Top 5 Hiking GPS Watches of 2023

Hiking GPS watch by the river - Stay on track with a reliable hiking GPS watch

In this post, we'll take a look at:

Finding the perfect ultralight hiking GPS watch can be tough because there are so many options out there. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you make the right choice.

We’ll help you understand the important things to think about, such as how heavy it is, how long the battery lasts, how strong it is, and the safety features it has. Let’s start.

Top Hiking GPS Watch Picks

  1. Most Ultralight: Suunto 9 Peak Pro (2.26oz/64g)
  2. Best Overall: Garmin Enduro 2 (2.47oz/70g)
  3. Best Value: Coros Vertix 2 (2.54oz/72g)
  4. Value Solar Option: Garmin fēnix 7 Pro Solar (2.9oz/82g)
  5. Budget Option: Suunto 9 Baro (2.86oz/81g)

1. Most Ultralight
Suunto 9 Peak Pro

Hiking GPS Watch: Suunto 9 Peak Pro

Key Specs

Weight: 2.26 ounces (64 grams)
Battery Life: 40 hours (GPS enabled)
SOS Feature: No
Price: $


✅ Ultralight

✅ Durable


❌ Slight lag when using some functions

The Suunto 9 Peak Pro is a super light hiking GPS watch that brings together style, toughness, and functionality. We’re really impressed with its exceptional battery life, sleek design, and lightweight structure. We believe the Suunto 9 Peak Pro holds its own when compared to other well-known brands.

However, it’s crucial to mention a few downsides. The O2 saturation detection is quite unreliable; it seldom works and isn’t very accurate. There’s also a slight delay when using some functions, and the font on the watch face is somewhat small and can’t be made bigger.

Despite these issues, the Suunto 9 Peak Pro remains a solid choice for those looking for a stylish, feature-packed GPS watch for their outdoor adventures.

2. Best Overall
Garmin Enduro 2

Hiking GPS Watch: Garmin Enduro 2

Key Specs

Weight: 2.47 ounces (70 grams)
Battery Life: 150 hours with solar charging (GPS enabled)
SOS Feature: Yes
Price: $$$


✅ Durable

✅ Best functionality on the market


❌ Might be too big for some

The Garmin Enduro 2 is an ultra-light hiking GPS watch that packs in impressive features and functionality. It’s designed to withstand the elements and employs advanced technology, making it an ideal companion for all your outdoor activities. Notably, it offers solar charging and an exceptionally long-lasting battery, which is perfect for extended outdoor adventures.

What stands out to us are the watch’s button layout, flashlight feature, extended battery life in real-world use, and its user-friendly touch screen. The wrist strap is comfortable, and the watch itself is delightfully lightweight, adding to its appeal.

However, it’s worth noting that the watch is slightly larger in size, so if you prefer something more compact on your wrist, that’s something to keep in mind.

3. Best Value
Coros Vertix 2

Hiking GPS Watch: Coros Vertix 2

Key Specs

Weight: 2.54 ounces (72 grams)
Battery Life: 140 hours (GPS enabled)
SOS Feature: No
Price: $$


✅ Good battery life

✅ Durable


❌ Might be too big for some

❌ Inaccurate heart rate monitoring

The Coros Vertix 2 is the perfect companion for your outdoor adventures, designed to excel in rugged environments. It’s built tough with titanium and a durable screen, making it well-suited for challenging terrains.

The 1.4-inch touch screen allows for up to 8 data displays, although screen visibility could be improved. You can plan routes, sync maps, and make the most of features like returning to your starting point and checking elevation profiles.

The GPS performance is reliable, but it’s not significantly better than other watches in this price range. Unfortunately, the heart rate monitor tends to be somewhat inaccurate, so if accurate heart rate monitoring is essential for you, using a chest strap is a good idea.

One standout feature is the impressive battery life, offering up to 140 hours with full GPS usage or 60 days during regular use.

Despite these minor drawbacks, the Vertix 2 is a reliable choice if you’re seeking a watch with excellent battery life and aren’t overly concerned about your health data accuracy.

4. Value Solar Option
Garmin fēnix 7 Pro Solar

Hiking GPS Watch: Garmin fēnix 7 Pro Solar

Key Specs

Weight: 2.9 ounces (82 grams)
Battery Life: 122 hours with solar charging (GPS enabled)
SOS Function: Yes
Price: $$$


✅ Solar charging feature

✅ Durable


❌ Health data can be a bit inaccurate

The Garmin fēnix 7 Pro Solar stands out as a high-quality smartwatch that’s suitable for everyday use, combining style with practicality. Its extended battery life and GPS navigation, including preloaded maps, add to its appeal.

A standout feature of the fēnix 7 Pro is its impressive MIP screen, which shines brightly outdoors, especially in sunlight. However, I did find it a bit challenging to see the screen indoors or in shaded areas, requiring the use of the backlight. Nonetheless, this minor inconvenience doesn’t overshadow the watch’s overall performance.

The most significant improvement over the previous model is the remarkable battery life. It’s no exaggeration to say that the battery life will make Apple Watch users envious.

In our experience, there was a slight learning curve during the setup, but we truly appreciate the watch’s features and how comfortable it is to wear. All things considered, this watch offers great value for its price, and it’s a choice you won’t regret.

5. Budget Option
Suunto 9 Baro

Hiking GPS Watch: Suunto 9 Baro

Key Specs

Weight: 2.86 ounces (81 grams)
Battery Life: 40 hours (GPS enabled)
SOS Function: No
Price: $


✅ Extremely affordable

✅ Durable


❌ Software has limited capabilities

The Suunto 9 Baro is a rugged GPS watch designed for a variety of sports and activities. It comes with features like an altitude barometer and a heart rate monitor, making it versatile for different pursuits. Its durability and water resistance make it a suitable companion for outdoor adventures.

We’ve been quite pleased with the watch’s impressive battery life, lasting for over a week. By default, it conserves battery by using a single satellite, but when set to use multiple satellites, its tracking performance is solid.

One minor quirk is that the screen locks when the watch has been idle for a while, requiring a button press to wake it up, which is not a major issue but could be more user-friendly.

However, we’ve encountered some difficulties with syncing apps and the watch’s software. The software controls and apps are not as user-friendly as those on competing brands like Garmin. Additionally, Garmin offers better sleep tracking capabilities.

In summary, the Suunto 9 Baro is a good choice if you’re seeking a budget-friendly option with basic features.

How to Buy the Right Hiking GPS Watch

When picking a hiking GPS watch, start by setting a budget and figuring out your specific needs. If you’re into basic tracking on well-defined trails and roads, a standard hiking GPS watch should do the job.

For more adventurous outdoor activities, seek features like breadcrumb mapping and the ABC trio (Altimeter, Barometer, Compass). Some higher-end models offer turn-by-turn navigation with onboard maps, which can be quite useful.

Battery life is critical, especially if you’ll be in areas with a weak GPS signal. Dense foliage or canyons can drain the battery faster due to poor satellite communication. So, take this into consideration when making your choice.

If your main goal is using your phone for navigation, and you’re primarily interested in the watch’s SOS feature, you might want to explore dedicated satellite messengers or PLBs designed specifically for this purpose.

In summary, set a budget, prioritize essential features, and focus on your specific needs to avoid unnecessary extras that might not be helpful for your outdoor adventures.

Spread the word →

Search Insights

Have any questions?

Follow us

More Insights

Suscribe to Our Newsletter

Follow us

hikinglite logo white
©2023 HikingLite - All rights reserved

Start your ultralight journey!

Subscribe now to stay ahead of the pack with the most up-to-date ultralight gear content.