Garmin Fenix 5x Hiking Review & Guide

Garmin Fenix 5x Hiking Review & Guide

Hey, guys. I’m going to be reviewing the
Garmin Fenix 5x smartwatch. This is it right there, a big,
beefy sucker. I’ve been using it for about six months now,
and I want to walk you through kind of what it’s like to own it and use it.
It’s a very powerful tool, and it’s also very expensive,
so it might not be for everyone. I’ll show you, you know,
the ins and outs of it, and you can decide for yourself.
Just a note, I am not paid by Garmin, and I did not get this for free.
I paid for this myself. So all the opinions are unbiased,
down-to-earth. But I do love this watch. It offers a ton of features.
It’s basically any and every map you could ever want on your wrist. Having said that,
it’s pretty small, so, you know, you’re not going to be doing planning with
this. You’re not going to show up at a trailhead and say, “Hey,
route me on a great hike.” But you can plan a hike,
or you can just walk and see trails on here and kind of know where you are,
which is powerful. Now if you’re a runner, or a biker, or do any other kind of
sports, this is also super, super powerful. It has all kinds of
training features in there. It’s a sleep tracker, a step tracker,
sport GPS. And when you start to use those features, it makes more sense
financially. If you just need a map, a GPS unit, this is probably way,
way overpriced for you. But anyway, let me walk you through some of the
features and show you how to use it, the ins and outs, my opinions on it,
and you can decide for yourself whether you want it or not. Also,
if you go to, I have an in-depth review as an article,
in article format, not just video. And that will give you more information on
the watch. So make sure you check that out as well. So let’s get into it.
All right, so let me walk you through the features of the watch to start. Now,
to start, it’s a pretty beefy watch. It’s rugged. It’s built for the outdoors.
It’s a little bit bigger than the Fenix 3, if you’re familiar with that.
There’s a couple band options: one is metal that has metal links,
that you have to pop the links out of and customize length, or you can just get this
plastic one. I had the metal links on my Fenix 3, and I changed it because it was
not worth it. This also has a quick release band, or quick band,
where you can pop in different colored bands that Garmin sells.
The casing is stainless steel. It’s durable. And the Fenix 5x has
sapphire glass, which means you can’t scratch the glass. This is about seven
months wear. You can see it’s pretty good. Heart rate monitor is on the back.
It’s right there, making those flashing lights. Unlike the Fenix 3R,
it’s flushed, so it’s pretty comfortable. It’s not really protruding from there.
And this right there is the power cable cord, where you plug it in to sync
or to charge. Now, the screen is 1.2 inches big. It’s got 64 colors and a
resolution that’s less than an Apple Watch. You can see here,
you know, it looks okay. It’s not going to be an Apple Watch.
Apple Watches look beautiful but they’re also not outdoors instrument. So,
you know, you got to pick and choose what’s important to you.
But it works well in the sun. Here, you can see I’m outside,
during the day, and it’s pretty easy to see. There’s also a back light,
I can hit this, which you can’t tell for now, but there’s back light.
Button-wise, this is sort of your power back button. You have up-down buttons
here. And then on this side, you have this button which sort of
selects, and then this button which backs you out. And this is normal day-to-day
use. Got my tongue tied there. This is just the watch face. Now,
you can change this watch face and you can customize it.
If I hold this middle button down, I’ll go into settings,
and there are my settings. There’s the watch face,
so you can get watch face. And I can actually go through and choose
different ones. Now, you can go to the Garmin store,
where you can download a bunch of free watch faces, and you can also customize
aspects of this. So you can see I have the sunset, and battery percentage,
and date on there. You can change what those are as well. Let me back out of
this. Now, on day-to-day use, the other thing you’re going to do is
you’re going to go through these things called widgets. And if you hit these up
and down buttons, you can see I go through widgets. That’s my heart rate.
I don’t have my heart rate on right now because the watch is not on.
It needs to be on my wrist, just right there, to work.
But I can go through and see my heart rate for the day. Now, on these as well,
I can click in and get more information. Here is my resting heart rate for the last
few days. And so I’m going to let you cycle through different screens there.
You can totally customize which widgets you see. I have a training stress score,
which I’ll show you a little bit later. Steps. So this is a step counter,
floor counter, all that fun stuff. Here’s a compass and altimeter. And yeah,
those are widgets. Now, if you want to start an activity,
like a hike or a run, you can just hit this button here.
You can put your favorites in up there. You can add another one if you want,
