Best GPS Watch for Hiking: Durable smartwatches for Hikers

(Last Updated On: July 20, 2019)

After asking many hiking lovers and spending hours looking at a large selection of smartwatches that will suit their needs, we concluded that the Garmin Tactix Bravo stands as the best GPS watch for hiking.

We chose this watch because it offers a high degree of water resistance and durability. It also has a fantastic battery life coupled with accurate GPS.

Overall, the brand offers a timepiece that will meet the needs of hikers and other outdoorsmen.

Best GPS Watch for Hiking

Are you one of those looking for the best GPS watch for hiking? Then you don’t have to worry because in this article we’ve fantastic collections for you.

As a hiker, you will agree with us that a good hiking watch without enhanced GPS seems incomplete. Yes, it does, because you surely won’t want to get lost in the wilderness without an easy way out. Hence, it will be advisable to hold onto the best GPS watch for hiking to help keep track of your route and navigate any environment without hassles.

However, don’t just buy an outdoor watch because of the GPS function only. You should also consider essential features which include heart rate monitor, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, compass, and barometer. A good GPS watch with these added features will not only help you with navigation but also keep your health in check. What’s more,  it will help you plan your day and make hiking more fun.

Surely, a good hiking GPS watch should also be able to withstand tough terrain, knocks, and fall without breaking. Hence, it’s best to look out for the durability and sturdiness of the watch.

With all this being said, it is certain hiking lovers will want a watch with those qualities mentioned above. That’s why we’ve carried out thorough research for you and put together a sincere list of the best GPS watches for hiking to make your purchase a lot easier.

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus

 

For outdoorsmen looking for the best GPS watch for hiking, the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus is a great fit. This rugged and well-designed watch offers an impressive selection of features including color mapping and inbuilt storage for your music files.

Customizable Watch Face and Bracelet

Do you quickly get bored seeing the same watch face on your GPS smartwatch? Fortunately, the Fenix 5 Plus supports an online store where you can download attractive watch faces. You can also download data fields and widgets from this store.

Apart from the display, you can swap its original band to either leather or silicone. You can purchase a new strap and attach it to the watch’s lugs without hassles.

Top Class Battery Life

If you plan on taking 2 days hiking trip with this watch on your arm, there’s no need to take your charger along. This fact is based on the timepieces ability to run for 42 hours in GPS mode.

Sturdy and Easy to Read Display

This smartwatch sports a bright, high-resolution display that is readable in direct sunlight. For night-time use, you can see the read the screen because of its LED backlighting. A piece of high strength domed sapphire crystal covers the watch face.

Dedicated Storage for Music Files

Fenix plus 5 has storage that supports as much as 500 songs which you can play during your hiking activities. You can also pair Bluetooth earphones to the watch for a better listening experience. The timepiece also supports Music streaming from selected sites.

Opinion and Drawbacks

When it comes to hiking watches, the Fenix 5 Plus can rival any watch on the market. After all, it has exciting features such as internal storage for your music files and an incredible battery. But since it disconnects easily from iPhones, you might need to check out other options.

Suunto Traverse Alpha

 

Although it has fantastic features for hunting and fishing, the Suunto Traverse Alpha stands as an excellent tool for all outdoor activities, including hiking. It even has features that can accommodate everyday use. As expected from a hiking GPS smartwatch, the Suunto Traverse Alpha can withstand extreme environments while performing functions that will assist you during your camping trips.

Portable Design

This smartwatch is a round-faced timepiece with a bulky build. However, the Traverse Alpha is lightweight and comfortable enough to wear.

The face is protected with scratch-resistant sapphire glass while a stainless steel bezel surrounds the screen. Furthermore, a silicon/nylon strap secures the watch on your wrist. Looking at these features, you will discover that this timepiece is a sturdy device, which makes it one of the best watches for hiking. For added durability, the watch is also water-resistant to a maximum a depth of 100m.

Impressive Battery Life

The battery life on this device depends on how you use the watch. The battery can last for 14 days with the GPS off while with the GPS activated mode offers a battery life 100 hours.

You can even know when the rechargeable battery is low via a blinking battery icon on the watch face. With a USB compatible wall charger, you can fully recharge the cell within a few hours.

GPS Functionality

With its GPS features, you can avoid getting lost as it keeps track of your past/ current locations. The function also comes in handy during fishing or hunting because it helps users choose the best locations for chasing their prey.

Dependable Activity Tracker

This smartwatch can measure your daily steps and calories burned during the day. You can easily view this on the display screen.

Opinions and Drawback

Overall, the watch is a worthy investment because it has a good battery life, easy to charge, and very durable. However, there is no way to edit the watch settings without an internet connection.

Click here to find our comparison of the Suunto Traverse Alpha with the Garmin Fenix 5.

Garmin Tactix Bravo

 

If you are looking for the best GPS watch for hiking, then you should try out the Garmin Tactix Bravo. This watch is built with rugged and durable materials, and it comes with a price that makes it an affordable GPS watch for hiking. Add this watch to your hiking gear, and you have yourself an accurate GPS timepiece that will match any activity and style.

Durability You Can Trust

The Garmin Tactix Bravo comes with parts that can withstand knocks and scratches encountered during outdoor activities. First, it has a bezel with a black diamond coating for protection against scratches. It also has a screwed case back, and buttons made from black PVD coated stainless steel.

A sturdy black nylon strap secures the watch on your wrist. It is sturdy enough to resist wear and tear. The strap is also comfortable to wear on your wrist.

Readable Watch Face

As expected from one of the best GPS watches for hiking and outdoors, this item has a face that is uncluttered and protected by shatter-proof sapphire crystal. This part of the watch consists of a Garmin Chroma Display which allows you to use the smartwatch in sunlight and low light environments. You can even read the information on the screen with a pair of night-vision goggles.

