5 Best Smartwatches with GPS for Hiking and Navigation

5 Best Smartwatches with GPS for Hiking and Navigation

If you have a penchant for exploration and love to travel places off the beaten path, you must have a smartwatch in your arsenal. And not just any smartwatch, but a watch that comes with built-in GPS. You see, the best smartwatches with GPS for hiking will help you on your adventures by sharing relevant health data and giving you directions together.

That said, there’s no shortage of wearables with a built-in GPS tracker. As such, you might be wondering about the best smartwatches with GPS for hiking you can buy today. Well, you’re in luck because after scouring the interwebs, we’ve managed to narrow down the list to five enticing options.

But before talking about it, you might want to read on-

Now let’s look at the options.

1. Fitbit Charge 5

Fitbit Charge 5

Fitbit has quite a recall in the fitness tracker space and for good reason. Take the company’s Charge 5, for example, which boasts a svelte design and weighs just 28 grams. As such, the tracker won’t weigh your wrist down when you’re working out or embarking on an adventure. In addition, the tracker is also extremely robust and water resistant up to 50m.

The tracker even comes with interchangeable straps that let you change your look on the fly. Most notably, the device is among the slimmest trackers to get built-in GPS. According to the brand, the device comes with two GNSS systems, including built-in GPS and GLONASS. So you can go out for a run without carrying your phone in your pockets. Or, you can get away from the routine of city life and embark on a short hike with just the tracker – the possibilities are endless.

That’s not all, as the wearable can also pair with your smartphone and relay notifications. That said, you won’t be able to take calls with the device as it doesn’t come with a built-in microphone. On the other hand, the tracker has a plethora of fitness tracking features including 24/7 heart rate and SpO2 monitoring. Additionally, the device can also map your sleep pattern and even record your ECG through the Fitbit ECG app.

On the contrary, the unit’s battery backup leaves something to be desired and the watch can only last for five hours with GPS on. Regardless, the laptop is very successful and has been praised by buyers and reviewers. So much so that the folks at CNET dubbed it the best Fitbit money can buy.

2. Amazfit T-Rex 2 Smartwatch

Amazfit T-Rex 2

Amazfit has a reputation for delivering affordable fitness trackers that punch above their weight in the performance department. And the company’s T-Rex 2 smartwatch is no exception. To that end, the laptop looks like an old-school G-shock and sports an incredibly rugged build.

In fact, the laptop comes with a MIL-STD-810G rating, making it a great companion when traversing uncharted terrain. So much so that the brand claims that the laptop can be used in areas where temperatures can drop to -30 degrees Celsius. That’s not all, as the wearable is also water resistant up to 100m. So you don’t have to worry when you wear it near a body of water.

Since we were on the subject, you should know that the device supports dual-band positioning as well as six different satellite positioning systems. Therefore, you should be able to get a reliable GPS connection even when traversing dense forests. That’s not all, as the wearable also allows users to import routes. Thus, you can ask your friend to share their route file (.GPX, .TCX and .KML formats supported) before embarking on the same trek.

Moreover, the fitness tracker also supports real-time navigation, as well as direct return navigation, which shows users the shortest route to the starting point of a journey. You’ll also get a terrific suite of health tracking features, including 24/7 heart rate support, blood oxygen saturation monitoring, and sleep tracking. Needless to say, the Amazfit T-rex 2 is one of the best smartwatches with GPS for hiking on the market.

3.Fitbit Versa 4

Then there’s the Fitbit Versa 4. Unlike the Charge 5, the Versa 4 looks like a typical smartwatch. A side benefit of the same is that you get a bigger and more readable AMOLED display with the device. Namely, the smartwatch has a 1.58-inch display which should feel more intuitive as you’ll have a bigger canvas to read your notifications and use gesture-based navigation.

Most notably, the device comes with two GNSS systems, including built-in GPS and GLONASS. While the specs draw parallels with the Charge 5, the Versa 4 lets you use features like turn-by-turn navigation when using Google Maps. This is especially convenient if you are traveling long distances. It should also be added that the device comes with an altimeter, which should come into play if you are a serious mountaineer. However, you cannot import GPX files for information about tracks, waypoints, and jobs with Versa 4.