all these different sports, and there are ton of sports.
There’s everything from like stand-up paddle boarding, trail running,
indoor sports, cardio, weightlifting, all kinds of things that you can track.
These are my favorites. And then when you click on this,
the actual activity, it brings you into the activity.
I’ll show you that a little bit later. You can see, that green means I’ve locked
on. The GPS signal and those other little icons are just telling me whether I’m
connected to heart rate, telephone. That flashing one’s a camera,
which is annoying. You can also control the camera on here. Now,
one thing to note about the widgets, the camera has reminded me of,
is that some of the widgets work with your smartphones.
So when you first get this, the first thing you’re going to want to do
is pair it with your smartphone and update the firmware, to make sure you’re working
with the latest software and all that fun stuff. But some of the widgets are…
Let me go back out. Some of the widgets are connected to the phone.
So you can get, say for instance, weather on here, the way that weather
work is that next to your smartphone and [inaudible]. I go to settings, apps,
there’s widgets, and you can see there’s all these different ones I can put on
there. So I’m going to add widgets and those sorts. I have last sport, last run.
These are all the different things I can put in there. My day.
This also syncs with Strava, MyFitnessPal, all these other different fitness
services. Calendar. While I’m in here, I can show you. I can also add different
apps. So here is a sampling of the apps. These are the ones I have. Add apps.
Here’s a bunch of different ones that I don’t have in there.
And you can take them out. I don’t use these a lot, or never,
so I just took them out. But if you use them,
you can put them in there, so they’re easy to access.
That’s the watch itself. Now, like I said, it is heavy. It is waterproof and
shockproof, so I can just drop this bad boy, and it’s fine.
That wasn’t too beefy of a drop. It’s waterproof up to 100 meters,
so you can do everything with it aside from scuba dive pretty much.
So that’s how the watch works. Let me show you some of the other
features. Let’s talk about mapping. Okay. So I am on the Garmin Connect
website, and one of the options over here on the side is to do a course.
And if I click “Course” there, I can search. I can see other courses that
people have done. So I can click on this, and you can see it shows me a course that
somebody else did, which was a long run. And I could save this or send it to my
device. But I am not going to do that. I’m going to click out of this.
I’m going to create my own course, and I’m going to do it here at this
Audubon Park. And it’s pretty simple, I just go Create Course. Now,
it’s going to ask me what type, and you can see there’s a few different
options here. We’re going to do hiking. And I just click where I want my start
point. Let’s go here. Let’s go there, there, there, and whatever, back here.
A lot of twists and turns. So there it is. I have different options here.
I can name it, so we’ll call this the “Fenix 5x Test.” And I can also see my
elevation, which is flat, because this is just a very short walk
around. And I’m going to save it. And you can also do these things:
Add Course Point, Reverse Direction, Undo, Loop to Start. So if you’re doing
something very detailed, you can change it. You can also make this
a satellite view. You can go back to terrain. We can go to map.
There’s other ways to do this. This is just an easy way to do it within
the Garmin ecosystem. And I have a whole article on my website
about creating tracks for your Garmin GPS. So if you go there, you’ll be able to get
a detailed account of how to do this. Anyway, let’s do Save Course,
and send this to my device. And now it’s asking me if I want to do
Garmin Express. I’m going to do this on my phone actually. So there’s a couple ways
you can sync. You can sync this with a plugged in method,
which is Garmin Express, so here, it’s not connected. And you can see here
some updates, the maps. But I want to cancel that and get out of
this, and we’ll do it on the app instead. So I’ve saved it. And let me show you how
to get it from the app onto the phone. Okay. So I am here, and I just saved it,
and you can see it’s synced to my phone here. I’m going to go to Courses,
loading courses. There we go. There it is, Fenix 5x Test, up top. Here it is, there.
There we go. Everything’s reversed this way. Anyway, you can see the course I
just did, and there’s a little icon up top here to send it to my device. Now,
it’s asking me which one I want to send it to. I going to do the Fenix 5x.
And now, it should on my watch. Okay. So let’s see it on this thing.
So let’s go down to navigate because it will be the easiest one.
Then I’ll go to Courses, Fenix 5x Test, Do Course, and there it is.
It is on the watch. Okay. So let’s start a hike,
and we’ll use that course that I just set. So if I click on this button over here,
this will give me my activities. And you can see there I have hike already
brought up, but I could have done this as a bike or hike, whatever, pool swim,
