The Best GPS Watch for Hiking

Best GPS Watch for Hiking and Running

Ready for Adventure?

A modern GPS watch is the perfect accessory for hiking, running, and all other outdoor adventures. They show you exactly where you are, so you will never get lost. To help you find the best one, we have tested over 30 new models and selected the top cheap GPS watches.

How to Select The Best GPS Watch For Hiking

The best GPS watches are multi-functional and do more than just point you in the right direction. However, with hundreds of available products and options it can be tricky to pick just the right one. No worries, though, here are the six most important specs to keep an eye on when buying your GPS watch. We have included them below for each recommended product to make comparing them easy.

Best GPS Watch for Hiking and Running

Waterproof

A good GPS watch for hiking and running should be waterproof, allowing you to get it wet while outdoors. Whether you take it for a swim or get caught in the rain - today's waterproof watches can handle moisture easily.

Best GPS Watch for Hiking and Running

Battery Life

GPS watches are usually rechargeable, and as such a good battery life is a major factor to consider. Bearing in mind that frequent GPS usage can deplete your battery look for a model with a battery life that suits your lifestyle and activity level.

Best GPS Watch for Hiking and Running

Heart Rate

If you are looking to track your fitness goals and general health activity, pick a GPS watch with a built-in heart rate monitor. You can usually connect it to a suite of health and exercise via iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.

Best GPS Watch for Hiking and Running

Distance

The ability to track distances is an important feature, especially for hikers and runners. Look for a GPS watch that offers distance tracking capability as part of its functionality. You will be able to track progress on hikes, calculate the distance you cover on runs, and more.

Best GPS Watch for Hiking and Running

Size

Most modern GPS watches are relatively compact, but there are slight differences. The ideal size of the watch will be a matter of personal preference. Look for a product that fits your wrist, is comfortable, and isn't too big or small.

Best GPS Watch for Hiking and Running

Weight

Some watches are heavier than others. The weight of a GPS watch will vary based on both the complexity of the device as well as the materials used in its construction. Chose a watch based on functionality first and weight last.

Reviews and Buying Guide: Best GPS Watch For Hiking

With so many GPS watches available on the market, it can be a daunting task to try and make sense of them all. There are hundreds to choose from, and it can be a dizzying experience trying to compare all of them. Luckily, we have already done that work for you, comparing 30 new GPS watches and picking the very best ones for you. We have tested all of them in real world conditions to determine which ones offer the best quality and value. Each model selected below is a great choice, offering excellent quality, lots of features, and a good price. So pick the one you like best and get ready for adventure. On to the reviews!

Garmin vívoactive GPS Watch

best gps watch for hiking
Best GPS Watch for Hiking and Running

Waterproof
Yes

Best GPS Watch

Battery Life
3 Weeks/10 Hours GPS Mode

gps watch for running

Heart Rate
Yes

best gps watch for running

Distance
Yes

running gps watch

Size
0.3 x 1.6 x 10.1"

best gps watch

Weight
1.28 oz.

Garmin is a well-known brand name in GPS technology and one of the top choices for high-quality GPS watches. The Vivoactive shows why Garmin is one of the market leaders. It is incredibly thin and features a bright, sunlight-readable screen with vibrant colors and high resolution. Best of all, it is a touchscreen, making it very easy to use.

Designed for active outdoor enthusiasts, the Vivoactive GPS watch will track distances, monitor your pace, count your laps and swimming strokes, and just about anything else with an excellent suite of sports and activity apps. The watch will also pair with your smartphone to take and receive calls and more. In short, this the Garmin Vivoactive watch is an excellent choice at a very good price. It offers fantastic outdoor versatility thanks to its many different tracking and monitoring capabilities.

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Garmin fenix 3 GPS Watch

best gps watch for hiking
Best GPS Watch for Hiking and Running

Waterproof
Yes

Best GPS Watch

Battery Life
6 Weeks/20 Hours GPS Mode

gps watch for running

Heart Rate
No

best gps watch for running

Distance
Yes

running gps watch

Size
0.6 x 2 x 2"

best gps watch

Weight
2.88 oz.

