Best cameras for hiking are about more than just the ones that produce the sharpest images. Moreover, this is a camera you will be carrying while trekking over hills and rivers. These activities could potentially last for hours and the cameras you utilized need to have a few fair qualities.
Most of the time, smartphones are considered the best cameras for backpacking. They are the best solution because they have everything you will need:
- They are the lightest and you are going to carry them wherever you go anyway
- They are the cheapest since you probably already own the one with good features
- They are the quickest because there is no learning curve or instructions required
- They have great multi-directional cameras, which are adequate for most needs
Nonetheless, they do not have each and every aspect that you require during strenuous physical activities.
Why GoPros Are Good For Hiking?
There are tons of different types of cameras worth your time and effort to take along while hiking. Each type of camera has its own positives and negatives:
- DSLRs – weather-sealed, variety of choices for lenses, but bulkier and heavier
- Mirrorless cameras – light and fast, but no optical viewfinder
- Compact cameras & bridge cameras – useful, have everything you need in a single package but have smaller sensors that struggle in low light
- Action cameras – fully waterproof, light, but a small sensor issue
GoPro cameras are perfect for hikers because they are lightweight, waterproof, shockproof, and shoot in 4K video. If you are out hiking, then chances are you are going to come across some pretty impressive views. Hence, it makes sense to take the lightweight, 4K camera that is not going to weigh you down at all. So, ‘Go Like A Pro’ with your GoPro camera.
Why People Choose Smartphones Over GoPros?
- Sharing – the ability to share your photos quickly and easily
- Smartphones are natively connected as it is their entire reason for existence
- Battery Life – Even the most basic phone has a much better battery life than a GoPro
- Editing – a huge range of video and photo editing apps available
Why People Choose GoPros Over Smartphones?
- The obvious reason – waterproof and all-around ruggedness
- Even without separate protective housings, they can be handled rough
- A GoPro in its housing is much better at dealing with being dropped and knocked
- An impressive array of mounting options, still growing exponentially
- Attach to bikes, car hoods, drones, chests, helmets, sleds, surfboards, kayaks, and more
- Mounts made of magnets, clamps, suctions, and more
- Privacy – losing a GoPro can be annoying, but losing a phone can be a major problem
What To Look For In A GoPro Before Buying It For Hiking?
Hiking is not as fast-paced as other outdoor activities. Hence, most of the GoPro models are more than adequate for your hiking needs. Chances are you will shoot most of your videos at 30fps, so the older models may be enough for you. Moreover, they can even shoot in 4K at that frame rate.
Before going into the camera recommendations for hiking and backpacking, you need to know what to look for in a camera. This can help you decide which camera is best for you, and will give you the knowledge you need to make a decision. When you know which features to look for then you will know which of those are important for you. Henceforth, you can make the right decision about which camera is best for you.
- Select a properly priced camera while considering your budget
- Covered by general travel insurance policies or in most cases get special policies
- Overall load – camera body weight + interchangeable lenses weight + spare batteries + battery charger
- Duration of your journey – since you can carry light or heavy according to it
- Weatherproofing & waterproofing features for all kinds of weather conditions and water depths
- Zoom & technical specifications – The larger the number, the more the camera will be able to zoom in on faraway objects
- Aperture (the hole inside the camera lens which light passes through to hit the sensor)
- Versatility for backpacking and hiking – a wide range of potential scenes to shoot
- Sensor (the component that the light hits) size – a larger camera can fit a larger sensor inside and produce better images
- Battery life – how many photos the camera will take with a fully charged battery
- Manual Controls for creativity – things like aperture, shutter speed, ISO, focal point, etc.
- Additional features – may or may not be important to you when choosing a camera
Which GoPros Are Best For Hiking?
1) GoPro HERO10 Black
GoPro HERO10 Black is low light, waterproof camera with great video capture resolution and Wi-Fi connectivity technology. It provides game-changing, snappy performance, and responsive touch controls. Currently, the best, newest and fastest camera by GoPro, which doubles the frame rate for amazingly smooth footage.
