Garmin Instinct: A Robust Companion for Your Outdoor Adventures

Garmin, a brand synonymous with high-quality GPS and sports watches, introduced the Garmin Instinct, an outdoor-focused smartwatch built to withstand the toughest environments. Here’s a detailed review of this powerful piece of technology.

Design and Durability

The design and durability of the Garmin Instinct are one of its standout features. Built for the outdoors and to U.S. military standard 810G for thermal, shock, and water resistance, the Instinct is undeniably rugged.

The watch features a fiber-reinforced polymer case that adds strength without adding extra weight. It can withstand extreme temperatures and conditions, making it an ideal companion for adventures in any environment, from the snowy peaks of mountains to the hot, arid desert.

Adding to its robustness, the display of the Garmin Instinct is covered with a chemically-strengthened, scratch-resistant glass that can handle the rigors of outdoor use. This glass is not only sturdy but also provides a high-contrast display that’s easy to read in bright sunlight.

The strap of the Garmin Instinct is made from a durable silicone material that is both comfortable and resilient. It’s designed to withstand heavy use and is water-resistant, meaning you can swim or shower without having to remove the watch.

The watch’s design is functional and easy to use, with clearly marked buttons that allow you to navigate through the various features and settings even in challenging conditions. The monochrome display and dedicated function buttons for GPS, heart rate, and other key features make it straightforward to operate.

Furthermore, the Instinct is available in a variety of colors, including Graphite, Tundra, Flame Red, Sunburst, and Lakeside Blue, allowing you to choose a look that matches your personal style.

Navigation Features

The Garmin Instinct truly shines when it comes to its navigation features, offering a range of tools designed to keep you on the right path no matter where your adventure takes you.

Multiple Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS): The Garmin Instinct supports three global navigation satellite systems: GPS (U.S.), GLONASS (Russia), and Galileo (Europe). By accessing multiple satellite networks, the watch can provide more accurate tracking, particularly in challenging environments where GPS alone might struggle, such as deep canyons or dense urban areas.

Built-in 3-axis Compass and Barometric Altimeter: These built-in tools add further value to the watch’s navigation capabilities. The 3-axis compass provides accurate direction readings while the barometric altimeter tracks changes in pressure to pinpoint your precise altitude. This can be incredibly helpful when you’re navigating difficult terrain or trying to gauge your progress on a steep climb.

TracBack Feature: This feature is a real game-changer for adventurers who want to explore without the worry of getting lost. TracBack plots the exact route you have taken and can guide you back to your starting point along the same path. This is especially useful for hikers, trail runners, and explorers who venture deep into nature and require a reliable way to return to their point of origin.

Waypoint Creation: With the Garmin Instinct, you can easily mark and save specific locations (such as your campsite, a scenic viewpoint, or a water source) as waypoints. This feature allows you to navigate back to these locations easily or share them with other users.

Bread Crumb Trail in Real Time: As you move, the Instinct leaves a “bread crumb trail” on the watch’s map page, allowing you to see your traveled path and navigate back if needed.

GPS Coordinates: The watch can provide your precise GPS coordinates, which is useful if you need to share your location in case of an emergency.

These robust navigation features make the Garmin Instinct a reliable outdoor companion, ensuring you stay on course during your adventures and helping you find your way back when the day is done.

Battery Life

One of the most crucial aspects of any outdoor smartwatch is its battery life, and the Garmin Instinct doesn’t disappoint. The watch offers impressive battery performance to keep up with your adventures without needing frequent charging.

In Smartwatch Mode, the Instinct can last up to 14 days. This mode involves everyday use, including timekeeping, daily activity tracking, smartphone notifications, and regular use of features such as heart rate monitoring.

In GPS Mode, where the watch uses its GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo receivers to track your activities in detail, the battery life is up to 16 hours. This length is more than sufficient for most day-long adventures or even ultra-marathons.

Finally, there’s the UltraTrac Battery Saver Mode. In this mode, the watch records track points and sensor data less frequently, thus extending the battery life up to 40 hours. This feature can be particularly useful during multi-day hiking or camping trips where charging facilities might be scarce.

It’s important to note that battery life can vary based on several factors, including the temperature and how the watch is used. For example, using the backlight frequently or using resource-intensive features like high-resolution mapping can decrease battery life.

Overall, the Garmin Instinct’s impressive battery life makes it a reliable companion for extended outdoor adventures, whether you’re embarking on a day-long hike or a week-long backpacking trip.

The Garmin Instinct not only excels as a robust outdoor adventure watch but also comes equipped with a suite of smart features that enhance its utility and make it a comprehensive fitness and lifestyle device.

Smart Features

Smart Notifications: Stay connected even when you’re out exploring. When paired with a compatible smartphone, the Instinct can receive text messages, emails, and alerts right on its display. This feature can be incredibly handy when you’re on the move and want to keep a tab on essential communications without having to reach for your phone.

Garmin Connect Compatibility: The Instinct can be synced with the Garmin Connect online community. Here, you can track, analyze, and share your activities. You can also connect with other Garmin users, participate in challenges, and even share your triumphs via social media.

Automatic Data Uploads: This smart feature allows you to automatically upload your activity data and tracked workouts to your Garmin Connect account. This means your adventure and training data is always up-to-date and easily accessible for analysis and sharing.

Weather Forecast: The Garmin Instinct can provide real-time weather information, including temperature, weather conditions, and forecasts. This feature is especially useful for planning your outdoor adventures and staying ahead of changing weather conditions.

Find My Phone: Misplaced your phone? The Garmin Instinct has a handy feature that can make your phone ring, making it easier to locate when in range.

Music Control: When paired with a smartphone, the Instinct can control the music player app on your phone, allowing you to play, pause, and skip tracks right from your wrist.

Calendar Integration: Stay on top of your schedule with the calendar integration feature. You can view upcoming meetings, appointments, and events right on your watch.

With these smart features, the Garmin Instinct becomes more than just an adventure watch. It’s a comprehensive companion for both your active and everyday life, keeping you connected, informed, and in control wherever your day may take you.


In conclusion, the Garmin Instinct is a rugged, reliable, and feature-packed outdoor watch. It’s an excellent choice for outdoor enthusiasts seeking an adventure-ready companion that’s designed to endure. Whether you’re hiking, camping, or simply enjoying the great outdoors, the Garmin Instinct is well worth considering.

Please note: This review is based on personal use and experiences, and readers should conduct their own research when considering this product.