Product Analogy

Best GPS Watch for Hiking Reviews & Buying Guide

A GPS watch for hiking is the best companion and a must have when you are planning your hiking adventure. Why so?
Because the best gps watch for hiking would act as a guide for you and help you out with directions and navigation.

Hiking is fun & adventurous activity but sometimes circumstances change and turn this adventure into a life death situation. According to a recent study by Smoky Mountains shows that wandering off trail is the number one reason that hikers get lost on their adventures. This is not just new hikers but it happens to many experienced hikers as well.

In such circumstances, there are a lot of precautions that you can take and one of the best is having a gps watch for hiking. This one tool can make the difference between an amazing hiking adventure and the one where hikers require search and rescue & here are a few reasons why:

These are a few features that you get with a good GPS watch for hiking & the most important reasons for having this tool with you. Now, all of these features might not be available in every watch, so choose the one that would go well with your needs.

For your ease, below is a list of 10 best gps watches for hiking that can make your adventure a perfect one.

Top 10 GPS watches for Hiking

Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS watch

Garmin Foretrex 401

First choice on our list of GPS watches for hiking is Garmin Foretrex 401, the ultimate all in one gps watch for hiking. This is one of the watches that are specifically for hiking adventurers.

No matter you are a hiking pro or going for the first time, this gps watch can be your way of survival. It has all the amazing features that a hiker might need such as location, tracks, routes, elevation & direction.

That reduces the chances of getting off-trail or losing your way significantly and you will know where you are every moment.
There’s a highly sensitive GPS receiver with HotFix that lets you know about your location even in the heavy tree covers or deep places. Additionally, the dual position readout for location gives you the location information in multiple formats.
In case of getting the feeling that you are lost, you can use the amazing TracBack feature. This features retraces user’s path and makes it easier for you to get back to where you came from.

This GPS watch also let’s you mark places as way points to remember the important locations. For example, you mark your camp site as a way point or the place where you parked your truck. Later on, you will be able to get back to that location by accessing the way-points feature from the watch.

Moreover, the electronic compass and barometric altimeter lets you know about the direction you are going in & the altitude. That also maps your activity and gives you a perfect report in the end with all the ups and downs.

Additional Specs

This watch uses 2 Lithium ion batteries or AAA batteries that are easily available every where. With these replaceable batteries, you get an amazing battery life of up to 17 hours in GPS mode.

Display Size: 1.42 x 0.91 inches
Display Resolution: 100 x 64 pixels
Weight: 3.04 Ounces
Overall Dimensions: 1.7 x 0.9 x 2.9 inches

  • Made specifically for hikers
  • Amazing TracBack feature incase you are off trail
  • Highly Sensitive GPS with HotFix
  • Electric Compass
  • Wireless sync feature
  • Complete track information storage
  • Easy data transfer from watch to computer
  • Up to 17 hours battery life with active GPS
  • Multiple location formats for easy
  • Way-points to mark important locations
  • Settings are a bit confusing
  • Manual is not very helpful
  • Rechargeable batteries would have been a better combo with this watch

Garmin Rugged GPS Watch

The next hiking watch on our list is a Garmin Rugged GPS watch that is built to last. Being prone to thermal, shock, and water, this watch is constructed according to Military standards 810 G. So, this GPS watch for hiking is a blessing in disguise for hikers. No matter how harsh the environment is, you will have your guide with you.

This watch has all the features that a hiker is going to need. The most amazing feature is multiple global satellite navigation systems such as GPS, Galileo & GLONASS. This feature makes this watch more effective and functional in challenging situations where GPS alone might not work properly.

Along with these navigation systems, there is a built-in 3 axis compass that assists in direction. Moreover, you have a barometric altimeter with you as well. So, from a hiking point of view, you are all covered.
Other than that, you have the TracBack feature, just like Garmin Foretrex 401. With this feature, you can track your steps back and always go to where you started your journey.

With all these features, there are activity profiles and heart rate, stress, and activity monitoring systems. Plus, you get to know about all the activities you are doing & automatically share your stats with Garmin Online Fitness Community.

Lastly, you can connect this GPS watch with your smartphone and get all the notifications on the go. No need to check your phone every time you will receive a notification.

Additional Specs

This gps watch for hiking uses a rechargeable battery which is the best in terms of battery life. It can last upto 14 days in the smart watch mode, upto 40 hrs in UltraTrac battery saver mode & upto 16 hrs in GPS mode. So, there is a lot of usage time that you are going to get.

