8 Best Hiking Watches (Review) In 2022
- 1. Garmin Instinct Rugged Hiking Watch With GPS
- 2. SUUNTO Core All Black Military Men’s Hiking Sports Watch
- 3. Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS
- 4. SUUNTO Traverse Alpha
- 5. Timex Expedition Shock XL Watch
- 6. Casio Men’s Pro Trek PRW2500T Tough Solar Digital Sport Watch
- 7. SUUNTO Ambit3 Peak HR Running GPS Unit
- 8. Garmin Tactix Bravo Black With Nylon Strap
Wristwatches have come a long way since its inception in the 19th century and are now an everyday tool that most people can’t do without. Since its humble beginnings, there are now wristwatches for different applications, from fitness to fashion. Our focus today, however, is the very impressive hiking watch, which not only tells the time but also furnishes the user with other essential pieces of information. With that said, if you are planning a hiking trip with your friends, we would like to recommend the best hiking watch, or if that’s not to your liking, a slew of competent hiking watches that are also very good that you should be angling to buy. For some similar sport gadgets, take a look at our selection of pedometers as well.
The Best Hiking Watch
1. Garmin Instinct Rugged Hiking Watch With GPS
Backtrack feature that ensures you make it back to your starting point
Extremely powerful battery that can last for up to 14 days
Comes with an in-built three-axis compass
Sturdy and rugged for rough terrains
The Garmin Instinct Rugged Outdoor Watch with GPS, is the quintessential hiking watch for the quintessential outdoorsman. This excellent device is a great GPS watch for hiking and possesses a vast amount of features that make it such an ideal buy for any potential hiking trip. What’s more, the Garmin Instinct is ruggedly built and is tough enough to withstand even the most punishing conditions. This is a watch that you take knowing that you’re going to deal with some nastiness from mother nature, but you can also be confident that it will come out with you on the other side.
Apart from its rugged construction, the Garmin Instinct is also equipped with a 3-axis compass and barometric altimeter, thereby ensuring that you never get lost while out hiking. On top of the GPS capabilities that this watch possesses, it also has other global navigation satellite systems that offer support and provide information that the GPS alone cannot give you. And in an effort to make sure you never go missing with the Garmin Instinct, this sports watch also comes built with a trackback feature that helps you navigate your route back to your starting point. No doubt, the Garmin Instinct is the ideal outdoor GPS watch for you, and it should be a total no-brainer for you to make this purchase.
Additional global navigation satellite systems to support the GPS
Smart notifications keep you aware of what’s going on in your life
Garmin explore app helps you plan trips in advance
Some consumers have found its data reports underwhelming and untrue
The band isn’t so great and makes it challenging to wear all-day
The screen is too small and makes viewing data difficult
2. SUUNTO Core All Black Military Men’s Hiking Sports Watch
Rugged design made to brave the elements
Sunrise and sunset prediction for over 400 locations worldwide
Impressive altimeter that helps you better track your progress
Handy barometer that alerts you of suspicious weather changes
As a company, SUUNTO has been around for a while, and they have been making quality watches since 1936, and with the SUUNTO Core All Black Military Men’s Outdoor Sports Watch, they have outdone themselves. This incredibly rugged outdoor watch is outfitted with several features that make your hiking trip a lot more bearable than with a regular wristwatch. First off, the SUUNTO core works as an excellent altimeter watch as it correctly determines your position while climbing or descending. This particular feature makes this an ideal watch for mountain climbers, or wilderness hikers.
Additionally, the watch is equipped with a helpful barometer, which helps you keep an eye on the air pressure and alerts you to sudden weather changes; therefore, you are never caught unaware by a sudden storm or other surprises from mother nature. Besides, it also has other incredible features, including predicted time for sunrise and sunset, which help to better plan your trips and utilize your daylight hours. More impressive still is that it has predicted daylight hours for over 400 locations worldwide.
Large screen that makes it easy to consume data
In-built compass to help you better navigate your route
Sexy all-black design
The company has been accused of not honoring warranties
Some users have complained that it doesn’t last very long
Certain components aren’t sealed properly and could easily fall off
3. Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS
Features trip computer that helps you keep track of all your activities
Powered by AAA batteries and can last up to 17 hours on GPS mode
Amazing GPS receiver that can still give accurate readings even in deep canyons
Display resolution: 100 x 64 pixels
We are once again talking about a Garmin product, which just goes to show their track record of amazing products. In the Garmin Foretrex 401 Waterproof Hiking GPS, you have an excellent companion on all your hiking or camping trips. The powerful GPS receiver on this Garmin Foretrex is powered by HotFix and can help you navigate your way even when under deep cover. What’s more, the hiking GPS receiver is so powerful, it even works in deep canyons where GPS readings are normally unreliable. Not only that, but the Garmin Foretrex also helps you monitor and keep track of a number of things, including routes, waypoints, tracks, and even your heart rate.
Additionally, this trekking watch operates with the help of standard AAA batteries and can last for a very long time. To further highlight the battery power of the Garmin Foretrex, it can stay on for up to 17 hours in GPS mode. On top of that, the wristwatch also comes with a reasonably large screen that makes the information on it easier to read even at a glance. No doubt, there are so many features packed into this small machine, but just believe us when we say that this is not a watch you want to miss out on. Prepare your hiking shoes and hit the road.