whatever I want to do. Anyway, let’s go hike. And now,
it’s locking on to the GPS. There is orange, which is good, or yellow.
It’s also telling me that I’m not synced to a camera or an external heart rate
monitor. I have a phone synced. And there is my GPS signal.
And here’s what I’m going to do, I’m going to hold down this button on the
side, and within the hike, I can change the settings,
but I’m going to navigate, navigation. And it allows me to go to Point of
Interest, so I can go to McDonald’s or something interesting like that around me,
a few different options. If you go to,
I kind of list out where all these are. Courses, we have course,
there’s not the one we want. There it is, Fenix 5x Test, Do Course,
and it’s loading, Course Started. And I’m just going to start the hike.
And there we go. And you can see. There we go. You can see that it shows me
how far I need to go to the next point. Now, we can also zoom in on the map if I
really want to see where I am. All right, let’s zoom. And there,
you could see the trails. You can see my position,
and you can see me going up the trail here. Let’s back out of this. And
there, it’s telling me the distance to my next point, which is up here. Now,
we can also go through all of the standard hiking fields. There,
it’s telling me whether I’m on course or off course. And the way this works is
that, if I go off of the trail or the course that I have plotted in here,
it will give me an alert, it’ll say, “Off course.” So you don’t necessarily
have to be monitoring the watch all the time. It’ll beep, or buzz,
or whatever you set it to do to alert you if you’re not in the right place. Now,
we can always go through and see all my other things as well. Here,
I’ve set up this thing to tell me my timer, my distance.
And you could see there’s a little dot up top, that’s telling me which way to go
to stay on course. So imagine, if this was sort of a cross-country
off-trail thing, that would be very helpful. It doesn’t have my heart
rate zone because I’ve taken it off, so I could show on this video,
because I’m holding the camera with my other hand. I’m not clever enough to
figure out how to not do that. And I have another data field.
And you can totally customize all of these as well. So here we go.
And I just got an alert. Now, if you can see here,
I’m at an intersection, four-way intersection. I got an alert.
So let’s see what happens here. I’m going to go straight.
If I go down to this next one, it’s telling me, see the arrow,
it’s telling me I should have turned left there. So I’m going the wrong way.
And if I go a little bit farther, it’s going to give me an off-course alert.
So let’s go here, and I’ll show what that looks like. You have to go a little bit far.
It’s not super precise. There it is, off course. So let’s go back, and you can
see I needed to make that turn there. Let’s go back. And there, you can see,
it says I’m in the right place. And there’s my map. And that’s navigation. Now, if I wanted to, let’s say,
stop this but continue the hike, it’s pretty easy. I just hold down this
button, and then just do Stop Course. And then I don’t have to follow that,
but I still have the map here and I still have my data fields.
So that’s the mapping and course functionality.
You can see it’s not like a, you know, driving a car and having GPS where it
says, “Get off on Exit 57.” But it is handy. You can see whether
you’re on the trail or not, you can get alerts as to whether you’re
off the trail. The only thing to the map is, you know, it’s not always at the
right pan or zoom level that you want it to be. And dealing with that is actually
pretty easy. You just hold down this key right here, until you go to your settings,
and there’s Pan and Zoom. I’m going to hit this guy to select it.
And you’ll see I have little plus or minuses on the side,
and I can zoom in and zoom out. There’s zoom out, zoom in.
And you can see the redraws are okay, in terms of how quickly it redraws the map
if I do it quickly. That’s pretty good. It just depends. There we go. Now,
if I want to pan around, little trick, you just hit this once, hit that once,
you’ll see that I now have some zoom tools in the side. I have an up and down,
so I can go up and down. And if I hit it again,
I’ll get left and right. So there’s my left and right.
So let’s go over here, and I’m going to click there.
I’m going to hold this down for a long period here, just hold that long,
and it says Trail. Yeah, that’s cool. And it tells me basically what it is,
the different aspects of that map. And I’m just going to hit Go and that
should route me there. And you can see the little arrow that’s
telling me to go this way. And that’s where the point was.
You can see I panned over there. And it’s giving me the route.
You can see I’m on it. Now, if I want to zoom in,
so I can see where I am a little bit better, same thing, Pan/Zoom,
and I’m just going to go in. And there, you can see the trail detail.
It’s pretty good. And these are trails, these are OpenStreetMap trails that I’ve
loaded onto the map. These aren’t the default Garmin maps. So,
we just get out of this, and then we’re back. And now,
I could see my nice purple line that tells me that’s where I should be going.
