Are you someone who is always on the move and looking for a smartwatch that can tell you more than just mere directions? Do you like to go on trekking, hiking, fishing, or hunting and need a watch with TOPO maps?
First of all, let me tell you we have a lot in common and secondly you are in the right place! In this article, I will tell you some of the best watches that come with TOPO maps from the brands like Garmin, Suunto, and Apple. And if you are running a little short on budget then do not worry I have also included the cheapest smartwatch with Topographic maps.
- What Are TOPO Maps And Why They Are Useful?
- Best Watch With TOPO Maps Comparison Table
- Best Smart Watches With TOPO Maps
- What Is The Difference Between A Map And A Topographic Map?
What Are TOPO Maps And Why They Are Useful?
Before we dive into the list let us first understand what topographic maps are. If you know this already then you can skip this part and jump right to the list of best watches with TOPO maps.
In simple words, topographic maps are maps that show you detailed and quantitative information of geographical, natural, and man-made features like valleys, mountains, water resources, etc. A simple map can show you the distance and directions between two points but it will not show you the data regarding natural bodies like their shape, size, and distribution.
TOPO maps are particularly useful for people that like doing hiking, trekking, hunting, or fishing. It shows you a host of information so that you can plan in advance and know exactly what you are going to face on your trip. Topographic maps are also called Contour maps so if you see contour maps instead of Topographic maps then do not worry they mean the same.
Best Watch With TOPO Maps Comparison Table
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Best Garmin Watch With Topographic Maps
Garmin Fenix 6X Sapphire
Suunto Watch With TOPO Maps
Suunto Traverse Alpha
Apple Watch With Topographic Maps
Apple Watch Series 7
Best Smart Watches With TOPO Maps
1) Garmin Fenix 5X Plus
Garmin Fenix 5X Plus is the cheapest Garmin watch that comes with TOPO maps in this list. If you are looking to buy a Garmin watch and running short on budget then you can grab it right away.
To help you with your adventurous journey this watch comes with a preloaded colorful Topographic map. This is optimized for at-a-glance location tracking and navigation which makes it very easy to use and navigate. And if you are stepping into an unknown territory then its Trendline Popularity Routing will help you a lot. It shows the most used and locally validated routes to help you make the right or even wrong decision, if you know what I mean, WINK! Garmin collects data from other fellow Garmin watch users, compiles it, and then shows you the best routes and trails according to that. So you can rely on the data it provides.
Other than TOPO maps, this watch also comes with a host of features. Let us look at them in brief.
While hiking it shows you the real-time terrain information like the distance, gradient, and elevation gain on each ascent. And the Pulse Ox monitor shows you the data of how well your body’s oxygen levels are getting adjusted according to the altitude gain. You can also use the Pulse Ox monitor to either spot-check SpO2 levels or you can use it to check the SpO2 levels overnight.
When you are not using the topographic maps you can use the multi-network navigation system of the watch that uses GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo. As a result, you do not have to worry about the directions no matter which part of the world you are in. To help you even further the watch comes with ABC sensors. ABC stands for Altimeter Barometer and Compass. All of this combined together makes it one of the best GPS watches for hiking and trekking.
To make your adventurous trip even more fun-filled you can store up to 1000 songs on your watch and listen to them by connecting Bluetooth headphones to the smartwatch. And in case anything goes wrong while you are on your adventurous trip then you can rest assured that help is on the way. Because the watch comes with an incident detection feature that detects an incident while you are outdoors doing an activity and sends a message with your real-time location to the pre-saved emergency contacts. But you have to keep in mind that your watch needs to be connected to your smartphone for this feature to work.
You can also use the watch when you are not on adventure trips and are working out at home as the watch comes with an advanced activity tracker. It not only tracks your activity but also lets you know if you are overtraining or pushing your limits and shows you the last 7 days’ overall training load.
To keep track of the overall health of your body this smartwatch comes with a heart rate, sleep, and stress monitor. You can also pay for the things by just waving your hand as the watch comes with Garmin Pay.
