With the current technological advancements, as a hiker, you have an opportunity to keep track your activity while on the trail as well as the altitude and location. All you need as a hiker is to get a quality activity tracker and you can use the GPS for your location needs, use it to know the air pressure, altitude and time. In this article we will talk what you should look out for when get an activity tracker and also give you our top three activity trackers you can use.
What A Good Activity Tracker?
Heart rate monitor
Many activity trackers are fitted with a feature that helps you monitor your heartbeat and the rate. It is very important for a hiker to maintain their pace on the trail. This translates to a steady heartbeat to keep you going for long without getting tired and worn out. For some activity trackers, you might need to purchase a separate chest strap transmitter but others are just worn on the wrist.
An activity tracker must have more customized hiking features- features that are not available in other normal watches. When looking for a hiking activity tracker, go for one that has a compass, altimeter and a barometer. It is important for you to keep track of your navigation and the compass will help you do that. The barometer will help you keep up with the weather changes. It detects any changes in the air pressure helping you to know if the weather is declining or improving. Some of the watches have a storm alarm that will alert you in case there is a significant drop in the air pressure.
With the altimeter, you can tell how high you are above the sea level. This feature is also good for navigation. If you have a map with you, and can tell how high above sea level you are, then you can locate where you are easily using the map and this feature.
With a GPS feature on your activity tracker, you will not need to refer to your copy of the map on a regular basis. Some of the current activity trackers have GPS’s that can also show you the ascents, descents, your speed, and distance among others. A GPS feature will help you with your navigation, with most of the available activity trackers giving you a chance to import routes in GPX for better navigation depending on where you are hiking. One thing to note is that the activity trackers with a GPS feature do not have a long lasting battery life. However, consider going for one with a rechargeable battery so that it can last longer on the trail and not die on you.
We all look for durability when purchasing anything. Even for a hiking activity tracker, it is very ideal to go for a durable one to save you the headache of having to go back to the shop anytime you want to go out for a hike. Activity trackers for hiking will mostly have durable straps as well as a robust case for durability. Though a bit more expensive that the others, activity trackers with Sapphire Glass lenses last longer because this feature helps with resistance against scratches compared to their counterparts with mineral crystal lenses.
Our top 3 Activity Trackers for Hiking
Bottom Line: This is a multi-sport activity tracker worth investing in because of its durability, thanks to the Sapphire glass lenses and its GPS and smart notifications that can be linked to your phone.
It is fitted with a GPS feature that you can customize by adding more routes using GPX/ TCX files.
The barometer feature helps in telling if the air pressure is improving or declining, which helps in predicting the weather changes.
Heart rate monitor
Its Elevate wrist heart rate monitor makes it easy for you keep track on your heat rate when on the trail.
You can use this tracker on more than one outdoor activity as well as customizing it to suit each activity you engage in.
Garmin Fenix 5 Sapphire Review
For your hiking purposes, the Garmin Fenix 5 is one of the best activity trackers available in the market at the moment. Once you have purchased it, you have the option of picking your activities and customizing depending on the range of activities you will be engaging in. Being a multi-sport activity tracker, there are many more activities you can use it for apart from hiking.
The Fenix 5 can also be linked with your smartphone making it easier for you to get your notifications to your wrist without having to reach out for your phone. The notification, however, are just snippets. You also have the option of setting ‘’do not disturb” on your phone if you do not want to receive any notifications.
You can add more hiking routes using TCX/ GPX. This makes it easier for you to navigate through trails that are not well mapped out on the printed maps. The problem with this is that it is not as straightforward as it is with other activity trackers such as TomTom Adventurer. You will need to go through their manual to know how to upload the extra routes.
This is a durable activity tracker worth investing in. It is configured with a Sapphire Glass lenses, which makes it resistant to scratches. With outdoor sensors such as GPS, a 3-axis compass with a barometer and gyroscope, as well as GLONASS satellite reception, Fenix 5 suits all the needs you need from an activity tracker.
See it in Action
Bottom Line: The TomTom Adventurer is a multi-sport activity tracker fitted with a GPS, heart rate monitor as well as a music player to make your hiking more enjoyable.
Its GPS feature is also fitted with a music player that gives you feedback on how you are performing as well as your ascent, descent, pace and altitude.
It has a barometer to help you keep tabs on the weather changes.
Heart rate monitor
It has an in-built heart rate monitor that you can use to track your pulse without having to buy a separate chest strap.
Apart from hiking, you can use it for other activities such as skiing, walking or trail running.
TomTom Adventurer GPS Hiking & Trail Running Watch Review
One of the things we love about this watch is that it is a multi-sport tracker. This means that you can use it on more than one outdoor activity. If you are looking for an activity tracker that you can use for other outdoor activities other than hiking then you can consider the TomTom adventurer too.
It is also fitted with an in-built heart rate monitor to help you keep tabs on your pulse. The good thing about this feature is that you do not have to buy a separate chest strap to monitor your heart rate. It has a GPS feature that you can customize further by adding more GPZ routes to make your navigation easier. The GPS is also fitted with a music player that keeps you updated on your performance as well as storage of your favorite music to listen to while on the trail.
It has an accelerometer that tracks all your activities and displays them on the screen. It will show you the distance you have covered, calories burnt and your steps. The only issue with this is that you need to keep backing up this data otherwise it will be lost. The barometer feature will help you keep track of the atmosphere.
See it in Action
Bottom Line: This activity tracker is fitted with buttons making it easy for you to use while still in your gloves, has a color touch screen and GPS and barometer features for easy navigation.
It has a GPS feature that can be expanded by additional GPX routes relevant to your hiking trail.
You can tell if the weather will be changing in a positive or negative way using its barometer, which helps you to be prepared for the outcome.
Heart rate monitor
Its wrist-based heart rate monitor makes it easy for you to track your heart rate without having to get a separate chest strap.
An activity tracker that is useful in other outdoor activities other than hiking, such as backpacking, swimming as well as running, trekking and mountaineering among others.
Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR Baro Watch Review
This Suunto Spartan has a wrist heart rate that is convenient for easy tracking of your heart rate and hiking activities. It will also give you data on the calories you have burned during the hike. It also keeps track of your steps. The good thing about this, just like our earlier two activity trackers, is that you do not have to purchase a separate chest strap.
Its color touch screen has a wide view angle making is ideal for outdoor activities by giving it excellent visibility. The GPS feature is combined with a barometer for easier reading of the altitude. You can upload additional GPX routes on the activity tracker to make our navigation easy and friendlier. It also has a storm alert feature for more safety in case there is a storm approaching. It is also water resistant- up to 100m.
Additionally, it has buttons that make it easy for you to operate it while still in your gloves. It also has smart notification using its Bluetooth connectivity- you can connect it to you smartphone using Bluetooth.
See it in Action
Pricey as these activity trackers maybe, they come with the most important feature one would need from a hiking activity tracker. When on the trail, you want an activity tracker with a GPS feature, a barometer, ability to take additional routes as well as keeping track of your pulse and distance. All the above activity trackers will give you just that. Additionally, when you want to engage in a different outdoor activity other than hiking, they are all useful since they are multi-sport activity trackers.