There are many different watches out there that function in many different ways. You can check the minutes until lunchtime on an analog wrist watch, chat to your friends on a smartwatch, track your steps on a fitness watch, or make a major fashion statement with that snazzy luxury watch you customized yourself. But did you know that there are watches specifically made for hiking? Go figure!
If you’re a frequent hiker, or you want to finally achieve your New Year’s resolution of spending more time outdoors, a hiking watch can be a great addition to your excursions. And the great thing about these hiking watches is that there are best hiking watches for every budget. So if you want a reliable hiking watch that won’t break the bank, you’re in luck! Or if you prefer a more expensive, high-tech hiking watch, you’re in luck, too!
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Hiking Watches for Every Budget: Low Budget
- 2 Mid-Range Budget
- 3 High Budget
- 4 Directions
- 5 Anticipating Weather Conditions
- 6 Tracking Health and Fitness
- 7 Navigation Systems
- 8 Altimeters
- 9 Barometers
- 10 Heart-Rate Monitors
- 11 Thermometers
- 12 Buying Guide
- 13 Conclusion
Best Hiking Watches for Every Budget: Low Budget
|Coros Vertix Watch||Check On Amazon
|Casio G-Shock Watch||Check On Amazon
|Garmin Instinct Watch||Check On Amazon
|Timex Expedition Classic Watch||Check On Amazon
|Casio Pathfinder Watch||Check On Amazon
|Timex Expedition Grid Shock Watch||Check On Amazon
|Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Solar||Check On Amazon
|Suunto Ambit 3||Check On Amazon|
|Polar Grit X||Check On Amazon|
|Suunto Spartan Sports Wrist HR||Check On Amazon
|Suunto 9 GPS Sports Watch||Check On Amazon
|Casio SGW-450H-2BCF Watch||Check On Amazon
1. Casio SGW-450H-2BCF Watch
The Casio SGW-450H-2BCF hiking watch is an affordable watch with amazing features! It’s equipped with an altimeter, barometer, and thermometer. It’s also lightweight and water-resistant up to 100 m, so it will remain unscathed when doing outdoor water activities like swimming or even snorkeling!
2. Timex Expedition Grid Shock Watch
The Timex Expedition Grid Shock Watch is a unique hiking watch with a large square-shaped face and shock-resistant screen. A feature that it possesses, which is not commonly found in watches in this price range, is a hydration timer. The hydration timer prevents dehydration by alerting you when it’s time to drink more water. This hiking watch also has vibrating alarms, and it’s water-resistant up to 100 m.
3. Timex Expedition Classic Watch
The Timex Expedition Classic Watch, like the Timex Expedition Grid Shock, has a large face, which makes it perfect for visibility. What makes this visibility even more intriguing and desirable is the fact that the watch has a night light for nighttime use. This Expedition Classic is lightweight, so it’s not bulky and uncomfortable on your wrist. Although this watch is not equipped with an altimeter or barometer, it’s still the perfect watch if you want something that has great visibility and is water-resistant up to 100 m.
4. Casio G-Shock Watch
The Casio G-Shock Watch is a great watch in consideration of this price range. First of all, it’s water-resistant to 200 m of water, which is mindblowing! It’s also shock-resistant and relatively easy to use due to a lack of complex features. If you’re the type of person who desires an affordable and simple hiking watch and who likes to frequently participate in water sports and activities, then this may be the watch for you!
5. Garmin Instinct Watch
The Garmin Instinct Watch has all of the core features that hikers desire: altimeter, barometer, and GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo (all global national satellite systems) support. This watch is built to withstand tough environments, and it’s water-resistant up to 100 m. It also monitors heart rate, activity, and stress, making it a convenient hiking watch. Lastly, it can connect to compatible smartphones and perform data automatic uploads, and it can have up to 40 hours of battery life.
6. Casio Pathfinder Watch
The Casio Pathfinder Watch is really unique, as the face of the watch is a solar cell that’s powered by light; this eliminates the concern about adequate battery life. This watch even has an approximate battery life of 6 months without the exposure of light. Nevertheless, this watch is equipped with an altimeter, barometer, and thermometer. The buttons on the watch are easy to press, even with gloved hands. The Pathfinder Watch is water-resistant up to 100 m, making it an all around good buy.
7. Suunto Spartan Sports Wrist HR
This watch is GPS-supported and is water-resistant up to 100 m. This Suunto watch also has features that include route maps, times for sunrise and sunset, and Bluetooth. But what makes this watch amazing is the fact that it performs beyond hiking watch functionalities; this Suunto watch is a general sports and outdoors watch that has special trackers for cycling, swimming, and running. It also tracks heart rate, counts steps, counts calories, measures distance, and measures altitude. All of these features are visible on a scratch-resistant mineral crystal glass face, giving this watch a sleek and elegant look.
