GPS watches are vastly used by people who love adventure trekking, hiking and trail running. Most of the outdoor sports are largely complemented by smartwatches as they also help in keeping you fit and healthy.[toc]
The list of best GPS watches for hiking starts with Garmin, Suunto and Polar as these three companies have enhanced exponentially in this field. Also, there are some new companies like Coros that are making the customers think before blindly choosing the traditional Garmin watches.
For hiking specifically, we were blown away by the number of products that are currently available in the market. In such a huge variety, it is almost impossible to pick the best devices. Therefore, we recommend you complete your research before opting for any product.
There are many devices available in the name of the best GPS watches for hiking. However, you cannot guarantee top-notch performance from them.
Manufacturers around the globe try their best to present a suitable device in terms of hiking, fitness tracking and other important specifications. Still, there are many intricate differences between these GPS watches that require a lot of time to understand.
Clearing such differences and discussing core features, we’re here with the list of top best GPS watches for hiking. All of these watches are from top companies and some of them are relatively newer to the market. Let’s take a look at the best GPS watches for hiking.
Top 7 Best GPS Watches for HikingPrice: $388.99 USD
The Garmin Instinct is our first product on the list of best GPS watches for hiking. It comes with almost the same features as Fenix 6 and is much more affordable. Garmin is one of the top-rated companies when we talk about GPS watches and this particular model is quite suitable for people that love hiking.
One of the main attractions of this device is solar charging that gives a boost to your overall battery life and allows you to make the most out of your outdoor adventures.
There are no proper mapping features in this GPS watch however; it still gives you navigation, uploading of GPX routes, elevation data, storm alerts and much more.
This best GPS watch gives you a perfect heart-rate monitor that helps you out in trekking and also adds a pulse oximeter to further aid your trek and enables you to train at altitude.
There are some notable exemptions in this device such as the absence of contactless payments and an integrated music player. However, you’d still get your smartphone notifications on this device.
The battery life is expected to last for up to 24 days in smartwatch mode when you’re working indoors. With regular exposure to sunlight, you can expect its magnificent battery to last for more than 50 days.
You’d get unlimited use of basic watch mode with the added power-saving modes introduced by Garmin. The GPS mode gives you a battery life of at least 30 hours and it rises up to 70 hours in UltraTrac battery saver mode.
In the case of regular solar charging, you’d be getting a decent boost to your battery. If you’re looking for some additional tracking support, you can opt for Surf, Tactical and Camo versions of the Garmin Instinct.
Precisely, the Instinct Solar is quite capable to be added in this esteemed list of best GPS watches for hiking. Therefore, we’d definitely recommend this to all the customers looking to buy a decent GPS watch for outdoor training, running and hiking.
• Solar charging
• Great battery life
• Heart rate monitor
• Wireless connectivity
• Smartphone notifications
• No built-in music player
• No contactless payments
Sports personalities and other regular athletes sometimes need a GPS watch that comes with rugged nature. A lot of customers are habitual to using their smartwatches roughly.
For all such buyers and athletes, the T-Rex Pro builds on the sports watch and is very suitable for people that like to go rough with their gadgets.
As we’ve said before, the whole build quality of the T-Rex Pro is quite strong and it brings military toughness certificates as well. Also, the water resistance is improved from 5ATM to 10ATM making it a suitable device for swimming up to 100 meters.
This GPS watch also features an integrated GPS with wider support for satellite systems. There are approximately 100 sports modes with Zepp Health’s latest BioTracker optical sensor that offers accurate heart rate and blood oxygen measurements.
Furthermore, you’d also get a barometer in this device to measure elevation. Also, the heart rate will power the time of recovery, training load and effect insights as well that are powered by algorithms, these algorithms are popularly created by Firstbeat which is a Garmin-owned outfit. The battery life of 18 days is not as good as the first T-Rex version.
The expected GPS battery life is close to 40 hours and in heavy usage, you can expect the device to last up to 9 days. The navigation support isn’t that great as it doesn’t give you rich mapping features that are offered by the above-mentioned devices.
However, its other fitness tracking features along with great battery life are always good and enough for someone fond of hiking. We’d definitely recommend it to the majority of the fitness freaks out there looking to buy a GPS watch for hiking and running.