Water Resistance

One of the exciting features of this item is its water resistance. From the caseback to its strap, this watch can withstand moisture at even depths of up to 100 meters. With such specs, the smartwatch is ideal for use during a rainstorm or light swimming.

Extended Battery Life

A rechargeable battery powers this durable GPS watch for hiking. When fully charged, the timepiece can run up to 3 weeks in smartwatch mode, 20 hours in GPS mode and 50 hours in Ultra Trac battery saver. If you consider these features, there is no need to worry about a recharge, especially in remote locations without power.

Opinion and Drawbacks

The Garmin Tactix Bravo is a watch that is worth adding to your camping list as it is durable and affordable. It’s also lightweight and promises a superb battery life. However, its compass and GPS sensors provide inaccurate readings after a short period.

Suunto Ambit3 Peak

 

The Suunto Ambit3 Peak has features that can rival the function found on even the best outdoor watches for hiking. Apart from offering essential timekeeping, the watch tracks your movements and gives accurate readings. Overall, the product can be seen as the best cheap GPS watch for hiking.

Accurate Readings

The watch has a barometer that can predict potential weather changes and accurately measure altitudes at any location. With the former function, you can quickly seek shelter or set up camp before a storm hits. The watch also keeps track of sunsets and sunrise so you will know the hours of daylight left.

Tough Build

Since this item is an outdoor watch, it is built to withstand numerous uses under harsh conditions. First, it has an elastomer band that can retain its shape after exposure to extreme cold or higher temperatures. Next, a robust polyamide case houses its working parts while a piece of scratch-resistant crystal covers its display.

Comfortable to Wear

Most durable watches are bulky and uncomfortable; however, this timepiece does not follow this trend. Fortunately, its wrist strap is breathable and flexible while the watch itself is light. Looking at such features, you can wear this product for an extended period without feeling any pressure on your arm.

Impressive Connectivity

You can pair your smartphone with this timepiece, thereby allowing you to sync your activities quickly. The option also allows you to receive text and calls via your watch and the Suunto in-built Movescount.

Opinion and Drawbacks

Concerning this watch, you will discover that it has tons of features and a build that will rival most flagship watches. But it has some downsides that might make you consider other options. First, it does not with a crisp display, while its battery cannot endure long hours without a recharge.

Amazfit Stratos

 

Here comes one of the most affordable GPS watch for hiking on our list. Amazfit Stratos black smartwatch is a multisport and triathlon GPS watch that comes at an affordable price. Although it falls within a low budget, it has features that can compete with flagship devices that perform similar functions.

Sleek Design

Out of the box, the watch has an attractive look that consists of a ceramic bezel, carbon fiber case, and a robust touch screen display. It also comes with a durable silicone strap which can be replaced with a bracelet of your choice. These features make the watch an excellent item for outdoor trips or everyday use.

Always On Display

The timepiece has an always-on display which you can read in direct sunlight or dark environments. Here, protection is offered by 2.5D Corning Gorilla glass, so there is no need to worry about scratches.

Activity Monitoring

One of the exciting highlights of this product is its collection of sensors. This highlight includes a heart rate monitor, pedometer, and compass, which can be used to track all aspects of your daily fitness. Such features will appeal to people who wish to stay motivated during physical activities.

Dependable Connectivity

The watch also supports WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0, which helps you receive notifications for emails, text messages, phone calls, and social media apps. This feature helps you stay updated even if your phone is in your pocket or close distance.

Opinion and Drawbacks

The Stratos is a high-quality watch designed with athletes in mind. However, it takes it a step further with adding a compass and GPS, which will interest any outdoorsman. It also has a design that ensures comfort and ease of use.

However, the battery does not last for a long time while the watch itself does not have a setting for the font or screen.

Suunto 9 GPS Watch

 

Suunto 9 is a multisport GPS timepiece designed for hikers who need the best watch on the field. It’s smart reminders, and extended battery life enables this smartwatch to run for long periods. In summary, the Suunto 9 is made to endure the harshest conditions and training.

Great Battery Life

One of the exciting features of this product is its rechargeable battery that has a maximum life of 14 days. But if the mobile notifications and 24/7 activity trackers are ON, it lasts for seven days while in training mode the watch runs for at least 25 hours. When the battery becomes low, an integrated smart system helps conserve the remaining energy.

Sturdy Build for Tough Conditions

Durability is one of the essential things of any Suunto product. For instance, the watch has a case built from glass fiber reinforced polyamide and a stainless steel bezel. It also uses a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal to protect its touch display.

Water Resistance

The Suunto 9 promises a water resistance at a maximum depth of 100m. With this feature in mind, you can use the watch for light swimming or hiking in a thunderstorm.

Comfortable Bracelet

A 24mm silicone bracelet holds the watch against your wrist. With this bracelet, you can wear the watch on long hiking trips without any discomfort to your wrist.

Opinion and Drawbacks

The battery life and smart management technology presents Suunto 9 as one of the best GPS watches for hiking and running. But its software has bugs that might make the watch perform less than expected.

Wrap Up

All timepieces mentioned in this article are the best GPS watches for hiking that you can find in any store. Ultimately, the best watch for you will depend on your specific needs.

If you want an affordable smartwatch that comes with limited functions that can compete with expensive models, you should go for the Amazfit Stratos.  For those looking a smartwatch that has a reliable app, the Suunto Ambit3 Peak serves as the best option.

But if you are willing to spend extra cash on a rugged watch that comes with excellent features, then your best bet is the Garmin Fenix 5 plus.

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