Watch Dimensions: 1.77 x 1.77 x 0.6 in
Weight: 5.76 ounces
Display: Night Vision

  • Made to last
  • Uses Multiple Global Navigation Systems, not just GPS
  • Barometric Altimeter
  • Built-in 3 axis compass
  • Night Vision
  • TracBack feature to trace your steps
  • Constructed to Military standard 810 G for shock, thermal & water resistance
  • Smart Phone connectivity (Smart Watch)
  • Pre loaded activity profiles
  • Keeps track of every step
  • Like many other GARMIN Watches, Manual is not so useful.
  • Did not like the heart rate monitor so much.
  • Small texting screen

Suunto Traverse Alpha

Next GPS watch for hiking on the list is Suunto Traverse Alpha. Honestly, this is quite the competition for Garmin Rugged GPS watch, which is no. 2 on our list.
Traverse Alpha has also been tested against 810 G U.S military standards. That means it is Shock, Thermal and waterproof up to 100 meters. That makes it a very durable watch & a great choice for hikers.

As for features, this gps watch comes with all the necessary features that you are going to need on your hiking adventure. Starting with GPS and track mapping, that means you can always check your location and record your trail. Also, you get the automatic breadcrumb trail in the GPS feature which helps to track back your footsteps and makes it easier to navigate back.
You can always mark waypoints and come back to them later in your journey.

Other than that, the altimeter feature allows you to map your elevation and see how much hikes upwards or downwards. This feature is very useful for mountain hiking. This watch also gives you the exact altitude at which you are currently standing.
Traverse Alpha also has a built-in compass to help with the directions, stop watch, flashlight and some other useful features that make your life easier. Along with all these, there is also a moon phase calendar with moon rise and set timings that assist you during activities such as fishing.

For hunters and fishers, there is also auto shot detection technology that keeps track of the time & place where you shoot.

Moreover, this watch features a premium sapphire crystal glass that is scratch resistant. So, no worries about getting the display scratched on your hiking trip. Plus you get water resistant nylon strap & a rugged stainless steel bezel.

Additional Specs

Battery: This gps watch for hiking uses a rechargeable lithium ion battery. That has a battery life of 14 days in time mode & more than 10 hrs with GPS, depending upon the training mode you select.

Dimensions: 2 x 0.6 x 2 inches
Weight: 2.72 Ounces
Red Backlight for night usage

  • Rugged, durable and long lasting
  • GPS and GLONASS satellite system supportive
  • 14 days battery life in time mode
  • More than 10 hours in GPS mode
  • Trail mapping through altimeter and GPS
  • Moon phase calendar and sunrise alert
  • Auto shot detection technology
  • Automatic breadcrumbs to track your way back
  • Weather trend alert
  • Scratch resistant fiber glass
  • easy to use
  • Nylon strap is durable but not the best choice
  • Strap starts smelling after rough usage
  • Compatible app is so bad
  • Need to take it off for temp check

SUUNTO Core All Black Men’s Outdoor Sports Watch – SS014279010

SUUNTo Core All Black outdoors sports watch is much more like Traverse Alpha but with a different design. The All Black finish certainly gives it more grace and makes it suitable for more than just outdoors. In my opinion, this is a better option for those who are not much into spending $500 for Traverse Alpha but are looking for an equally equipped yet economical option.

Equipped with all the amazing yet necessary features for outdoors and hikers, Core All Black indeed makes a great choice. It has everything from Altimeter to Barometer with same accuracy and standards. Moreover, it has sunset and sunrise times for over 400 different location worldwide. That means you are never going to stay in dark unless you will choose to.

The best part is that you will also have access to weather trend graph and storm alarm for all 400 locations. Storm alarm sensors notify you of the air pressure drops and warn you about the coming storms beforehand. So, you get time to prepare yourself or move to a safer location.

With the Altimeter tracking all your vertical movements and the barometer telling you about all the trends in air pressure, your journey would be completely in your hands. Moreover, you will never get lost because the compass would be guiding your way home. Additionaly, Core All Black measures the depth of up to 30 ft with complete accuracy.

Additional Specs

This sports watch comes with 2 years warranty. This gives users the edge so they can have the best of the situation in case of any problem.
Although, this watch does not feature GPS, but it is considerably a better option for cutting cost. The reason for that is, GPS watch for hiking costs substantially higher than non-GPS versions.

