Hiking is one of the most rewarding pastimes you can treat yourself too. It’s a great way to explore your local area, to discover new places, to dedicate time to your friends and family to help form connections, and to help improve your wellbeing while keeping yourself fit and healthy!
However, while it’s a lot of fun to get lost in the Great Outdoors, it’s essential to make sure you are home in time for dinner or hiking the safer routes to avoid any dangerous areas. Thanks to modern technology, the best way to do this are by using a GPS watch, and today, we’re going to share with you the best.
Below is our complete guide to the very best GPS watches that are available right now, followed by our complete buying guide, so you’re able to choose which one is right for you and which features you need to be looking out for!
View The Best GPS Watches for Hiking Below
1. Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit
Starting off our list, we’ve chosen a classic. If you know anything about GPS navigation, you’ll know that Garmin is one of the top brands known throughout the world for everything they’ve given to the GPS industry.
With this specific model, the Forerunner 935, you’ll be able to treat yourself to one of the most premium experiences. Used for hiking, running, marathons, and all kinds of trekking, this lightweight sports watch weighs only 49 grams and is designed to be as comfortable as possible.
The watch is also loaded with features, including a barometer, a compass, and altimeter, and even performance monitoring features, such as a heartbeat monitor and training stats; ensuring you have everything you need to maximize your workouts!
+ Lightweight, and designed to be as comfortable as possible
+ Includes a ton of hiking features to help you understand your adventures
+ You can control messages, calls, and reminders from your phone
+ Has an outstanding battery life
– May not be suitable for hikers on a lower budget
Why We Like It – The battery life of this smart GPS watch is insane, and you can easily go for a week with extensive use without having to worry about it running out at a critical moment. Even when you’re using all the features, including phone control, you know this is a watch that’s going to last.
Shopping for a child? Check out these kids’ GPS watches.
2. Coros Pace GPS Watch
The Coros GPS watch is another popular device that’s perfect for hikers who want a watch that can benefit them in all areas of their lives. Not only can this watch help you to navigate no matter where you are in the world, but it can also help you stay organized and can optimize your workouts!
All the essential trackers are built-in here, including heart rate monitoring, barometer, altimeter, and more. The battery life is also incredible and can last up 30 days in standard mode, or 25 hours when using the extensive GPS features. What more could you need?
+ Battery life can last up to 30 days on a single charge
+ All the vitals and GPS tracking data you’ll need
+ Monitor all phone notifications, including calls, messages, emails, and social media
– Can sometimes take up to a minute to refresh location information
Why We Like It – The compatibility this watch has with many other apps and services is one of its highlight features. For example, you can connect this watch up with STRAVA to monitor all your stats and benefit from all the community features!
3. Fitbit Versa Smart Watch
Fitbit has been one of the latest fitness brands to break into the industry. It started several years ago and has since become one of the most renowned and most reputable of them all. When it comes to smartwatches, the Versa is no exception to the rule.
All exercises are recorded using the specialist settings, whether that’s running, swimming, hiking, or even when you’re in the gym. All vital monitors are tracked, including heart rate and calorie burning, and all GPS information is processed through your smartphone. There’s even a free Android/iOS app to accompany the watch.
Of course, all the essential features are included, such as being able to control your calls, texts, social media notifications, and many smartphone apps all from your wrist, and the device is outdoor-ready since it’s waterproof up to 50m and works well in all temperatures, even down to -10C!
+ Automatically tracks all movements and exercise with dedicated profiles per routine
+ Outdoor-ready with a waterproof design and can work at any temperature
+ Control all notifications and apps on your smartphone from your wrist
– Slightly more expensive than some other affordable brands
Why We Like It – You can’t go wrong when it comes to Fitbit devices, and they are by far one of the most reputable and most reliable brands in the industry. With millions of satisfied customers across their product line, you know this is a GPS watch you can trust!
4. Garmin Forerunner 35 GPS Running Watch
As we said above, Garmin is one of the most popular and reputable GPS brands out there, and when it comes to quality, it doesn’t get much better than the Forerunner 35. All your statistics are tracked, including where you are, how far you’ve gone, how fast you’ve gone, and even things like if you’re under tree cover, all without needing a smartphone at all!
This is all backed by the essential heart rate monitoring, full phone control if you do decide to connect it up, and a very high-resolution display for monitoring everything and accessing all the features with quite possibly the nicest experience on any hiking watch!
+ Updated display from previous models that offers a fantastic viewing experience
+ Control and manage all smartphone alerts, including calls and social media
+ Full heart-rate monitoring and GPS location tracking
Why We Like It – Despite being absolutely loaded with features, the Forerunner 35 is one of the easiest watches to control. This is all thanks to the smart connectivity settings, that means you’ll never have to stop to scroll through loads of settings!
