Best Hiking Watches

Are you planning your next hiking trip, but like always, you find yourself directionally challenged?

Even with a map, you get confused about your actual location. Well, things can be very different with some of the best watches to wear on your wrist.

With more information than you can use, such as altitude, location, sun up, sundown and many other things besides.

Guide in buying Hiking Watch

Our reviews gather the best hiking watches to see, which delivers the best value for money for the keen hiker of backpacker.

What is a Hiking Watch?

There is much more to a hiking watch than telling the time. Adventure watches are also very different to many others in the way they function, as well as their overall functions.

These can make the difference between staying safe on the trail and not getting lost. With the sunset times, altitude, and compasses just a small part of the features, the top watches pack more in than you can realize.

They are more sophisticated than just being watches with a compass. Even the GPS is a level above what you see in other watches.

A GPS hiking watch can come with messaging, preloaded maps, wireless connectivity, and fitness trackers like those that heartrate monitors.

Displays and accuracy depend on the model you choose, and it can be hard to sift your way through all the features.

Finding a watch, which is shock-resistant, can handle the hot and cold as well as the odd spell in water are just the basics that go into the best adventure watch.

Read on for detailed comparisons of five of the best outdoor watches you can find.

Top Hiking Watch Reviews

Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire - Slate Gray with Black Band

1. Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire – Slate Gray with Black Band

This Garmin wristwatch packs so much into its size, it is remarkable. The watch is even stylish enough to be worn on any occasion.

The Garmin wrist GPS makes use of the company’s famous three-axis compass, so finding yourself lost is never an option.

Being close to the best survival watch, the only thing it may be lacking is sun power like the best solar watches.

The Fenix 5x watch is built to be rugged, so there is little worry it won’t last for a few years. Being made from stainless steel and sapphire glass, it is as hard as they come.

The watch has plenty of other sporting features where you can check progress. You can import routes and places of interest.

No matter what you end up doing, you can save your activities and access them later through Garmin connect. You can find this is the best GPS watch for hiking.

Pros

  • Reliable three-axis compass
  • Notifications can be sent to PC, phone, or TV
  • Hybrid tracking options – train during hikes
  • Wrist-based heart rate monitor

Cons

  • Battery isn’t pre-charged – can lead to shorter battery life
  • Data tracking shows some inactivity patches
  • Expensive

Technical Specifications

  • Watch face size: 51mm
  • Display size/ resolution: 240×240, 1,2 inches
  • Water rating: 10 ATM, 100 meters
  • Weight: 12.6 oz.
  • Batteries: 1 x lithium polymer
  • Satellite: GPS and Glonass reception
  • Material: Stainless steel

With a guide price of just under $480, it is a steep investment for a Garmin hiking watch.

However, you can justify this by the health features, which are built-in, and the styling on offer.

When you are looking for the best outdoor watch, no matter if you are hiking or you partake in other outdoor activities?

This may just be the best watch under $500, which can serve so many purposes for the wearer. Watches with GPS are not cheap, yet this takes all the features up a level or two.

Casio Men’s SGW300HB-3AVCF Multi-Function Sport Watch with Green Nylon Band

2. Casio Men’s SGW300HB-3AVCF Multi-Function Sport Watch with Green Nylon Band

The Casio outdoor watch has enough features to keep the most avid outdoor person content. From hiking, biking to climbing, there are features you can find useful.

The best Casio watch for the outdoors is waterproof up to 330ft, so there is no need to take it off when snorkeling.

If you want a good introduction of how a Casio watch with compass would work, then the LED thermometer, barometer, and altimeter deliver that. In the best hiking, watch under $100.