Dimensions: 1.9 x 0.6 x 1.9 inches
Weight: 2.26 Ounces
Back light Display: Yes

  • All black with a stylish look
  • Economical Price
  • Features Altimeter, Barometer and Compass
  • Sunrise/Sunset times for over 400 locations
  • Weather graphs
  • Intelligent Storm sensors
  • Up to 30 ft depth accuracy
  • Logbook function
  • 7 Days weather memory
  • Long lasting changeable battery
  • Non-GPS watch

Casio WSD-F20-RGBAU Men’s ‘Pro Trek’ Resin Outdoor Smartwatch

The shaving off of 4mm won’t amount to much. But when Casio did it, it made a considerable difference to wearability and style without compromising technology. This Casio Pro Trek watch comes with the basic altimeter, barometer, and compass and a dual-layer LCD structure with maps.

Even though the watch runs on the latest version of Google’s Wear OS, navigation is through touchscreen-only. Moreover, it does not have an interactive interface to help scroll through the menu.

This best GPS watch for hiking has two screens, one colored and one monochromatic. The idea behind the monochrome LCD is to show essential information like the time, and different sensor readings and the colored one for GPS and smartwatch features.

The watch uses both screens and all functions, with the battery lasting about 36 hours. The most exciting feature in this hiking watch is the Extend mode. In this mode, watch works on its own, shows time and sensor data on the monochrome screen/color maps at the touch of a button.

  • Comfy and Stylish
  • Range of sensors and tools for outdoor use
  • Good battery life
  • Second LCD screen works well
  • Wide rand of apps compatible with the watch
  • Expensive compared to other rivals
  • The charger is not very secure
  • OS can be buggy and may require some work

Casio”Pro Trek” Outdoor Heart-Rate Monitor GPS Sports Watch (Model WSD-F21HR-BKAGU)

THE next GPS watch for hiking on our list is Casio WSD-F21HR-BKAGU GPS Sports watch.

This Casio ‘pro trek’ model comes with a dual-layered LCD that saves battery, tells time, and has a high-end heart rate sensor. It has the standard altimeter, barometer, compass, and GPS. The watch is really well-made with durability and sturdiness embodied into one with an acceptable weight. It has an amazing screen that’s good enough to show detailed maps via various apps.

Its amazing features will make you stay outdoors just to enjoy its impressive interface with accurate sensors. The in-built ‘Activity’ app is convenient for outdoor activities such as running and trail running, making it one of the best watches for hiking. There are several sports profiles plus a data screen that pulls up maps and 3 areas of your favorite metrics.

This watch works as a guiding star in the great outdoors, with extended battery life and multiple choice of maps that would always keep you on the right path.

At $295, the average rating of this Amazon listing is 4.2 out of 5, where 59% of users have labeled it as a 5-star choice.

  • Choice of maps
  • Multiple sensor calibrations
  • Heart rate zones
  • Directions
  • Weather alerts
  • Bulky
  • Lacks NFC
  • Battery life could be better

Casio Men’s ‘PRO TREK’ Solar Powered Silicone Watch

This new model of the night safari concept comes in colors that were specially selected for night time outdoor scenarios. The Pro Trek is perfect for people with double standards (in the best sense) that work during the day and get extreme on the weekends. This GPS watch for hiking comes with an abundance of functions and has a different perspective than the previous models of the same series.

It comes with Neon Illuminator, which is dubbed as a very ‘cool feature’ by hikers. Unlike conventional LED lights, with Neon Illuminator, you do not get wide background lighting, and it only illuminates the important places on the watch.

Other basic functions include the altimeter, barometer and compass, one-touch measurement button, and more. The moveable strap components add to a better fit and more comfort.

This is a sturdy, light-weight hiking watch with the standard triple sensor with dual LCDs that provide perfect illumination and has 100 percent accurate ABC sensors.

  • Great battery life
  • Comfortable band
  • Accurate sensors
  • Expensive
  • Steep learning curve

Suunto 9 GPS Sports Watch

SUUNTO 9 is another classy edition into best gps watches for hiking by SUUNTO and one of the premium choices that you get. Meanwhile this gps watch is available in different materials such as platinum, copper etc, you also get the option of getting one with or without barometer. So, you can manage the features and the price accordingly.