So pretty, pretty cool. One of the other handy features is that
you can drop way points, and there’s sort of a shortcut for that.
If I hold this down, I can say Save Location accessory,
brought up for me there. And I want to do this, set, yes, saved,
and I’m done. So just a simple way to save way points. I do that a lot,
when I am hiking, and I see something, like maybe a place where I want to get
water, or a trail junction that I needed to note for the way back, or anything
remotely handy, I’ll just drop a way point. It doesn’t really take up a lot
of space, if any. And, you know, you have that location snapped in there
then. So very, very handy. All right. So when you’re done your hike,
it’s pretty simple. You just hit Stop, you wait a second, and then it’ll ask you
what you’d like to do, resume it, save. You can also resume it later,
which will shut the GPS off and give you some extra battery. Do a lap,
you could go back to start, or you can discard it.
We’re going to save it. And it’s saying, it’s going to take me zero hours to
recover from this, which is a cool feature. So if this is a hard
workout, it would tell me just a little bit more,
it gives me a little wrap-up. And then I’m going to hit Done. Now,
it’s updating, and it’s also uploading into my phone. And it is done. Now,
we can go to the app or we can go to Garmin Connect. Here I am on
Garmin Connect. I’ve gone into Activities, and here’s my hike. You can see I was kind
of fawning around because I was shooting some video. But I can zoom in,
I can see all the places I went. There was the turn that I made incorrectly
and corrected. And I can scroll…well, I can change the layers here,
so I can look at Bing, I can look at a straight map,
into OpenStreetMap, and zoom in, which gives us some better trails.
And then down here, I can see my elevation, I can see my pace.
Those are the heart rate dropouts where I didn’t have the watch on.
So it’s not an error. That was when I was holding it.
And you can see all these different metrics from the hike.
So this one’s probably not a good example. I just wanted to show you because I was
showing it in the other example. But let me show you what a real hike looks
like. So here’s a hike on the bridge to nowhere. And you can see I have
elevation. And if I do this scroll, it’ll follow a little dot on the map.
And you get a lot more information here than you normally would.
So this is a pretty cool way to recap your hike. And you can also share it,
so I can export it to Google Earth, to whatever I need to do,
in order to share it or do anything else. I can also share this with the public.
So I can share it with people I know in Garmin Connect, or everyone.
So you can put this on a website or whatever you might need to do.
So the Fenix 5x comes bundled with topo maps for United States.
And if you buy it in another region, it’ll come bundled with those maps from
other region. You can actually load other bundles of maps on there for free from
Garmin. So if I bought the North American version and I’m going to Europe,
I can download the European maps on there. That’s not a problem.
It’s got 12 gigabytes of memory on the watch. There’s plenty of room for
tons of maps. Now, here’s one thing you don’t have to do, and I see people doing,
and I see one-star reviews because people have bought maps for $100 and tried to
install them on the watch. You don’t have to pay for any maps with
this device. Do not pay for any maps, especially not Garmin maps.
You can download all of these different maps directly to the watch,
and it already has U.S.A. on it if you bought it in the U.S.A.
or North America. Now, the Garmin maps are okay.
They’re not great. They’re 100k topo maps. They don’t have a lot of contours.
They do have points of interest. So they have like McDonald’s and things
like that on there, there’s golf information, things that aren’t so
hiking relevant. But what you can do is you can download free OpenStreetMaps,
which are 24k and have tons of hiking trails on them. So the routing on this and
the navigation is going to only be as good as the maps that you have on it.
So I highly, highly recommend downloading different maps onto these devices.
If you go to, I have a whole article on how to get these
free maps and download them to the Garmin. But get the 24k maps, the OpenStreetMaps.
Those OpenStreetMaps have much better trails on them, and they’re also routable.
So the device will be able to route you on those trails, which is important.
Like I said, it’s 12 gigs of memory, so there’s plenty of room for maps.
And the other cool thing is you can go on there and you can turn certain maps
off. So let’s say you’re a cyclist and a hiker, and you only want to see hiking
trails when you hike and only want to see cycling maps when you cycle,
you can go in there and individually turn maps on or off. So I could have all of
U.S.A. for cycling. I can have all of the U.S.A. for trails. I could have,
you know, a specific region. Whatever it is that you download is what’s
on the watch. So that’s maps. I highly, highly recommend getting some OSM,
OpenStreetMap, free maps, and putting them on there before you go