Apart from that, the laptop comes with an inbuilt speaker and microphone. As such, you can also take calls directly from your wrist. That’s not all, as the wearable also allows you to quickly return to incoming messages and notifications. You can choose to send one of the editable quick replies or speak into the handheld microphone and dictate your text.

Moreover, the wearable also comes with a host of health tracking features and it can map your heart rate, sleep patterns, SpO2 rating, and more. You will also be able to track your steps, calories and distance when you walk or run. Unsurprisingly, the Versa 4 is among the best smartwatches with GPS for hiking.

4. Coros PACE 2

Coros PACE 2

If you’re looking for a fitness-focused wearable, you’ll find the Coros PACE 2 right up your alley. To that end, the watch was the lightest wearable GPS on the market at the time of its launch and the device tips the scales at just 29 grams. Now, note that the PACE 2 is for marathon runners and sprinters.

So much so that the device offers a bunch of features that should improve your running performance. Chief among these is the company’s EvoLab assessment utility, which is integrated into the companion app. For those who don’t know, EvoLab is an evaluation tool that can help you determine the effectiveness of your workouts. For example, the PACE 2 can assess your running performance by comparing your scores to yesterday’s run or even last week’s.

To do this, the smartwatch generates a running performance score which is displayed on a scale of 80-120%. You can chart the consistency of your sprints by comparing the scores of two races. A score of 80-95% is considered poor and between 105-120% is considered excellent. You can use this information to better understand your body and give yourself more time to rest if needed. You’ll also get a Race Predictor feature with the device, which analyzes your running data (including your VO2 Max scores) and gives an estimate of your pace if you’re running a race.

The wearable is also more than suitable for GPS tracking. For this purpose, the device supports GPS, QZSS, BEIDOU and GLONASS GNSS systems. If anything, you can’t import routes or get real-time navigation with the device. The wearable, on the other hand, comes with a built-in barometric altimeter, thermometer, and gyroscope.

5. Garmin Instinct 2 Solar

Garmin Instict 2 Solar

If you don’t mind splurging on your next handheld GPS, then the Instinct 2 Solar is a great option to consider. As the name suggests, the wearable comes with the brand’s solar technology that achieves 30% higher solar conversion than its predecessors. In addition, the device is extremely robust and complies with the MIL-STD 810 standard.

Unsurprisingly, the laptop has been tested for high altitude operations and is also rated for shock resistance and corrosion resistance. It even comes with a 10 ATM waterproof rating, which is excellent. Most notably, the device is a boon for hikers. Namely, the device comes with the quintessential ABCs of a high-performance fitness tracker. We are of course talking about a built-in altimeter, barometer and compass, which make the Instinct 2 Solar a great addition to any fitness enthusiast’s arsenal.

Since we were on the subject, you should know that the device supports multiple GNSS systems, including GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo satellite systems. Most notably, the device comes with great tracking features like Tracback routing, which helps you get back to where you started. The watch can also note the location of a reference point, like a landmark, and even indicate the deviation of your path, which is great.

Of course, you’ll also be able to take advantage of other niceties, like HR tracking and SpO2 monitoring. You can even keep track of menstrual cycles with the device and tap into the watch’s advanced sleep monitoring data to improve your overall sleep cycle. It goes without saying then that the Garmin Instinct 2 Solar is one of the best connected watches with GPS for hiking.

GPS Smartwatch FAQs

1 – What is the disadvantage of a GPS watch?

The biggest drawback of using GPS on a smartwatch is that it eats away at the battery life of the device.

2 – Can a Garmin make calls without a phone?

Yes, you can answer a call through select Garmin handheld devices. The Venu 2 Plus, for example, comes with a built-in mic and speaker that facilitates the same.

Go where no one goes

Armed with the aforementioned GPS handhelds, you’ll traverse the most gruesome hikes and climbs. If the budget is not a bar, we recommend you to go for the Garmin Instinct 2 Solar. Although the laptop is expensive, it more than makes up for it with its remarkable feature set. That said, buyers looking for a slim fitness tracker will also find a lot to like in the Charge 5. Let us know which of the best smartwatches with GPS for hiking appeal to you in the comments below.

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