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The best hiking watches of 2018

By Rachel Cavanaugh


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When shopping for a hiking watch, there are a number of qualities to look for, whether you want it to track your exercise metrics or act as a navigational copilot during your trek. First, it should have a barometer and altimeter, as well as a basic compass to assist with navigation. Since it’ll likely take a beating, you’ll also want an option that’s durable and capable of withstanding various inclement weather scenarios.

Ideally, a good hiking watch also comes equipped with an internal GPS system to help you identify your coordinates. To help make your decision on what to buy easier, we’ve narrowed the sea of available options to five of the absolute best hiking watches currently on the market.

Polar M600

best hiking watches polar m600 android wear bg

With integrated GPS functionality, Polar’s M600 offers precise navigation and a useful assortment ofmetrics to track your hike including the distance, pace, and real-time altitude. Thanks to its GPS, the watch allows you to monitor your exact route, reviewing each trail you wander down or path you traverse. The watch is built with optical sensors which estimate your heart rate and an advanced voice control feature.

As a bonus, the watch is one hundred percent waterproof — submergible up to 50 meters — meaning you can hike in the rain or even navigate water crossings without fear of ruining it.

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Polar Walmart

Suunto Spartan Sport Baro

Suunto Spartan Sport Baro

Constructed with a top-of-the-line barometric altimeter, Suunto’s Spartan Sport Baro tracks your elevation across any terrain, whether you’re traipsing through mossy lowlands or navigating snow-covered mountaintops. The device relies onFusedAlti technology to take barometric pressure measurements and record them in your activity log, offering a comprehensive look at your altitude throughout the day.

It also provides weather alerts and offers access tosunrise and sunset times, allowing you to plan your adventure safely and avoid unexpected storms or other surprises from nature. Suunto outfit the Spartan Sport Baro with an impressive 20 hours of battery life which is perfect for weekend backpacking trips. It even syncs with its companionapp for live navigation along your journey.

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Best Buy Walmart

Fitbit Ionic

Fitbit Ionic Review
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

The Fitbit Ionic features an innovative design and integrated antenna that creates a powerful satellite connection, providing highly accurate live tracking from within the device. This means you’re able to leave your phone at home when you trek into the wilderness, relying on the watch’s built-in GPS and GLONASS features to monitor your route.

It also offersreal-time pace and distance tracking while recording your elevation and other fitness and performance metrics. Additionally, the Ionic is equipped with bonus features such as PurePulse heart rate monitoring, dynamic personal coaching, Store and Play music, and multi-sport modes so you can utilize the device when you’re not hiking, too.

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Amazon Fitbit

Garmin Fenix 5x

garmin fenix 5x review feature

Garmin’s Fenix 5x is a map lover’s dream come true. The navigation on the device is easy to use, incredibly accurate, and comprehensive. Each of the watch’s maps loads fast and features a simple and intuitive interface. For instance, if you hold down the button to display the watch face, it automatically switches to the navigation app when you’re prompted to turn, displaying the map with the direction you’re supposed to go in.

The watch also generates routes for you and allows you to customize your own. Each map gives you the option to zoom in and out and even allows for the download of an isobar tolayer them on top of each other. Many hiking watches feature heart rate monitors, pacing, distance tracking, and other metrics, but few conquers the navigation piece as well as Garmin’s Fenix 5x.

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Garmin B&H Photo

TimexT49612 Expedition Trail Series

Timex Men's T49612 Expedition

Although not a smartwatch, Timex’sT49612 Expedition Trail Series nevertheless deserves a mention on any list of best hiking watches. First, it’s virtually indestructible — built with survivalist and military personnel in mind — witha band of heavy duty resin and thick hinges. It has an Indiglo night light, digital compass, and multiple timers and alarms including hydration reminders.

Fully shock resistant, it also has a reverse LCD screen and a chronograph stopwatch function that measures time to one-twentieth of a second. Despite its digital readout, the Timex watch is constructed with quartz movement and is fully waterproof, capable of functioning at a whopping depth of 200 meters.

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Amazon


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