Stylish and elegant, the Garmin Fenix 3 GPS watch looks great on any wrist. Featuring a high-resolution Chroma display optimized for direct sunlight viewing, the watch incorporates a lightning-fast GPS fix that leaves many comparable products in the dust.

It can communicate via Wi-Fi for software and map updates, and allows you to measure advanced body metrics such as your VO2 max as well as a host of others. Because of the Garmin's incredible tracking features and high-end body tracking the Fenix 3 is one of the best GPS watches for hiking, running, and other outdoor activities.

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Garmin Tactix Bravo GPS Watch

best gps watch for hiking
Best GPS Watch for Hiking and Running

Waterproof
Yes

Best GPS Watch

Battery Life
3 Weeks/20 Hours GPS Mode

gps watch for running

Heart Rate
No

best gps watch for running

Distance
Yes

running gps watch

Size
0.6 x 2 x 2"

best gps watch

Weight
3.2 oz.

The ultimate tactical GPS watch designed for the elements, the Garmin Tactix Bravo is the watch you need if you plan to take your hikes to the limit. The watch's reflective coating will ensure full sunlight readability. Featuring an altimeter, barometer, GPS, and triple axis compass in addition to distance and directional trackers, the Tactix offers one of the best feature sets for full activity and geo-tracking. Sync your data over Wi-Fi and even connect night vision goggles if you wish to do so. For an outstanding GPS watch for pro-level outdoor adventures, the Garmin Tactix Bravo fits the bill.

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Garmin Foretrex 401 Hiking GPS

best gps watch for hiking
Best GPS Watch for Hiking and Running

Waterproof
Yes

Best GPS Watch

Battery Life
17 hours GPS mode

gps watch for running

Heart Rate
No

best gps watch for running

Distance
Yes

running gps watch

Size
1.7 x 0.9 x 3"

best gps watch

Weight
3 oz.

Simple yet highly effective, the Garmin Foretrex 401 combines all the information necessary to make your next hiking expedition count. With an excellent and very easy-to-read LCD screen, it will not only track distance but also allows you to retrace your path. This last feature makes the watch an essential piece of gear for hiking, camping, running, boating, and nature expeditions.

The Garmin Foretrex 401 monitors waypoints and routes with ease, navigates with a reliable electronic compass, and lets you plan your hike with the built-in trip computer. The dual display allows you to see multiple data points at once. The Garmin Foretrex 401 makes your hiking excursion a breeze and is one of the best GPS watches we have seen in a while. It is very easy to use and offers much functionality, making it a fantastic choice.

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TomTom Runner GPS Watch

best gps watch for hiking
Best GPS Watch for Hiking and Running

Waterproof
Yes

Best GPS Watch

Battery Life
3 Weeks/10 Hours GPS Mode

gps watch for running

Heart Rate
Yes

best gps watch for running

Distance
Yes

running gps watch

Size
4 x 3.7 x 3.7"

best gps watch

Weight
6.7 oz.

TomTom is another well-known brand name in the outdoor watch field, and the Runner GPS is, as the name implies, designed as a great GPS watch for running. The large screen will let you quickly and easily see vital data even when you are sprinting. The watch also features a training partner mode to help you train more efficiently.

Find your location quickly, track your time and distance, and let the help you to reach your training and health goals – this product offers it all. The TomTom Runner is a great cheap GPS watch that will help you find the way (both outdoors and for your health), and we highly recommend it.

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Garmin Forerunner 10 GPS Watch

best gps watch for hiking
Best GPS Watch for Hiking and Running

Waterproof
Yes

Best GPS Watch

Battery Life
10 Days/5 Hours GPS Mode

gps watch for running

Heart Rate
No

best gps watch for running

Distance
Yes

running gps watch

Size
15 x 12 x 12.4"

best gps watch

Weight
5.6 oz.

