigation
- Real-time breadcrumb view of your recorded route
- Tracking for altitude, distance, and speed
- Discover new routes with heatmaps on Suunto Movescount and Suunto Movescount App
- 100 meter or 330 feet water-resistant
- Weather trend and storm alarm
- Sunrise-sunset times
- A backlight in flashlight mode
- GPS time update
- Vibration alarm
- Monthly, weekly, and daily activity tracking of steps and calories
- Mobile notifications
7. Amazfit T-Rex
This Amazfit’s T-Rex is an outdoor GPS watch or sports watch with 47mm diameter with military-grade toughness standards and is water-resistant to fifty meters.
You will get 14 tracked sports and will get about twenty hours of GPS tracking. The Amazfit is a military standard watch with 12 military certificates.
You do not have to worry about rough conditions while hiking, because of its rugged exteriors. The outdoor GPS watch can withstand 240 hours of damp heat, extreme cold (-40 F), and extremely hot weather (+150 Fahrenheit).
The battery life is up to 20 hours with a 28nm Sony GPS chip maintain low power consumption with continuous GPS usage for 40 hours.
It comes with 1. 3” AMOLED screen and 50 meters water-resistant body. There is also the VO2 Max metrics come from Firstbeat for advanced analytics.
- Passed 12 military grade certifications
- Robustness and resistance to harsh environments.
- A longer battery life of up to 20 hours on a single charge with continuous GPS
- 20 days battery life with daily use
- 1.3” AMOLED color screen which supports always-on display
- A high-end Sony GPS chip
- Built-in highly precise dual-satellite positioning system
- Signal efficiency has been significantly increased
- 14 built-in professional sports modes
- Rated waterproof to 5ATM (50-meters)
- Huami’s self-developed BioTracker PPG Bio-Tracking Optical Sensor, to monitor heart rate 24 hours a day with precision
8. Garmin Fenix 6 Pro
The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro is one of the best quality outdoor GPS watches on the market today. The Garmin Fenix 6 is crafted for tough built with a long-life battery, delivers mapping and GPX waypoint functionality.
You can utilize the tracking of everything from hiking, trail running, and XC skiing. You can monitor your heart rate, from the VO2 Max stats for your, with recovery data and Training Effect. It is one of the best skiing watches.
Before you start your hiking activities, you can upload GPX routes from third-party apps like Strava or Connect app. You get a lot of data from your surrounding and hiking adventure.
The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro uses topographic maps to provide proper navigation, such as finding places of interest. With the UltraTrac mode, the Garmin Fenix 6 provides forty-two hours of GPS tracking. This feature is a big plus for multi-day runners or hikers.
If you switch to Expedition mode, the battery life could stay for weeks without charging. A new solar edition will get you extra days.
- 1.3” sunlight-readable display with bezels in stainless steel, titanium or diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating
- Enhanced estimated wrist heart rate
- Pulse Ox to support advanced sleep monitoring
- Altitude acclimation monitoring at high elevations
- Advanced training features
- PacePro for grade-adjusted pace guidance
- Adjusted VO2 max and training status estimates
- Preloaded Topo maps
- Ski maps for over 2,000 worldwide ski resorts
- Multiple global navigation satellite system (GPS, GLONASS and Galileo)
- Built-in sensors for 3-axis compass, gyroscope and barometric altimeter
- Support for Garmin Pay contactless payments
- 14-days battery performance in smartwatch mode
- Up to 10 hours in GPS and music mode of battery life
- 28 days in expedition GPS activity mode
- Up to 48 days in battery saver watch mode
9. Garmin Forerunner 245 Music
This Garmin Forerunner 254 Music is GPS running smartwatch with music that can provide better data for your hiking adventure. While hiking, you can enjoy your favorite music using its sync music streaming services, such as Spotify.
You can track your current hiking status to indicate performance monitoring features. The Garmin Forerunner 254 Music provides advanced running or walking dynamics, including vertical ratio, stride length, and ground contact time balance.
The battery life is up to seven days in smartwatch mode, and while playing music the battery life is up to 6 hours in GPS mode.
- Sync with music streaming services
- Evaluates current training status
- Performance monitoring features
- Adaptive training plans from Garmin Coach
- Create custom workouts on the Garmin Connect™ online fitness community
- Provides advanced running dynamics
- Ground contact time balance
- Stride length
- Vertical ratio
- Safety and tracking features
- Incident detection
- Up to 7 days in smartwatch mode of battery life
- Up to 6 hours in GPS mode with music
10. Suunto 9 – Best GPS Watch
With the Suunto 9 GPS watch, you can go outdoor doing a variety of sports. You can submerge the Suunto 9 GPS watch to up to 100 meters.
The Suunto 9 comes with an optical heart rate monitor on board and GLONASS/GPS. Suunto 9 is a combination of barometric and GPS data to improve the accuracy of altitude data. This technology is called FusedAlti technology.
You can see sunset or sunrise times on the Suunto 9 watch display. When the air pressure is dropping, the Suunto 9 will alert you that there will be a storm coming.
