Best GoPro for Hiking

GoPros are excellent hiking cameras because they are lightweight, compact, and waterproof. However, choosing the best GoPro for hiking can be difficult since there are so many GoPro camera models, each with unique video settings and camera features.

Hi, my name is Larry. I fell in love with GoPro cameras in 2014 and have used them frequently ever since. This past weekend, I went to Zion National Park and recorded beautiful hiking footage with my GoPro HERO10 Black.

I’ve gone hiking with different GoPro cameras dozens of times, and today I’ll share my favorite GoPros for hiking. I’ll also answer a few common questions you may have and explain what makes the best GoPro for hiking. 

Let’s get trekking!

Key Takeaways

  • GoPros are excellent hiking cameras because they are lightweight, durable, and easy to use.
  • Video and photo quality are two of the most important factors when choosing the best GoPro for hiking.
  • If you only go hiking once or twice a year, investing in a GoPro camera may not be suitable.
  • I recommend purchasing GoPro mounts as well as additional SD cards and batteries to make the most out of your hike.
  • The GoPro HERO10 Black is the best overall GoPro camera for hiking.

GoPros are excellent hiking cameras because they offer high-resolution video settings inside a lightweight and compact device. You have multiple video resolutions to choose from, ranging from 720p all the way up to 5.3K resolution on the GoPro 10 Black. If you frequently go hiking and want to capture beautiful moments to rewatch, you can’t go wrong with a GoPro camera.

There are many ways you can use a GoPro for hiking. While you can capture footage manually holding the camera, I recommend picking up a few different mounts to make your filming experience more manageable and smoother. For example, you can mount your GoPro to your backpack strap for hands-free shooting. I also recommend getting a handheld selfie stick mount. 

Most importantly, I recommend packing a few extra batteries or bringing a portable charger and compatible charging cable if you plan on spending the entire day outdoors. Since you may prefer to shoot at a higher video resolution, such as 4K, this drains your battery faster, and you’ll want to have a way to replace or charge your GoPro’s battery.

You can attach your GoPro to a trekking pole with a GoPro pole mount. You can find a variety of different trekking pole mounts available. These mounts work by clamping around the pole. Then you can tighten the mount to offer the most secure fit possible, so your GoPro cannot fall off even if you walk at a brisk pace. 

You can attach a GoPro to your backpack with a GoPro backpack shoulder strap mount. This GoPro mount is extremely easy to use and offers a comfortable way to record footage without needing to use your hands. They are made with elastic nylon and polycarbonate to prevent discomfort as you trek along the hiking trails.

It depends on what video settings you use and which GoPro camera you have. Typically, you can expect to record one hour on high video settings such as 4K or 5K and several hours at lower resolutions such as 1080p. Nonetheless, I highly recommend bringing one or two spare batteries to make sure your camera has enough juice for your entire hike. 

What Makes the Best GoPro for Hiking

GoPros are nifty little cameras that pack a whole lot of power and recording capabilities into a tiny device. However, I understand how difficult it can be to choose the best GoPro for hiking since there are so many different models.

Therefore, this section explains what factors you should consider when choosing the right GoPro camera for your hiking needs. While footage quality is the most important feature, other important considerations include weight and electronic image stabilization.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these key factors. 

  • Max Video Resolution: GoPro cameras feature different video recording resolutions. Therefore, you need to pick a GoPro camera that offers your preferred video settings. The newest GoPro, the GoPro HERO10 Black, can record up to 5.3K resolution footage at 60fps.
  • Max Photo Resolution: You can use GoPro cameras for videography and photography. This is because GoPros can take high-quality images using advanced camera sensors. For example, the GoPro HERO10 Black features a 23MP camera, nearly double the number of megapixels in the iPhone 13 Max’s 12MP camera sensor.
  • Electronic Image Stabilization: The latest GoPro cameras offer a built-in electronic image stabilization technology called HyperSmooth. This technology automatically smoothens shaky footage to provide excellent video quality for hiking trips. 
  • LCD Touchscreen: The newest GoPro cameras also feature a relatively large LCD touchscreen you can use to view footage, change your settings, and delete clips to clear memory for new hiking videos. 
  • Weight: GoPros are lightweight and easy to carry or mount to an attachment. However, you may prefer a lighter GoPro camera since you’ll need to carry it for your entire hike.

Top 5 Best GoPros for Hiking

Now that you know what makes the best GoPro for hiking let’s dive into the top options. Keep in mind that I created this list based on my personal experience as well as speaking with other notable GoPro experts. So, you can rely on this list to provide real-world examples and use cases since I’ve gone hiking with different GoPro cameras dozens of times.

