5 Best GPS Watches For Hiking in 2023

Hiking is one of the best activities you can do for your health. It’s a great way to spend time with family and friends, get some fresh air, and see new sights. But there are a lot of decisions that need to be made before you head out on your hike: What kind of shoes should I wear? How long should my daypack be? And what about my GPS watch?

This blog post will help answer all these questions by discussing features of different types of hiking GPS watches, so that you can make an informed decision when choosing which device to buy.

What to look for in a GPS watch for hiking?

The GPS watch should have a touchscreen. You’ll be using the screen to access all of its functions, so it’s important that you can operate it with ease. Touchscreens also allow for additional features like notifications and widgets (weather or social media)

It needs to fit your needs! If you’re just going on short day hikes, then a basic model will work fine for you – but if you plan on long days with lots of vertical gain/loss, extra battery life is essential. Make sure to take into consideration how often you need an update signal as well; not only does this help save battery power, some models are set up more accurately when refreshed less frequently than others. Finally, look at whether or not the watch will work internationally.

It’s not just about physical features, though! Many of these watches have software that allows you to download and upload routes/tracks onto your computer. This is a huge help if you’re using the device in conjunction with other apps for planning or mapping out where exactly you are – especially when it comes time to navigate back home (or find a new trailhead)! You’ll also want one that has memory slots so that you can add maps and charts from paperless sources like USGS topo map series without having to use up all your space on data storage.

Keep an eye on battery life; while most models should last at least three days before needing recharging, others may need charging more frequently. Some GPS watches have the ability to function as a power bank, so you can charge your phone or other devices while on the go!

You’ll also want one that has either an inbuilt compass (handy for more detailed navigation) and/or altimeter (to keep track of how many meters you’ve climbed). Consider what type of terrain you’re likely to cover when deciding which features are most important.

A waterproof model is handy if you know ahead of time that there’s going to be some water involved – not just running underfoot but from rainstorms or even swimming pools. Make sure it meets requirements before using it in any situation where moisture could cause damage; otherwise, all bets are off.”

5 best GPS watches for hiking

Garmin Forerunner 45S

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Monitor your daily fitness activities and never worry about forgetting anything at home again! It provides you with text and phone call notifications, automatic uploads to Garmin’s Connect online community, LIVE tracking, and sports apps like running and cycling too. 

The Garmin Forerunner 45s is compact, made for everyday wear, and features smart notifications for incoming texts and calls, automatic uploads to our Garmin connect online community, live tracking and controls for the music playing on your paired compatible smartphone.

It also offers safety and tracking features including incidence detection (during select activities) which sends your real-time location to emergency contacts through your paired compatible smartphone.

The sports apps are perfect for the runner or cyclist looking to fine tune their distance or pace while indoors it’s a simple way count laps in the pool or on the track without having to count manually. It will monitor stats such as total steps taken during an activity with a paired smartphone.

Garmin Fenix 3 HR

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The Garmin Fenix 3 HR unites a packed list of features for the elite athlete in you. With Elevate wrist-based heart rate technology, it will track your heart rate data without wearing an uncomfortable chest strap.

It has black silicone band, and measures delicate wrist data in the form of captivating numerical data on its 1.2 inch Chroma display screen.

The GPS enabled NordicTrack will offer an accurate reading of your location whenever possible, and operates for up to 50 hours before charging is necessary.

With water resistance up to 10ATM / 100 meters with a limited lifetime warranty, this watch is built tough enough for any environment where sweat, rain, or occasional swimming are inevitable.

Coros Pace GPS Multisport Watch

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The Coros Pace is the ultimate smartwatch for athletes, measuring your performance metrics and heart rate in a simple wrist wearable. The Coros Pace GPS Multisport Watch is engineered for the high-performer. It features a wrist based heart rate monitor and performance metrics for running, swimming, hiking, and cycling activities from one of top designers in sports products.

Its minimalistic look pairs with a power efficient central core to get you through your activity with ease without compromising on functionality!

The built-in Barometric Altimeter tracks elevation changes accurately while GLONASS, GPS and BDS work together to precisely locate your position; even through interference outdoors. With STRAVA compatibility, you can track your progress through this rugged watch that is engineered with a powerful central core, meaning long battery life to power training up to 30 days!

Now with improved GPS accuracy and faster satellite fix-ups so you don’t need to worry about being located as you train outdoors or deep underwater.


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The SUUNTO Ambit3 Peak is the all-in-one feature rich GPS watch for outdoor sports. It features a built in altimeter, barometer, compass and connects to your smartphone for call notifications.

The most competitive battery life on the market with 200 hours of 1 minute accuracy (and automatic GPS satellite acquisition), can also wirelessly transfer your activities on Ambit3peak to Suunto Movescount App or share them online.

This high-end timepiece has been designed for professional use and rugged mountaineering adventures alike. Anytime you need instant altitude measurement or precise location finder, it’s simply there at a glance.

With 200 hours battery life plus 1-minute accuracy from its dual sensors, precision altimeter and barometer. Its smart algorithms capture way more data than competitors, while simplifying navigation and providing altitude readings up to 30-meter resolution (higher than any watch on the market) with a remote sensor that you can carry in your jacket pocket or pry off a cliff.

Garmin fēnix 5S

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This elite watch is perfect for athletes with large wrists and those who want an even more powerful GPS multisport device. To support your performance, the fēnix 5S model features premium performance metrics, onboard storage of up to 500 routes/copies of maps and activity profiles that you can program from our Connect IQ store.

It also has a battery life up to 14 hours in GPS mode or 36 hours in UltraTrac mode that will not only fuel your fitness but also save money on disposable batteries. You won’t ever need to worry about missing important information, as this product keeps you connected with smart notifications at your wrist (of course without compromising style). It comes preloaded with activities like hiking, cycling, running, swimming and other sports activities.

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