Use Apple Watch for camping

Ever wondered about whether you should take your Apple Watch when camping? In short, yes you should. Even though Apple Watches weren’t only meant for outdoors, they still prove very useful when doing outside activities.

Are Apple watches good for camping?

Apple Watches are good for camping if you are a regular camper. Apple Watches aren’t really a rugged type of outdoor watch like some Garmin watches. So there are a few things to consider when camping with an Apple Watch:

  1. Apple watches don’t have a long battery life. It will work for one day. If you’re going camping for multiple days, expect you will probably have to charge it daily.
  2. The Apple Watch isn’t an outdoor watch. Some models are durable and water resistant, therefore good for everyday usage. But it won’t survive getting hit by a large rock.
  3. The Apple Watch is useful if you use an iPhone. The watch is meant to be used together with the iPhone. It also has some nice apps and features for camping.
  4. Apple Watches have a good GPS, so they’re good for navigation using a map on the watch. You don’t have to use an iPhone when going somewhere so your hands will be free for other activities.
  5. You can use the Apple Watch for tracking your fitness stats like workout progress, calories, heart rate, number of steps. Again, you can track it on your wrist and don’t have to carry a phone in your hand.

How do I charge my Apple Watch while camping?

Officially, battery life for Apple Watches from Series 3 and later ones, lasts about 18 hours. This means that the Apple Watch battery will last for a day, and you will need to carry a portable charger with you.

When getting a portable charger for Apple Watch, make sure to buy a good one for camping. The charger should have multiple slots for charging, as you’ll be charging your Apple Watch and your phone. Or get multiple chargers because lots of them have only one slot. Also, if you’re camping more than a day, it should also have enough power for multiple charges. And third, consider getting a charger that supports USB-C for fast charging. This can be useful if you’re a heavy phone user (playing phone games and using phone on max brightness outside often) as your phone will charge really fast if it supports fast charging.

To save battery, you can also use “Power Saving Mode” during hiking or working out. This will disable the heart rate sensor, but your fitness stats won’t be that accurate. If you’re really desperate, you can also use Power Reserve mode. This will turn off all Apple Watch features except telling time.

How to use Apple Watch offline

When you’re camping, often there will be no Wi-Fi connection and no cellular signal. But even then, from most models of an Apple Watch you should be able to listen to music, track your workout and use navigation. Check some navigational apps that support offline maps below. 

Apple watch camping apps

Here is a list of some Apple Watch apps that might be useful during camping:


This is an app that displays a detailed vector map on your Apple Watch for different trails and paths for hiking, cycling, running etc. This is simply a great app for anyone who needs a map when they are working out. It can also store maps for when you’re offline and there is no data signal.


This is another famous app that contains maps with various trails for hiking, cycling and running. It also gives you the ability to use offline maps..

Gaia GPS

One other example of a great app that contains maps for hiking, biking and running, together with offline maps.


Another great app that offers various workout modes like hiking, cycling, etc. It also contains tons of trails, great maps and also the ability to be used offline.

Google Maps

The best navigational map that provides navigation for places all around the world. It’s always useful when you need to find directions when going outside. It’s a great app for configuring location, routes, cities and even transport, but it sometimes lacks for trails and paths in mountains. Use it in combination with other apps that are suited for that purpose.


Use a native Apple Watch app for tracking fitness activities like biking, running, walking, etc. This app is sufficient to track your fitness stats when you don’t need maps or other extras.


Best app to track how many steps you walked in a day.

Night Sky

Your personal stargazing app. This is great if you want to identify stars, planets, constellations and satellites in the sky that you see above you from your position.

Apple Watch protection

Apple Watch was never meant to be a rugged watch for outdoors like Garmin watches. So, Apple Watch is recommended for camping if you’re not the kind of person who destroys their equipment. The Apple Watch screen is also prone to little scratches, so some kind of protective equipment is recommended. There are a variety of screen protectors, protective cases and screen-films available on the market.

Can I use my Apple Watch outside without my phone?

Your Apple Watch will work without an iPhone nearby, but not every feature. It can use Wi-fi connection for data, but that probably won’t be around when camping. However, there is a version of an Apple Watch that can work more independently.

From Apple Watch Series 3, Apple watch also has a GPS+Cellular version. This version enables you to make calls, send texts and many more, without an iPhone. Of course, you still need an iPhone to configure the watch and use many apps. But, with the Cellular version, you can go outside phoneless and stay connected. However, if you’re buying an Apple Watch and consider a Cellular version, check if it is even supported where you live. Check with local telecommunication companies if they provide plans to use Cellular watch. Otherwise, the Apple Watch GPS+Cellular version will be redundant so get a regular one. Also, consider how much you will be actually going without your phone nearby, as this version is more expensive.

Check out the rest of articles about using Apple Watch to get rid of iPhone addiction, and decrease excessive internet and social media consumption. But still use the Apple Watch for actually useful functions (like navigation, communication, notifications, music and more) without relying on the iPhone:
Is Apple Watch Cellular worth it: going without iPhone
Can you use Apple Watch offline?
Can Apple Watch battery survive a hiking trip?