1. GoPro HERO10 Black (Best Overall)

  • Max Video Resolution: 5.3K at 60fps
  • Max Photo Resolution: 23MP (Megapixels)
  • Electronic Image Stabilization: HyperSmooth 4.0
  • Weight: 5.6 ounces or 158 grams

The GoPro HERO10 Black sits alone at the top of the action camera market. Therefore, it’s the best GoPro and action camera for all hikers. The GoPro HERO10 Black features GoPro’s latest camera technology so that you can expect top-of-the-line camera performance and video quality.

There are two primary features of the GoPro HERO10 that no other GoPro has. This is its HyperSmooth 4.0 electronic image stabilization (EIS) and GP2 processor. HyperSmooth 4.0 is GoPro’s latest EIS, and it provides buttery smooth footage if you shake or budge your camera around while filming.

For example, if you are hiking a steep trail and end up shaking the GoPro a lot as you film, HyperSmooth 4.0 will automatically smoothen out your footage to create a watchable video. You can find many examples of how HyperSmooth reduces shaky footage on YouTube.

The second unique feature of the GoPro HERO10 Black is its GP2 processor. This is GoPro’s new camera processor that offers faster camera speeds, better performance, and increased video quality. A camera’s processor is essentially the engine of the camera, so the GP2 processor brings a lot more power to this miniature action camera.

When considering the downsides of the GoPro HERO10 Black, the only reason you shouldn’t get this camera for hiking is its price point. Since it’s the newest GoPro camera, it’s relatively more expensive than other options on this list. So if budget isn’t a concern for you, I highly recommend stopping here and going for the GoPro HERO10 Black. 

My Verdict: The GoPro HERO10 Black is the best overall GoPro for hiking because it features GoPro’s latest camera technology. This action camera offers incredibly detailed video quality and electronic image stabilization, letting you film beautiful hiking videos. 

2. GoPro HERO9 Black (Best Older Gen)

  • Max Video Resolution: 5K at 30fps
  • Max Photo Resolution: 20MP
  • Electronic Image Stabilization: HyperSmooth 3.0
  • Weight: 5.2 ounces or 147 grams

The GoPro HERO9 Black is the second best GoPro for hiking because it features the second best video recording capabilities. Compared to the GoPro HERO10 Black’s ability to record 5.3K video at 60fps, the HERO9 Black records up to 5K at 30fps. Furthermore, it features a 20MP camera which provides high-quality images of your scenic hiking adventures.

Another core feature of this camera is its HyperSmooth 3.0 electronic image stabilization. It’s the only GoPro with HyperSmooth 3.0, and this technology provides exceedingly smooth footage during shaky environments. Although it’s one generation older than HyperSmooth 4.0, it’s still better than most built-in image stabilizers on action cameras.

Similar to the GoPro HERO10 Black, the HERO9 Black also has a larger LCD touchscreen, better video quality, and a longer-lasting battery than previous GoPro models. It’s also waterproof without the need for protective housing and can be submerged as deep as 10 meters or 33 feet.

The only drawback of choosing the GoPro HERO9 Black is that it’s not the GoPro HERO10 Black. However, if the GoPro HERO9 Black is more budget-friendly for your hiking needs, you shouldn’t hesitate to go with this camera. It offers incredible performance in one small action camera. 

My Verdict: The GoPro HERO9 Black is suitable for hikers who don’t want to shell out top dollar for the GoPro HERO10 Black but still want an excellent action camera. This is because the HERO9 Black features 5K recording capabilities, a 20MP camera sensor, and HyperSmooth 3.0 image stabilization technology. 

3. GoPro HERO8 Black (Best Budget 4K)

  • Max Video Resolution: 4K at 60fps
  • Max Photo Resolution: 12MP
  • Electronic Image Stabilization: HyperSmooth 2.0
  • Weight: 4.4 ounces or 126 grams

The GoPro HERO8 Black is one of the most budget-friendly 4K action cameras available. The ability to record 4K video at 60fps and take 12MP pictures makes for an excellent hiking camera for all enthusiasts and adventurers.

Even though the max video resolution on the GoPro HERO8 Black is 4K at 60fps, you can choose to record at 4K linear or 4K wide at 60fps, 2.7K at 120fps, 1080p at 240fps, and much more. This means you can easily find and set your preferred resolution to capture highly detailed footage during your hiking trips.

This camera also features HyperSmooth 2.0 electronic image stabilization. Although it’s two generations older than the HERO10’s HyperSmooth 4.0, it provides more than enough stability to capture outstanding hiking footage. This is because hiking footage usually isn’t very shaky compared to other action sports like mountain biking or snowboarding.

