best garmin watch for hiking

Best Garmin Watch For Hiking In 2023 – Top 5 Picks

Preparing for a hiking adventurer requires many things: hydration, comfortable gear, tools, a backpack, among other items.

But were you aware that smartwatches can make the whole experience even better?

That’s right. These accessories from Garmin will keep you updated on vital information along the way.

Your heart rate, the distance walked, stress caused, among other things, are all provided by a smartwatch.

Today, we’re reviewing a selection of products to help you choose the best Garmin watch for hiking. Once you try a smartwatch, you may regret not buying one earlier.

So, what do these products have to offer for hikers? Let’s find out!
[table id=4 /]

Top 5 Recommended Best Garmin Watch for Hiking

The next products are the most useful Garmin smartwatches currently available. These accessories are durable, reliable, and highly informative when you’re doing any outdoor activity, including hiking. Here’s what they’ve got for you:

1. Garmin Rugged Outdoor Watch with GPS

Garmin is a reliable brand that produces must-have equipment for hikers. This product, and every other watch reviewed here, comes from this company, as there’s really not much competition to its quality.

You have to take a look at this product. This rugged GPS watch, built to endure adverse environmental conditions, guides you through each hiking session safely.

It has got everything you may need. The watch features a built-in 3-Axis compass and a barometric altimeter. Additionally, there’s satellite navigation.

Not only GPS, but it also has Glonass and Galileo. Regardless of which system you like the most, you’re always aware of your location.

And if you have to retrace your steps, you can use the Trackback technology to go back the same route you’ve been following.

Garmin offers plenty of information through the website or apps that allow hikers to create their routes beforehand.

This watch keeps you on the right course all the time. You can connect this product to your smartphone, which provides notifications and data upload if you wish to allow it.

Another convenient feature is the heart rate system. It monitors your physical condition, activity, and stress during hiking. The already existing activity profiles will help you understand this feature quickly.

For the reasons described here, and many more, this watch is an accessory that hikers can’t ignore.

Highlighted Features

  • Long-lasting battery life
  • Three navigation systems to let you know your location
  • Compatible with smartphones
  • Many colors available
  • Capable of withstanding tough environment conditions

2. Gps Watch For Hiking | 3 GPS Smartwatch

Although not as good looking as the previous watch, this product gets us through the hiking experience safely too.

That’s all that matters in the end. But what does this new accessory from Garmin have to offer for adventurers like yourself? Let’s talk about it.

Undoubtedly, the best attribute of this watch is the Side Swipe technology. If you’ve had trouble with other watches while navigating, that’s an issue that this accessory handles pretty well.

The interface is both fun and highly user-friendly. Going through the menus and widgets was never that simple.

Another incredible benefit of buying this product is that it lasts long. A clear example of its durability would be the Corning Gorilla Glass.

While you’re out there hiking, the extra-durable glass housing will hold up well against the rough conditions.

But beyond anything else, the Garmin VivoActive 3 is a surprisingly customizable accessory.

You get to download a countless amount of apps, widgets, and more utilities to help you out. For instance, the watch allows you to check your heart rate, stress, among other health conditions.

Similar to other watches from Garmin, the Vivoactive 3 can also connect to your smartphone. Using the link between both devices gives you the option to answer text messages, check social media, and more.

Finally, the different models available provide customers with more than one version to choose from.

Highlighted Features

  • Side Swipe technology for easier navigation through menus and apps
  • Corning Gorilla Glass housing lasts long
  • Preloaded GPS and apps included
  • Compatible with smartphones

3. Garmin Forerunner 645 Music, GPS Running Watch

Hiking and outdoor activities, in general, turn into better experiences with music. That’s one of the reasons why we liked this product. It’s informative, entertaining and a lot of fun too.

This watch allows you to download hundreds of songs. Then you can set up a connection between the watch and Bluetooth headphones to enjoy the music.

Naturally, the earpiece doesn’t come with the purchase, and you’d have to buy them separately instead.

You could also choose to synchronize music from specific streaming platforms to listen offline at a later moment. Of course, the option to play music is just one of the incredible tasks this watch does right.

Also, this Garmin accessory allows you to keep track of your daily routines. The watch monitors your heart rate, which is quite useful as it informs you of your training conditions.

Perhaps the most appealing benefit of wearing this product is that it feels natural. If you’re doing outdoor activities, you’ll barely notice the watch.

Fortunately, the product is durable, and even if it takes an unexpected bump, it most likely won’t suffer major damage.

