Don’t let all of the bells and whistles fool you – a solid hiking watch can help keep you safe on the trails, especially ones that are less popular. We consider a hiking watch to be an essential piece of hiking gear for any adventure in the wilderness. After doing a lot of research and testing, we created this guide to a list of the best smart watches for hiking to help you choose the best one for you!
With today’s advances in GPS and wearable technology, there are lots of options for hiking watches with all kinds of apps and features. From GPS and navigation systems to music and messaging apps, the number of features and products available on the market today can be a little overwhelming.
Garmin Instinct Solar GPS Watch
With its useful features, battery life, and durability, the Garmin Instinct Solar is the best hiking watch out there for adventures in the backcountry or on your favorite city trails. With a heart rate monitor, solar charging, navigation, and all of the necessary hiking watch functions, this watch has all of the essentials for a safe hike“ If you’re planning to use your watch primarily for hiking, trail running, or trekking, this is one of the best smart watches for hiking to choose, and comes at a great value for the price.
- Comfortable and durable design.
- Precise GPS mapping.
- Good battery management.
- No music storage.
- Inaccurate sleep tracking.
Casio Pro Trek PRW2500T
There are several reasons why the Casio Pro Trek PRW2500T is praised as one of the best smart watches for hiking you’ll find. The first is that it’s powered by the sun. The battery can last up to five months without needing to be recharged and it doesn’t require much light to recharge.
Secondly, its time is set based on the atomic clock. You can be confident your watch will remain on time as it automatically gets its time signals from England, Germany, Japan, and the United States.
- Plenty of sensors.
- Great hiking features.
- Versatile two-layer screen.
- A bit bulky.
- Low-end CPU.
If you’re looking for a no-frills hiking watch with all of the necessary tools, the Suunto Core is one of the best smart watches for hiking on a budget. There’s no GPS capability on this watch, but it includes an altimeter, barometer, and Best Suunto Compass for Hiking navigation. There’s even an alarm to signal bad weather ahead!
While there aren’t smart watch features on this watch, it does have the ability to record your hikes and offers altimeter readings up to 29,500 feet. It’s also water-resistant up to 30 meters for light water sports or inclement weather. Because it’s such a simple interface, the battery lasts around 1 year without needing to be replaced or recharged. Those looking for a GPS offering might want to consider a different option, but for hikers who want a simple, easy-to-read watch that will hold up in any conditions, the Suunto Core is a perfect option.
- Displays elevation in 3-ft intervals.
- Tracks both weather and sunset/sunrise.
- Altimeter tracks the vertical movement.
- Barometer tells the air pressure trend.
- Compass gives accurate directional readings.
- Stylish designs, color, and variations.
- Battery life is just about a year but some functions are reduced when low battery notification appears.
- Reviewers report that in especially cold weather, the backlight may not work properly.
What to Consider When Buying a Hiking Watch?
Features & Functionality
With the plethora of features available on smart watches these days, it can be difficult to decide which ones you need. Critical features usually depend on what you’ll be using the watch for. At a very bare minimum, the best smart watches for hiking include the following:
- Weather & Temperature.
- Sunrise/Sunset Times.
Today, most (but not all) sports watches include some kind of GPS mapping and navigation capabilities. GPS watches are usually larger and more expensive, but they have navigation capabilities to help minimize your risk of getting lost. Non-GPS watches are less expensive, smaller, and usually have fewer features, but provide adequate information for your hikes at a fraction of the cost.
The best smart watches for hiking will have enough battery life for your entire adventure. Some watch batteries last for hundreds of days, while others only last a few hours. A watch’s battery life greatly depends on many factors, including the screen type, available apps and functions, and the amount of time you spend running the GPS (if applicable).
There are two main kinds of screens you’ll find on most hiking watches – screens controlled with buttons and touch screens. Screens controlled with buttons often have a little more of a learning curve to use but are a bit more durable than touch screen watches. Touch screen watches are more intuitive but can be hard to use if the screen is small. Which one you prefer is really up to you – they both have pros and cons.
Avid hikers know that the weather can change in the blink of an eye, and the best smart watches for hiking will have some kind of weatherproofing so they can withstand wet, cold, or snowy conditions. We wouldn’t recommend purchasing any watch that can get wet, as it will likely break in the rain or during water crossings.
If you plan to use your watch for water sports, make sure you purchase one that has a water depth rating that’s suitable for your activities. Some watches can be submerged in up to 300 meters of water!
Frequently Asked Question
Do I need a smartwatch for hiking?
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.
What’s the difference between a smartwatch and a tracker?
A fitness tracker is designed to keep track of your health and exercise.
Best Smart Watches for Hiking: Final Thoughts
No matter what’s most important to you in a hiking watch, whether it be GPS, recording your hike information, multisport modes, etc., if you pick a watch from this list it will make your hikes more enjoyable. With all they have to offer, your hiking watch will be one of your new favorite pieces of hiking gear. Here is to all from us on the best smart watches for hiking, hope it would have helped you get an answer to your question of best smart watches for hiking.