Hitting the trails with the Garmin Marq Adventurer (Gen 2)
I'm putting Garmin's premium adventure watch through its paces, and so far I'm impressed
The Garmin Marq Adventurer (Gen 2) is a premium sports watch built with hikers and explorers in mind – but what is it actually like to use?
In short, it's lovely. The second-generation Marq lineup landed in October last year, and each watch in the range (the Adventurer, Aviator, Captain, Athlete, and Golfer) is made using premium materials and components. Think titanium, leather, and sapphire crystal – all packaged up in a hefty metal flight case to keep it protected on its maiden voyage to your front door.
Once you've freed it from its home, you'll find that the Adventurer shares a decent amount of DNA with the Garmin Epix (Gen 2), including a color AMOLED touchscreen that's excellent for maps, though Adventurer's case and screen are slightly smaller. The difference is only 1mm in diameter, but it's enough to make the Adventurer feel slightly more compact, and although it's slightly thicker, I've found it less prone to catching on cuffs.
It comes with a choice of two bands: one made from black rubber, and one made from supple brown leather with a rubber lining that sits against your wrist. This is a particularly smart choice that gives you the best of both worlds: a stylish look for everyday wear that can be wiped clean on the inside. For anything seriously wet or sweaty you should always switch to the rubber version (spinning and leather don't mix), but this only takes a couple of seconds thanks to Garmin's QuickFit system.
The case and bezel are both made from grade 5 titanium, and it has the same five-button layout as most Garmin watches, with a small rubber bumper around the start/pause button on the top right. The buttons have a knurled finish, and are large enough to use easily while wearing gloves.
Battery life so far seems impressive so far; AMOLED displays are more power-hungry than the memory-in-pixel (MiP) screens of devices in the Fenix 7 and Forerunner series, but the Adventurer can go well over a week with a GPS-tracked activity every other day, plus occasional Move IQ detected activity (such as jogging to the gym for a spin session).
Interestingly, it uses a different USB charging cable to most other Garmin watches released in recent years, with a square connector rather than the usual little plug. I'm not sure if Garmin is planning to shift over to this type of charger in the long term though, particularly since the company about to launch its first watch with wireless charging (the Vivomove Trend).
The Adventurer has multi-band GPS, so should provide accurate location tracking even in areas that are usually challenging, such as near cliffs, tall buildings, or heavy tree cover. I've yet to test it on a pre-measured course, but on a club run it gave a distance longer than that tracked by the Coros Apex 2, and slightly shorter than that from my friend's Forerunner 55. It established a GPS lock almost instantly in the center of Bath, which is impressive.
So far, I'm impressed; the Adventurer is a thoughtfully designed watch that cuts no corners, and is a perfect hiking companion. Apple is currently developing its own microLED technology for screens, which should be even sharper, but until then AMOLED is the gold standard for mapping on smartwatches, and the Adventurer's large display means you can see the next turn well in advance. There's also 32MB internal storage, giving you plenty pf space for maps and downloaded courses created using Garmin Connect IQ, Komoot, or other route-planning tools.
It certainly won't be to everyone's taste though, and the price tag will be the limiting factor for many hikers, campers, and trail runners, particularly right now in early 2023. I'm going to continue putting the Marq Adventurer (Gen 2) through its paces, and will bring you a full review very soon. For the time being, take a look at Advnture's roundup of the best Garmin watches for our current recommendations, including plenty of more affordable options.
- Today's best Garmin deals: the best offers available right now
All the latest inspiration, tips and guides to help you plan your next Advnture!
Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better).