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Garmin fenix

The fenix is a bit of a hybrid GPS watch, combining the mapping and navigational tools of a backpacking watch with the features and functionality of a running watch. What emerges is a rugged beast best suited for trail running, hiking, and camping.

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To navigate in the wilderness, the watch is equipped with a compass and altimeter. It also has strong mapping features including abreadcrumb map; the fenix can store 1,000 waypoints and will upload pre-mapped routes. You can even wirelessly transfer uploaded routes from your fenix to a fenix-equipped friend.

The fenix has a built-in thermometer, but also supports an external thermometer that can be clipped anywhere near the watch. The external thermometer is more accurate as body heat can skew the temperature readings from the built-in thermometer.

The fenix also has an awesome 50 hour battery life, allowing you to stay outdoors for days without a recharge.


As a running or cycling watch, the fenix tracks time, distance, speed, calories, and elevation. Although it has vibration alerts and supports common endurance sport accessories (heart rate monitor, foot pod, bike speed and cadence sensor), it lacks many of the training aids like interval workouts and some of the virtual training tools (Virtual Partner is available with a software update) found on Garmin’s other GPS watches.

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For geocachers, the fenix works with a Garmin accessory called Chirp. This little pod can be hidden near caches and will “chirp” when the fenix approaches it.

Overall, the fenix is a strong watch for hikers and campers who want a common GPS watch is while running and biking. Compared to other watches on the market, it’s rather large and heavy; however, this is a direct result of the long-lasting battery and large display screen.


  • Rugged and durable
  • 50 hour battery life
  • Strong navigational features to keep you on course


  • Lacks almost all training features found on other GPS watches
  • A high price point with few athlete-specific functions


It doesn’t do much more than track the basics; however, this watch does support a heart rate monitor and would make a nice compliment to the runner who spends a lot of time hiking or camping.


The fenix isn’t a great cycling watch, but it does support a bike speed and cadence sensor.


The fenix is waterproof to 50 meters making it suitable for swimming.


This is where the fenix really shines. With its 50 hour battery, barometric altimeter elevation tracking, and strong navigational features, this is a nice watch for ultrarunners.


The fenix is the crème-de-la-crème of hiking watches. With its built-in compass, thermometer, mapping, waypoints, and other navigational tools, this is the perfect watch for someone who spends the majority of their time hiking and camping.



Battery-life: 50 hours exercise mode
Waterproof to 50 meters

Data Tracking

Time, Distance, Pace and Speed
Heart rate calculated calories
GPS elevation
Barometric altimeter elevation

Workout History

Breadcrumb map
1,000 laps
1,000 waypoints

Alerts & General Features

Auto lap
Auto pause
Customizable screens
Time/Distance audible alerts
Vibration alerts

Training Aids

Virtual Partner


Wirelessly downloads activites to a computer
Facebook and Twitter Sharing
fenix to fenix wireless transfers
Uploads maps and courses


Heart rate monitor
Foot pod
Bike speed and cadance sensor
Temperature sensor

Other Functions

Time of day
Electric compass
Hunt/fish calendar
Sun/moon information

Ben Drew

Ben Drew

Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.

The Wired Runner