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Hiking is a great way to keep fit, you’re out in the great outdoors, getting that all important fresh air and enjoying the gorgeous views that everyone on the couch is missing out on.
Smartwatches are all the rage at the moment, which is not surprising given all that they can do.
But not all smartwatches are created equal, and that becomes more evident when you’re specifically looking for a smart watch to help you on your hiking, and to track your journey.
We’ve done our homework here, and have come up with our Top 5 smartwatches for hiking, and we’ve got a buying guide for you which highlights the particular things to look out for to assist with your hikes.
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Best Smartwatch for Hiking - Comparison Table
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Best Smartwatch for Hiking - Reviews
Garmin's a big name in sports smartwatches, and this particular watch just flies off the shelves. And look at the ratings - customers love it.
It has that all important GPS tracking that we talk about in our buying guide. In addition to GPS, the watch also uses the GLONASS and Galileo tracking systems, which helps you to track in more challenging environments than GPS alone.
We really love the Tracback feature, which enables you to navigate the same route back to an identified starting point, should you decide to take a detour at a particular point. So handy.
Moreover, it has a built in 3 axis compass, for those who prefer a more traditional method of navigation. And it has a barometric altimeter to tell you how high up you are, help you keep your bearings.
It’s fitness tracking function is also very good, measuring your heart rate or number of steps etcetera. Really popular with hikers who like to power walk and get their heart rate going on a steep incline.
It also has those features we love in a smartphone such as notifications about calls, texts and Facebook.
It has a great Battery life, lasting up to 14 days in smartwatch mode, up to 16 hours in GPS mode, and it also has a UltraTrac battery saver mode, which will last up to 40 hours.
This is a watch that won’t flake out on you, it’s a rugged watch built to military standards, shockproof and waterproof for the great outdoors. It’s got an anti-glare display so you can read it in bright sunlight.
We love how you can pair up the watch with the Garmin Explore website, and app, to plan your adventures before you head out.
But that’s not all, you can also pair it up with the Garmin Connect online fitness community for automatic uploads, live tracking and more.
Here’s a great smartwatch for hiking from Anmino. They may not be as well known as some of the other brands, but they still sell really well. It’s easy to see why - they offer all the functionality you need at a fraction of the price.
It uses dual satellite positioning systems, namely GPS and GLONASS, so you never lose track of where you are, and where you want to go.
It also has a built in compass, barometer and altimeter (more on those in our buying guide).
It comes in different strap sizes and colors. We like the green and black one. The watch face is a color one, and is nice and big, coming in at 1.3 inches. We like how you can change it according to your mood or what you wanted it to focus on.
You can use it to keep track of your heart rate, your blood pressure, your breathing rhythm and quality of your sleep.
It’s compatible range of smartphones and operating systems, from iOS 11 and above, through to Android 4.4 or above.
When hooked up to your smartphone via Bluetooth, you get more functionality still. This includes notifications about calls and texts, and from apps like your calendar, Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, LinkedIn, etc. You won’t miss a thing.
Amino are so confident in their product, they offer a 2 years Warranty complete with free technical support.
This smartwatch comes from Naturehike, a professional outdoor product brand. And this smartwatch was clearly designed with hiking in mind.
It has that all important GPS tracking capability, to know exactly where in the world you are, along with a special climbing assistant function, combining air pressure, altitude, compass and weather information. Just about everything you need for your hike.
It will measure lots of different things, like number of steps, distance traveled/miles walked, heart rate, calories burned, sleep status and more.
We like that it has separate sport modes for running, treadmill, cycling and walking, to give you really detailed insights into your most frequent activities.
We love that it Vibrates to notify you of incoming calls and messages, and how you can get notifications from your calendar, Facebook, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, and Twitter. You get to stay in the loop and up to date.
The details are all easy to read on the watch's large 1.3 inch, high resolution customisable clock face.
It has a remote camera, so you can take a photo of yourself and your companions in the great outdoors.
It’s IP67 water resistant, so you can wear it when hiking in the rain or washing your hands.
Naturehike are so confident in their product, they offer a lifetime warranty. Lifetime!
The great thing about this smartwatch from Gandley is not just it’s fantastic affordability, but also all it’s functions for hiking and the great outdoors.