5. Casio STR300 60lap Sport Running Watch
Casio is another one of those brands that you immediately think of when it comes to watches, and it should come as no surprise that they have their own addition to the hiking and running market.
This is a much more basic watch, and while it doesn’t come with GPS tracking, it’s great for monitoring all your basic movements and times while you’re out and about, and it’s also one of the most budget-friendly devices on our list today.
For example, if you’re hiking completely and need to practice a certain distance in a certain amount of time, this is the watch for you.
+ Beautiful Japanese quartz for a pristine digital display
+ Waterproof up to 50m and can be worn swimming
+ Comes with a ton of basic watch features, including lap counting and alarms
– Doesn’t have built-in GPS tracking technology
Why We Like It – Since you’ll be taking this watch outside, it only makes sense that this watch has been designed to be as durable as possible. With this in mind, the watch is water-resistant to a distance of 50m, which can even be used when you’re swimming.
6. Garmin Forerunner 735XT
We do love our Garmin Forerunners! As you can see from all the models and versions they have on offer, this is a company that knows what they’re doing and always puts you first. This is why we’re going to finish our list with a mention of two of the best.
The 735XT is a lightweight, multisport watch you can use for any of your workouts or fitness pastimes. Each exercise has its own preset for accurate monitoring, such as swimming, cycling, running, skiing, etc. and all the Live Tracking controls store this information, or ping it over to your smartphone, all making your life as easy as possible!
+ Allows for 24/7 heart rate monitoring
+ Connect the device to your smartphone for access to plenty more features and functions
+ Built-in presets that change depending on what workout you’re doing
– Slightly more expensive than your typical fitness GPS watch
Why We Like It – In true Garmin fashion, all phone and notifications alerts and controls can be found on this watch, and you’ll be able to do everything from sharing things on social media, to changing the song on your playlist.
7. Garmin Forerunner 235
The final Garmin GPS watch we’re going to be focusing on today is the iconic Forerunner 235. Available for now for nearly five years, the watch remains one of the most popular thanks to the many features it has to offer.
All the basics hiking monitoring features are here, including a heart-rate monitor, audio prompts for reaching certain times or distances, and accurate GPS tracking. While the watch itself is fairly basic and not so much a smartwatch, you can connect up this watch to your smartphone for the full experience.
+ Accurate GPS tracking and vital monitoring
+ Has a 44% larger screen size than the previous model
+ Connects to your smartphone to access even more features
– Can’t control smartphone notifications, messages, or calls
Why We Like It –To help make sure all your information is easily accessible, you’ll find this watch is the same size as the previous model but comes with a 44% larger screen. You can see everything you need with a quick glance, meaning more attention you can focus on performing your best.
GPS Hiking Watch Buyers Guide
With so many GPS watches out there to choose from, it can be hard to know which one is going to give you everything you need. Luckily, you can break down certain features of the watches, so you know exactly what you need to look out for.
Here’s our complete breakdown of everything you need to know.
The most important aspect you’ll want to consider is GPS technology inside your device. You’re going to want a reputable brand that will accurately track your location and your distance, ultimately giving you the exact information of the hike you’ve been on.
You need to be able to see what you’re doing on your watch with ease, without getting confused by cluttered notifications and hard-to-read text. Always make sure you’re getting a watch with a clear and bright display and has a clean look that you can get everything you need to know with a single glance.
Many of the more modern watches allow you to connect your watch to your smartphone to access even more features. Whether that’s backing up your hike information or allowing you to control your music or answer calls and messages, these features can be something you may want to look out for.
Hiking Essential Tracking
Monitoring certain aspects of your hike is one of the best ways to ensure you’re making the most of your exercise, and physically getting the most out of it. While it differs from watch to watch, you’re going to want the essentials, such as calorie counting and heart rate monitoring.
You’re also going to want to think about hike-specific tracking. These include the distance you’ve traveled, the altitude you’re walking at, and what kind of pace you’re able to keep over what amount of time.
The final consideration you’re going to want to think about is the durability of your preferred hiking watch. Since you’re going to be hiking outside, the watch is going to come in contact with the elements, whether that’s wind, water, mud, and sunlight.
You’re going to want a watch that can withstand these elements and survive, so look out for protective features, including water resistance and reinforced materials.
Now it’s over to you to enjoy and optimize your hiking experiences like never before! GPS hiking watches can be one of the best ways to enhance your training and to make the most of the effort you put in, so get out there, find the watch that’s right for you, and take your hikes to the next level!