- All-new, revolutionary GP2 Processor
- Unreal, ultra-sharp resolution with improved light features
- Capture stunning photos with glorious 23 Megapixels
- A rugged camera now tougher than ever, Waterproofed to dive deeper up to 33 feet
- Hindsight captures 30 seconds before you hit record so you would not miss a moment
- Record 45 frames in just 1.5 seconds with LiveBurst before and after your shot
- Set the time to record with Scheduled Capture for perfect timings
- 1080p Live Stream + full HD Webcam with HyperSmooth 4.0 stabilization
- Super 8x slow motion (Slo-Mo) at a new-and-improved 2.7K resolution
- Powerful new processor, Handy 4K/120p mode, Class-leading stabilization
- A faster user interface, Increased frame rates, Hydrophobic lens coating
- The most polished, powerful action cam around – fixes the Hero 9 Black’s flaws
- More versatile and fun-to-use than all the older models
- a waterproof companion ideal for capturing outdoor adventures or vlogging videos in 4K
- Responsive touch display, Fast wired media transfer speeds, Front and rear displays
- Little better upgrade than the predecessor, but still the same sensor as Hero 9 Black
- Pricier than rivals, Bigger than the Hero8 Black and Hero7 Black
- Not compatible with older batteries, low light performance could be better
- Inconsistent battery life, Pricier than Hero 9 Black on launch
Where to buy the GoPro HERO10 Black
You can buy the GoPro HERO10 Black here on Amazon.
2) GoPro MAX
GoPro MAX is a great camera to maximize your creative freedom with high video capture resolution. It has USB connectivity technology, image stabilization, and 30 fps image capture speed. GoPro MAX has shotgun-mic performance and a front-facing screen for maximum vlogging. Game-changing horizon leveling, which gives you a silky-smooth cinematic look however you shoot the images or videos.
- Shoot single-lens HERO-style video with unbreakable stabilization
- Capture immersive 360 footage in 6K4 making it three cameras in one product
- Digital Lenses – Choose from Narrow, Wide, distortion-free Linear, and Max SuperView
- Capture 270° panoramic shots without distortion with just one click
- Snap jaw-dropping 360 photos or amazing GoPro Point-Of-View shots
- 12 voice commands to go hands-free
- Max HyperSmooth stabilization delivers the smoothest video ever
- Use the Quik app to easily transform mind-bending footage into traditional videos and photos
- Super-stabilized 360 footage, Excellent video quality with customizing option
- Motion-smoothing, Intuitive menus, Creates great-looking, dynamic clips
- Multi-function capabilities, Solid app experience, and upgrades
- Automatic 360-degree stitching, Fits on existing mounts
- No traditional 4K video capture, Needs tripod, Expensive
- No PC editing app as of 2019, App experience could be improved
- Unable to toggle between lenses in Hero mode, Bulkier than other 360 cameras
- Limited shooting modes, Low-res 2D footage, Poor in low light/underwater
Where to buy the GoPro MAX
You can buy the GoPro MAX here on Amazon.
3) GoPro HERO9 Black
GoPro HERO9 Black has a fisheye lens just like other GoPro cameras. This model was released before HERO10, but even now it could still be a good option to take along while hiking.
- Shoot stunning videos in 5K, 4K, 2.7K, 1440p and 1080p
- Captures crisp, pro-quality 14.7MP frame grabs and 20MP photos
- SuperPhoto option, tough and waterproof down to 33ft
- Scheduled Capture to begin your recording when you want
- Duration Capture to select the length of time you want the camera to record
- 1080p Live Streaming + full HD Webcam
- Astonishing 8x Slo-Mo – captures up to 240 frames per second
- Records mesmerizing time-lapse videos with TimeWarp 3.0
- Superb image stabilization system, Excellent 5K video, Built-in accessory mounts
- Front-facing screen – handy for vlogging, Removable lens
- Media “Mods” add functionality, a Larger rear display, Stable connection to a phone
- Easy-to-use app, Smooth video, Intuitive interface
- Improved battery life, New software tricks
- Bigger than the previous models, Not compatible with older batteries
- Larger physical size making it heavy, Max Lens Mod costs extra
- Hit-and-miss horizon leveling, Unresponsive touchscreen
- Little improvement to 4K shooting, no 4K/120p mode, HEVC files need recent editing hardware
Where to buy the GoPro HERO9 Black
You can buy the GoPro HERO9 Black here on Amazon.
In short, it is better to know what you want first before actually buying a camera. Choose the one according to your present and future needs so that you would not get stuck with a less featured camera for hiking and backpacking specifically. Finally, be sure if you really want a camera with the given specifications, and if it has the ones that you prioritize when making your final decision.
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Hey, I am the founder of Outside Origin! I love hiking in my spare time and have gone to various different hikes. You can check out our about us section to learn more about what our team and I do over at Outside Origin.