The Best GPS Watch for Hiking in 2018 -2019

Last Updated on

If you are a goal-oriented fitness enthusiast then certain modern gadgets of today would interest you a lot. People do get interested in knowing the different parameters associated with the efforts they put in different physical activities.

One such gadget is the GPS watch which will surely give some new fitness goals to the fitness enthusiasts, preferring hiking and other similar fitness activities.

In order to make the most out of such device, you need to be sure that you are in possession of the best GPS watch for hiking. A good GPS watch would be the one which gives top performance and it is a kind of tailor-made to suit your needs.

Do not fall for any marketing gimmicks and trust only the top manufacturers having a diverse existing customer range, with positive feedbacks readily available over the web about these products.

Our Top Choices

Garmin Fenix 3 HR
Garmin Fenix 3 HR
Garmin Forerunner 920XT Watch
Garmin Forerunner 920XT Watch

To make sure you get the best GPS watch for hiking we have sorted some of the best options for you:


Product Name

Different Colors


Garmin Forerunner Running GPS Unit


Waterproof Running Watch S908


TomTom Runner GPS Running Watch


Garmin Forerunner 15 Large


Magellan GPS Switch Crossover Watch


Garmin Fenix


TomTom Runner GPS Running Watch


Rookee Smart Watch Built-in GPS


Garmin Fenix 3 HR


Garmin Forerunner 920XT Watch


#1. Garmin Forerunner Running GPS Unit

This is a premium GPS watch in the runners/ hikers category and rightly so, for all its high-end features. It offers numerous advanced multisport and running features along with a heart rate system based on your wrist. The provision of advanced dynamic features, for cycling, running, swimming along with the ground contact time balance makes it a superior choice.


  • You will be pleased to know that this feature-enriched watch weighs just 49 grams and this allows you to wear it all day, and that too in style.
  • The smarter feature of evaluation of your training status is there where the watch indicates, in case you are undertraining or overtraining. So, it ensures that you are doing your exertion just in the right quantity.
  • You will have nothing to worry about the bearings with the presence of altimeter, barometer and electronic compass which are built-in to the system of the watch.
  • Battery life is excellent. To be precise, in smartwatch mode, it will give you a standby time of 2 weeks and in GPS mode, 24 hours are there, which are more than enough for any situation.
  • The automatic pausing feature is absolutely lovable, especially when you are in the middle of your workout/ running/ training activity and have to stop for any reason.


  • The mapping is not much detailed on your route and it just essentially has got a line to be followed.

#2. Waterproof Running Watch S908 With Heart Rate Sleep Monitor

This multifunctional GPS watch is waterproof and offers built-in 3d accelerometer in addition to gyroscope where the pro data testing could help with your physical activity in a scientific manner. GPS is capable of recording all your workout activities such as calories, steps, distance and heart rate etc.


  • There are 5 exercise modes which are run, ride, swim, walk and climb which makes it a complete solution for any desirable training activity.
  • The heart rate monitoring feature is flexible to be adjusted for the maximum and minimum heart rate along with the 16 hours monitoring of the heart rate on a dynamic basis.
  • Along with all its multiple basic and advance watch features, such as sedentary remind, stopwatch, timer, alarm, calories monitor, time display, date display, messaging alert system and heart rate monitor etc., it consumes very little power and the battery easily lasts for 0 days.
  • The product offers a very wide range in terms of its compatibility with Android 4.3 and above. On top of that, iPhone and above are all compatible.


  • The scrolling and reading of the notifications on the device are not easy to deal with.

#3. TomTom Runner GPS Running Watch

This device surely gives you one strong reason to enjoy your hiking with a purpose. Its system offers to measure calories burned, pace, distance, time and all the relevant live statistics on the go. It offers you to upload your data to several fitness-related apps through Bluetooth.