Music storage, Wi-Fi connection, and smart notifications are some of the reasons why we, and many hikers, love this product. It certainly makes the whole hiking experience so much more fun.

Highlighted Features

  • Capable of storing music and play it through Bluetooth connection
  • Synchronizes music from streaming service for offline playing
  • Delivers advanced running dynamics
  • Tracks heart rate
  • Simple but easy to understand design
  • GPS to know your location

4. Gps Watch For Hiking Garmin Fenix 5 Smartwatch

If you’re looking for diversity, then this accessory may be what you need. The watch is available in many colors and sizes, from 42mm to 51mm models.

Due to the quality of the materials used to produce them, every version of this product is suitable for a variety of activities.

The watch features a rugged design that looks great, a durable stainless steel bezel, comfortable buttons, and a rear case.

All of these different elements blend well together to create a reliable accessory for high-intensity hiking sessions.

This product is particularly good for hikers due to many reasons. It has the 3-axis compass, offering gyroscope and the much-needed barometric altimeter.

On top of that, it also has outdoor sensors, GPS, and GLONASS reception for a better understanding of your surroundings. That’s why we consider this Watch in our list of the Best Garmin Watch For Hiking

True to the brand’s style, this watch offers a proper connection to other devices like smartphones. Through this link, you’ll be able to receive notifications on your watch.

Another benefit of this technology is that you can download apps and upload information.

By featuring a bright, fully colored display with LED lighting for the background, this watch is great for hikers, sports players, and more.

If you go for the Sapphire model, you also get a scratch-resistant lens made of sapphire, which is incredibly durable.

Highlighted Features

  • Bright display with LED lighting
  • The watch accurately tracks your heart rate, steps taken, sleep sessions, and more
  • Rugged design with stainless steel bezel and comfortable buttons
  • Compatible with smartphones
  • Outdoor sensors and location systems

5. Garmin Watch For Hiking Forerunner 235 GPS Watch

The final Garmin watch is an accessory that provides efficiency through simplicity. While looking at it, you’ll notice that it isn’t the fanciest watch, but it doesn’t have to be.

It’ll get you from point A to point B with total accuracy.

This watch features a large screen with a 1.23” display size. The resolution is 215×180 pixels, making it crystal clear for anyone to read the information easily.

It’s an ideal device that shows vital data such as distance, pace, time, and heart rate, among other things.

Besides the information we mentioned before, the watch also shows weather conditions and forecasts.

Through the wireless connectivity system, the watch receives current environmental updates to know whether or not it’s good to go out or head back home.

Just like the other Garmin watches can do, this one also offers smart notifications. Emails, calls, messages, media, and many more notifications pop up once you establish a connection to your smartphone.

Even though it’s a simple accessory, the construction materials are good. For instance, the silicone used to create the strap is comfortable and durable.

Moreover, Garmin Forerunner 235 is a watch for everyone. It’s available in different color combinations, allowing you to pick one that matches your equipment.

Highlighted Features

  • Available in different color combinations
  • Includes Garmin’s exclusive heart rate tracking system for more accuracy
  • Long-lasting battery life reaches up to twelve days approximately
  • Notifications for emails, texts, social media, and many more
  • Durable, comfortable construction materials

Things to Consider Before Buying Garmin Watch for Hiking

Here’s what you need to consider before purchasing a watch for hiking.


Considering that these accessories are not only for hiking but for other tough activities too, durability is the first thing they must offer.

A rugged watch is always essential. In some cases, the watch features stainless steel parts and a chemically strengthened housing. This design allows the Garmin watches to withstand plenty of abuse under tough conditions.

Other than resisting against bumps, high-quality housing construction offers protection against water. Of course, the design of these products depends a lot upon the brand.

Fortunately, Garmin watches are capable of delivering pleasant results for many years after the purchase.

User-Friendly Interface

A hiking smartwatch offers plenty of features that you can use for entertainment. Playing music, updates on social media, and downloading apps are some of the tasks the watch can do.

However, none of that matters if you’re not capable of using those features due to complicated software.

Here, it’s worth pointing out what the Garmin Vivoactive 3 offers. This watch is great because of how easy you operate it.

Thanks to the Side Swipe interface, navigating through menus, apps, and scrolling is pleasantly easy.

If you’re under the stress of a tough track while hiking, the last thing you want to have is a watch that you can’t use. Consider technology similar to the Side Swipe offered by Vivoactive 3.


An altimeter helps you measure air pressure to get an estimated calculation of your approximate altitude. Sometimes, the altimeter is as useful as a compass and more reliable than a GPS.

Once you know your altitude point, you can use that as a reference on the map.