8. Suunto 9 GPS Sports Watch
This Suunto 9 GPS Sports Watch is made of durable materials with a Scandinavian design. It’s equipped with GPS support, altimeter, barometer, and a heart rate monitor. It can deliver up to 120 hours of exercise tracking, and it features 80 sports modes, including water sports. All of these features can be seen on a brightly colored interface that is easy to use.
9. Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Solar
This Garmin Fenix 6X Pro Solar was made for environmental conditions, and it provides a lot of helpful navigation with the outdoors. It’s solar-powered, which preserves battery life, and it has GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo support. This watch also allows you to upload topographic and ski maps.
10. Coros Vertix Watch
The Coros Vertix Watch is water-resistant up to 150 m and has a great battery life that can last up to 150 hours. Its tough exterior is made from high-grade fiber, and its face is protected by sapphire glass, which makes it perfect for hiking and mountaineering. This watch also offers you 24/7 blood oxygen monitoring with an altitude acclimatization feature.
11. Suunto Ambit 3
This Bluetooth compatible watch is extremely durable and has a great GPS system. With a simpler display, the Suunto Ambit 3 is fairly easy to use and shows real-time GPS information. With a thermometer, altimeter, barometer, and compass, this watch provides a lot of useful technology for campers and hikers. It has a competitive battery life of about 200 hours, so you don’t need to worry about it dying constantly.
It is waterproof which means you can wear it in any weather condition or even under the water. You are able to connect this watch to your iPhone via Bluetooth, so you can always tell when someone is calling or messaging. It’s perfect for those who are wanting to get accurate information and stay connected while hiking or camping.
12. Polar Grit X
The Polar Grit X is a watch for those who are looking for durability. It has military grade durability that allows you to use this watch in extreme temperatures or treacherous adventures. You can get a 2-day weather forecast from this watch, and it will show you current weather conditions. This watch will also provide you with great training data, as well as an altimeter and compass.
With the Polar Grit X, you are able to get real-time GPS guidance that will help you stay on track and get you where you want to go. One of the major aspects to this watch is the data you can get while training. It will detect downhill and uphill statistics and tell you how well you performed. Nevertheless, if you want a great durable sports watch, this is a perfect choice for you.
Now that you’ve mentally decided to purchase a hiking watch (why wouldn’t you want one?!), let’s explore the reasons to use a hiking watch.
It’s easy (and scary) to get lost while hiking, especially if you’re in unfamiliar territory. Hiking watches can keep you from getting lost. These watches have the primary function of navigation. Hiking watches can come equipped with GPS-technology, an altimeter, and/or a digital compass. Every hiker should have some type of directions-finding device in their arsenal. Why not purchase a hiking watch that comes with these cool features?
Anticipating Weather Conditions
Experienced hikers know the importance of being aware of the weather before and during their hikes. Hiking watches provide convenience for such weather-tracking. Most hiking watches have a temperature sensor or a barometer, which measures air pressure. Why would you need to know the air pressure? Great question! Change in air pressure serves as a prediction for weather patterns. Increases in air pressure can indicate that weather is improving. Decreases in air pressure indicate just the opposite: a storm may be coming your way. Bad weather can pose a danger and threat to, not only what is intended to be an enjoyable hike, but also your safety.
Some high-quality hiking watches can even connect to your phone, showing the full weather forecast. Hiking watches can even show the times for sunrise and sunset, which is also convenient for better preparing your hike or knowing when to get off the trail and head back home or to the campgrounds before it’s dark.
Tracking Health and Fitness
Say goodbye to those highly marketed fitness watches with limited features because some hiking watches can do it all! Hiking watches can count your steps, monitor your heart rate, calculate calories burned, and track your sleep. In other words, hiking watches can monitor your health and help you reach your fitness goals.
In addition to the uses of a hiking watch, let’s look at some of the common features of hiking watches.
GPS, or the global positioning system, is a global satellite-based navigation system that gives information about locations. You’re probably most familiar with GPS being used in cars, but hiking watches can be GPS-equipped, too. Inside a GPS-equipped hiking watch is a tiny receiver that can connect to the satellite systems. Of course, GPS signal strength is dependent upon your physical location while hiking. If you’re hiking in an area surrounded by trees and blanketed in thick shrubbery, getting a signal may be difficult. To utilize a hiking watch’s GPS feature, be sure to be in an area that is free from obscurities or things that may block a signal.
