I am planning to walk across the U.S. in February of 2022.  The walk will be on the American Discovery Trail.   The ADT Guide can share its waypoints with you on Gaia GPS*.    How good is the Garmin fenix with navigation functions?  

Hey @George137 I am an REI Experiences navigation instructor, and I am experienced with the Garmin hiking watches. The Fenix 6X Solar is as good as it gets in wrist devices. Some things to be aware of, both positive and negative:

  • You can export GPX files (which are how waypoints are stored) from Gaia to the Fenix. You will have to do it in two steps though. Export from Gaia, and import using Garmin Connect. 
  • The Fenix 6x is a full functioned navigation device. It can be a great resource to get to and from waypoints - with waypoints being things like your next campsites or trail crossings. 

On the negative side:

  • Even with the solar, you are going to eventually have to charge your watch. Using the GPS is a big power drain. I generally recommend turning on the GPS to confirm position, figure out where you need to go, and then turn off GPS to save battery. To charge the watch any number of external USB batteries will work, like the Goal Zero Flip product line. 
  • Even with the Fenix 6X  (the largest screen in the Garmin wrist line up) its screen is pretty small. I would make sure you have paper maps as a back up. 

In general, it is a great watch, does navigation well. The one thing it doesn't do is satellite communication (like the inReach product line) which you may want. For that check out the handheld GPSmap 66i - full featured handheld gps, but with the added functionality of satellite communication.

Have a great Hike!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

if you're using Gaia, anything else will give you redundancy.

Checking your phone screen, imo, is a much better option than trying to figure it out on your wrist.

good luck!

this person below on our recent everglades trip, was using the phoenix, looked like a bit of a struggle


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