Which smartwatch is best for hiking?

From bestreviews.com
By
Kyle Schurman
BestReviews

Some smartwatches for hiking stop working in low temperatures.

Hikers need a versatile smartwatch for tracking their movements

For those interested in hiking, using a smartwatch to help with tracking movement is a great way to measure fitness benefits and to avoid becoming lost. However, when you want to track your hiking results fully, a simple fitness-tracking smartwatch may not have all the features you want.

A smartwatch can include multiple features that help with hiking. Those who hike in remote locations may need a greater depth of features than those interested in hiking simple trails as a type of fitness workout.

Here are some of the key components to consider for a great hiking smartwatch.

What features are most important for a smartwatch for hiking?

For those interested in tracking their movements while hiking, especially in remote locations, the smartwatch needs to have an altimeter, a barometer, a compass and a GPS at a minimum.

Altimeter

The altimeter measures your current height above sea level. When looking at certain types of maps, having an accurate altimeter measurement helps with pinpointing your location.

Most hiking smartwatches use GPS measurements to determine the altimeter measurement.

Barometer

When a hiking smartwatch contains a barometer, it is able to measure changes in atmospheric pressure. This is an important measurement when trying to determine how the weather will be changing in the near future. When you’re in a remote location, predicting weather and knowing when you may need to look for shelter is extremely important.

Compass

With a built-in compass in the hiking smartwatch, you’ll always know which direction you’re traveling, even when you can’t see the sun. The compass can help you maintain your proper course and path.

GPS

Having GPS capability built into a smartwatch allows you to determine your exact location at any time. This is a vital feature when hiking in remote locations.

The best hiking smartwatches on our list all include built-in GPS capabilities. If you are hiking with a partner and become separated, determining your location with GPS and relaying it to your partner through long-range walkie talkies can help you find each other quickly.

Other features to consider in a hiking smartwatch

Here are a few other items that you should consider when you’re comparing different models of smartwatches for hiking.

  • Battery life: When you’re in a remote location, a long battery life is important in the watch. Because using GPS regularly will drain your smartwatch battery quickly, you may want to carry a USB solar hand crank radio, which also works for charging a smartwatch.
  • Durability: Any hiking smartwatch must be tough enough to handle temperature extremes, wet conditions and potentially bumping into trees or rocks.
  • Weight: A 75-gram watch won’t feel heavy on your wrist after an hour or two. After a couple of days, though, it will be cumbersome. Watches weighing 50 or 60 grams are preferable for long hikes.
  • Fitness tracking: If you’re hiking primarily for exercise, the hiking smartwatch should track your distance traveled, heart rate and calories burned.
     

No matter how great your hiking smartwatch is, you should always be ready for anything when hiking. Carry all of your gear in a large hiking backpack, so you’re prepared.

Best hiking smartwatches for more than $300

Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Smartwatch: available at Amazon and Best Buy
When you want maximum durability in a hiking smartwatch, the titanium and steel construction in the Fenix 6 has you covered. It tracks almost any kind of data you could want while hiking.

Garmin Quatix 5 Sapphire Smartwatch: available at Amazon
Garmin is the market leader with smartwatches for hiking, and this model includes quite a few weather measurements that can be helpful for hikers. It offers battery power for up to two weeks in low-power mode.

Coros Vertix Adventure Smartwatch: available at Amazon
Coros smartwatches represent a newer brand in this section of the market, offering outstanding features, including a pulse oximeter, so you can measure your body performance at altitude.

Garmin Forerunner 645 Smartwatch: available at Amazon
The Forerunner watch works well for exercise enthusiasts, but it’ll also give you the information you need to hike safely. It has a highly durable design, which is good for hiking.

Apple Watch Series 6: available at Amazon and Best Buy
Although you may not think of Apple smartwatches as exercising and hiking powerhouses, this Apple watch contains everything you need for tracking your movements when hiking, along with a stylish look.

Zepp Z Health and Fitness Smartwatch: available at Amazon
For outstanding durability in a hiking smartwatch, this Zepp Z model includes a titanium alloy, along with a watch face touchscreen that’s resistant to scratches. In battery-conservation mode, it can last 30 days.

Garmin Venu GPS Smartwatch: available at Amazon, Best Buy, and Kohl’s
For those who want to keep an eye on their energy levels while hiking, this Venu smartwatch tracks numerous body and fitness performance measurements.

Best hiking smartwatches for less than $300

Suunto Traverse Smartwatch: available at Amazon
When hiking in constantly changing altitudes, this Suunto watch will track your performance, matching distance and altitude traveled. It also uses barometric measurements to help you predict changing weather.

Casio Pro Trek Smartwatch: available at Amazon 
This highly durable Casio model includes a barometer, digital compass, and altimeter, giving hikers the information they need.

Garmin Instinct Smartwatch: available at Amazon, Kohl’s, and Best Buy
For those who want the quality of the Garmin brand at a bargain price, the Instinct model is the perfect choice. It has a greater level of durability than the majority of similarly priced smartwatches.

Fitbit Versa 3 Health & Fitness Smartwatch: available at Amazon, Kohl’s, and Best Buy
If you are taking up hiking as part of an overall fitness routine, this Fitbit model will help you track your workout. It’s not the perfect hiking smartwatch, as it lacks some features of pricier models, but it’ll handle the basics at a low price.

Amazfit T-Rex Smartwatch: available at Amazon and Best Buy
The T-Rex model uses military-grade hardware to resist damage when you’re hiking in tough conditions. It continues to operate in temperatures ranging from -40 to 150 degrees.
 

Kyle Schurman is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.