Forget the Fitbit — Go with a Garmin instead

I won a Fitbit about a year ago, and I used it in my efforts to get myself back to a level of fitness that would be compatible with a hunting lifestyle. But a year and eight days later, it died. And of course, it only had a one-year warranty.

A fitness tracking watch can really help with your exercise goals. But not all trackers are created equal. I found this out the hard way a couple of weeks ago.

About 10 years ago, the first time I wanted to get myself into better shape for hunting season, I bought the first-generation Garmin Forerunner. I don’t know if it was the first-ever GPS-enabled running watch, but it was certainly among the first. It wasn’t like today’s fitness trackers, though. It was meant to be worn for a run or a bike ride, then plugged back in to the charger right after. Its battery only lasted three or four hours, and it was huge, anyway. You wouldn’t want to wear it all day long. But 10 years later, that Garmin still works.

The tracking watches today are meant to be worn all day, and even all night. They track how many steps you take, how well you sleep, how fast you run, and a whole lot more. And some can even take the place of your handheld GPS receiver to help you trace your steps into and back out of the woods on a hike or a hunt.

The Fitbit Ionic I won a little over a year ago wouldn’t do that last part, but it was free, so I didn’t complain. And it did help me knock off a bunch of extra weight and get myself into hunting shape. But then it died. Eight days out of warranty, it croaked.

I called customer support, and they offered me a 25% off coupon for a new one. But I’m not going down that road again. If the Garmin trackers are anywhere near as reliable as their first-generation Forerunner was, they’ll last a heck of a lot longer than a Fitbit. So that’s what I ordered. A Garmin Forerunner 645. And as an added bonus, the Forerunner can map my hikes in the woods, too. I wish I’d won a Garmin in the first place.