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The 7 Best Outdoor Watches in 2022

The 7 Best Outdoor Watches in 2022

Enjoying the outdoors is fun but can sometimes provide unique challenges and conditions. The best outdoor watches rise to these challenges, and we have a list of a few favorites with everything you need to know to pick the perfect option for you.

What’s the Best Outdoor Watch?

When you’re spending time outside, a watch can be much more than just a tool to track the hours. Whether you need a tool to track your heart rate, a compass on your wrist, or even a way to measure changes in the atmosphere, high-quality watches can provide it.

With so many features, sorting through the options can be a hassle. Save some time, and check out our top seven choices and reviews for the best outdoor watches.

Our Top 7 Picks for the Best Outdoor Watches:
  1. Best Overall: Garmin Instinct Solar
  2. Best for Extreme Conditions: Casio Pro Trek Multi Band
  3. Best for Swimming: Invicta Pro Diver
  4. Best for Cost: FIZILI Minimalist Waterproof Wrist Watch
  5. Best for Simplicity: Timex Digital Expedition 
  6. Best for Style: Fossil Machine
  7. Best for Weather Data: Suunto Core Classic

Outdoor watches can hold up to the challenging conditions of heavy outdoor activity. They’re a versatile option that provides excellent functionality and adds to your look.

Why You Need an Outdoor Watch

For a piece on the best outdoor watches, a guy looks at his wrist while wearing running gear in the forest

Maridav/Shutterstock

If you avidly enjoy spending time outside, you might already know that a lot of regular gear doesn’t hold up to the wear and tear that comes from being outdoors.

Specialized items need to be weatherproof, waterproof, and formidable. Many outdoor watches provide just that. Plus, some come with features that track health-related data like heart rate.

These helpful devices provide you with plenty of important information without you even needing to worry about it. And wearable health monitors like this are becoming valuable tools for general healthcare.

Not to mention, outdoor hobbies like hiking can come with their risks. It’s crucial to have navigational tools with you when you’re exploring trails in case of emergencies. When your watch is a compass, you don’t have to worry about forgetting it.

And it keeps your pack lighter, which is always a benefit. No matter what features you need, you’re sure to find an outdoor watch that provides them. Keep reading to find the best outdoor watch for you.

Best Outdoor Watches: Our Top 7 Picks

When considering watches, we thought about the top features we’d want while outside enjoying our favorite activities. We’ll give you the rundown of each option’s best qualities and where they might fall short.

Now, let’s get into our top 7 picks for the best outdoor watches you can buy on Amazon today.

1. Best Overall: Garmin Instinct Solar Smart Watch

Best Overall
Garmin Instinct Solar Smart Watch
Pros:
  • Smartwatch features with outdoor durability
  • Extensive GPS and hiking capabilities
  • Massive battery with solar charging
Cons:
  • The silicone band can cause irritation
  • Screen size is a bit small
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The Garmin Instinct watch with solar charging is at the top of our list, and its sleek design is full of features. You may appreciate that this outdoor watch isn’t bulky, as it looks similar to any other smartwatch.

This look comes with standard features like messaging alerts and smartphone linking capabilities. But don’t let that simple appearance fool you because this watch can handle Military Standard 810 temperature changes, shocks, and water depths of up to 100 meters.

It can accompany you through any activity, from rough terrain hiking to water skiing. While you’re out and about, your watch can keep you in touch with GPS and satellites for the best location support.

You can feel confident exploring with the ability to track your way back. Plus, a compass will always be around while you’re wearing it. This Garmin has a look that works for everyday wear while offering almost every function you could want.

The silicone wristband can irritate some people’s skin, and the screen is slightly smaller than other brands. Still, it’s a versatile option that can hold up to any challenge, making it one of the best outdoor watches.

2. Best for Extreme Conditions: Casio Pro Trek Multi Band

Best for Extreme Conditions
Casio Pro Trek Multi Band Watch
Pros:
  • Unique moon and tide data
  • Water and low-temperature resistant
  • Altimeter, barometer, thermometer, and compass included
Cons:
  • Alarms can be hard to hear
  • Outer bezel can get worn off
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If you enjoy getting into extreme outdoor activities, the Casio Pro Trek watch may be the solution for you. This durable wrist watch can handle water depths up to 200 meters and won’t stop ticking in extreme weather of 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

We also think this one is an ideal option for anybody who loves boating or fishing.

The moon data can keep you ahead of the curve because certain moon phases can increase your fishing catch rate. Plus, you can keep an eye on the tide chart while you’re out to know when it’s time to reel in.

The Casio brand comes with a high standard of timekeeping, and you can enjoy multiple alarms and other standard watch features along with these higher-end perks. You may want to test an alarm first, as the beeping tone can be too quiet.

