Best fitness trackers for backcountry hiking iMore 2021
If you love exploring the great outdoors, chances are good you're a fan of backcountry hiking. Hiking in general is an incredible workout, and we don't want you to miss recording a step of that physical activity. That's why we created this list of best fitness trackers for backcountry hiking. Whether you're trying to record your stats, navigate your routes, or find yourself in a sticky situation in a remote area, these are the best wearables to take on your explorations.
- Solar-powered: Garmin Instinct Solar GPS Watch
- Best budget: Amazfit Bip U Smartwatch
- Good for day hikes: Apple Watch Series 6
- Adventure buddy: Coros Vertix GPS Adventure Watch
- Best battery life: TicWatch Pro 3
- Makes sense: Fitbit Sense
- Great in water: Suunto 9 Baro GPS Watch
- Supercharged: Fitbit Charge 4
- Preloaded maps: Garmin fenix 6 Saphire GPS Watch
- Record your location: Casio Pro Trek
- Speed, distance, and route tracking: Polar Vantage M GPS Watch
- Quick-charging: Huawei Watch Fit
Solar-powered: Garmin Instinct Solar GPS WatchStaff Pick
This solar-powered GPS watch features vastly extended battery life through solar charging. It's a great option for those that like to explore under the sun for long periods of time. It's built to U.S. military standardsfor thermal, shock and water resistance so it's incredibly durable. It's outfitted with preloaded activity profiles (hiking included), tracks 24/7 hear rate, Pulse Ox, and more. It also features an advanced multiple global navigation system to track in more challenging, backcountry environments.
Best budget: Amazfit Bip U Smartwatch
This budget friendly smartwatch features up to nine days of battery life and a lightweight design. It only weighs 31 grams, so it won't drag you down while you're hiking. It comes with 60+ preloaded sport modes, including hiking, to track all of the ways you like to move. On top of that, it offers Sp02 monitoring, 24/7 heart rate tracking, activity and sleep tracking, stress monitoring, and it's water resistant up to 50 meters.
Good for day hikes: Apple Watch Series 6
Apple Watch Series 6 hosts a variety of noteworthy features, but a few that are especially pertinent to backcountry hiking are its advanced navigation system and safety tracking. Apple Watch can detect if you've taken a hard fall and can connect you with emergency services if you're immobile. You can also get immediate help in an emergency by pressing and holding the side button. It offers up to 18 hours of battery life, so it's best for day hikes, not overnight backcountry camping.
Adventure buddy: Coros Vertix GPS Adventure Watch
This watch is designed for adventures. It features extreme durability and route navigation, supported by 45 days of regular battery life and 60 hours in full GPS mode. It includes an optical heart rate monitor, barometric altimeter, accelerometer, compass, gyroscope, and thermometer. You get these features all on top of basic ones like 24/7 heart rate monitoring. It weighs 54 grams and tracks, records, and stores all of your data in the free Coros app.
Best battery life: TicWatch Pro 3
The Ticwatch Pro 3 offers two power modes: three days of battery life in Smart Mode and up to 45 days in Enhanced Essential Mode. It features built-in GPS, barometer, 24/7 heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, stress monitoring, noise detection, and multiple sport modes. It's lightweight and durable, making it a great backcountry hiking companion.
Makes sense: Fitbit Sense
Fitbit Sense is Fitbit's most advanced smartwatch to date. It features built-in GPS, EDA scans, 24/7 heart rate, Sp02 monitoring, on-wrist skin temperature tracking, sleep monitoring, all-day activity tracking, and multiple preloaded sport profiles (hiking included). It offers up to six days of battery life and you can get a full day's charge in just 12 minutes. It's also water resistant up to 50 meters.
Great in water: Suunto 9 Baro GPS Watch
Suunto 9 Baro is a durable, multisport, GPS watch designed for adventurers who demand the best. It features over 80 sport modes, a barometer for accurate altitude info, and an on-wrist heart rate monitor. It delivers up to 120 hours of continuous exercise tracking and is water resistant up to 100 meters. It's made of ultra-durable materials designed to take on the rugged outdoors.
Supercharged: Fitbit Charge 4
Fitbit Charge 4 is Fitbit's first fitness tracker to feature built-in GPS. You can see your pace and distance on-screen during outdoor hikes, runs, rides, and more, and then view them in a workout intensity map in the Fitbit app, which shows how your heart rate changes along your routes. It features Fitbit's Active Zone Minutes feature, 24/7 heart rate monitoring, Sp02 monitoring, skin temperature monitoring, 20+ workout profiles, up to seven days of battery life, and it's water resistant up to 50 meters.
Preloaded maps: Garmin fenix 6 Saphire GPS Watch
This GPS watch is built for performance. It features a sophisticated design that has an always-on sunlight-readable display with bezels in stainless steel, titanium, or diamond-like carbon coating. It offers heart rate montitoring and Pulse 0x to support advanced sleep monitoring and altitude acclimation. Navigate the great outdoors with preloaded TOPO maps, ski maps for over 2,000 worldwide ski resorts, and multiple global navigation systems. It offers up to 14 days of battery life in watch mode and up to 10 hours in GPS and music mode.
Record your location: Casio Pro Trek
This fitness watch features quad sensors — a thermometer, altimeter/barometer, digital compass, and step counter — to track your movement. It connects via Bluetooth to log and store your data in the affiliated app, which automatically records altitude data measured by the watch and route information acquired by your smartphone's GPS, so you can manually plot altitude points using the route log feature. You can also record your current location in memory. A location indicator will even display the distance back to the original registered location when you move.
Speed, distance, and route tracking: Polar Vantage M GPS Watch
The Polar Vantage M offers up to 30 hours of battery life. It features accurate 24/7 heart rate monitoring, training load profiles, advanced GPS and navigation, and is water resistant. Use its Training Load Pro feature to get a comprehensive view of how your training sessions strain your body in different ways. It offers session-by-session and long-term monitoring. Integrated GPS and GLONASS gives accurate speed, distance, and route tracking.
Quick-charging: Huawei Watch Fit
This affordable Huawei fitness watch features a built-in GPS system, Sp02 and 24/7 heart rate monitoring, 96 workout modes (hiking included), and a customizable watch face. It offers up to 10 days of battery life on a full charge and it has quick-charging, giving you a full day's charge in just five minutes.
Explore the outdoors
If you're a backcountry hiker, it's a smart choice to bring a fitness wearable that offers navigation, safety tracking, and activity tracking so you can track your routes, record and store your movement, and get help should you ever find yourself in an emergency situation. You'll also want something that either has great battery life, quick-charging, or even solar charging, like our top pick, the Garmin Instinct Solar. It's not the most affordable option on this list, but it's durable and designed for outdoor wear. It features vastly extended battery life through solar charging, so you can actively charge in the sun while you explore.
If you need something a little more budget friendly, check out Fitbit Charge 4. It's a great value that features built-in GPS, workout intensity maps, Sp02 and 24/7 heart rate monitoring, and a battery life that lasts for days. It's also very lightweight, which is perfect for those with smaller wrists. If you want to splurge, scope the Coros Vertix. It's designed for adventuring and offers exceptional battery life even in GPS mode.
Whatever your needs are when it comes to exploring the outdoors, we've got you covered with this list of best fitness trackers for backcountry hiking.
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