out in the trails. It’ll make your life easier, and it’ll make it more of a
valuable resource for you. So battery life on the Fenix 5x is pretty
good. It lasts 12 hours, roughly, and GPS modes. So when you’re using it to
track a hike, and if you just have it on without the GPS, it’s about 12 days.
So for me, I typically workout maybe 30 to 60 minutes a day,
I’ll go for 2 long hikes on the weekend, I usually have to charge it once or twice
a week. And it’s not too bad, it charges in an hour or so.
And it’s a little USB cable, so you can charge with like any USB
portable charging device, or in your car, on your computer, whatever it might be.
There are ways to extend the battery life. So let’s say you’re going on a three- or
four-day backpacking trip, there’s things you can do,
like turn on ultra track and different sort of tweaks that you can do to the
watch to get more juice out of it. And if you go to,
I list all of those things out, and it’s pretty straightforward in terms
of getting a little more life out of your watch. I want to address GPS
accuracy here. I’m not like a hardcore tech tester. I’ve been using this thing on
the trails and sort of more of a practical lab, as opposed to a, you know,
side-by-side comparison, how does this stack up versus the Suunto,
or whatever it might be. For me, the GPS has been great.
I did a comparison with my iPhone GPS a few times, and generally,
it’s pretty much the same. There’s a couple options,
you can turn on GPS and GLONASS, which is the Russian GPS, you know.
And I researched this, I couldn’t see any difference when I had
them both on. And I looked online, dug through the forums,
and some people swear by it, some people don’t swear by it.
I usually just leave it off because it saves a little bit of battery,
and I don’t really see any kind of difference. But in general,
when I do a hike with the Fenix and I bring it home, and I review it,
and I can see my path on top of like the OpenStreetMap and trail,
I’m generally always on it. I never had a problem,
and I never really had problems with my distance being off. You’ll see that if you
do your research on the forums. You’ll see some people say their distance
is off by miles. I would just say, update your firmware and that will
probably solve 99% of the problems. It’s hard to tell what happens. Now,
for GPS, you know, it could be the device and it could also be a lot of other
things. If you’re in an area with buildings, if there’s atmospheric
disturbances, if you don’t have a good satellite fix, if only a few satellites
are reachable, your GPS accuracy will be affected. So there are so many
variables there. In general, it’s worked for me. I haven’t had a
problem. It’s never made me walk off a cliff or anything cooky like that.
So that’s my take on GPS. If you go to websites like DC Rainmaker,
and there’s another one that I forget the name of, they have more in-depth tests
where they overlay the tracks. It’s a bit overkill. I just know,
from my standpoint, from hiking, update the firmware, the GPS works great.
You don’t need GLONASS, unless you have a strong reason to use it
so. Now earlier, I had showed you all the different apps that you can get for this
watch. It’s not just a hiking watch. If you just want something for hiking,
you know, this is cool because it has maps and there’s no other options out there.
There’s not like a wristwatch that has a ton of maps on it and does all these
things. So in that respect, it’s a great watch. But if you do other
sports and you’re into tracking your fitness, tracking your sleep,
your steps, your stairs, calories, any of that kind of stuff,
this is a massive tool to have. Massive tool to have.
It tracks basically runs or any other sport like it would a hike.
So you get your distance, your heart rate, all that fun stuff. It also works with
external sensors, right. So I can hook this up to a chest strap,
and on the chest strap, I get running dynamics,
which is like my stride length, my vertical oscillation,
all kinds of crazy stuff like that. I can hook it up to bike sensors,
so cadence, speed, power meters. Really anything that’s ANT+ or Bluetooth
Smart, this will sync up with, which is pretty powerful.
I use it on my day-to-day. So I use this as my sleep tracker,
just to get a general level of my fitness. Now, when I’m out on the trail,
I have my heart rate as one of the data fields. And, you know,
I look at different things. I look at like where I am on the map,
I look at how far I’ve gone, but I also look at my heart rate to see,
“Am I struggling? Am I, you know, performing the way I feel like I should be
performing for this hike?” And sometimes I go out and my heart rate
might be up or, you know, I might have a higher resting heart rate
in the morning, and I’m starting to get sick and maybe it’s not a good idea to do
that overnight camping trip. So having that type of information is very
helpful. And I also use this in my day-to-day training. So, you know,
if I want to work on my stride length, I can make sure that I’m doing that and
see real empirical results as I go. Now, there’s a couple of other functions
on here that are really helpful. You can get your lactate threshold.
