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Best GPS Watch for Hiking in 2018 – Buyer’s Guide

Best GPS Watch for Hiking

I know what it means when someone says they got lost in the woods and couldn’t easily find their way home for hours with no end. I also know that hiking in the wild can be quite traumatic when you learn that you can’t find an exit out of the forest when you are in the heart of your escapade.

There is a reason why the best GPS watch for hiking exists. The built-in GPS in the watch is the real deal. In fact, the technology makes it possible for you to find your way out of the jungle, exactly the same way you made your way in, in the first place. If you do not have a GPS-enabled smartwatch, and you are planning to go hunting, it would be best to invest in one before your next escapade.

As important as GPS Smartwatches are, finding the best often seems somewhat challenging, for almost anyone. So, the goal of this guide is to highlight the top 5 Smartwatches with built-in GPS. Then, we will let you make up your mind on what you really think is the best option to spend your hard-earned money on.

In Summary: Our Top 3 Picks

If you are looking for a lightweight, GPS-enabled smartwatch, try Garmin Fenix Sapphire Slate Metal. Known to let you control how much power you use, this smartwatch’s battery can last for as long as you would like it to. One thing I love about this watch is its ability to record hiking metrics, a good reason why it is a unique watch for the purpose.

You will love Garmin Tactix Bravo Black Nylon because it is equipped with ABC sensors. The sensors are important because they provide a user with real time information. It even has a barometer to let you in on weather conditions. So, you can know when to continue hiking and when not to go further.

Casio Quartz Resin Outdoor Smartwatch is known as the watch that can support almost all field activities. And the best part is it comes with all the necessary applications pre-installed. Given that you can get real time notification as well as activity tracking, this watch is definitely worth buying for your hiking escapades. 

​In Reviews: What’s the Best GPS Watch for Hiking in 2018?

1. Garmin Fenix Sapphire Slate Metal


Sale
Garmin Fenix 5 Sapphire - Slate Gray with Metal Band
790 Reviews
Garmin Fenix 5 Sapphire - Slate Gray with Metal Band
  • Premium multisport GPS watch with Elevate wrist heart rate technology
  • Fit for adventure with rugged design that features stainless steel bezel, buttons and rear case
  • Put key stats at your fingertips with the performance widget that shows the effects and progress of your workouts. Universal USB Travel Wall Charger
  • Connected features include smart notifications, automatic uploads to Garmin Connect online fitness community and personalization through free watch faces and apps from our Connect IQ store
  • Outdoor sensors, including GPS and GLONASS satellite reception and 3-axis compass with gyroscope and barometric altimeter

Fenix Sapphire Slate is a Garmin watch at 2.4 ounces in weight and 1.7 inches in diameter. The watch has a resolution of 218 X 218 pixels. Its battery can stay up to 12 days (depending on the settings), especially in smartwatch mode.

The ultratac mode lets you reduce the GPSs’ recording rate, thus conserving the battery. With this watch, you can find locations and get directions of interest with ease. Get accurate signals that connect to standard GLONASS and GPS satellites.

Fenix Sapphire Slate Metal can connect to various Garmin devices like the Varian radar line, Virb action cameras and many more. This watch can track almost all activities. In addition, the watch is capable of recording your metrics as you continue to hike.

With this watch, you can easily find your way back to where you were just like best gps watches for running, especially if you find yourself in an unfamiliar territory. Personally, I have tested the watch with one of my favorite outdoor activity: hiking. This watch can be expensive but if you are an outdoor adventurer, this is definitely the watch to invest in.

​2. Garmin Tactix Bravo Black Nylon


Garmin Tactix Bravo, Black with Nylon Strap
68 Reviews
Garmin Tactix Bravo, Black with Nylon Strap
  • NAVIGATOR + ABC - High-sensitivity GPS/GLONASS positioning with automatic calibrating altimeter, barometer and 3-axis compass
  • BLACK, NON-REFLECTIVE - All-black, non-reflective design inspired by the requirements of tactical gear intended for use in the field
  • NIGHT VISION GOGGLE COMPATIBLE - Reduces backlight settings to a level that doesn't interfere with the operation of night vision goggles
  • WATER RATING - Water rated up to 10ATM / 100 meters1; suitable for swimming
  • WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY- Utilize one or more Wi-Fi hot spots to automatically sync your data with Garmin Connect and update software (when in range)

Garmin Tactix Bravo Black Nylon is an awesome watch equipped with ABC sensors that provide real time information. The in-built barometer is used to predict weather changes, so you can know whether it is the best time to continue hiking or to find shelter to hide from the rains.

Whether you are moving or not, the 3- axis electronic compasses keep your bearing. It can also provide you with accurate data whether you are on high altitudes or on low altitudes.

This watch will give you a lot of information you need to know. That way, you can always get the most out of you hiking, any time you decide to go out there. For a more complex hiking, all you will have to do is turn on the U.S Tide mode.

Apart from hiking, Garmin Tactix Bravo Black Nylon is a watch suitable for swimming. When in range,you can use WiFi hotspots to automatically sync your data with the watch.

Garmin Tactix Bravo is also designed with a backlit display and a non-reflective body to help you read it when the cover of darkness becomes your friend. The built-in GPS also helps you navigate for safety once you reach the mountaintop.

As we can see, Garmin Tactix Bravo Black Nylon has some impressive navigational and tactical features. And it is compatible with night vision goggles.

