It’s no secret that there are many different types of watches on the market. But what is the best hiking watch? This guide will help you find out what kind of watch would be perfect for your adventure.
What’s the Best Hiking Watch?
Hiking is a great way to stay active and have fun outside. We all know that watches are an excellent accessory for hiking and other outdoor activities, but it can be hard to find the perfect watch. There are so many different types of watches out there.
What you wear on your wrist can make or break the experience. We’ll take a look at some of the best hiking watches on the market today.
We’ll also guide you on what features are most important for hiking watches, how they work, and which ones are perfect for different activities. Best of all, we’ll tell you which ones made the list of our top picks.
Our Picks for the Best Hiking Watches:
- Best Overall: Garmin instinct
- Best for weather data: Suunto Core, outdoor sports watch
- Best solar powered: Casio Men’s Pro Trek
- Best value: Timex Men’s T45181 Expedition
- Best for outdoor adventure: Garmin 6X Saphire Multisport GPS watch
- Best for frequent travelers: Casio Pathfinder PAG240 Multifunction watch
- Best for outdoors: Garmin Tactix Charlie GPS Watch
Different types of watches on the market may look similar, but they can do very diverse things. The best hiking watch is one that has the features you want at a price point you’re comfortable with. If you are adventurous, you need a good hiking watch for those long trails to keep you on track and on time.
Why You Need a Hiking Watch
Hiking watches are a great way to track your time and progress on the trail. They also provide you with essential information to make informed decisions as needed while out in nature.
Many hikers use their cellphones for this purpose, which is fine if they have reception or an emergency beacon, but not ideal otherwise. A dedicated hiking watch offers many advantages over your phone.
A hiking watch can be used to track multiple things, including time, speed, distance traveled, and elevation gained. This information is displayed on the screen in an easy-to-read format so that you will always know exactly where you are at all times.
Not only does this help with navigation, but it also allows you to keep an eye on your progress. The other significant advantage of using a hiking watch over a phone is battery life. A hiking watch can last days or even weeks without needing more power.
Our Picks for the 7 Best Hiking Watches
There are a lot of great hiking watches on the market today. While it’s impossible to list them all, some have stood out for their quality and value. All of these watches will do a great job and fit well in your budget.
Best Overall: Garmin Instinct
- It has a long battery life.
- It’s also compatible with the Garmin Connect app that can be used to create routes, send them to your watch, and share data with other online users.
- The watch can be quite expensive and not worth purchasing if you don’t plan on spending a lot while outdoors or taking part in many outdoor activities.
- The watch also only works with certain smartphones, so you may need a different phone if you want them connected.
The Garmin Instinct is a GPS watch that offers all of the most popular features in an attractive design. It is waterproof, durable, and has an incredible battery life of up to 50 hours. In addition, this device can track speed, distance traveled, and altitude climbed with ease.
The Garmin instinct watch has the highest toughness rating available in a wristwatch today, along with an altimeter, barometer, and compass. This makes it one of the best watches out there suitable for hikers.
The GPS tracking features ensure you can monitor your route when outside or on trails. The Garmin Instinct also has an easy-to-read display screen in any weather conditions out on the trails.
The screen is a great size and has an auto backlight feature that makes it easy to read at night without having to push any buttons or turn on your flashlight. The Garmin Instinct also includes wrist-based heart rate monitoring capabilities, which will show you your heart rate on the watch screen.
Best for Weather Data: Suunto Core
- Sports tracking for a variety of activities
- Shows weather conditions
- Includes some features for hiking
- Doesn’t have a bright light for dark conditions
- Set-up instructions can be vague
- The Suunto Core is durable, and its battery life can last up to a year.
- Another aspect many reviewers say they like about this watch is how easily it pairs with their smartphone for text messages alerts.
- The only downside to the Suunto Core for some hikers is that it’s a bit pricey compared to other watches.
- In addition, it doesn’t have many unique features, but it can be used to measure altitude and barometric pressure.
- This might not be your best option if you want more advanced settings since it doesn’t have GPS to track your routes.
Another popular watch is the Suunto Core. It provides an accurate altimeter, barometer, and compass with a sleek design worn as either a bracelet or band.
Although it doesn’t have GPS capabilities, it can perform basic watch functions like tracking time of day, sunrise/sunset times, and daily alarm.
It is waterproof up to 100 meters, so it can be worn while swimming and snorkeling. It can also be paired with your smartphone for text messages alerts. The Suunto core is durable. It has a stainless steel bezel and case back, which means it’ll last longer than most watches available on the market today.
It also comes with a scratch-resistant lens so your screen won’t become damaged from regular wear and tear. The Suunto Core has an automatic altitude adjustment such that it’ll compensate for water pressure when you are underwater.
Best Solar Powered: Casio Men’s Pro Trek
- The watch is very durable and can be worn in almost any type of environment.
- One of the most inexpensive watches available with all these great features, meaning that you’ll never need to purchase another watch.
- It has no automatic time zone adjustment.
- The daily alarm function does not have a snooze feature.
- The low battery power indicator light turns on when the watch is only halfway through its life span.