So it’ll have a test on here to tell you if you use your lactate threshold for your
heart rate zone. And that’s like a little bit outside of the realm of hiking,
but it is good to know if you’re into fitness. It does your resting heart
rate, does your sleep, it does your calories.
If you’re on a bike, it can calculate your FTP,
your functional threshold power for you. And it also has this training and stress
load predictor, which I’ll show you right now, which is very, very helpful.
It’s something that pro athletes use, and Garmin has licensed it for the watch.
And essentially, what it does is it takes all of the different information that you
have from your training, from your sleep, from your diet, puts it together to
essentially analyze your training and say, “Hey, is your training productive right
now? Is it not productive? Are you peaking? Are you doing too much,
too little?” And you can use that as a feedback tool to adjust as necessary.
So very, very… Now, when you first get your Garmin 5x,
I recommend doing a couple things right off the bat. First, get a Garmin Connect
user ID, an account that will let you sync your watch online and sync it with your
phone, and review your hikes afterwards, do all kinds of different community
activities, ton of things, highly recommended. If you don’t do that,
you’re only really utilizing a portion of the power of this watch.
Next thing I would do is sync your watch. So you can sync it with your smartphone or
with your computer, both free software to do that. And what that’ll do is it’ll
update the firmware on your watch. Now, that’s really important because,
when this first comes out, there’s obviously a ton of things going on
in this Fenix 5x, and you know, there’s going to be bugs.
And when the watch did first come out, I was actively monitoring all of the
forums and blogs, and there were problems, right? GPS, dropouts,
you know, battery, different types of things. And Garmin is really good at
addressing those and issuing new firmware often. And it’s made me a Garmin
fan because, not only do they address bugs, but they also add more
functionality to the watch as time goes on, which is very, very cool.
So update the firmware, and also get a Garmin Connect account.
And I’ll show you how to do that on the website. So if you just go to, I have links for all of these websites and software,
and all that fun stuff. So should you get this watch,
does it make sense to spend hundreds of dollars on this watch?
Because it is expensive. It’s definitely not one of the more
economical pieces of gear you can get. Here’s what I would say,
if you can afford it, if money is not a huge deal to you,
in terms of the price of this, get it. Just having maps on your wrist is a huge
resource. So when I use this, my common use case scenario is not
necessarily making courses and using it to route me. You know, beforehand,
I’ve planned my hike, I’ve put the GPS into my watch,
I’ve sent it to my watch, and I’m hiking, right. Maybe I come to a trail
junction, I just want to confirm that I need to go a certain way. This watch,
I can pull it up. Not only can I see which way the path is, but I can see
geographical features around me that confirm like, “Okay,
this is the way I’m going, and here is the other trail that I’m not
going down,” because I can see that all in my watch. So in that sense,
it’s very powerful and it’s very cool to have. Another use case scenario,
where I love it, is if I hike at night and it’s hard to follow the trail,
and Cactus to Clouds is a great one for this, the Skyline Trail,
if you’re not familiar with it, a lot of times you have to do it at night
in order to beat the heat. And it’s marked little white dots,
and it’s easy to not see that if you’re hiking at night with your headlamp.
So all I do is I look down on my Fenix 5x and say, “Am I still on the trail?”
So in that sense, it’s very useful. So if you can afford it and you need that
kind of tool to sort of cross-check where you are, get it. If you are training and
doing other like running and biking, and you want to get some insight into your
body and your training, and you hike, definitely get it. It’s worth it.
If you have a Fenix 3 or 3 HR, and you’re okay with like following the
track, and you don’t necessarily need the maps, I wouldn’t spend the money for
it. I probably just would stick with the Fenix 3 and use, you know,
a couple different handheld options for my maps, you know,
an iPhone and maybe an eTrex. If you don’t have the money for it,
if it’s out of your price range, I would probably just get like a couple
handheld options as well. So I’d get, you know, maybe an eTrex,
have something on your smartphone, have paper, as always, and you’ll be fine.
It’s really a convenience to be able to look at your wrist and see the map,
but it’s not vital to the experience of hiking. It’s not vital to your
survival, if you have those other options. But again, if you do training and you want
to make investments in something that’s powerful on your wrist, if you do, say,
lose battery in your eTrex or your smartphone, and you need to get back,
you have a full set of topo maps on your wrist, which is pretty awesome.

