Technology in the outdoor adventure space has been evolving at a rapid pace. It used to be easy to find the best hiking watch out of the few watches on the market but, now, there are dozens of potential options.
Hopefully, equipped with this guide you’ll be surprised at how easy the process can be. Pay close attention to the features and compare price tags with functionality, and you’ll be able to narrow down the best watches for hiking, camping, and other outdoor adventures.
Features to Consider When Searching For The Best Hiking Watch
You cannot determine the best watches for outdoors use just by looking at them. Some watches may look like they have everything you need, but that might not be the case when you put them to the test.
Before you hit the buy now button on any new watch, factor the following information into the decision-making process.
One of the easiest ways to determine the best GPS watch on the market is by finding out about its battery life. GPS technology can weigh heavy on even the highest-quality batteries.
With that in mind, it can be worth looking at various watches and their battery lives to establish the “average”. Some require charging every night, while others may only last a few hours. Some of the best watches for outdoor adventures are also those with few features that last upwards of months or even a year on a single battery.
Even if you live in the driest climes, purchasing a hiking watch with some level of weather resistance is going to be worth your while. Remember, it’s not only the rain you have to worry about, but rivers, creeks, and other bodies of water.
Some watches are showerproof, while others are water-resistant up to an incredible 300 meters or more. More often than not, the price tag is reflective of the weather resistance.
Whenever you buy anything for your outdoor adventures, comfort is a factor you consider. Even if you have to spend a little more, you’d much rather a watch, clothing, and bedding that you can feel comfortable using.
Look for watch bands that won’t irritate your skin, are soft, promote airflow, and are lightweight. The more of these boxes your preferred watch ticks, the more comfortable you will likely be.
Surprisingly, the interfaces of GPS compass watches and hiking watches can differ significantly. Some come with buttons, while others have touch screens. Both have their pros and cons. Touch screens can be easier to navigate if you’re already used to having a touch screen phone.
However, button screens may be better for people who don’t want to worry about pushing the wrong button, having a wet screen, or removing gloves.
Before you narrow down the adventure watches you believe will suit your outdoor needs, consider what other features they have – above and beyond what you specifically wanted. You may be surprised at how many unique features there are available, such as:
- Heart rate monitor
The Best Watches For Hiking
Fitbit Versa & Versa SE
These one-size watches with interchangeable straps are packed full of convenient features for fitness and fun. They come with heart rate monitors, smartphone notifications, an activity tracker, music, SmartTrack technology, and more. You can also make use of the GPS feature via your smartphone.
The icing on the cake is that they take just two hours to charge yet provide you with upwards of four days of battery life.
Materials: Anodised aluminium body, Gorilla Glass lens
Features: Heart rate monitoring, smartphone notifications, activity tracker, music, GPS via smartphone, SmartTrack technology
Battery Life: 4+ days
Charge Time: 2 hours
Price (at the time of writing): $330
Suunto 7 Outdoor Smart Watch
It’s designed tough for outdoor use and comes packed full of convenient features for almost any adventure. Enjoy complete connectivity with Bluetooth, USB, and Wi-Fi, and keep track of your fitness with Google Fit. You can even take advantage of 70+ sports modes, music, offline outdoor maps, a compass, GPS, and more.
The Suunto 7 Outdoor Smart Watch also features premium materials like Gorilla Glass, stainless steel, and silicone. It’s hard to look past this Suunto, Qualcomm ® Snapdragon™ and Google™ masterpiece.
Materials: Reinforced polyamide case, silicone strap, Corning Gorilla Glass lens, stainless-steel bezel
Features: GPS, barometer, offline outdoor maps, compass, weather, Google Fit activity tracking, 70+ sports modes, Bluetooth, touchscreen, Wi-Fi
Battery Life: 40 days (traditional watch mode), 2 days (smartwatch mode), 12 hours (GPS sports mode), 8 hours (streaming music)
Charge Time: 100 minutes
Price (at the time of writing): $599.99
Suunto Traverse Alpha Outdoor Watch
This watch has been tested to military standards and handles extreme wear and tear well. It comes with a stainless-steel bezel, composite case, textile strap, and a sapphire crystal glass lens. Wearers love its long battery life of up to 14 days in time mode and how it takes just 2-3 hours to charge.