Nevertheless, hiking watches with GPS technology are great purchases. They can even enable you to record the position data for your hike! You can record the start of a hike and stop recording at the end of a hike and save the data to the watch. These recordings can be uploaded to your computer for analysis. How cool!
Altimeters in hiking watches are used to measure the altitude, or height in relation to sea or ground level. Knowing your altitude can help you locate your location on a map. Hiking watches that do not have a separate altimeter function can analyze and give altitude measurements from GPS data. However, measurements from an altimeter sensor would be more accurate than GPS measurements of altitude.
Barometers measure atmospheric pressure. As it was previously mentioned, barometers are good contraptions for determining imminent weather conditions. More simple barometers take viewable air pressure readings, but higher-quality barometers are more pictorial, as they show graphs of air pressure changes. Some hiking watches even self-alert you of major changes in air pressure, as this may serve as a warning for severe weather.
Heart-rate monitors that track heart rate all day long are a common feature in hiking watches. Data from this feature can be used to monitor current health and determine exertion levels. Knowing your exertion levels can tell you how to best approach your hike. Hikers who want to maintain a steady heart rate may walk and hike at low exertion levels in order to avoid spikes in their heart rates. Being able to monitor your heart rate may also alert you that you’re getting sick and need to take a break and rest. A notice of high heart rate can indicate to you that you need to slow down.
Hiking watches equipped with thermometers can measure the temperature of your surroundings. Knowing the temperature of your surroundings may be beneficial to you, as weather and outdoor conditions may limit your activities. For example, warm weather that is getting increasingly hot may indicate that you may need to rethink that strenuous hike up an uneven terrain and take a slow walk on the trail instead. Just be sure to take the watch off if you want the watch to measure the outdoor temperature. If you don’t do this, the watch may read your skin temperature. Oops!
Now that you’re familiar with the typical features of hiking watches, although the efficiency of these features depends on the quality and price of the watch, let’s consider exactly what you should look for in a hiking watch before you decide on purchasing one within your budget.
Battery life should be the first thing to consider when buying any type of watch. You don’t want a watch that will run out of juice too quickly. But the way you use your hiking watch determines how frequently it needs to be charged. If you often use the GPS feature on your hiking watch to track your hikes, your watch needs to be charged almost every day. Less frequent uses of battery-draining features like the GPS may cause the hiking watch to survive a little longer without having to be constantly recharged. If you’re super concerned or worried about not having enough lasting battery life, you may consider buying non-GPS hiking watches or hiking watches that are solar-powered.
Experienced hikers know that limiting the amount of weight that they carry is important and back-saving. This is why the weight of the hiking watch around your wrist should not be overlooked. A comfortable and manageable weight for a watch is commonly 50 grams or less. Carefully consider if any watches with all sorts of bells and whistles are worth the excess weight on your wrist.
When hiking, most of the time, encountering some type of moisture or water is inevitable. It’s comforting to know that most hiking watches are water resistant, or sealed against the potential damages of getting wet or damp. However, keep in mind that hiking watches come with varying degrees of water resistance, meaning that not all hiking watches protect against water damage in equal degrees. As a rule of thumb, try to look for hiking watches that are water-resistant up to 100 meters (m) of water.
You want your hiking watch to consistently work the best way that it can. Wanting consistent performance means that you want a durable watch. Even if you want a watch that is under $100, it’s worthwhile to consider if cheaper watches can withstand the harsh conditions that you may encounter on your hike. Because of this, you should look for watches that are shock- and scratch-resistant. The displays of more expensive watches can be covered by sapphire glass, a tough glass that can handle harsh outdoor conditions and is highly scratch-resistant. Cheaper watch displays may be covered by Gorilla Glass, which is a cheap alternative to sapphire glass.
Easy to Use
Hiking watches can have touch screen-based interfaces, which are innovative and reminiscent of other smart devices. However, touching the screen on a hiking watch may sometimes be non-functional if your hands are wet or if you’re wearing gloves. Hiking watches that have buttons and no touch screens may seem more useful for hiking, but the interface on those watches can be more complex than touch-screen watches, as you may have to press buttons in a certain order, and this can get frustrating. Nevertheless, you decide which type of interface best suits your hiking needs out of all the options for the best hiking watches for every budget.
After exploring the best hiking watches for every budget, choose one that best fits your needs, your wants, and, of course, your price range. Also, choose a hiking watch that will improve your hiking experiences and keep you motivated and moving on up the trail.
Written by Artesa Cox
Updated by Courtney Ludwig