This watch was made for extreme conditions and to let you enjoy them. However, with extended wear, the detailing on the bezel edge around the clock face will begin to fade. It’s good to keep an eye out for this wear and tear.

3. Best for Swimming: Invicta Pro Diver

Best for Swimming
Invicta Pro Diver Watch
Pros:
  • Bright attractive colors
  • Sleek minimalist design
  • Impressive 200 meter water resistance
Cons:
  • Minimal extra features
  • Analog display only
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The Invicta Pro Diver is aptly named, with an impressive water depth rating of up to 200 meters, or 660 feet. This limit is well within the depths most casual scuba divers hit at 130 feet, and the watch can even accommodate technical diving.

If hitting the water is your primary concern and you’d like to keep your watch stylish enough for everyday wear, the Invicta is a fantastic choice. Its minimalist design makes it look like any other watch, while its stand-out colors can catch eyes.

Unlike some of the other best outdoor watches listed, this watch isn’t full of features. It’s straight to the point with what it offers. On the positive side, there isn’t much to fuss with if you don’t need some of the high-tech qualities of other watches.

Still, this classic-style analog watch is certainly high-quality. The dazzling colors may be a bit bright for some, but it’s a piece that stands out elegantly.

4. Best for Cost: FIZILI Minimalist Waterproof Wrist Watch

Best for Cost
FIZILI Minimalist Waterproof Wrist Watch
Pros:
  • Many different style options
  • Classic look for everyday wear
  • Extremely thin and lightweight
Cons:
  • Only basic features
  • Can be hard to read
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The FIZILI watch is straight to the point with its minimalist design. A simple analog clock face displays the time, and a smaller dial keeps track of seconds. It’s one of the most affordable options on this list, but it still has plenty of appeals.

While it doesn’t boast features like many other outdoor watches, it can still handle water depths of 30 meters. This depth covers basic swimming activities, and rain or splashes won’t bother it.

Most of all, this watch has a sleek design that makes it perfect for any occasion. It has multiple style options, so you can choose your favorite look.

The dark face can be hard to read, and the watch doesn’t have lighting options for night conditions. Still, the modern look and durability are a great combination if you’re hoping for a watch you can wear from the office to the pool.

5. Best for Simplicity: Timex Digital Expedition

Best for Simplicity
Timex Digital Expedition Outdoor Watch
Pros:
  • Easy to read
  • Very durable
  • Well-lit for dark conditions
Cons:
  • Only simple watch functions
  • Band can need replacement
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This Timex option is one of the best outdoor watches if you only want timekeeping functions. It can set three alarms, display multiple time zones, and has a countdown timer. Other than that, this simple watch mostly excels at being durable.

This watch can last years before needing to be replaced. The battery tends to last a long time, too, without needing to support all of the smartwatch features.

Its digital face is easy to read and has a bright light for nighttime. You’ll be able to enjoy this watch for a few years, and you can take it out into water depths up to 100 meters.

But the leather band can sometimes fray after extended use, often before the watch face shows any signs of wear. This watch could be a perfect fit for outdoor enthusiasts who don’t want to fiddle with all the features of smartwatches on small screens.

6. Best for Style: Fossil Machine

Best for Style
Fossil Machine Chronograph Watch
Pros:
  • Classy style for everyday wear
  • Stopwatch for basic sports
  • Changeable bands for different styles
Cons:
  • Clock hands can obstruct extra dials
  • Bands can be loose-fitting
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Many outdoor watches have a bulky look, but the Fossil watch brings plenty of classic styles. The analog face is smooth with golden highlights, and it features three small dials for a military time view and an hour and second stopwatch. 

This watch comes with a classic leather band in a braided look. One of the best features of Fossil watches is that their wristbands are interchangeable, so you can choose from options like silicone or fabric to replace them if you ever want a change.

The watch can handle 50 meters of water, so it’s well-suited for occasional splashes and showering. The classy design means you could wear it for a special occasion and then hit the trails.

It should be durable and stand up to the challenge. The analog watch hands can sometimes cause issues reading the other dials on the watch’s face. They occasionally obstruct the view, but it shouldn’t cause any problems.

Additionally, the versatility of the bands can sometimes lead to a wristband that is a bit loose-fitting. The good thing is that you can always find a replacement.

7. Best for Weather Data: Suunto Core Classic

Best for Weather Data
Suunto Core Classic Watch
Pros:
  • Sports tracking for a variety of activities
  • Shows weather conditions
  • Includes some features for hiking
Cons:
  • Doesn’t have a bright light for dark conditions
  • Set-up instructions can be vague
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If you’re hoping for a watch to keep you up to date with your outdoor weather and sports data, the Suunto Core Classic has all the features you could want. It can help track your workout stats, your daily activity levels, and track your sleep.

