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Global Positioning System (GPS) technology is literally everywhere, from phones to televisions, automobiles to agriculture. And of course, GPS is essential technology for outdoorsmen who tap into global satellite networks for navigation, game tracking, timing, and a host of other useful functions. But heading into the woods GPS-enabled doesn’t have to mean packing a handheld device. Wearable GPS watches have come into their own, and there are plenty of reasons to own one.

Navigation

Garmin

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The essential function of GPS technology is to help us navigate. While GPS watches and other wearables lack the screen size or functionality of their handheld counterparts, they are plenty useful in tracking your course, setting waypoints, and all of the essential benchmarks of staying found in the wild.

Activity Monitoring

Garmin

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While some GPS watches are dedicated to helping you find your way around, others serve as activity monitors analyzing your heartrate, stress levels, and other fitness metrics. Additional features include music storage, Bluetooth technology for syncing with other mobile devices, and, yes, super-accurate timekeeping.

Safety

Suunto

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Compactness is the area in which wearables have a distinct advantage over handheld GPS. They are no more burdensome than a wristwatch and sport features that watchmakers a generation ago could not have even imagined. They are stylish and lightweight, which means you are more likely to walk out the door wearing a GPS watch than toting a handheld unit. Wearable GPS technology is more than just a fashion statement. It could save your life.

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