Smartest watches for mountain athletes.


For many years, I avoided any watch touting smart, fitness or GPS capacities. I preferred to run around like a Paleolithic throwback, assessing miles based on trailhead signs or physical exhaustion, and navigate via paper maps rather than clumsy user interfaces, dead batteries when you need actual navigation, and wrist discs so large they catch on tree branches.

But as the pandemic inspired throngs of newbies out of the gym and into the outdoors, fitness and GPS smartwatches have really upped their game in form and function. Even the dubious (me) are impressed. Options abound for the different goals of burgeoning or expert outdoor athletes. Here, we highlight a few top options.

Brigid Mander is a skier and writer based in Jackson, Wyoming. She writes about mountain sports, culture and conservation issues for publications ranging from Backcountry Magazine to the Wall Street Journal.