A good GPS watch makes tracking your activity easy. While they are commonly used for running, any activity such as hiking, swimming, biking, or skiing can benefit from the use of a GPS watch. They make it easier to assess your fitness, log workouts, and keep your goals.

There are many GPS watch models at a wide range of prices. Your personal goals will determine the best match for you, but there are several general qualities to keep in mind when searching for a watch.


Good watch models come with a long battery life. If you will be taking your watch on extended activities such as hikes or long bike rides, you will want to focus on getting at least 18 hours of battery life. A watch may have limited battery while acting as a GPS, so pay attention to the product specifications. Some watches come with low-power modes. Check to make sure the features you want are still accessible in this state. However, if you have a set fitness routine and know you will only use your watch at specific times, you can look for a product that focuses on the features you want over long battery life.


GSP watches can track your distance, speed, pace, and route. They can also track your heart rate or elevation, or detect when you fall. This is especially useful when you find a new trail you like to run. Many GPS watches have apps that can help you remember or create routes for your outdoor adventure.


Getting a screen that you can read at a glance is helpful if you like to check your progress during an activity. In the evening or in low light conditions, a backlighting screen is an essential feature.

Software and Interface

The way your watch displays information varies depending on the software. For more advanced features, search around to see if there are some systems that display information in a way you prefer. If you want a general run tracker without the bells and whistles of internet connectivity or weather updates, avoid the clutter of more high-tech watches. Some watches even have apps for more specific activities such as swimming or biking.


Watches can be sleek or bulky depending on preference. The band material should be durable and secure. If you want to use your watch for an intense activity or are worried about damage, many are waterproofed, pressure-resistant, or shockproof.


Many watches have options to connect to your smart phone and electronic devices. Consider whether you have a preference for Bluetooth vs USB port. If this isn’t the most appealing thought, that’s perfectly fine! There are plenty of self-contained watches on the market. Just& check the product specifications to ensure you can use it without any input from external devices.

Advanced Features

There are so many additional features that a GPS watch can contain. Some can function as altimeters, barometers, and gyroscopes. Others can detect heart rate irregularities or alert emergency services. If you want to track your nutrition alongside your activity, a watch can have a calorie tracking function that will help you with your whole fitness.

GPS watches allow you to track your fitness and improve your goals. Just make sure to find a watch that will support your activities—whether that is multi-day hikes, training for a new personal best, or accurately keeping track of your steps as you go throughout your day. If you have more questions about GPS watches or how they can improve your next adventure, come see us in-store or online at your local Sun & Ski Sports.