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Best Hiking GPS Watch

Tired of a beach escapade or bored with a historical exploration? Hiking is a delightful way to explore nature with family, closest friends, and relatives. But before you go, prepare a hiking backpack, weather-appropriate clothing, hiking boots, plenty of food & water, map, compass, multi-tool, knife, and a first-aid kit.

What else? Don’t forget to use the best hiking GPS watch. As an adventurous traveler, I always make sure to bring a good GPS watch during hiking, mountain climbing, and other nature activities.

A quality GPS watch keeps me notified about the time and date with accuracy. It provides other important information, including air pressure, altitude, sunrise/sunset times, and location. It also helps me with navigation and weather prediction.

But with the saturated market, it’s quite hard to pick the right brand for your hiking needs. You can consider the price, types of activity, health monitoring, water resistance, advanced metrics, size, and weight.

The price for hiking GPS watch varies. The trick here is to avoid the cheapest brand. While it can be money-saving in the first place, it could break your bank over time. So, direct your attention to items that are available at the most competitive rate.

For health monitoring, a GPS watch features your heart rate, calories burned, daily activity levels, stairs climbed, daily steps, and more.

For water resistance, be sure your chosen brand can withstand the elements during a hiking adventure. Before sticking to a product, ask the seller whether or not the watch is waterproof.

Modern GPS watches for hiking are also equipped with state-of-the-art metrics. These include maximum heart rate, cadence, recovery time, ground contact time, stride length, lactate threshold, vertical oscillation, and maximum oxygen rate.

Now, what are the best hiking GPS watches in today’s market?

This comprehensive review consists of popular, high-quality, and high-end options. So, without further, let’s get started!

1. Garmin Forerunner 35

Are you searching for one of the best hiking GPS watches? Don’t look further than the Garmin Forerunner 35! While it is a basic watch, the Garmin Forerunner 35 has incredible features I would highly recommend to my colleagues and other adventurous travelers.

From built-in GPS chip, customizable intervals workout option to heart rate monitoring, it has them all, making it a worthwhile and lasting investment for everyone.

Designed for other sports, the Garmin Forerunner 35 offers smart features, including real-time and accurate notifications. In terms of design, it can compete with other GPS hiking watches on the market.

Features

  • Alarms – I really enjoy its real-time notification.
  • Do Not Disturb – Set the device in DND mode to enjoy a night of quality sleep.
  • Find My Phone – I always forget my phone, but this device changes everything.
  • Heart Rate Monitor – I can measure current and resting heart rate every day.
  • Regular Reminders – Once a goal is achieved, there are regular reminders that will level up your progress.
  • Weather Updates – I just bring safety gear and accessories before any adventure.

Pros

  • Available at the Most Competitive Rate – In fact, it reaches my budget needs.
  • Battery Life – Before, I have been replacing the batteries of my hiking GPS watch. But the Garmin Forerunner 35 helped me save unnecessary expenses.
  • Strong GPS – Unlike the Garmin Fenix 6, the Forerunner 35 has a more accurate GPS.

Cons

  • The Strap Can Be Annoying– After days of use, you will find it comfy. Also, its design and durability are extraordinary.
  • Planning workout programs in its Application can be Hard – Ask help if necessary for your convenience.

Summary

The Garmin Forerunner 35 is perfect for those who are on the lookout for an exceptional running watch. It has a safe and stylish design. It connects to GPS satellites within a second or two. Its battery life lasts long, even after hours of use. It is affordable and simple. It covers all the basics you need from a hiking watch.

2. Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR

Another best hiking GPS watch is the Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR. It is less expensive than Apple, Polar, and Garmin competitors. It has all the multisport data with a crisp and clean European look.

Designed with the user in mind, Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR is stylish and durable. Once worn, you will find it comfy. The design is also as incredible as you imagine.

Another thing I love about the Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR is its waterproof feature. I always use it when the weather is not good. I’d also highly recommend it to travelers who need a GPS watch that can withstand splashes of water.

Features

  • Affordable – On Amazon, it costs around $269.95. For more discounts and other deals, visit the official website of the manufacturer.
  • Fit – Unlike the Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR, this latest edition from the company is lighter and smaller. It only weighs around 66 grams.
  • Display – The images are sharp and crystal-clear for ease of use and convenience.
  • Water Resistance – I was able to go as deep as 50 meters into the water. But constant exposure can lead to potential and expensive damages.
  • Long-Lasting Battery Life – I can use it for a maximum of 10 hours with excellent and accurate performance.

Pros

  • Wrist Heart Rate – There is no need to use a heart rate strap. Also, the data is displayed right away for easy tracking.
  • The GPS is Built-In – Say bye to complicated installation or setup. It is ideal for those who have a hectic schedule.
  • Interchangeable Bands – If you’re tired of a specific band, change it with another.
  • It Works with Other Applications – Great and convenient compatibility.

Cons

  • The Band Can Be Broken Easily – But proper use can make a big difference
  • Software Limitations – Don’t worry. There are other extraordinary alternatives to consider.

Summary

All-around hiking GPS watch? You have come to the right place. The Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR is sturdy and stylish that you can boast to friends. It is packed with fun color options that match your needs. Also, customizing the watch face will be fun and easy.

3. Polar M430 GPS Running Watch

Considered as an updated version of M400, Polar M400 is a wrist-based heart rate monitor. Released on May 10, 2017, the M400 has been creating a buzz in different corners of the world.

It is feature-packed and durable with a lightweight and compact design. It is comfy to use. It has a smooth texture I’d really enjoy. Its strap is nice and fashionable that I can pair with a hiking dress of any size and shape.