• BioTracker optical sensor
• Integrated GPS
• Excellent battery life
• 10ATM water resistance
• Military toughness certificates
• Navigation support is average
• No mapping features
One of the most reasonably priced outdoor watches from Polar has to be the Grit X. It is basically the first outdoor watch from Polar and it is coming with a lot of competitive and neat specifications.
The overall price range is quite affordable and the 40 hours of full GPS tracking can be extended to 100 hours using the power-saving mode. Fortitude and recovery have been some of Polar’s topmost priorities in this device.
The FuelWise feature allows you to plan your mountaineering accordingly. It also takes care of your eating habits by reminding you when you should eat and how much. The reminders are not like massive alarms and they can be missed easily.
This amazing device also keeps a track of your sleep and it mostly focuses on recovery. The running stats and VO2 Max are some of its major attractions and the 10-LED array heart-rate monitor will definitely blow you away.
If you ask us, we’d clearly say that navigation is one of the main strengths of Polar Grit X. However, navigation is also available in other GPS watches with much better control and accuracy. This is where things get interesting.
If you’re looking for useful navigation then you need a paid-for amount to get proper and useful navigation. The TOPO mapping technology from Garmin gives you a lot of useful details.
Our main focus has always been on fitness tracking, heart-rate monitoring and clear reminders. This particular GPS watch is not only suitable for hiking. It also brings you a lot of other specifications that are normally not present in standard GPS watches.
• Heart rate monitoring
• Sleep tracking
• 10-LED array heart-rate
• 40 hours of GPS tracking
• No real depth in functions like Garmin
Garmin EnduroPrice: $899.99 USD
For someone who’s extremely conscious about battery life, the Garmin Enduro is one of the best choice sports watches and it can also be used purely as a smartwatch.
It features the biggest battery life as far as GPS tracking is concerned and it also gives you a pretty classic look.
One of the biggest qualities of this Garmin Enduro is that it comes in a stainless steel frame or a lighter titanium case look and it also offers the option of an Ultrafit nylon strap. This strap helps in keeping the weight of the watch down.
The overall design of this GPS watch is made while keeping the needs of trail runners and ultra runners in mind. It has introduced a new Trail VO2 Max and rest timers for its ultra-running mode.
This particular model shares a lot of similarities with Garmin’s Fenix 6X such as the same sized 51mm case and 280×280 transflective display. The overall features are almost the same as the Fenix 6X apart from topographic mapping and a music player.
The company promises a battery life of close to 70 of GPS and it can rise up to 80 hours if you can manage its solar charging abilities. The power-saving allows the battery to last for more than two months.
It’s a cool titanium watch with a light nature and a big screen.
Overall, it catches up in performance with all the top-rated devices of the industry and we couldn’t help adding it to this list of best GPS watches for hiking.
• Beautiful light design
• Suitable for runners and trekkers
• Transflective display
• Stainless steel
• Great battery life
• No music player
• No topographic mapping
For more details of this watch: Garmin Enduro – Ultraperformance Multisport GPS Watch – 70-Days Battery TimePrice: $269.99 USD
In our humble opinion, one of the best outdoor watches for hikers is the Suunto Traverse Alpha. The design isn’t very modern and the rugged nature makes it a suitable option for people that love hiking.
The Alpha is giving you a lot of handy features such as GPS/GLONASS navigation whenever you want to go fishing, hiking or even hunting for that matter. The Suunto’s movescount app will assist you with topographic maps helping you plan your routes accordingly and enjoy the preview on your watch.
In case you’re caught outside during terrible weather conditions. The storm alerts will alert you before you get yourself into trouble. Therefore, you can move as quickly as you can to save yourself from any kind of storm or heavy rain.
The flashlight mode is extremely handy at night and it also allows the backlight to be used as a torch and it also supports the night vision goggles. For someone who’s extremely vulnerable walking at night, this Suunto Traverse Alpha can be a very suitable companion.
You can trust this particular model from Suunto for all types of running, fitness tracking and traveling. Therefore, the price range of close to $400 is quite reasonable in my opinion. However, a lot of people don’t believe in spending more than $200 on a GPS watch.