You also do not have to charge the watch frequently as it comes with a battery life of 20 days. But the battery lasts only 13 hours when the GPS mode is on and you are listening to music. And it also does not support charging from solar power so you can have a problem when you are on a multi-day adventurous trip and need to use the GPS continuously.
2) Garmin Fenix 6X Sapphire
Garmin Fenix 6X Sapphire is one of the best Garmin smartwatches with Topographic maps. It is the updated version of the Garmin Fenix 5X Plus so you get everything that you get in the Garmin Fenix 5X Plus.
Like the Fenix 5X Plus, the watch comes with preloaded colorful TOPO maps with trendline popularity routing, multi-network navigation (GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo), ABC sensors, SpO2, and all the other features that can make your adventurous trips safe and worthwhile. There is an expedition mode in the watch as well that uses an ultra low-powered GPS to make sure that your watch lasts more even when you need to use the GPS continuously.
This smartwatch, like the Fenix 5X Plus, comes with a heart rate, sleep, and stress monitor. And also has a respiration and hydration tracker. Therefore you can keep a more detailed track of your body health. And the heart rate monitor shows you a warning for irregular heart rates so you do not have to worry about your heart as well.
Other than the activity tracker, the watch also comes with a body energy monitor that tells you when to take a rest and when to work out. After each workout, the watch also lets you know the time by when you will be ready to do an intense workout again. There is PacePro technology in the watch as well that shows you the grade-adjusted pace guidance to maintain your pace.
If you like to play golf then you will love this watch as it comes with more than 41000 preloaded colorful golf course maps that show you the exact distance between locations on the courses and much more. Therefore you can also use it as a golf watch. There is good news for people who like skiing as well because the watch comes with preloaded ski maps for more than 2000 ski resorts around the world. It shows you names of different runs with their difficulty level so you don’t have to purchase a separate watch for skiing.
As compared to the Garmin Fenix 5X Plus’ 1.2” display the Garmin Fenix 6X Sapphire has a 1.4” always-on display. And comes with a 21-days battery life as compared to the 20-days battery life of Fenix 5X Plus. A very good and useful feature that you do not get in the Fenix 5X Plus but you get in this watch is the support for Wi-Fi connectivity. So you can keep your phone away as long as your watch is connected to Wi-Fi.
However, like the Fenix 5X Plus, this watch is also not solar-powered.
3) Suunto Traverse Alpha
Suunto Traverse Alpha is the cheapest watch with TOPO maps on this list. So if you want a watch that has topographic maps and does not want to spend big then this is the best option for you.
Along with GPS and GLONASS, this watch has topographic maps that show you the host of necessary information regarding your trekking, hiking, hunting, or fishing route. Therefore you can plan in advance regarding the route and area you are about to adventure into.
Other than this, what makes it the best hunting and fishing watch is that it features additional special tools to help you. It comes with an automatic shot detection technology that tracks your shooting time and direction and also saves the GPS coordinates so that you can view your last shot location. There is an automatic breadcrumb trail feature in the watch that keeps an eye on your track so that you can find your way back easily.
The watch also shows you the sunrise and sunset alerts so that you can plan your hunting, hiking, or fishing trip accordingly. There is also a location-based moon phase calendar feature that shows you the moonrise and moonset time so that you can find the best time for hunting and fishing.
This smartwatch has an inbuilt barometer and storm alarms so that you keep an eye on the weather and plan your next move accordingly. And to help you know about the altitude, the watch also features an altimeter. You also do not have to worry about the durability of the watch as this smartwatch features a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, knurled stainless steel bezel, and a nylon strap. And the watch is also tested against military standards.
The watch features a red backlight and is compatible with night vision goggles which helps you remain unnoticed during the night. And if it gets too dark then you can use its built-in flashlight to illuminate your surroundings. Its 14-days battery life makes sure that you do not have to charge it frequently. And there are heart rate and activity trackers to keep track of your heart and activity.
However, the watch is not perfect and there are some shortcomings to it. There is no sleep, stress, and SpO2 monitoring in the watch therefore you cannot keep track of your body’s health metrics. The watch only supports 4 sports modes so you cannot keep track of your workout and activities extensively. And some people find its app buggy and hard to use.