Pros

  • Water-resistant up to 300ft
  • Comfortable nylon wristband
  • Cost-effective and full of features
  • Thermometer, altimeter, and barometer are all accurate

Cons

  • Poor battery life
  • Exposed screws on the bezel
  • Not very stylish

Technical Specifications

  • Watch face size: 50mm
  • Water rating: 100 meters
  • Weight: 5.6 oz.
  • Batteries: 1 x quartz movement
  • Satellite: N/A
  • Material: Resin case
  • Warranty – 1-year limited warranty

With a guide price of just under $50, this is very far from a Casio GPS watch. What it does do, it does well, and it can withstand years of outdoor knocks and bangs.

This watch with thermometer is as rugged as they come and can last for years.

If you are searching for best budget watches, then this could be the top of your list. It may lack some of the top features.

However, if you are just looking for a reliable outdoor watch, then you can do much worse than go for this reliable outdoor watch.

Timex Expedition Grid Shock Watch

3. Timex Expedition Grid Shock Watch

The Timex watch is a none-GPS watch which comes with a many other features and a great price. While the watch is a little on the bulky side because of its non-standard shape, it does deliver a large screen.

It is shock-resistant and water-resistant up to 100m. The stainless steel top plate is crushproof, so very durable for whatever you can throw at it while hiking.

For people new to hiking, or for kids, this is a great introductory watch. Alarms can be set, so they vibrate, and there is a hydration alert that is perfect to remind you to drink halfway down the trails.

It can be the best backpacking watch if you just need basic information that is easy to read.

Pros

  • Indiglo watch dial light-up
  • Very easy to use
  • Vibration alarm will wake you up
  • Hydration alerts
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • Bulky
  • The limited specialist feature set
  • Lack of navigation

Technical Specifications

  • Watch face size: 50mm
  • Water rating: 330 ft.
  • Weight: 5 oz.
  • Batteries: 1 x lithium metal battery (required)
  • Satellite: N/A
  • Material: Resin case, Stainless steel top plate
  • Warranty – 1-year limited warranty

While not a navigation watch, the Timex is still a handy device for new hikers, and with its guide price of just under $70, you do get Timex brand quality and reliability.

It is comfortable to wear, and the design does transport you back into the 2,000’s, but its features outweigh what it looks like by far.

This can be a great watch to sling in hiking backpacks between weekends hitting the trails

Suunto Core Wrist-Top Computer Watch with Altimeter, Barometer, Compass, and Depth Measurement

4. Suunto Core Wrist-Top Computer Watch with Altimeter, Barometer, Compass, and Depth Measurement

This Suunto watch review looks at an affordable option from a company that delivers some fantastic timepieces. This is no different, and there are more than enough features wrapped up in a stylish case.

The Suunto Core doesn’t offer any GPS, yet it is a watch with compass, which comes along with the altimeter, depth meter, and barometer.
Suunto compass watches mean you will always know which way you’re heading without the need to keep stopping and reading a separate map and compass.

Pros

  • Tracks weather and sun
  • Sunrise and sunset for over 400 locations
  • 2-year warranty
  • Great underwater rating

Cons

  • Weather trend locations have issues
  • Buttons can easily be clicked by mistake
  • Bands can be liable to break

Technical Specifications

  • Watch face size: 50mm
  • Water rating: 330 ft.
  • Weight: 6.7oz.
  • Batteries: 1 x lithium metal battery (required)
  • Satellite: N/A
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Warranty – 2-year limited warranty

Suunto altimeters are some of the best you get in watches, and although this Suunto GPS-less watch just makes use of some cut-down features, everyone is useful.

With a guide price of a little under $155, no hiker will feel short-changed. It comes from the same makes as the Suunto Ambit3 and the Suunto Traverse, yet they are very different and cater for a different market.

The could be the best Suunto watch for hiking when you are a beginner, or you just want something that has specific features and no more.

Garmin Fenix 3 Sapphire Performance Bundle

5. Garmin Fenix 3 Sapphire Performance Bundle

This watch isn’t a dedicated Garmin Fenix women’s watch, yet it is suitable for both sexes and will fit without any adjustment.