You can plant your hiking or running routes using the route navigation provided by the Suunto 9 watch to help you get to the destination according to plan safely and with the best route with accuracy.
This Suunto 9 watch can track over eighty sports with swimming, hiking, and running. The battery life is twenty hours to one-hundred twenty hours with intelligent battery mode on board. It can also be used as a mountaineering watch.
- A durable multisport GPS watch
- 80 sports modes
- The barometer for accurate altitude info
- Wrist heart rate monitor
- Made for training, racing and extreme adventures
- Supports up to 120 hours of continuous exercise tracking
- Water-resistant to 100 meters
- For running, hiking, and cycling
- Sports apps and services from the Suunto app
- Ultra-durable materials
- Track your sports, daily activity, and sleep
10 Best GPS watch for hiking comparison chart
|Garmin Instinct GPS Watch||GPS and hiking watch||100 meter||1-year|
|Polar Grit X – Polar GPS Watch||GPS watch||100 meter||2-year|
|Coros Vertix||Hiking watch||150 meter||2-year|
|Casio Pro Trek – Outdoor GPS Watch||Watch with compass||50 meter||1-year|
|Garmin Quatix 6 – Hiking Watch Outdoor GPS Watch||Hiking watch||10 ATM||2-year|
|Suunto Traverse Alpha Hiking Watch||Hiking watch||100 meter||1-year|
|Amazfit T-Rex Durable Watches||Durable watch||50 meter||1-year|
|Garmin Fenix 6 Pro||Digital watches with compass||100 meter||1-year|
|Garmin Forerunner 245 Music||Hiking watches||5 ATM||1-year|
|Suunto 9||Hiking watches||100 meter||1-year|
GPS watch maintenance
1. The band
The band on your GPS watch should be worn sometimes in the future. It can move back and forth on your wrist. This might be the right time to replace the band.
GPS watches that support a wrist-based heart rate sensor has a comfortable fit during activity. Wear the band two finger-widths above your wrist. Keep in mind to loosen the band after a workout.
2. Clean and dry
To clean your GPS watch, rinse it thoroughly with clean and cool water. Let it dry.
After exposure to your sweat or water or showering, you need to let the watch dry before use. Skin irritation may occur after prolonged exposure to moisture or liquid.
3. Take it off
After long-term wear, your skin needs a break. Switch up the left wrist to the right wrist. This practice will help prevent skin irritation.
4. Avoid skin irritation
To preserve your GPS watch’s look, and prevent skin irritation, limit the exposure to the following chemicals, including insect repellents, moisturizing creams, lotions, oils, perfumes, sanitizers, soaps, and sunscreens.
Common features of GPS watch for hiking
GPS is a satellite-based navigation system operated and owned by the United States. The GPS is not the only satellite navigation technology in operation. A lot of watches also support other satellite systems such as GLONASS (Russia) or Galileo system (Europe).
There is a receiver inside the watch that can connect to all or one of these satellite systems. If there is a strong signal, GPS can be accurate down to 10-feet or 3-meters. Hiking deep in a ravine and/or a thick forest canopy can be difficult to connect to GPS.
Having a strong GPS signal is essential for orienteering and tracking your direction in real-time during hiking. You can see the trail you are on and where you want to go. The GPS is useful for real-time data and can be used to record the position data. This GPS data consist of useful information including how long you hike, the distance, and the elevation change. You can download the data and analyze them on your computer.
The altimeter is for measuring the altitude as you hike. The elevation helps you locate exactly your location on a map. Some models have a barometric altimeter for measuring atmospheric pressure. Your position is high when the atmospheric pressure is low. The barometric altimeter can measure -2,000-feet to 30,000-feet. The accuracy is within 50 feet.
A thermometer inside a GPS watch for hiking will measure the outside temperature. The problem is, it can be inaccurate sometimes. The sensor may read the temperature of the wrist or body instead of the outside temperature.
4. Music and sync
Some hiking watch models can sync with event notifications, sunrise or sunset times, and weather data. Music is a common feature on some hiking watch models. You are enabled to download your tunes onto your watch and use Bluetooth to connect to your earphones or headphones.
5. The heart-rate monitor
Commonly, GPS watches come with a heart rate monitor to tracks your heart rate. A higher heart rate means you are working tougher and need to rest. Some hikers will have a closer look at their heart rate so they can adjust by walking at a low exertion level. This data will notify them to walk slower. A heart rate spike may be a sign that you are beginning to get sick.
GPS watches have a digital compass to provide general sense of direction. Most watch will have a 3D compass. The compass can help hikers walk according to a direction or bearing.
- Best watches with barometers – SUUNTO Core Outdoor Watch w/Altimeter, Barometer & Compass
- Altimeter compass watch – Casio Men’s PAG240T Pathfinder Triple-Sensor Stainless Steel Watch
- Best compass watch – Casio Men’s Pathfinder Triple Sensor Multi-Function Sport Watch
- Digital watches with a compass – G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400
- Best compass with elevation watch – Coros Apex Premium Multisport GPS Watch with Heart Rate Monitor
- High gear watches – Fossil Men’s Gen 4 Explorist HR Stainless Steel Touchscreen Smartwatch with Heart Rate