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  1. #1

    Default Anyone hike with Apple Watch?

    Been using an Apple Watch hand-me-down for a few days and actually thinking about getting a 42mm Series 2.

    I'm curious if anyone has any experience hiking the trail with one of these. It seems it would be nice to be able to pin a waypoint or track a route using Gaia GPS, which can be controlled via the watch. I believe you can also glance at a map to see your location once the watch grabs the map from the phone. I am curious how long the batteries of both the watch and phone would last under such use. I know I can get a 10,000 mAh battery to recharge them at minimal cost. However, if using them while hiking the trail drains the batteries in a just couple of hours, it may not be worth the trouble. How well do they hold up?

    Note that I always take a printed map. The watch/phone would be more for fun and convenience/tracking.

  2. #2

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    I have apple watch 2 and have been having a tough time getting the watch to properly reflect the phone data as you walk with gaigps. I just reinstalled gaigps on my phone, hopefully that will fix it. It would be great and I think save your phone battery if it worked.

  3. #3
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    I think they need to be charged pretty often if not daily. I'm wearing a Fitbit Blaze and because it doesn't have an internal GPS, the battery is good for 5-6 days. It relies on the phone GPS...I guess.


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  4. #4

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    I just happened to walk outside and decided to try out GaiaGPS via the watch. It was a somewhat disappointing experience. Whenever I lifted the watch, it read "disconnected" at the top. After several seconds, one time close to 10 seconds, it would reconnect and update the information. I don't really see the advantage of having it run on the watch as I could have pulled the phone out of my pocket in less time than that. With a built in GPS, I'm wondering if Series 2 would be better.

    It seems my short experience with this watch has led me to the conclusion that the watch apps are very limited and slow in what they can do. Kinda disappointing.

  5. #5

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    My watch lasts 2 days on a charge. It works great with cyclemeter and most apps. Gaigps not so much.

  6. #6
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    I tried the Apple Watch but prefer the Fennix 3.

    Your mileage may vary.

    TF


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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by tflaris View Post
    I tried the Apple Watch but prefer the Fennix 3.
    Can you elaborate?

    With regard to Gaia GPS, I did discover that Background App Refresh was turned off for that app. I turned it on. On a quick trial, there was still a disconnect after the watch was at rest, but it may have reconnected faster. Need to play more.

    Does the Gaia App running on the phone make any difference? I'm not sure I understand the difference between the phone and watch apps, if there is any.

    Still not real pleased with what the Apple Watch will do. Seems it's not really that useful for hiking.

  8. #8

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    I put in a support ticket so maybe there is a fix. It did work correctly at one time.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tundracamper View Post
    Can you elaborate?

    With regard to Gaia GPS, I did discover that Background App Refresh was turned off for that app. I turned it on. On a quick trial, there was still a disconnect after the watch was at rest, but it may have reconnected faster. Need to play more.

    Does the Gaia App running on the phone make any difference? I'm not sure I understand the difference between the phone and watch apps, if there is any.

    Still not real pleased with what the Apple Watch will do. Seems it's not really that useful for hiking.
    The battery life on the Apple Watch has the biggest drawback.

    The pro for the fennix 3 was it was already geared for hiking and other outdoor activities. The phone app for the fennix is also convenient for downloading hikes and reviewing statically info.

    A few screen grabs:









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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by tflaris View Post
    The pro for the fennix 3 was it was already geared for hiking and other outdoor activities. The phone app for the fennix is also convenient for downloading hikes and reviewing
    Ok, just watched a short video on the fenix and I'm impressed. I had no idea there was an alternative to the Apple Watch. So the fenix can talk to an iPhone and get messages, etc? Didn't know that was possible. Does it all work in the background or do you have to have an app running on the phone. The Apple Watch interface is pretty rugged. Just wondering how this third-party option compares in that regard.

  11. #11

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    I ended up e-mailing the support people at GAIGPS back and forth about the issue and had to assure them that my phone and watch were connected through bluetooth, that I had the latest versions, etc. I sent them my user logs but they didn't seem to be able to diagnose through that. They did write me back and agreed there was likely an issue and said they would let me know what they found.