  • Lightweight and waterproof makes it ideal for outdoor wet conditions use.
  • The display is the extra-large size for easy viewing and this is helpful for hikers and cycles with one button control system.
  • Based on your current fitness level, you can use this device to make your own customized fitness training programs. This will help in improving your speed and overall fitness.
  • Based on your fitness level, it will motivate you to run/ workout faster by taking the history of your workout into account.


  • The watch band is not firmly hooked up with the watch itself. There is always a chance of the watch to fall off the strap when you are not wearing it.

#4. Garmin Forerunner 15 Large, (Certified Refurbished)

This certified refurbished GPS watch from Garmin has unbeatable features and productivity that is second to none. The personal record details for monitoring your personal improvement gives you new fitness goals.

It is easy to use a system which is capable of tracking your heart rate, distance, calories, and pace. The manufacturer offers to join their online community for free, where you can download and save multiple effective training plans to enhance your fitness.


  • The rechargeable battery of the GPS watch on a single charge lasts for 8-hour in GPS mode and runs for 5 weeks on the activity/ watch tracking mode.
  • Precision, accuracy, and reliability of its GPS system are excellent and you will get very accurate results related to your distance and pace.
  • The inactivity indicator feature is very useful to motivate you when you sit or relax for too long in between your hiking/ running or cycling activity.
  • Motivation is further increased when the Forerunner 15 updates you in case, you set fastest or longest run record.
  • If you are a treadmill person, then you can hook it up with your foot pod for capturing all the desirable data on your treadmill exertion.


  • Size is slightly bigger as compared to a lot of its contemporaries and that could be an issue to wear it all day, as this could be tiring.

#5. Magellan GPS Switch Crossover Watch

This all-black watch would surely look dapper in your hand and will motivate you to further enhance your fitness all the time. It is mainly because of its versatility to suit with different supports and its certain customizable features make it ideal for hiking. GPS works exceptionally well to track your current position, distance, time, speed, calories, and elevation.


  • It offers a reasonably spacious display of 1.26 inches which is the Monochrome type high resolution.
  • It comes with 9 different activity profiles so this means you can use it for 9 different workout activities or sports.
  • The auto-pause feature is there so you do not manually need to start/ stop the device when taking a break due to any reason.
  • The device is 50m water resistance and that makes it suitable for wet conditions and swimming activities.


  • Battery life of the device as compared to the majority of its competitors is not very good. This is especially true when the watch is in GPS mode.

#6. Garmin Fenix 

Hikers need rugged watches that are able to withstand sweating, water splashes and may show up all data on the screen whether you are seeing it under the sunlight or in the dark. Garmin Fenix is one such watch that makes sure you will not be disappointed at all. This premium GPS watch comes with the Elevate technology for measuring the heart rate and other connected features and functions like notifications, Garmin connects uploads to an online fitness platform and other apps from connecting IQ store.

The display size is around 1.2 inches and is composed of stainless steel bezel, buttons, and the rear cover. In addition to that, the MIP or memory pixel assures better and efficient performance and support for the user.

You can get a glimpse of your workout with a click on it that displays your performance and workout progress. The watch also features the most sensitive outdoor sensors with the GLONASS reception form satellite function, GPS, and gyroscope as well as the barometric altimeter. All these features enable a hiker to keep himself away from issues and fit to hike to the target.


  • Rugged and long-lasting performance.
  • Stainless steel bezel, rear cover, and buttons
  • One click performance display
  • Heart rate
  • GPS
  • Altimeter

#7. TomTom Runner GPS Running Watch

TomTom running watch may assist you and win a marathon with all of its potential features including the GPS enabled area and distance estimation. You can count the number of calories burned as well as the pace, time and distance based on your activity. Its QuickGPSfix helps in finding a location so that you may never have to waste your time. The slim and lightweight construction makes sure it is not a burden on your wrist. It has to be attached to heart rate monitoring strap if you need the feature. The watch is a great fit if you need to improve your fitness or get trained for marathon race with interval training program for gaining speed and expertise without getting exhausted.

It also lets you train using your past performances by comparing it and gaining more control over your speed. It comes with many connected features to enhance its efficiency and applicability for a number of tasks that you need to set up gradually.