What’s more, it is designed to have everything you need for your outdoor hunting or fishing trip. It has GPS/GLONASS navigation, compatibility with night vision goggles, a red backlight, topographic maps, weather trends, shot detection, and more.
You can even set it into activity mode, with yearly tracking of your steps and calories. The Suunto Traverse Alpha Outdoor Watch means business.
Materials: Stainless steel bezel, sapphire crystal glass, composite case, textile strap
Features: GPS/GLONASS navigation, night vision goggle compatibility, red backlight, storm alarm, weather trend, topographic maps, mobile notifications, activity tracking, sunrise alert, moon phase calendar, shot detection
Battery Life: 14 days (time mode)
Charge Time: 2-3 hours
Price (at the time of writing): $499.99
Suunto Core Outdoor Watch
This simple yet striking watch is one that’s designed to go with you anywhere. You can take it snorkelling to depths of 30m, with water resistance and a depth meter. You can even find out when sunset and sunrise times will be and when a storm is about to kick off.
This watch keeps you up to date with everything happening around you, and if that doesn’t say best outdoor watch, we don’t know what does!
Materials: Aluminium bezel, mineral crystal glass, composite case, elastomer strap
Features: Compass, storm alarm, replaceable battery, depth meter, 30m water-resistance
Battery Life: 12 months (time mode)
Charge Time: Replaceable battery
Price (at the time of writing): $239.99
Polar Grit X HR GPS Multisport Watch
From route guidance and energy sources to training session recommendations and sports profiles, this watch has something for everyone. It can also automatically detect your heart rate, rest times, swimming style, and more.
Enjoy the GPS function, weather forecast, and comfortable silicone band. This sports-style watch from Polar Grit is a game-changer in the fitness scene.
Materials: Gorilla Glass lens, stainless steel bezel, glass fibre reinforced polymer cover, stainless steel case, silicone band
Features: Heart rate monitor, GPS/GLONASS, weather forecast, sports features, Bluetooth, water resistance
Battery Life: 40 hours (training mode), 7 days (watch mode)
Charge Time: N/A
Price (at the time of writing): $598.90
Coros VERTIX Adventure GPS Multisport Watch
This watch comes with a 150m waterproof rating, blood oxygen monitoring, a heart rate monitor, and superior GPS technology. It’s also packed full of tracking and activity features for a variety of sports like running, swimming, cycling, and multisport. If you want the best of the best and nothing else will do, this feature-loaded weapon could be the answer.
Materials: Titanium cover and bezel, sapphire glass lens, braided nylon strap
Features: Heart rate monitor, activity tracker, 150m waterproof rating, blood oxygen monitoring, digital knob, seven sensors, GPS/GLONASS/BEIDOU satellite connection
Battery Life: 45 days (smartwatch mode), 150 hours (UltraMax mode), 60 hours (full GPS mode)
Charge Time: < 2 hours
Price (at the time of writing): $1,024.90
Casio G-Shock Master of G Triple Sensor Mudmaster (GWG1000-1A3)
It features high-quality materials like resin, carbon, and sapphire crystal glass and comes with a rechargeable battery capable of lasting up to 25 months. You’re also bound to appreciate the variety of helpful features like a digital compass, world time, countdown timer, altimeter, barometer, and more.
Materials: Carbon case and bezel, resin band, sapphire crystal glass lens
Features: Digital compass, altimeter, barometer, thermometer, world time, countdown timer, battery level indicator, vibration resistance, mud resistance, shock resistance
Battery Life: 6 months (rechargeable battery, normal use), 25 months (rechargeable battery, power save function and stored in darkness)
Charge Time: N/A
Price (at the time of writing): $1,299
Casio Pro Trek Smart Watch (WSD-F20X)
It comes with exciting features like a digital compass, tide graph, activity app, altimeter, barometer, and more. Its battery can also last for up to a month, with charging taking just two hours. It might be worth checking out this watch for yourself.