70 thoughts on “Garmin Fenix 5x Hiking Review & Guide

  1. For Brazilian viewers, you can use Open Street Maps ( converted to .img format) or just place maps and ir works fine! Para os Brasileiros vendo este video, você pode usar mapas do Open Street Maps convertidos para o formato .img da Garmin ou os mapas do projeto Tracksource diretamente.

  2. Good review. Was hoping you'd end up with a 5X so I could watch your review. Really considering this watch as a supplement to my Explorer+ and iphone for hiking/ backpacking. From what I understand, this also interfaces with Garmin's Tempe sensor which is something I'm interested in. Probably overkill for what I need, but buying things that are just a bit more than what I need has worked well for me so far.

  3. Great video again. I've been looking at the Garmin Fenix 5 too so this was a welcome review. Quick tip for you though… at one point you were trying to show how to use the phone app to sync the maps. You could've just displayed the phone on your computer since you were using a Mac. Plug your iPhone in (via USB) and run Quicktime Player. It lets you display your phone on your screen (File -> New Movie Recording) and you can then show both the Garmin website AND the phone interaction. I do this when running demos/presentations at work all the time. All the best.

  4. Great in depth, practical, unbiased review that's not competitor focused or any of the other garbage you see when looking up tech. This was really insightful and I really appreciate you taking the time to produce this video for us.

    Happy New Year!

  5. Thank you for the very accurate review! which activity profile do you think would best record a spartan race/obstacle course race?

  6. Does anyone know if this watch has a "FIND ME" or similar feature? Just wondering if it would replace an EPIRB (emergency positioning locator radio beacon) or if I would need to buy one aswell. Thanks, in advance 🙂

  7. Great video! I’m a hunter really interested in this watch, but in my gps I would really like to have private property boundaries which the garmin huntview maps has. Do you know if it’s possible to get that map on this watch?

  8. But when the battery goes bad, Garmin says there's no replacement so they're implying that you just have to throw it away after 5 – 6 years of use.

  9. Very well done video. I'm convinced on getting the 5X. Got rid of AW3 and currently using FR630. Which is a great watch, but need more for hiking and such. Already subscribed to your YT site. Thanks for the video. Keep up the good work.

  10. Thank you for such a comprehensive review! One question – – can you set one of the hiking fields to display elevation gain? Another question–if you load a route onto the watch, are you able to see the elevation profile, and will it show you where you currently are on that profile? I've got lots of ups and downs on my hikes, and it would be very useful for me to see the climbs up ahead. Thank you!

  11. I am looking to get a watch most for triathlons!!
    Do you still recommend the fenix 5x or any other watch?
    Thank you

  12. Absolutely loved the review and specially the guide. Just ordered mine and so excited for it. Will refer back to this video once I get mine. Thanks!

  13. Would you say this watch is till worth that price tag? I'm really considering this watch for my hunts and hikes.

  14. Thank you for an in depth review. How would this compare to the suunto traverse alpha in terms of the gps & hiking ?

  15. How did you make such a smart watch look so dumb….. HAHA, just kidding, actually great review. Very informative. Thank you for doing such a great job.

  16. Thank you for the video. You mentioned using Garmin Connect , can you use Garmin BaseCamp? is one better than the other? are they the same thing? thank you.

  17. Thanks for the great review but please consider re-recording the audio without the wind – and maybe get a wind cover for your mic

  18. Thanks for the honest and real in-depth review. Majority of the big hit reviews on the Fenix series are so heavily sponsor driven that it just oozes out in the video.

  19. Ugh, I wish "every map you could ever want" was true. The ONLY map I want on a watch is the NatGeo Trails Illustrated base map 🙁

  20. for someone like me that has to take a bunch of berzerkadryl every day just to get by… this video was much easier to follow than most. thanks Haz!