4) Apple Watch Series 7
Apple Watch Series 7 is the latest and smartest watch from Apple. So if you have an iPhone then this can be the best option for you. Unlike other watches, this watch does not come with inbuilt TOPO maps but there is an app called TOPO Maps+ on the App Store which you can download and use. It shows a colorful map that is easy to read, understand, and navigate. The inbuilt barometric altimeter helps you keep track of the air pressure and altitude as you climb up and push your limits.
You also do not have to worry about its build quilty and durability as Apple claims that this watch features the biggest and most crack-resistant front display among all the Apple watches till now. The watch also comes with a IP6X dust and water-resistant rating so you do not have to worry about it in case you experience unwanted rain or have to cross a river.
Other than its tough build quality and TOPO maps there is much more to this watch. It comes with sleep, stress, and a SpO2 monitor so that you can keep track of your body’s health. To keep track of your heart, the watch comes with a heart rate and ECG monitor. The heart rate monitor also alerts you of any irregular heart rhythm or atrial fibrillation therefore you do not have to worry about your heart anymore.
The watch also comes with a fall detection feature that detects a hard fall and sends an SOS message to 911 and to your pre-saved emergency contacts. As a result, you can go on a solo trip confidently and in case anything goes wrong you can rest assured that help is on the way. Its inbuilt Siri voice assistant lets you control the watch through your voice. And the watch also supports cellular connectivity so in case your smartphone runs out of battery on the trip then you can still remain connected to your loved ones.
However, the biggest drawback of this watch is its battery life. At just 18 hours of battery life, it is nowhere close to other watches on this list. And if you own an Android smartphone then this watch is of no use to you.
5) Garmin Tactix Delta Solar
Garmin Tactix Delta Solar is one of the latest, smartest, toughest, and best Garmin smartwatch with Topographic maps. This is a tactical watch therefore it is designed to meet the unique and extreme needs of the security force personnel and extreme adventure sports enthusiasts.
You get all the things that you get in Garmin Fenix 6X Sapphire and you get all the things that the Fenix 6X misses out on. The watch has colorful TOPO maps, ABC sensors, night vision capability, a multi-network navigation system, sapphire crystal, incident detection, activity tracker, heart rate monitor, sleep and stress monitor, advanced activity tracker, etc.
There are some advanced features as well that military personnel will find very useful but you might not use them if you are not in the military. The watch has a stealth mode which when activated keeps the watch operational but disconnects the wireless connectivity and stops storing and sharing your GPS location. And there is a kill switch on the watch which when pressed wipes out all the memory of the watch.
The smartwatch is also solar-powered and comes with a battery life of 24-days, so you literally do not have to worry about its battery getting discharged ever.
What Is The Difference Between A Map And A Topographic Map?
Let us understand the difference between a normal map and a topographic map in common man terms.
A normal map is a map that shows you the different places and routes in a flat 2-D space. Whereas a topographic map is the representation of routes and places in 3-D space. A normal map can show you the distance and direction between two points. However, TOPO maps can show you more detailed and quantitative information about all the natural and man-made features that lie on the route. It can show you the information regarding valleys, mountains, water resources, etc. The information includes a 3-D representation, distance from sea level, elevation angles, length and depth of water bodies, and much more.
Which Garmin Watches Have TOPO Maps?
Topographic maps are available in many of the Garmin watches but some of the best Garmin watches with TOPO maps are Garmin Fenix 5X Plus, Garmin Fenix 6X Sapphire, and Garmin Tactix Delta Solar.
Does Garmin Instinct Have TOPO Maps?
No, Garmin Instinct does not have TOPO maps.
Does The Garmin Fenix 5 Have TOPO Maps?
Yes, Garmin Fenix 5X Plus has TOPO maps.
Are Garmin TOPO Maps Any Good?
Yes, the TOPO maps on Garmin watches are good. They represent different things with different colors which makes it easy to understand and navigate.
Does The Garmin Fenix 6 Have TOPO Maps?
Yes, Garmin Fenix 6X Sapphire has TOPO maps.