Lightweight, waterproof

Easy to use functions

Works great for training and running targets

#8. Rookee Smart Watch Built-in GPS

This is a go-to smartwatch both for amateur and professional athletes belonging to a range of sports and those looking for gym fitness. There is a built-in GPS system for tracking route, pace, and distance. The watch offers an exceptional multifunctional system for providing a range of information, such as steps, height, mileage, calories and heart rate.


  • The built-in GPS is excellent and all its smart features do not require a phone connection to run. So, things would be handled independently by the device.
  • The display of the unit is excellent with all the information properly organized and easy to extract. The manufacturer has utilized the available screen display in a very smart manner.
  • It is a smartwatch in every aspect, such as it comes with a strong and sturdy build with the waterproof feature as well.
  • The battery life of the product is quite long which is a treat for the athletes. In the normal operational mode (without GPS), the watch on a single charge could last for more than a week.
  • This quality smartwatch calls for a safe and risk-free investment as you can avail this luxury and productivity with 6 months warranty. Moreover, you may possibly get a free watch within the first 6 months if there is any technical issue with the watch.


  • There seems to be some issue and unreliability with the GPS connection of the watch. The connectivity sometimes could take as long as 3 minutes which is frustrating.

#9. Garmin Fenix 3 HR

Garmin Fenix 3 HR is one such watch that could beat many others based on its features and high-tech performance. It is available in multiple variations so make sure to look and compare those before making it final. This one comes with a heart rate monitor with the wristband already there. This wrist and offers accurate heart performance form your wristband without any extra accessory on your chest as well. The silicone band assures there will be no discoloration or early damages and also feel luxurious on your hand.

For hikers, it is best to have a watch that gives visibility to extreme sunlight as well as under gloomy weather conditions. The Chroma display, the Transreflective lens offers sunlight visible resolution with 218x218 pixels and allow you to manage activity tracking and other data covered with a glimpse easily.

This one also assures resistance to water damage for up to 10 atm and for 100 meters so if anyone drop in water, you are sure to get it out safely when found. Wireless data sync is also an added feature for streamlining your data using hotspot connectivity.

#10. Garmin Forerunner 920XT Watch

Garmin is probably the best manufacturer of smartwatches and the brand has proved that with various variations of the devices. This 920XT is an excellent addition to the list which offers multiple features, such as, VO2 Max, Race Predictor and Recovery Time feature. When you hook it up with some power meter then the device could also make estimates for the VO2 max for the cycling activity. It offers convenient GPS connectivity and allows for smart notifications of emails, texts, calendar reminders and call alerts etc. through your smartphones. 


  • This device goes a step ahead as compared to several of its competitors to offer live tracking where your family and friends could follow your race and other training activities and that too in real time.
  • The sensors of the product are excellent to give speed, power, cadence and heart rate with precision.
  • All the major metrics of concern for a runner are on offer including the distance, speed, descent/ ascent, gradient and much more within the product and that too with reliable functionality.
  • You may get accurate feedback on running form by calculating the vertical oscillation, cadence and the ground contact time when the device is hooked up to the HRM-RunTM monitor.
  • The device offers automatic uploads of your data to Garmin Connect app and you can conveniently share your stats on social media profiles.


  • The watch has a tendency to get stuck or freeze when you leave it on charge beyond 100 percent for some time.

Buying Tips:

You will feel comfortable to shop for the best GPS watch for running and cycling if you take care of the following critical points:

  • 1
    Best sure that you really do not need to spend a fortune to buy a high-quality hiking GPS watch. You may get the best hiking watch under 100 dollars easily. All you need to do is to shop well, based on its features, performance, and value for money.
  • 2
    Ease of use of such sophisticated products is highly important. Make sure that the watch offers you easy tuning as per your different requirements in different situations.
  • 3
    As per the best-running watches runners world, when you are out and about on hiking or cycling expeditions then the best running watches should ideally offer you excellent battery time. The majority of the devices operate in dual mode, such as a smartwatch and as a GPS watch, where the latter consumes fat more battery than the former.
  • 4
    Performance monitor is your dashboard which gives you all the output of your physical activity. Its diversity and ease of extracting the meaningful information is again a pivotal parameter for shortlisting a GPS watch.
  • 5
    Availability of some advanced features, such as stride length, ground contact time balance, vertical ratio and provision of contactless payment solutions on the move, always makes it a good case for preferring a particular watch, inculcated with all such advanced features.