3. Casio Quartz Resin Outdoor Smartwatch


Casio Men's 'PRO TREK' Quartz Resin Outdoor Smartwatch, Color Orange (Model: WSD-F20-RGBAU)
40 Reviews
Casio Men's 'PRO TREK' Quartz Resin Outdoor Smartwatch, Color Orange (Model: WSD-F20-RGBAU)
  • Android wear 2.0, gps, mil-standard 810 g durability, 50m water resistant
  • Digital compass, altimeter, barometer, activity tracker, dual layer lcd structure, original watch face, casio moment setter, microphone, timepiece mode
  • Case Diameter: 61.7mm
  • Water resistant to 50m (165ft: in general, suitable for short periods of recreational swimming, but not diving or snorkeling
  • Up to 25 hours of battery life with GPS on and one month when in Timepiece mode

Casio Quartz Resin Outdoor Smartwatch runs on Android wear 2.0. It has a diameter casing of 61.7 mm. This means it is thinner than watches that came before it. This, automatically, means that the watch is lightweight, so you won’t feel the weight.

Casio Quartz Resin Outdoor Smartwatch can support nearly all field activities. It comes installed with all the necessary applications.

In terms of use, you can view full colored maps to help you know where you are heading. Casio Quartz Resin is compatible with smartphones that run on android version 4.3 and iPhone 5 that run on iOS version 8.2. It is important to keep in mind that there is limited functionality with the iPhone, but the Android users seem to have no restriction in terms of functionality.

 The built-in quad sensors provide real time notifications from compass readings, barometer, activity tracking and altimeter without the need for a phone.

This smartwatch has a water resistance capability of up to 50 meters, so you can also use it for swimming if you are a fan of the pool.

Casio Quartz Resin supports positioning data from only three satellites namely, Russian GLONASS, American GPS and Japanese ‘Michibiki’ QZSS). With the help of these satellites, the watch can display your current location on a colored map and steadily show you your positioning data.This must be the watch you are looking for if you are a hiker who is afraid of getting lost in their escapade.

​4. Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire Slate


Sale
Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire - Slate Gray with Black Band
790 Reviews
Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire - Slate Gray with Black Band
  • Ultimate multisport GPS watch with full-color TOPO U.S. mapping, routable cycling maps and other outdoor navigation features
  • Fit for adventure with rugged design that features stainless steel bezel, buttons and rear case: Physical size 5.1 x 5.1 x 1.8 cm;Weight - silicone band: 98 g ; metal band: 196 g
  • Built-in navigation sensors include GPS and GLONASS capability to track in more challenging environments than GPS alone as well as 3-axis compass, gyroscope and barometric altimeter
  • Preloaded run profiles: running, treadmill running, trail running. Put key stats at your fingertips with the performance widget that shows your training status, training load and more
  • Connected features include smart notifications, automatic uploads to Garmin Connect online fitness community and personalization through free watch faces and apps from our Connect IQ store

Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire Slate is a good watch with a metallic, chunky and rugged build. The watch features a reinforced housing for durability and a PVD coated stainless steel bezel.

Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire Slate assures great readability in all conditions, this is made possible by the full color, high resolution Chroma Display with backlighting.

Fenix 5X is flexible enough to have on sports like hiking, it also features a scratch resistant lens. In addition, the watch is WiFi enabled; therefore, you can automatically connect to your wireless networks and send activity uploads for share on Garmin Connect.

It is also important you note that Garmin Fenix 5X is a GPS watch with full TOPO American mapping. Its connectivity features include automatic uploads and smart notifications from IQ stores. In order to track in more challenging environments, the watch is water rated a hundred meters.

Fenix 5 sapphire also features advanced GLONASS and GPS reception. In each of its operation modes, you can count on a long battery life; this usually depends on the settings made. You can not only customize the data but also feel and look.

​5. Garmin Fenix Sapphire Black Band


Sale
Garmin Fenix 5 Sapphire - Black with Black Band
790 Reviews
Garmin Fenix 5 Sapphire - Black with Black Band
  • Premium multisport GPS watch with Elevate wrist heart rate technology. Physical size : 47 x 47 x 15.5 mm
  • Fit for adventure with rugged design that features stainless steel bezel, buttons and rear case
  • Put key stats at your fingertips with the performance widget that shows the effects and progress of your workouts
  • Connected features include smart notifications, automatic uploads to Garmin Connect online fitness community and personalization through free watch faces and apps from our Connect IQ store
  • Outdoor sensors, including GPS and GLONASS satellite reception and 3-axis compass with gyroscope and barometric altimeter

The major problem we all have with sport watches is their sizes. Most of them are big. Some are even bulky, and quite hard to carry around, to say the least.  

Garmin Fenix Sapphire Black Band is different in the sense that its sizing is not too disappointing. In fact, the company generally takes the form of GPS watches and improves them in various ways in the black band. Apart from hiking, Garmin Fenix Sapphire Black Band can also be used in activities such as mountain biking and sky diving.

The water resistant case measures a 17.5 mm thickness and 15 mm diameter. Turning to its back, this watch has a heart rate monitor, an important technology that measures your heart rate whenever you are working out or are out there hiking with your folks.

With this watch, you can access elevation, pace, time and distance. For hikers and those that trek, battery life is very important. Garmin says that you should at least get 60 hours of Ultra track with the watch. It is good to note that the battery life depends on how you use the watch.

A few issues have been reported by some of the buyers, the major one being that some of the distance measurements are off by a bit.

Overall, the watch can be suited with variety of applications, a good example being the Garmin Connect app.

I do think that the only grand drawback to it is its price.

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