    The fenix does look interesting but not sure I want to throw another $400 for a watch. I do like the apple watch for the interface to other things apple. I especially like the cycle/walk meter app and heart-rate feature, it works great, I benchmarked it against my polar HRM and it was extremely close.

  12. #12
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    I am glad you posted this and asked about the Iwatch ... I was considering getting one for the AT hike but now not so sure it is what I would want ... maybe a garman watch or something else ....

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maineiac64 View Post
    I ended up e-mailing the support people at GAIGPS back and forth about the issue and had to assure them that my phone and watch were connected through bluetooth, that I had the latest versions, etc. I sent them my user logs but they didn't seem to be able to diagnose through that. They did write me back and agreed there was likely an issue and said they would let me know what they found.

    The fenix does look interesting but not sure I want to throw another $400 for a watch. I do like the apple watch for the interface to other things apple. I especially like the cycle/walk meter app and heart-rate feature, it works great, I benchmarked it against my polar HRM and it was extremely close.
    I emailed Gaia as well an and was informed that it is not possible to use the watch app without the phone app running. Well, I've started route tracking and marked many waypoints on the watch with the phone app closed. The only issue I have with those controls is the watch "disconnecting" with the route tracker. I assume the GPS tracking is taking place in the phone via some part of Gaia running on the background as it continues to track even when the watch "disconnects." Do you run the phone app simultaneously?

    WRT the fenix 3, it appears Garmin has a strong competitor to the Apple Watch for hikers and outdoor people. If it will do the other stuff I need, I may forgo the Apple experience. The one I've been using is starting to feel like a phone remote. Kinda disappointing.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tundracamper View Post
    I emailed Gaia as well an and was informed that it is not possible to use the watch app without the phone app running. Well, I've started route tracking and marked many waypoints on the watch with the phone app closed. The only issue I have with those controls is the watch "disconnecting" with the route tracker. I assume the GPS tracking is taking place in the phone via some part of Gaia running on the background as it continues to track even when the watch "disconnects." Do you run the phone app simultaneously?

    WRT the fenix 3, it appears Garmin has a strong competitor to the Apple Watch for hikers and outdoor people. If it will do the other stuff I need, I may forgo the Apple experience. The one I've been using is starting to feel like a phone remote. Kinda disappointing.
    Yes, I am ok with running GAIGPS on my phone, putting it in my hipbelt pocket and then being able to look at the stats on the apple watch, this will save phone battery and be more convenient. I hope they get this figured out, I really like gaigps except for the apple watch aspect at this point.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maineiac64 View Post
    Yes, I am ok with running GAIGPS on my phone, putting it in my hipbelt pocket and then being able to look at the stats on the apple watch, this will save phone battery and be more convenient. I hope they get this figured out, I really like gaigps except for the apple watch aspect at this point.
    It seems an update was issued today. Perhaps this will fix things. Gonna play with it on the trail this weekend. Still, the fenix 3 looks tempting.

  16. #16

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    The latest update does seem to fix the updating problem. I did a quick test this morning.

  17. #17

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    I have series 2 watch and use Gaia on my iPhone on most hikes. To have Gaia on watch interacting with Gaia on the phone causes more phone battery drain than just checking your position from time to time on the phone. I find that a charged phone and watch will last for a weekend trip but after that would need recharging. With just the phone, I often get 5 days of use (position checks with Gaia, photos, email check once a day, maybe a little music, not much screen time). So for an AT section or thru, I don't think I would bring my watch.
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  18. #18

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    Just picked up a Garmin refurb Fenix 3 for $225

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    Tundra: I love tech that is helpful, but you're not going to need an Apple watch on the AT. I use a Fitbit daily to get at least 10,000 steps in, and to do challenges with friends. It's great and it keeps me motivated. I'll sell my Blaze before stepping on the trail when I do my thru, because it'll be useless to me at that time, and by the time I get done five months later, the latest greatest model will be available.
    Hiking is the best teacher, it grades on a curve.
    AT miles: 255.5 / Total miles: 905.27

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    Wouldn't you need to put your phone off airplane mode and use soem energy drawing wireless communication method to sync to the watch? That presents a problem, your phone battery will drain faster. A solution would be to only turn off airplane mode when you want to use your watch, but for that you have to take out your phone, at which time you may as well use it.

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