There are numerous reasons for choosing SUUNTO 9 as one of the best gps watches for hiking. First of all, it has everything that you are going to need on your hiking endeavor. For example, accurate gps tracking with SUUNTO fusedtrack, adding points of interest along with your track, real time bread crumbs display. And most importantly, heat maps of all the popular trekking and hiking routes around the world. So, you can plan each step along your journey and execute it properly.

SUUNTO 9 multpurpose sports watch comes with many other advanced features like intelligent battery modes that help you use and save battery as per the situation you are in and 24/7 activity tracking. That includes your step count and sleep tracking as well. You can also connect it Training Peaks and some other sports services to get the best out of situation.

This gps watch for hiking comes with more than 80 sports modes including swimming, running and cycling. Along with that, you will stay connected to your phone and keep an eye on incoming notifications and calls.

Additional Specs

Dimensions: 2 x 2 x 0.7 inches
Weight: 2.54 Ounces

Battery Type: Rechargeable

  • Multi-purpose watch with one of the best designs
  • Long battery life
  • Real time tracking with fusedtrack sensor assisted GPS
  • Good for all sports and situations
  • Outstanding durability
  • Training summary through variety of graphs and charts
  • 24/7 activity tracking
  • Storm alerts
  • Activity specific heat mapping for popular routes
  • Bread crumbs
  • Weather Trends
  • Due to 80+ sports modes, some might not work perfectly.

Amazfit Bip Fitness Smartwatch with GPS

The Amazfit Bip fitness smartwatch is lightweight, has 30-day battery life, and comes at a remarkable bargain. The lightweight watch can be worn all-day and gives accurate heart rate reading that allows you to monitor cardiac health in real-time, steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, and sleep quality.

the Amazfit Bip functions and looks like most of the watches of its genre. If you are someone who has a regular workout regime and have budget restraints then the AmazFit Bip should suffice.

It is one of the best watches for hiking that can be used for various outdoor activities. Its multi-functionality makes it compatible with smartphones, and you can receive notifications for phone calls, SMS messages, emails, and other social media apps. The customizable faces are efficient and it’s worth its bargain price for the number of features it offers.

  • Incredible value
  • It looks like any Apple Watch
  • Active with Android and iOS
  • Customizable faces
  • The interface isn’t impressive
  • Requires phone connection

Garmin vívoactive Black

Garmin vivoactive black is an ultra thin smart sports watch and indeed one of the most economical gps watches for hiking. It comes with built-in sports apps for running, walking, swimming, biking and even golf. And all of these activities are gps enabled along with complete activity tracking.

That means, this gps watch keeps a record of all your stats and you can view those stats even when you do not have your phone with you.

Garmin vivoactive has a high resolution color touch screen display that enables you to operate it very easily. Moreover, it provides you with whether related stats as well. So you can keep an eye on weather patterns and plan your journey accordingly.

On the other hand, this watch does not have features like heart rate monitoring or elevation tracking, which makes it suitable for your hiking only if you are not particularly looking for those features. On the upper hand, it saves you a lot of money. So, if you are looking for a gps watch for hiking that gives you the basic features and keeps track of your activities, this is the one to go for.

Additional Specs

The battery consumption for this watch or the battery timing is amazing. In the activity tracking mode, it can last up to 3 weeks. Contrarily, if you will use the gps mode, then it will last for about 10 hours. Since generally we use a combination of these two modes, the battery can last over 24 hours on a hiking trip. That gives you enough time to complete you daily milestone and reach at the destination to re-charge it.

Dimensions : 0.31 x 1.61 x 10.11 inches
Weight: 1.33 Ounces
Ultra thin, color touch screen display with phone locator and music player controller

  • Light weight and Ultra-thin design
  • Phone connectivity with access to notifications
  • Long lasting rechargeable battery
  • GPS enabled sports apps
  • Activity tracking and monitoring
  • Touch screen color display
  • Weather related information
  • Does not have features like altimeter
  • A sports watch with basic attributes

Buying Guide for best GPS Watch for Hiking

Making the decision for which watch to buy might not be an easy one. Reason being, there are so many brands and a lot of models & when you dig deeper, it becomes more difficult. So, this buying guide will help you to make the right choice.

The sole objective of writing this buying guide is to give you an overview of best and most important features that are available in any GPS watch for hiking. Later on, you can choose the one with features that actually match your needs.
One thing to keep in mind, not every feature would be useful for you. This is because some of these smart watches are for multipurpose usage. There can be presets for jogging, fishing, hiking or maybe golf. Just look for the ones that meet your needs.