What is the Best GPS Watch for Hiking

Learn more in the following video:


Q: When to take watch for servicing?

A: It depends on watch model but 2 to 3 years is normally recommended.

Q: Do solar watches come with batteries?

A: Yes and it is more durable than normal ones.

Q: What are the different type of GPS watches for hiking?

A: The different types of watches for hiking include Garmin Fenix 5, Suunto Spartan sport wrist HR watch and Casio Protrek.

Q: Can GPS watches be synced with your phone?

A: Yes, the GPS watches can be synced with the phone.

Q:  What is a GPS watch?

A: GPS or global positioning system is a global navigation satellite system that provides location details to users anywhere on earth. While hiking it is very important to know your location accurately. A GPS watch helps you do that without much effort. A smart watch with GPS is easy to carry and operate. There are a number of GPS watch products available in the market from different manufacturers.

Q:  Is Suunto Spartan sport wrist HR watch good for consumer?

A: Suunto Spartan watch is one of the best watches for outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, running, backpacking, etc. It is made up of stainless steel bezel and colored screen touch. The watch is fitted with GPS, altimeter, barometer, thermometer and compass. You can plan your trail and route beforehand by importing routes from Suunto movescount app. In this app you can also see the routes that other people took and which one is most popular amongst them. The watch provides Bluetooth which connects your watch to your smart phone and gets all the phone messages and notifications on your watch.

Q: Which are the other popular GPS watches for hiking available in the market?

A: Garmin fenix 5 is another GPS watch that is popular in the market. This watch is made to withstand harsh outdoor conditions with high resolution color display. It is made up of robust materials like stainless steel and sapphire glass making it pretty durable and resistant. Garmin fenix 5 is equipped with GPS, thermometer, barometer, altimeter and 3 axis compass. It provides you with temperature and of course directions. The connect IQ gives you option to customize the watch with your choice of apps, widgets, and other unique faces. The garmin connect mobile app can be synchronized with your smart phone for notification updates. It can also be paired with Garmin action camera so you can take pictures from your watch.

Q: What about Casio Protrek sports watch and its features?

A: Casio is not known for its sport watches but with this model they have changed that successfully. This watch has really powerful altimeter which makes it almost impossible to get lost. Casio protrek watch is also solar powered which is really important as well as useful because even if you forget to charge it, the watch will charge itself under the sun. You can use this watch for under water sports as well. The watch also comes with stopwatch with accuracy of one tenth of a second as well as countdown feature.

Q: How to maintain water resistant watches?

A: Water resistance is not permanent so to extend its durability wipe off moisture, dirt, sweat, etc after use. The proper maintenance of GPS watches is extremely important. These are expensive watches and if they are taken proper care of then these products are likely to lost longer and have a long lasting life. You must always read the company manual and instructions regarding the usage before you start wearing and using them.

As we have seen above, the best of the best GPS watch for hiking and cycling or any other physical activity depends on its features related to performance, ease of use, customize options, advanced features and giving you good value for money. Style and aesthetic features could be the secondary criteria, but still, a significant one to make your mind. In essence, all you need to do is to be logical in assessing such products, where quality should always be the topmost priority.

I am an avid outdoorsman with experience in naturalist education, outside adventure education, ski instruction, and writing. In addition to my outdoor hobbies, I started this blog to provide advanced material, guiding you towards a better and more comfortable outdoor experience. I enjoy sharing my experiences of backcountry education teaching and guiding through writing. To contact Davis, visit the contact page. and About Us.