Features

  • Optical HR Sensor – It comes with a 6 LED light optical HR sensor that offers excellent accuracy.
  • Battery and Charging – It gets full after 8 hours of charging. The battery can last for a maximum of 30 hours. When you only use it as a watch, it can last for days.
  • GPS – There are multiple modes of GPS tracking. This saves battery life and tracks your movement with precision.
  • Breathable Strap – The strap is comfy and stretchy. This protects you from rashes and other irritations after hours of use.
  • Tracking Features – It tracks my steps, indoor movement, overall distance, calories burned, sleep patterns, heart rate, and other exercise goals.

Pros

  • Polar’s App – It comes with an application that supports devices of any brand. It is intuitive to use and ideal for those who are less tech-savvy.
  • Push Notifications – It is available with push notifications. How does it work? It simply notifies you when there are important events.
  • Update Availability – The firmware updates are available for the M430 with the use of Bluetooth Smart.
  • Use Accelerometer to Track Pace – The accelerometer can also track cadence and distance effectively.

Cons

  • Shorter Battery Life – It lasts from 8 to 10 hours. The charging time is a bit inconvenient.
  • The Band is Not Removable – Yes, you read it right! It also comes with only 3 colors, such as orange, white, and gray.

Summary

The latest hiking GPS watch from Polar is of good quality. It provides the features you need. Aside from hiking, it is a suitable option for running, walking, and other outdoor excursions. It is also reasonably priced, making it a good bet for travelers.

4. Polar Grit X

As a multisport GPS watch, Grit X introduces new features to Polar’s collection. Excellent for adventurous travelers, the GPS watch is good for hikers and off-road runners.

What makes the Grit X popular is that it has a beefy battery life, a fueling assistant, turn-by-turn navigation.

It also includes Hill Splitter designed for counting hill repeats, mid-workout, and post-activity. When paired with Komoot, there are routing instructions for beginners.

Features

  • Different Modes – I can set it according to different activities. These include triathlon, pool swimming, indoor cycling, running, hiking, and more.
  • The Running Power is Built-In – There are no applications required.
  • FuelWise – It can estimate how much fuel you will need throughout the session.
  • The Battery Last in 7 Days – But this is only possible in smartwatch mode. For heart rate training and GPS modes, you can enjoy it for more than 40 hours.
  • Workout and Coaching Suggestions – There’s no need to consult a specialist. The Grit X comes to your rescue.

Pros

  • Syncs Different Services – This includes Strava, MyFitnessPal, and TrainingPeaks.
  • It Comes with Hill Splitter – This feature gives you stats on both uphill and downhills.
  • There’s Route Guidance – While it doesn’t have maps, you can still enjoy effective route guidance.
  • Touchscreen – There are no keys to click. All you need to do is to touch the screen. That’s it!
  • Available with a Komoot App – So, you can set routes or even follow turn-by-turn directions with top convenience.

Cons

  • It is Super Expensive – But it is advanced. That means it remains a great investment you cannot afford to miss.
  • The Touchscreen may be Unresponsive – Contact its team for further details.
  • The Hill Splitter Feature is Basic – Look for other alternatives online.

Summary

Despite the cons, Grit X is one of the best hiking GPS watches this 2020. Its features and pros make it stand apart from its competitors.

5. Garmin Fenix 5X Plus

The Garmin Fenix 5X Plus is one of my favorite hiking GPS watches. From easy navigation to innovative features, it is a complete package.

One of the problems of athletes is over-training. But with the use of the Garmin Fenix 5X Plus, your life would change for the best.

Once worn properly, it can help avoid over-training and improve your gait. Developed with a ton of features, the Garmin Fenix 5X Plus can support training in different sports, from hiking to running.

Features

  • Available with MIP Display – That means, it is easy to read and bright outdoors.
  • Preloaded Sport Modes – I was searching for sports modes for weeks. Luckily, I have found the 5X Plus from Garmin.
  • Good Battery Life – In smartwatch mode, it can last for 20 days. But it varies.
  • Multiple Clock Features – These include GPS time sync, alarm, stopwatch, timer, auto daylight saving, etc.
  • Downloadable Watch Faces – Visit the Garmin Connect IQ Store to download widgets, data fields, watch faces, and other applications.

Pros

  • Text Response and Calls Reject – Whether someone texts or calls, you can respond or reject with the 5X Plus. But this is only available for Android users.
  • Find Your Phone – In case you forget your new phone, the 5X Plus got your back. Thanks to its GPS and other features.
  • Control Music on your Phone – I can easily skip or play songs whenever I like.
  • It Keeps you Notified – It is impossible to miss an important update.
  • It is Rated 10ATM – In other words, it is swim-proof.

Cons

  • It is Expensive – But the cost is worth it as it is made with top-notch features.
  • Heavy – If the size doesn’t matter, the 5X Plus is perfect.
  • It doesn’t have a Loudspeaker and Microphone – Good news! The company strives to develop its products. So, let’s expect the best.

Summary

It’s always fun to wear the Garmin Fenix 5X Plus during a variety of adventures. I also enjoyed analyzing the data gathered by its sensors. Each is accurate and effective. I’d surely recommend it to my closest friends and family as well.

Final Verdict

Whether you are on a tight budget or are looking for a GPS hiking watch with basic features, the Garmin Forerunner 35 and Suunto Spartan Trainer Wrist HR will be your best bet.

While each won’t break your bank, it doesn’t compromise its quality and excellent features.

If you prefer something more advanced, the Polar Grit X and the Garmin Fenix 5X Plus got you covered. Just prepare your wallet because these brands are expensive. The features, however, are cutting-edge.

So, what’s your choice? Visit Amazon or the official website of the manufacturer today!

Enjoy hiking and other intense adventures in the future.

Hello Hiker 🙂
I’m Kris and this is early stage of developing my blog about Hiking and Trekking.

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