Without further ado, let’s get to the features and criteria to keep in mind while buying a gps watch for hiking.

What To Consider When Buying a Hiking Watch


First and foremost thing while going for a gps watch for hiking is to consider your budget. Going for a combination of some amazing features might disturb your budget and frankly speaking, that money can have a better use. You might not need a fancy watch for your hiking trip.

So, give your personal budget a priority. Choose a watch that goes well with your budget. To make it easy for you, we always choose products with a varying price & try to facilitate you with better options.

Ask yourself questions regarding specific features and why do you need those features. Think around that and mark the features that are necessary for you. For example, you might not need the heart rate monitor or the barometric altimeter. So make your choice wisely. Every additional feature that you will opt-in for will probably increase the price as well.


When you go for hiking, there are different situations that you might face. Luckily, there are features for almost every situation. Good hiking watches usually have a combination of features in which some are more important than others. Let’s have a look at some important ones.

GPS ( Global Positioning System)

Global Positioning System, most commonly known as GPS is a very crucial feature in every hiking watch. This helps to determine your location. With this system, you can always check where you are right now.

While hiking, it is very important to determine your location. In case you are off the trail, you can always check your location and determine where you need to go from here. Plus, how far is your target location from you.

So, having good GPS is very crucial in a hiking watch. That will surely make your hiking adventure easier for you. Meanwhile, be mindful about the fact that GPS location is accurate from 10-30 ft. If it is not a good one, the accuracy might differ.

One tip in here is that go for a watch that offers specific GPS and some related feature. Try not to go for the one that offers combination of everything.


After GPS, a good compass is very necessary too. You surely need to know in which direction you are going while hiking. Determining the right direction becomes harder when you are hiking in heavy tree cover or deep canyons.

Moreover, combining it with GPS makes things a lot easier. You get to know about you location and your direction and can figure out what to do next easily.

Track / Trail Information and/or Activity Information

Hiking track information is another important feature in GPS watches for hiking. This feature allows you to store your track information on which you are going and markings for other important locations.

While hiking, if you see a place that is good for camping, you can mark it on map for later. Similarly, you can mark other places such as water sources or attractions to come back to them later.

If you are going off the track to see some amazing view, you can always come back using gps and your trail information stored in the watch. Moreover, you can access all the information at the end and store it or upload it to help other hikers.

Barometric Altimeter

Barometric Altimeter tells you about altitude at any specific time or location . It also helps you determine your own location as well. It measures atmospheric pressure against altitude and let’s you know where you are.

If your gps stops working, you can certainly rely on this feature and figure out your next move. Because many hikers face such situations where the gps stops working when connection to satellite weakens. In such situations, this can be your way out.

Heart Rate Monitor

With this feature, you can get information regarding your heart rate at any point of time. This is kind of an extra feature which i personally do not like. But still, some hikers like to keep track of everything. So, for them, it is a good option.

Design of the GPS Watch

As they say “Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak”. Design and style of your watch certainly matters. It tells people about you & also compliments your fashion sense.

So when you are looking for a gps watch for hiking, why not get one with good design. That way, you will be able to use it on more than one occasions.

Strap Quality

Strap quality is something that determines how long you are going to wear this piece. Frankly speaking, why buy a watch if you are going to put it in your pocket or bag because of a broken strap.

On hiking, that becomes very crucial because every step matters and if your gps watch is in your pocket, then you might never even find out whether you are on the right path or not.
So, always focus on the strap quality as well. If you are getting a watch with bad quality straps just because you like it, please spend a few more bucks and change the strap.


Last but not least, always look for the kind of battery you are getting and the battery life. Moreover, whether it is a rechargeable battery or a replaceable one. This is because some hiking watches use Lithium Ion batteries or AAA batteries while others use built-in rechargeable ones.

These batteries have their life accordingly. A good gps watch must have a battery life of more than 15-20 hours. That gives you enough time to complete your daily milestones and reach your destination.

On a positive side, some hiking watches have solar charging panels on them. That increases their battery life significantly and reduces the hassle. However, these might cost you extra bucks. So, make your choice by keeping all your needs in the mind.

Final Verdict

Don’t forget to check out our other products that can be your partners in your upcoming outdoor adventures like Tandem bikes for sale and many more.

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