However, it’s important to remember that this camera came out in 2019 and doesn’t feature the top-notch camera settings seen on the GoPro HERO10 Black. Nonetheless, the GoPro HERO8 Black’s camera settings should be more than sufficient for most hikers. 

My Verdict: The GoPro HERO8 Black is an outstanding value-to-dollar camera because it’s relatively less expensive than the HERO9 but can still record 4K video resolution at 60fps. This camera is more than enough for most hikers who want to capture and share their memories during hiking adventures. 

4. GoPro HERO7 Black (Best Budget)

  • Max Video Resolution: 4K at 60fps
  • Max Photo Resolution: 12MP
  • Electronic Image Stabilization: HyperSmooth 1.0
  • Weight: 4.1 ounces 116 grams

The GoPro HERO7 Black is the oldest GoPro I recommend for hikers. Released in 2018, the HERO7 Black features GoPro’s first generation of HyperSmooth. Furthermore, it can record 4K resolution at 60fps and take pictures using its 12MP camera sensor. 

Although there are different versions of the GoPro HERO7 in the HERO7 White and HERO7 Silver, the HERO7 Black is the only one offering live streaming, HyperSmooth 1.0, 8x slo-mo, HDR recording, and 1080p at 240fps recording capabilities.

For this reason, the GoPro HERO7 Black offers more than enough camera power for hiking and scenic videography. In addition, the GoPro HERO7 Black is also waterproof up to 10 meters or 33 feet without needing protective housing.

Compared to even older GoPro models, the HERO7 Black offers better audio performance and microphone quality. This is useful for hikers who want to create a vlog-style video where they speak to the camera or have a conversation with others they want to record.

However, it’s crucial to remember this camera is over 4 years old. Therefore, it’s clear there are better options in terms of video quality and camera performance. Nonetheless, if you want a budget-friendly action camera to record memories for you and your family, the GoPro HERO7 Black is an amazing choice. 

My Verdict: The GoPro HERO7 is the best budget action camera for hikers because it has the lowest price point out of all the options on the list. If you’re looking for an affordable action camera with great record capabilities, you can’t go wrong with the GoPro HERO7 Black.

5. GoPro MAX (Best 360° Action Camera)

  • Max Video Resolution: 5.6K at 30fps
  • Max Photo Resolution: 16.6MP
  • Electronic Image Stabilization: MAX HyperSmooth
  • Weight: 5.75 ounces or 163 grams

The GoPro MAX offers the most creative freedom out of all the cameras on this list and will help level up your filmmaking skills. This is because the GoPro MAX is a durable 360-degree camera that shoots up to 5.6K at 30fps. Best of all, it even features MAX HyperSmooth, which delivers incredibly smooth footage. 

Another unique feature of the GoPro MAX is the six built-in microphones. These microphones produce a dynamic three-dimensional soundscape to easily capture voices, animals, or the sounds of nature.

As a 360 camera, the GoPro MAX uses two 180-degree fisheye lenses to capture everything around the camera. The camera then stitches the two hemispherical videos together to produce the 360-degree video. Once you finish filming your 360 videos, you can transfer to footage to your phone through GoPro Quik to edit and share your videos.

Here’s my favorite video showcasing the GoPro MAX in action at Zion National Park:

The two main drawbacks of the GoPro MAX are its relatively high price point and the fact that it should only be used by hikers who want to capture 360-degree videos. 

If you don’t have any interest in recording 360 videos, I recommend choosing another camera from this list. Furthermore, since the camera uses innovative camera technology to create 360 videos, it’s slightly more expensive than the GoPro HERO10 Black. 

My Verdict: The GoPro MAX is the best 360-degree action camera available. It allows you to record unique shots and capture the entire scenery around your hiking trip. Best of all, you can still film standard 2D footage with the GoPro MAX if you want to vary your recording footage. 

Final Thoughts

In today’s in-depth guide, I shared my thoughts on the best GoPro for hiking as an experienced hiker and GoPro enthusiast. Not only will a GoPro help you capture beautiful memories of your hiking journeys, but you can also record and edit videos to share with your friend and family.

Hopefully, by now, you’ve chosen which GoPro to use on future hiking trips. As I mentioned earlier, I highly recommend the GoPro HERO10 Black if you want the best action camera on the market. However, if you want a more affordable option, my favorite picks are the HERO9 Black, HERO8 Black, or HERO7 Black.

So, which GoPro camera have you decided to go for? Do you have any further questions about GoPro cameras or hiking? I’m happy to answer anything you may be curious about regarding action sports and cameras.

Let me know your thoughts or questions by leaving a short comment down below!

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