There has never been a better time to start hiking. If you’ve already decided to pick up a pair of hiking boots, strap on a backpack and go marching up the side of a mountain, good for you. Not only will you get exercise, but you will be gifted the most spectacular views of Mother Nature in all her glory. What better way to memorialize the moment than with a stunning photograph to post online or share with your family? If the idea intrigues you, it may be time to get your hands on the best camera for hiking available today.
Luckily, we have put together a list of the five best trekking cameras you can buy without leaving your house. All five amazing, durable, and topnotch trekking cameras are available online at the best prices. Take a quick browse through our list of reputable cameras, see if there’s anything that piques your interest, then go out and capture every precious moment of your hiking journey. What are you waiting for?
The 5 Best Trekking Cameras Available Today
The Tough TG-6 comes in first on our list of best cameras for hiking. This prestigious spot is for two reasons. First, Olympus has designed this camera to be incredibly rugged. This thing is going on every hiking adventure with you and is unlikely to ever break. You can use it underwater, in the rain, in a sandstorm, and even in the freezing cold. It is simply built to last.
Reason #2 is that the price reflects what you get. This unit is still going to cost a few hundred dollars, but it’s a far stretch from some of the more expensive cameras on our list. Considering all of its bonuses for hiking expeditions, being compact and delivering sharp 4K video, we think this is the best quality-to-price ratio for a hiking camera.
- Waterproof up to 50 feet w/ five modes for underwater photographs
- Dustproof, shockproof, crushproof, freezeproof, & anti-fog
- 4K capable + full HD recording
- Extremely long battery life
- Built to be tough and durable
- Comes in two colors
- Only 12 megapixels
- More money than some similar products
The EOS Rebel SL2 is a compact and easy-to-use DSLR camera that will fit snugly into any camera bag, allowing you to bring it with you on all of your most perilous hiking adventures. It only weighs 1 pound, making it light enough to operate with one hand. This is impressive considering it has so much smart technology built-in, like the NFC and Bluetooth which will allow you to instantly upload your photos to another device.
The price tag may be higher than other cameras on our list, like the Olympus, but you are getting a huge boost in megapixels and performance with the Rebel SL2. Plus, it stays under $1000. It’s fun to use, lightweight, and more durable than some other Canon cameras. You can easily capture the most striking images while hiking in most standard conditions.
- 2 megapixels for superior photographs
- Smart 3” touch screen
- Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC and Bluetooth
- Sharp audio on HD video recordings
- Smooth focusing & precise viewfinder
- Small and easy to carry for a DSLR camera
- Does not record in 4K
- Quite expensive, even for Canon
- Not usable underwater
The a7R IV mirrorless camera from Sony is arguably one of the world’s best civilian cameras available today. This impressive piece of technology offers a previously unimaginable 61 megapixels. To put that in perspective, your smartphone probably only offers 8 megapixels. That means the Sony takes photographs that are almost 10x better than what you get on your phone.
For the best scenic photos on any hiking trip, you cannot get a better camera then the a7R IV. That’s not up for debate. Whether shooting serene pastures, snowy mountain peaks, or vast sunny valleys, your pictures are going to be the envy of all your friends. That being said, if you drop this camera and break it, you are going to be out almost $4000. We highly recommend spending the extra bit of money to get the very handy vertical grip from Sony.
- 61 megapixels, the best resolution of any camera
- 10 FPS continuous shooting
- 567 AF points + 425 contrast AF points
- One of the most impressive 4K video modes
- Professional camera for very serious photographers
- Real time tracking + real time AF
- Painfully expensive, over 4x the cost of the Rebel SL2
- If you break it while hiking, you will be very sore
- Accessories are expensive
The GoPro Hero8 is packed with more features than ever before, including four different lenses that you can tap to switch between narrow, distortion-free linear, SuperView, and wide. This is an ideal camera for hiking. But not only for hiking, also for mountain biking, surfing, extreme marathoning, and so much more. You get all the bonuses of a durable and versatile camera in the most compact and lightweight package possible. The Hero8 weighs only 0.8 ounces.
This rugged outdoor camera can shoot in 4K video, it comes with three specific levels of stabilization to give you super-smooth video, and even has expandable mods. One of the things that have always been popular with the GoPro is that it can mount easily to anything. This means that while hiking, you can attach the Hero8 directly to your backpack or other equipment for long video recordings of your hike. This is made easier because the Hero8 takes a single battery to operate. With a pocket full of batteries, you can literally record for days.
The only thing to keep in mind with this camera is that it is not technically a professional camera, like the Sony or the Canon. However, if you need a lot of long-action videos, and you need to take them hands-free, this is the device for you and your hike.
- Affordable for all budgets
- Easy to use TimeWarp effect
- Shoots solid 4K video
- Proven quality with the GoPro name
- HyperSmooth video stabilization
- Small, compact, simple, easily replaceable
- No live burst or stereo audio
- Only 12-megapixel sensor
- Not considered a professional photography camera
This is the second most expensive camera on our list. Not coincidentally, it is also a Sony. However, unlike the a7R IV, this unit only has a 20.1-megapixel sensor. And while it only has a third of the megapixels, it is also only a quarter of the price. To us, that feels like a fair trade-off.
You still get all the benefits of having a technologically advanced Sony point-and-shoot camera. There are 357 phase-detection AF points, 20 FPS shooting, real-time tracking, and high-quality 4K video. Plus, the microphone captures exceptional sounds. This is ideal when hiking to showcase the full experience of your journey: sound, picture, emotion.
The big bonus with the RX-100 VII is that it’s tiny. This camera is super small, easy to fit into any pouch, and can be manipulated with just one hand to capture those striking images off the side of a cliff. It has high magnification with superb resolution even at high zooms. It takes phenomenal photos in low light conditions. If you have the money to spend, this is definitely the best high-end camera that doesn’t cost a ridiculous amount of money.
- Exceptional 4K video shooting
- Small yet comfortable unit, pocket-sized
- Very sharp images at higher magnifications
- Crisp and clear sounds with the microphone
- High end and professional
- Everything is designed for speed and ease of use
- Double the price of the next best camera
A few things to consider before purchasing your shiny new trekking camera. First, understand your terrain. This is critical in choosing the proper camera for hiking. Depending on what you’re doing, certain cameras will work better than others. For example, some cameras are not going to function well at high or low temperatures, which is important if you’re hiking in the winter or through the desert.
You also want to consider how much weight you are already carrying. If your backpack is full of hiking gear, spare shoes, a tent, and all that other stuff, do you really want to carry 40 pounds worth of camera gear? Probably not. For this reason, it is wise to pack a mirrorless camera on longer expeditions. For adventure hiking, where you may be kayaking or doing other high-intensity activities, we definitely recommend the GoPro Hero8.
That being said, the overall best camera for hiking is definitely the Olympus Tough TG 6. This is because it offers the greatest durability in outdoor environments where you may drop your camera, step on your camera, or even have your camera snatched by a monkey on the side of the hiking trail. When it comes to the best trekking camera, the TG-6 offers versatility, durability, and spectacular photographs.
Don’t forget that while a high-quality camera is important for hiking, so too is a high-quality camera bag suited to the rigors of outdoor adventure. Be sure to keep your eyes open for rugged camera bags designed specifically for your needs. This will save you money in the long run since you won’t be damaging your lenses and other camera equipment.