• GLONASS/GPS navigation
• Simple & compact design
• Storm alerts
• Flashlight mode
• Supports Night vision goggles
• Suunto’s Movescount app
• Topographic maps
• A little expensivePrice: Starting at $598 USD
The Fenix 6 range of Garmin is full of wonderful features and it is considered one of the best quality outdoor watches on the market. It offers the GPX waypoint functionality and mapping as well alongside a really long-lasting battery life.
The Fenix 6 is known for its greatest features and is counted among the best GPS watches from Garmin. This particular range of GPS watches from Garmin is among the finest in terms of quality and performance.
You’d also get a separate hiking mode in this device alongside XC skiing and trail running. It shows you the recovery data and training effects straightaway. The Connect app allows you to upload GPX routes
The heart rate monitor is available for all the fitness freaks and it feeds into VO2 Max stats for high-intensity activities or sports. As discussed earlier, it uses topographic maps and it adds a lot of dimension to wrist-based navigation.
The battery life of this device is another huge attraction. It offers 42 hours of GPS tracking in UltraTrac mode. It means you can spend the entire weekend without having to worry about its charging.
It is a big positive for people that run and exercise on a daily basis.
In its brilliant expedition mode, you can get weeks of charging and the new upcoming solar edition will allow you to get a couple of extra days in smartwatch mode.
• Connect app
• Decent battery life
• Hiking mode
• Heart rate monitor
• Topographic maps
• A little expensivePrice: $599.99 USD
Compared to the aforementioned companies, Coros is a bit of an unknown brand. Despite people not knowing a lot about them, they’ve launched a couple of extremely impressive GPS watches in a short space of time. The Coros watches are multisport outdoor watches and the Coros Vertix is perhaps one of their finest productions.
If we talk about the overall design and looks, the Coros Vertix seems to be having a lot of similarities with that of Garmin’s Fenix series. However, it brings touchscreen function for some features that is something you wouldn’t find in Garmin’s Fenix series.
Satellite support system:
The incredible satellite support system easily covers the basis of the device as far as tracking is concerned.
There are separate modes for hiking and trail running. One of the main attractions of this GPS watch is its ability to import GPX routes or build your own.
The overall experience of this watch is not extraordinary but very basic.
The heart rate monitor is very reliable and it also gives you a pulse oximeter to keep you safe while exploring high mountains.
The smartwatch features are also very basic with notification support but it lacks a music player or payment features. The biggest selling point of this device is perhaps its great battery life that gives you almost 45 days in regular use.
The GPS mode will give you around 60 hours and you can expect a battery life of around 150 hours in UltraMax mode. This incredible piece can hold up for weeks in standby mode and these numbers are pretty challenging for companies like Garmin and Polar.
• Excellent battery life
• Import GPS routes
• Pulse oximeter
• Suitable for hiking
• Touchscreen functionality for some features
• Basic smartwatch features
• No music
Conclusion: Best GPS watch for hiking
We’re done with our list of the top 7 best GPS watches for hiking. We’ve tried our best to present products that are worth buying and are suitable for hiking. As expected, we’ve added devices from some top-rated companies and all of them are quite capable of becoming your companion while hiking.
As far as our top 3 picks are concerned, it was almost impossible for us to name any three devices out of the above-mentioned seven products. Still, for the easiness and comfort of our respected audience, we’ve picked the top 3 devices based on our little knowledge.
The Garmin Fenix 6 is our top product in this list of best GPS watches for hiking. It has many amazing features including a heart rate monitor, topographic maps and a hiking mode separately. Our second pick out of this list would be Coros Vertix.
Despite a lot of challenges, this multisport watch has earned a lot of positive reviews and its ability to import GPX routes stands out for us. Our third and last pick would be Garmin Enduro that features the biggest battery as far as GPS tracking is concerned. The stainless steel design is also very attractive in the Enduro.
So that was the list guys, write it down in the comments below if you’ve any questions or suggestions. We thoroughly try to read your comments and we’d definitely act upon your valuable recommendations. See you soon in our next analytical guide. Until then, goodbye and good luck with whatever you choose.