In addition to GPS tracking, it hooks up to 2 other satellite positioning systems, and it also offers a built in altimeter, barometer and compass (more on these in our buying guide, to follow).
It tracks all the usual health and fitness measurements, such as heart rate, blood pressure, sleep quality and breath training. All your exercise data can be viewed in real time on the watch. No need to bring your smartphone on your hike.
It has a rating of IP67, waterproof enough that you don’t need to worry about hitting a bout of heavy rain. Speaking of which, we like how you can synchronize it to bring up the local weather
It’s compatible with both iPhones and Android phones, from Android 4.4 or above and iOS 8.0 or above, respectively.
Once hooked up to your smartphone via Bluetooth, you can get notifications of calls, and emails, and from apps such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.
Here’s another great watch from Garmin, and this one is even more popular and well received by customers than their Garmin Instinct watch.
It features GPS, so wherever you’re hiking you can identify where you are in relation to where you’ve been and where you want to go.
It has all the features you expect from a Garmin smartwatch, and it uses the heart rate monitor to ascertain how stressed you are.
It comes with 15 preloaded sports apps, which includes your walking, and also things like running, cycling and more.
Once paired up with your smartphone, the watch will alert you to any text messages, social media updates, emails and more.
If you wanted to compete with friends in your sports or hiking, you can sync up your activities to Garmin Connect, which is a great little online community where people can compete in challenges, encourage each other’s successes and even share their triumphs via social media.
When you’re not hiking in the hills, you can make good use of the watch in town, you can use it to make contactless payments.
We also like how you can customise the watch by downloading different watch faces and apps.
Best Smartwatch for Hiking - Buyers Guide
There are certain things that everyone thinks about before they buy a smartwatch. These include brand, cost, value for money, and appearance. Then, importantly, you have to consider compatibility with your smartphone and other devices. But for a really good smartwatch for your hiking, there are also other things to consider.
The beauty of smartwatches these days means that you can wear a GPS tracker on your wrist, and don’t have to carry one separately.
For those who don’t know, GPS stands for Global Positioning System. GPS is a network of about 30 satellites orbiting the earth, and when a sufficient signal is received, it allows a user to tell where they are located.
This is super handy for your hiking, especially if you’re in unfamiliar territory, or out in the woods without so much as a telephone pole in sight. If you were hiking alone and started to feel lost, you’d be so glad you got a smartwatch with GPS.
The better and more responsive the GPS signal, the better you can identify where you are, and from there which way to head next.
All of the smartwatches in our Top 5 all feature GPS, and some of them also offer tracking via other satellite systems besides.
If you’re not accustomed to using GPS for your hiking (or hunting), you might like to navigate old-school and use a watch with a built-in compass.
For anyone who likes to hike in hilly areas, you might find an altimeter useful. An altimeter displays your current elevation levels and records your ascension and descent speeds.
Once you have learned your typical ascent or descent speeds for certain gradients of hills, you can use this information to determine how long it will take you to hike a particular area.
Some hiking watches feature a barometer, which measures pressure in the atmosphere, which can be used to forecast the weather or alternatively, determine altitude.
There are some very prominent brands in the smart watch market, most notably with Garmin and Fitbit. There are however some lesser known brands, which can offer all the functionality and look you want from your smart watch.
In determining our Top 5 smartwatches for hiking, you probably won’t be surprised to see some of the big contenders there, but we’ve also found some smartwatches from other brands which we feel are on a par with the more well known counterparts. They may not have the same number of sales as the better known brands, but those who’ve bought from them appear to be just as happy with their product than those who bought from big brands.
When it comes to smartwatches, you can only get the smartphone functionality if you 1) have a compatible smartphone, and 2) your watch is within Bluetooth pick up distance of your smartphone.
Many smart watches will only work with certain smartphones, such as the Apple watch. Most of the smart watches in our Top 5 above are compatible with the more recent models of iPhones and Android phones. If in any doubt, our advice to you is to always check before buying.
Another thing to think about is the watch’s battery life. The longer the battery lasts the better. You don’t want to be lost on a hike in unfamiliar territory about to check the GPS only to find the watch’s battery has run out. Our advice is to always ensure that your smart watch has received a full charge the day before you go on your hike.