The Garmin Fenix 3 Sapphire is rugged and capable. It comes with GPS and Glonass, so you stand little chance of losing signal for your location.

There is best in class heart rate monitoring advanced running dynamics, recovery advisor, and lots more besides.

The Garmin digital watch can be one of the best GPS watch for hiking as it is for sports monitoring.

The display can be viewed in intense sun, and the watch is water-resistant up to 100m. You can use it for other sports aside from hiking and diving, and you can add in skiing, rowing, and golf.
Garmin connect allows you to download so many additional features. The TracBack feature will navigate you back the way you came so you never lose your starting point.

This is ideal if you forget where your campsite is located. This means it can be the best watch for hiking in any area.

Pros

  • Fast location with GPS and Glonass
  • Lots of smart notifications
  • Wristband heart rate monitor
  • Real-time running dynamics

Cons

  • Heart rate monitor loses accuracy with vigorous exercise
  • Expensive
  • Average battery life when using GPS

Technical Specifications

  • Watch face size: 1.2 inch
  • Water rating: 330 ft.
  • Weight: 3.04 oz.
  • Batteries: 1 x lithium metal battery (required)
  • Satellite: GPS and Glonass
  • Material: Stainless steel

With a guide price of just under $400, this watch is toward the top end of most people’s budget.
However, it does pack in so many features for individuals on the go. As well as being one of the best multisport watches, you can even receive emails if you are in location of public Wi-Fi, so there is no need to worry about missing any updates while you are out and about.

Add in every one of its features, and like other Garmin’s, they are among the best GPS watches you can get.

Benefits of Hiking Watch

What to Look for When Buying Hiking Watches

When you are looking at hiking watches, there are some things you need to think about. While you can get some watches that are solar powered, not every make or model makes use of this.

The reason being that the amount of GPS functions some watches are delivering, these solar batteries just wouldn’t last.

Functionality

This can be one of the main areas where there are many underlying things to think about. What do you want your watch to do?

A GPS watch for hiking can include air pressure meters, a storm alarm, sunrise, and sunset times just as examples of features.

While you may think this is overkill, you may think different if you are in a mountain range, and the weather can change in an instant.

Add to this, you may be facing dark weather, and you have no idea how much daylight is left. When it comes to survival, these features will be welcome.

A GPS watch, at the most basic, should help you know where you are, where you want to go, and where you have come from. The Garmin Epix a good example that comes with stacks of watch features yet misses styling.

Durability

Many hiking GPS watches now come as stylish affairs. At a minimum, these should be made from stainless steel to withstand a few knocks. Add to this, they need water resistance as standard.

An altimeter watch should just be functional; it also needs to be comfortable. With vibrating alarms, you can be wearing these devices around the clock.

Specialist Features

Many of these watches are no longer just for one purpose. They are doubling as sports and health devices. A heart rate monitor is a welcome addition no matter which activity you are doing, and receiving updates in real-time will be vital if you have some health concerns you wish to monitor.

Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire as Best Hiking Watch

Final Verdict

After reviewing all the above men’s outdoor watches. Some were ruled out straight away. This wasn’t because they were inferior; it was because they came with limited features compared to the others, so comparisons were unfair.

Watches with altimeter, barometer, compass, thermometer are a different breed altogether in functions and usefulness.

Hikers and backpackers take their camping essentials seriously, so to be sure the winner of these reviews delivers everything, and then it did need to include a lot. Because of this, it was clear that the Garmin hiking GPS watch was the one to beat.

Being solidly built, it was capable of handling anything on the trail, and there were more than enough hiking and additional sporting features anyone can ask for.

The Garmin outdoor watch will make sure you are never lost. With 3-axis compass, GPS, and Glonass, you will be hard pushed to find a better trail companion.

With accurate barometer, altimeter, and many others, anyone would find this timepiece a pleasure to wear as they are soaking up the benefits of hiking.

This worthy winner is one of the best Garmin watches money can buy.

Best Hiking Watches