Garmin is well aware of how helpful this feature is. That’s why most of its watches already have it included in their products.

You may not think much of the altimeter at first, but you’ll end up getting the hang of it eventually.


The barometer is responsible for keeping you updated on atmospheric pressure. By giving you an accurate reading of this information,

you would be able to tell if there’s a storm coming. When the pressure drops significantly, it most likely means rain is on its way.

Rain at the mountain or deep in the wilderness isn’t as fun as it sounds. If the watch features a barometer, you’ll be able to tell whether it’s a good idea to continue hiking or go back home.


Though the features mentioned above are great, nothing tops a compass. It’s an essential outdoor tool that could save your life if you lose your track.

Since it’s a basic tool, most Garmin watches already have it, which is why you don’t have to worry about it.

GPS (Or Other Positioning Systems)

Another important feature the watch must provide is GPS. Knowing your location allows you to make plenty of decisions during hiking.

For instance, you’ll be able to tell if you’re on the right track if you missed a direction, and your current position, among other things.

A GPS is yet another essential tool that, fortunately, every Garmin watch already offers.

Smartphone Compatibility

A smartphone isn’t necessarily a hiking tool. In some cases, it could even ruin your immersion. Nonetheless, phones help us keep in touch with family and friends. Their importance in our daily tasks is undeniable.

Luckily, the products reviewed in this article are compatible with most smartphones. Through a quick link connection, the watch is capable of receiving plenty of notifications.

This connection between the two devices offers many benefits, from keeping in touch with family to uploading information online.

Design & Style

Hiking watches don’t have to be good-looking, but understandably, people would want it to look as fancy as possible.

On the bright side, Garmin offers a variety of products in different colors, size, and shape for everyone to find one that they like.

The most important consideration to keep in mind is the face size. You may want to go for a watch with less plastic and a lower profile design.

If you need a watch for everyday use under different circumstances, the Garmin Fenix series may be what you need.

Garmin Fenix watches are also great for women. These accessories offer a sophisticated look, and they’re not bulky. On a small wrist, these watches look incredible.


An efficient watch for hiking is around $100-$300. Most Garmin products are available in this price range, and everything they have to offer makes them worth the investment.

You’ll find some models below or above that price range, but not everyone may need those.

High-end watches available at more than $500 are remarkable, there’s no doubt about that. However, would you even use all of its features?

Most hikers would be ready to go with a watch between $100-$300. Anything more than that could be unnecessary. Then again, it’s a matter of preference.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most commonly asked queries regarding Garmin watches:

1. What can Garmin hiking watches do?

Garmin offers several high-quality watches capable of doing a lot of tasks quickly. For example, you can use them to monitor your heart condition, steps taken so far, GPS, and even to play some music!

You could also connect the watch to a smartphone to receive messages, emails, and more. The question isn’t what can these watches do, but rather what can’t they do.

2. Can you install and use apps on Garmin watches?

Yes. Once you’ve set up a Wi-Fi connection, you can use the watch to download many apps to improve your hiking experience.

3. Are the watches water-resistant?

Yes, Garmin watches are surprisingly durable. The materials used to produce them can withstand impacts through shock absorption.

Additionally, they can resist pretty well against water. For these reasons, many people prefer this brand to get the hiking equipment needed for a successful hiking experience.

4. Do these devices work as normal watches?

Yes, you can use these devices as normal watches. In fact, you can toggle on/off information like heart rate and many more easily.

By doing that, you set up the watch to display only date, time, and battery life, hence turning the product into a normal day-to-day accessory.

5. Can you use a hiking watch offline?

Yes, you can. Despite not having a stable internet connection, the watch still functions. Even offline, hiking watches will still provide information on the number of steps taken.

Not having a connection does have its disadvantages too. For instance, you won’t be able to transfer fitness data to other devices. Receiving weather conditions and notifications is impossible too.

Although limited, the hiking watch continues to operate offline. The Garmin Forerunner 645 Music even allows you to save a lot of songs and play them offline later.

Final Words

Many years ago, hiking used to be a rather dangerous activity. Yes, we had tools to know where we were, but reading maps wasn’t easy for a lot of people.

As the years have passed, we now have a variety of accessories that help us enjoy outdoor adventures with more safety.

The best Garmin watch for hiking is one of those accessories. These products are outstanding.

They’re easy to use, they are durable, and they provide accurate information about our location, health condition, among other things.

Through this article, we’ve discovered different watches from the same brand. With any of these accessories, it won’t take much time before you start noticing the improvement of your hiking experience.