Materials: Resin case and bezel, plastic band
Features: Altimeter, barometer, digital compass, tide graph, activity app, location memory app, fishing timer, microphone
Battery Life: 1 month (timekeeping mode), 24 hours (normal use), 48 hours (low GPS use), 25 hours (high GPS use), 9 hours (high GPS use with accuracy priority)
Charge Time: 2 hours
Price (at the time of writing): $650
Casio Pro Trek Triple Sensor Compass Watch (PRG240)
Its battery life is perhaps the most significant standout feature, with six months of life with regular use and up to 23 months on power save mode. It’s also suitable for fitness fans and outdoor adventure enthusiasts alike – with features to suit both.
Materials: Resin case and bezel, mineral glass lens, resin band
Features: Digital compass, solar power, triple sensor, backlight, world time, alarms, battery level indicator
Battery Life: 6 months (rechargeable battery with normal use), 23 months (rechargeable battery when in power save function and stored in darkness)
Charge Time: N/A
Price (at the time of writing): $599
Casio G-Shock G-Squad Fitness Sports Watch (GBD800-1D)
You can link your phone to it, get it wet, use it as a stopwatch, set alarms on it, and more. The best part is, it has a battery life of approximately three years, so you never have to worry about charging it. As far as solid, sturdy, and reliable watches go, the Casio G-Squad Fitness Sports Watch ticks all the right boxes.
Materials: Mineral glass, resin band, case, and bezel, aluminium
Features: Phone linking, 200m water resistance, LED backlight, stopwatch, step count graph, alarms, calendar
Battery Life: 3 years
Charge Time: N/A
Price (at the time of writing): $279
Garmin Instinct Solar HR GPS Watch
The best feature of all would have to be the solar power. It has an unlimited battery in watch mode and can even last up to 68 days in expedition GPS activity. Simply expose it to sunlight, and the battery charges itself.
It also has a variety of built-in apps, GPS connectivity, and superior materials – and all for a competitive price.
Materials: Power glass lens, fibre-reinforced polymer case and bezel, silicone strap
Features: Solar charging, built-in sports apps, GPS/GLONASS/Galileo satellite navigation, sensors, LiveTrack, Garmin connect, power manager
Battery Life: Unlimited (battery saver watch mode), 54 days (smartwatch), 145 hours (max battery GPS mode), 38 hours (GPS), 68 days (expedition GPS activity),
Charge Time: Solar Charging (time unknown)
Price (at the time of writing): $689.90
Garmin Fenix 6S Pro GPS Multisport Watch
If you’re on the hunt for the best hiking watch money can buy, the Garmin Fenix 6S Pro GPS Multisport Watch will likely appear front and center. Any hiker, camper, fisher, hunter, or sports person could see the value in this exquisite watch.
It has so many features that you’d struggle to use them all. Yet, they all serve important purposes. Enjoy confidence in getting this watch wet, and revel in the convenience of the impressive 48-day battery lifespan. It doesn’t get much better than the Garmin Fenix 6S Pro GPS Multisport Watch.
Materials: Corning Gorilla Glass lens, stainless steel bezel and case, silicone strap
Features: GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, song storage, navigation, round-trip routing, waterproof to 100m, multi-app compatibility 32GB memory
Battery Life: 48 days (battery saver watch mode), 28 days (expedition GPS activity), 14 days (smartwatch mode), 72 hours (max battery GPS mode), 36 hours (GPS mode)
Charge Time: 2 hours
Price (at the time of writing): $1,148.90
Got any recommendations for the best watch for hiking (or any other outdoor adventure)? If you have any stories, updates or corrections, please let us know by commenting below.
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