  21. Thanks for the in-depth review! Would this be way too big/look ridiculous for a woman with tiny wrists? Do they make a women’s version?

  22. Sold my AW4 due to battery life. Looking at 5x due to recent price drops. Cool to see areas I recognize. Used to live in Newport Beach. Just recently took kids to Moro Canyon. Thank you.

  23. Great review. I saw that SAS soldier and TV presenter, Ant Middleton, wears this watch so thought I’d check out reviews to see if it’s worth the steep price as he is sponsored by Garmin. Your review helped out a lot

  24. Thanks for the video. Garmin Connect maps aren't detailed enough for me. They don't show all the paths. I may have to try Garmin Basecamp.

  25. Is there a way to hook up a solar panel (that I would wear) directly to the watch during hike? Seems like the USB port is not on the side, so I wouldn't be able to do it, right?

  26. I purchased the Fenix 5X a few days ago to take advantage of the $150 off sale Garmin has going on right now for the Fenix line in the US.  That put the price of the 5X at $449.99.  It is still a lot of money but I think a great value for what it offers.  It is an amazing watch with a lot of features I am figuring out.  Your video has be been a great help.  Thanks!

    I am using the same Watch Face as you.  The video shows the customization of the face at 3:59.  There is a curved red line at the top of the dial and a similar curved gray line at the bottom of the dial.  Do you happen to know what those two lines represent?  I am thinking the red line may be related to the heart rate data but I can not till what.  Sometimes it shows and sometimes not.  The gray curved line is there all the time.  Maybe it relates to a goal?  I cannot find any documentation on it anywhere.  Thanks for any help!

  27. Man I just picked up one of these on Amazon for a really good price ( 5X not the plus ) and my Alarm is Very Weak is this normal? I can't imagine anyone could wake to this alarm.

  28. Super informative, thank you for posting! I picked up a Fenix 5X Plus in May and the Maps have been the hardest thing to understand.

  29. Looking for a device that will locate someone in the wilderness. For example, if someone gets injured and is unconscious. Is there a device they can wear to find them without them sending an SOS.

  30. Owning both; an Apple Watch OLED is amazing yet tricky in the sun, the Fenix 5X is mind blowing beautiful in the sun yet average indoors. The Fenix 5X’s display is build for the outdoors and you can tell first time wearing it, also way more rugged then an Apple Watch. As the author of this video mentions; both have different purposes so choose wisely:) I love my Fenix 5X!

  31. To Each their own.I honestly don’t know why Anyone would Pay for a GPS Based Watch.Maybe .001% of People Actually Need a GPS Watch.99.9999998% Of People Dont Need GPS To go to the Mall or McDonalds.
    I’m a Watch Guy and although most of mine are Automatics,I think the best Digital or Gadget Watches Are G-Shocks,And my Favorite for Hiking,Climbing etc is A Suunto Core.
    I think it’s a good thing if A few People Still learn to Use a Map & Compass.Its really cool to travel across 10-15 miles of Trail,Rock,Streams etc Using a Map.

  32. This was by far the most useful Fenix 5 video I've come across. I've been researching this watch like mad and most other videos have been general feature reviews. This was real time experience with it and I'm sold.

  33. Great video! I just got my Fenix 5x yesterday. They have really come down in price since the 5+'s came out. I don't think I would be able to figure this thing out without your video and youtube, it just has so many features. Thank you for taking your time on this review. I also subscribed.

  34. Great video!! Just one question: Would you recommend these watch for running, mtb, swimming and skiing? Isn't it too big for these activities? I'm not really into hiking and I don't know if I should go for Fenix 5X or Fenix 5 sapphire edition.

  35. What an AMAZING, informative video! Thanks for all the work you put into it. I just bought a Fenix 5X and loving it!
    Using it mostly for fitness but the maps and navigation are an added bonus. Also just picked up the Dual HR sensor.
    Keep up the good work and you have a new subscriber.

  36. I like to hike and fish. Is it possible to mark your vehicle and go fish for the day and then navigate back to your vehicle? Is there a cheaper version that would fit my needs? Often times I don’t have a specific route or place I want to go for a day of fishing and I don’t want to carry a larger gps. Thanks for all your reviews

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