If you’re out and about, this watch will give you storm warnings and weather trend updates with its barometer. It can also tell you the sunrise and sundown times, so you never get caught out in the dark while hiking.

Like a few of the other options, this watch does feature a compass, too. You can feel comfortable jumping into the water with this watch with a rating of 30 meters of water resistance.

One of the more stylish watches with extra features, you could wear this to casual occasions. This watch has a weak backlight that can make it difficult to read in all conditions.

Still, it can be relied on during the day. When you first get this watch, it can be helpful to find tutorials because the instructions it comes with can be a bit vague.

Finding the Best Outdoor Watch for You

Woman looking at an outdoor watch with the time and timer on her wrist with a blurred valley in the background

Zedspider/Shutterstock

There can be so many factors to consider when choosing an outdoor watch that it can quickly become overwhelming. Here, we’ve outlined some of the most important factors to consider to help you find the best outdoor watch for you.

Watch Features

While it can be tempting to be lured in by the watch with all the features, it’s a good idea to think realistically about which ones you need. When you go all out, it can sometimes become confusing to use.

Consider the tools that you need for the activities you do the most. If you’ve been confused about some of the tools included in these watches, here’s a breakdown of the most common ones:

  • Barometers measure pressure changes for weather
  • Altimeters measure altitudes
  • Compasses provide directional help
  • GPS can guide users using satellites

Style and Comfort

Of course, style and comfort are primary factors for any accessory you’re hoping to wear long-term. Style is a very personal perspective, but when choosing a watch, it can help to imagine what scenarios you plan to wear the watch.

If you’re hoping to wear one watch to formal occasions and outdoors, you’ll want to settle on one with a sleek and elegant look. On the other hand, if you’re planning on throwing it on only when you head outdoors, it may not matter.

Finally, consider the band styles and weight for comfort. You may be wearing this watch during high-stress activities, so you’ll want a good fit. Leather and fabric bands tend to breathe better for sweating than silicone options.

Conditions of Use

Consider the extreme conditions you plan to put your watch through. It can be a good idea to think about the worst-case scenario. Your outdoor watch should be able to handle that, especially if you plan to use it for any survival tools.

These outdoor watches are durable, but they can’t all handle the same conditions. Some hold up to water better than others, and some can even handle extreme temperatures. Take time to find the one that can handle everything you can throw at it.

Battery Life 

Finally, it’s crucial to keep in mind battery life. If your outdoor activities regularly include camping, you don’t want to be stuck with a dead watch and no way to charge it.

Plus, you’ll want to keep battery life in mind whenever you rely on your wristwatch for GPS. Some watches can be solar-powered, which can be a massive help. While out, your watch can keep itself charged during the day without much worry.

Frequently Asked Questions

Swimmer looking at his wrist after getting out of the water for a piece on the best outdoor watches

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Need to know more? Check out a few FAQs about outdoor watches for the best understanding.

How do you read a watch barometer?

When you activate the barometer in your watch, it will display a number. Numbers above 1,000 indicate a low-pressure zone, meaning the weather is good, while numbers below 1,000 will mean a high-pressure storm is coming.

How accurate is a watch’s altimeter?

Different watches may have different accuracies. In general, your watch will be only 50 feet off the correct reading. If you’re concerned, bring along an external altimeter to calibrate.

What is a barometric altimeter?

An altimeter is a tool to measure altitude, and the best way to do that is through air pressure. Therefore, many altimeters use barometer readings of air pressure.

Are smartwatches useless without a phone connection?

Smartwatches can still provide plenty of practical functions without being connected to a phone. Many features like health monitoring and weather condition readings don’t need a cellular connection.

What is the difference between waterproof ratings?

Water resistances range from being able to handle splashes to be suitable for diving. The difference in rating can help you understand how much it can endure. Consider how deep in the water you plan to wear your watch and choose accordingly.

So, What’s the Best Outdoor Watch?

All in all, there are plenty of features an outdoor watch can have. Our top pick for the best outdoor watch is still the Garmin Instinct because it wraps up so many features into a sleek design.

Best Overall
Garmin Instinct Solar Smart Watch
Pros:
  • Smartwatch features with outdoor durability
  • Extensive GPS and hiking capabilities
  • Massive battery with solar charging
Cons:
  • The silicone band can cause irritation
  • Screen size is a bit small
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Enjoy your outdoor activities by marrying style with function by choosing your ideal watch. And with so much variety to choose from on our list above, you’re sure to find the perfect one for you.