Another great Garmin GPS watch, the Forerunner 10, incorporates everything you need for outdoor navigation in a stylish and compact device. The high-sensitivity GPS tracker will help to record not only your position and distance travelled, but helps to measure different activity metrics against your goals.

It is available in several stylish colors, and with the suite of training tools on offer, it will not disappoint. Once connected to a computer, you can upload your data and optionally share your adventures on a map with friends and family. Thanks to its simple but elegant design and great functionality the Garmin Forerunner 10 is the perfect staple for your future outdoor adventures.

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Garmin fenix 2 GPS Watch

best gps watch for hiking
Best GPS Watch for Hiking and Running

Waterproof
Yes

Best GPS Watch

Battery Life
5 weeks/50 Hours GPS Mode

gps watch for running

Heart Rate
No

best gps watch for running

Distance
Yes

running gps watch

Size
0.7 x 1.9 x 1.9"

best gps watch

Weight
3.2 oz.

The Garmin Fenix 2 is a fantastic watch for hiking which takes tracking to the next level. It offers different profiles for various activities, including swimming, hiking, and running, and is an excellent training partner thanks to the versatility of the built-in fitness features. One of the most useful features of this new GPS watch is that it offers a "breadcrumb" mode so that you will never lose your way. This feature allows you to track back your path so that you safely find your way back home. It is especially useful for longer hikes and multi-day trips, and we found it incredibly easy to use.

You can also plan trips using up to thousands of waypoints, measure your travelled distance, and then share the results on a map. As if that would not be enough, brand new altimeter and barometer functions will compliment your hike and run as well. The Garmin Fenix 2 is a great hiking and running companion thanks to the myriad tracking features, extensive feature set, and exceptional battery life. It is hands down one of the best GPS watches for running and hiking we have tested.

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Garmin Forerunner 230

best gps watch for hiking
Best GPS Watch for Hiking and Running

Waterproof
No

Best GPS Watch

Battery Life
5 weeks/16 Hours GPS Mode

gps watch for running

Heart Rate
No

best gps watch for running

Distance
Yes

running gps watch

Size
0.5 x 1.8 x 1.8"

best gps watch

Weight
1.44 oz.

While it is not a cheap GPS watch, the Garmin Forerunner 230 is a watch to be reckoned with. In addition to the high-resolution display, it features very useful audio prompts to inform you of laps, goals, and times. The screen is 44% larger than most other top GPS watch models, making it easy to see all information at a glance. And not only will it measure distance, but it will also track your activity and movement throughout the entire day.

We loved that you can customize the watch faces through easy downloads and connect it to a smartphone to take advantage of many advanced features. The Garmin Forerunner 230 offers great specs to help keep you moving in the right direction and is one of the best choices for a high-end running and hiking watch.

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Polar M400 GPS Watch

best gps watch for hiking
Best GPS Watch for Hiking and Running

Waterproof
Yes

Best GPS Watch

Battery Life
3 weeks/8 Hours GPS Mode

gps watch for running

Heart Rate
Yes

best gps watch for running

Distance
Yes

running gps watch

Size
4.53  x 3 x 3.74"

best gps watch

Weight
2.0 oz

Polar might not be as well-known a brand as Garmin, but the M400 is one of the top GPS watches for running. It brings social sharing of your fitness achievements and distance metrics right to your fingertips. The Polar Flow app lets you share your data with friends so that you can monitor each other’s progress.

Integrated fitness tools include a reliable heart monitor and a running recovery tracker. You can also easily set and track a variety of different training goals. Use inactivity alerts to let it tell you when to get moving again and automatically measure daily activity goals. All in all, the Polar M400 delivers outstanding activity and GPS tracking, health metrics that will enhance your daily routine, and more – all at a very affordable price point for a feature-rich GPS watch.

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