- It’s a bit too bulky and heavy. This makes it uncomfortable to wear around the house or out on a hike.
The Casio Pro Trek is the best hiking watch you can find, with a solar power panel that never needs to be changed. The altimeter is very accurate and can even track barometric pressure in addition to outside weather trends.
It also comes equipped with an electronic compass, making it perfect when deep into the rocky mountains’ backcountry. One of the best features is that it can be used in all weather conditions.
The watch also has a stopwatch feature that allows you to track your speed down steep slopes or measure how quickly you ascend a specific hill. It’s a handy tool when looking for the best routes to take through nature.
Read Next: Best Portable Solar Panels
Best Value: Timex Men’s Expedition
- This watch has a sleek design with a black background and white numbers. It also includes an Indigo nightlight.
- Backlight illuminates the entire face of the watch so you can see it in total darkness as well as sunlit conditions.
- This watch is a little bulky and heavy, making it cumbersome for some people.
The Timex Men’s Expedition Watch is an excellent choice for hiking, with its long-lasting battery and an easy-to-read display. It has a built-in nightlight so you can stay on track even when it gets dark.
The watch face is water-resistant up to 330 feet, which is perfect if you’re swimming, snorkeling, or doing water sports. The countdown timer is also an excellent feature for runners and triathletes, but it can even help you track your time when cooking.
Best for Outdoor Adventure: Garmin 6X Saphire Multisport
- It’s waterproof up to 50 meters deep, so you can swim or dive in the ocean without worry, and it can also track your swimming activity.
- It is capable of Bluetooth connectivity with smartphone apps.
- It’s expensive.
The Garmin fenix is one of the most popular smartwatches for hiking. Its features are great for outdoor enthusiasts because it includes a compass, barometer, and altimeter, which can be used to track your location precisely.
In addition, it allows you to store your music and stream it with a third-party music provider. This watch also includes a built-in GPS and GLONASS, which can help you track your location much more efficiently than similar watches.
The battery life is pretty decent, lasting up to 50 hours in full GPS mode with no backlight or about 24 hours with an active heart rate monitor and other features turned on as well.
Best for Frequent Travelers: Casio Pathfinder
- It looks great and can be worn every day as an accessory.
- You’ll not only get accurate information about your hike or climb, but you can also use the watch to measure altitude while wearing it at work if you are afraid you might have high blood pressure.
- The watch is limited to the number of sensors it can carry. This means if you want a compass and an altimeter, for example, you may be stuck with only one at a time.
The Casio Pathfinder is considered the best hiking watch because it has the necessary features to ensure that your hike goes smoothly. While most watches can only tell time, this one comes with an altimeter, barometer, and thermometer.
All of things help you predict weather changes before they happen so you can plan accordingly. You can also add information to the watch from your computer using standard file formats such as GPX or KML. This will allow for more accurate data when predicting future weather changes.
What makes this watch so much better compared to others is the fact that it has a thermometer. This means you can track temperature changes and see when conditions are suitable for hiking or if they might become dangerous due to weather changes.
Best for Outdoors: Garmin Tactix Charlie Watch
- It has a durable metal body and buttons.
- Long battery life of up to 50 hours in GPS mode with the UltraTrac feature turned on, or 20 hours when using navigation features such as a compass and barometer all day long without stopping for charging.
- It has no touchscreen.
- Bulky design for some wrists, making it uncomfortable to wear while sleeping on your side with the watch pressed against you.
- Users have to pay an additional fee for a subscription plan allowing access to weather forecasts and other premium content from Garmin’s Connect portal to use all of its features.
The Garmin Tactix Charlie is a dark-colored watch with an extra durable bezel made of stainless steel. It can track up to 40 hours in GPS mode or up to 20 days when used as a regular timepiece.
What makes it extremely useful for hikers are its navigational features not generally found on watches without maps.
For example, it has a preloaded worldwide base layer and can tell you the exact coordinates to any position. It also comes with features like water resistance up to 100 meters deep and an altimeter, barometer, and compass.
Finding the Best Hiking Watch for You
Hiking watches should be equipped with a long-lasting battery since there is no way for you to recharge them out in the wild. Some models come with proprietary batteries that need to be replaced when they run out of charge, usually after one or two years.
Other options last longer and can provide power for up to three months without a recharge, which is excellent if you plan to go on a long trip.
A hiking watch should be waterproof. This means that it can withstand water immersion up to 100 meters deep. The quality of the case construction will determine how long you can stay in the water with your watch on before needing to worry about leaking or malfunctioning due to corrosion from saltwater or chlorine.
Any hiking watch should have the ability to measure altitude. This is important for hikers because it allows you to track progress, adjust speeds and find your way back down the mountain if things go wrong on a hike.
This feature will also help with navigation as most outdoor GPS units can be set up, so they read out altitudes directly from the watch.
So, What’s the Best Hiking Watch?
The best hiking watch should be durable, have waterproof capabilities, GPS tracking, advanced settings, and more. The most common features in hiking watches are barometers, altimeters, and compasses.
A good watch should also have long battery life. Hikers must know how accurate their timepiece is to enjoy their hike worry-free, knowing they have the perfect watch for the occasion.