TracBack feature allows user to retrace their steps
Keeps an eye on heart rate, tracks, and so on
Large display screen to easily access information
Subpar manual with confusing instructions for some
The one-year warranty was not enough for some users
Using it can be challenging for newbies
4. SUUNTO Traverse Alpha
Rugged construction that’s made to last
Made with a durable water repellent nylon strap
Automatic shot detection technology helps you keep track of your shots
Made in Finland with high-quality materials
The Suunto Traverse Alpha is by no means the most affordable option on this list, but it more than makes up for it with its reliability and functionality. If you are a fan of the color black or you appreciate minimalist designs, then you’ll understand the Suunto Traverse. This outdoor smartwatch features an aesthetically pleasing design that doesn’t call attention to itself but demands respect when viewed.
However, the awesomeness of the Suunto Traverse doesn’t stop at how pretty it is, it is also filled to the brim with useful tools that will make your hiking trips an amazing experience to always remember. Additionally, it is outfitted with a capable GPS system that helps you successfully navigate your path while on a trip. That’s not all; the GPS also has a breadcrumb trail feature that makes finding your way in the great outdoors an absolute cinch.
Backed up with features such as moon phase calendar and so on, the Suunto Traverse is uniquely suited to fishing and hunting in a way that other watches can’t match. Furthermore, the automatic shot detection technology makes it easy to keep track of when and where you shoot, making revisions an easier task.
Powerful GPS feature with breadcrumb trail
Water-resistant up to 100m
Getting data from the watch could be a cumbersome process
Customer service was deemed to be subpar by some consumers
Some of the readings on the watch was misleading to some users
5. Timex Expedition Shock XL Watch
Water-resistant for up to 30 meters
Powerful backlight makes it easy to use at night
Durable construction makes this watch a long-lasting option
Chronograph function makes the Timex useful for other applications
Timex is one of the oldest watchmakers out there and also one of the most respected due to the quality of their timepieces. With the Timex Expedition Shock XL Watch, it is no different as they have once again created a fantastic watch that would be a great companion on your next hiking trip. The Timex Expedition is designed like a true outdoor watch with its sleek black design and rugged construction that gives it an edge over other timepieces.
Along with its other features, it also comes with a chronograph function, which makes it ideal not just for hiking trips, but for athletic training or other applications of that nature. Besides, this is a wristwatch that can be used at any time of the day as it sports a bright backlight that allows you to have access to information on the screen even in the dead of night. Therefore, if you find yourself in need of the watch’s services at night, you will have no problem using it. In addition to all this, it has a powerful battery and is water-resistant up to 30 meters. If you love hiking, make sure you also check our guide to the best hiking socks.
Long-lasting battery power
Robust scratch-resistant mineral glass
Adjustable strap makes this a perfect fit for most people
It could be difficult to read under certain lights
A clear gap starts to appear between the rubber ring and the glass after a while
Some users claim that the watch is not water-resistant as claimed
6. Casio Men’s Pro Trek PRW2500T Tough Solar Digital Sport Watch
Altimeter helps users to navigate their path with more ease
Exquisite design that fits into almost any environment
Equipped with 31 time zones
Water-resistant up to 200 meters
There aren’t many watches that can compare with the Casio Men’s Pro Trek PRW2500T Tough Solar Digital Sport Watch in the sheer amount of features it delivers to you. Blessed with the classic Casio watch design, this silver wristwatch looks good on you wherever you go. Also, the design of the Casio Pro Trek lends itself well to other environments, including official ones. However, where the Casio Pro Trek truly shines is outdoors, and it is the perfect backpacking watch to have on you.
More impressive still is the atomic timekeeping feature of the Casio Pro Trek, which can tell you the correct time wherever you are. Also, the watch receives time calibration radio signals which help it display the right time.
On top of that, the watch also comes equipped with a competent altimeter, which enables you to verify where you are while climbing up or down. It also gives a much more accurate reading that a regular GPS meaning that you will never have to worry about getting lost with the Casio Pro Trek. Add to that the barometer, which alerts you to changes in weather and a compass to help you keep your true North, and you have a watch that is worthy of a shot.
Rugged design makes this a long-lasting wristwatch
Automatic time calibration radio signals
Powerful barometer to help keep track of weather patterns
The alarm feature failed to alert some users due to low sound
Almost impossible to use at night
Some users found the watch to be way too bulky
7. SUUNTO Ambit3 Peak HR Running GPS Unit
Water resistance up to 100 meters
Powerful battery that can be used for up to 200 hours
Altimeter that lets you navigate your precise location
Powerful GPS unit that ensures that you don’t get lost
We’ll never get tired of talking about SUUNTO products, and it is with the utmost delight that we’re going to have a conversation about the SUUNTO Ambit3 Peak HR Running GPS Unit. Apart from a cool design that will draw a few stares wherever you go, the SUUNTO Ambit3 is also in possession of an in-built altimeter that lets you know precisely where you are and helps you get your bearing even in places where GPS is less than reliable.
That’s not all; it also features an impressive barometer that keeps track of weather patterns and alerts you when a storm’s heading your way. And to complete the triumvirate, the SUUNTO Ambit3 comes with a compass that helps you easily navigate your path without getting lost. What’s more, the SUUNTO Ambit3 possesses water resistance up to 100 meters and is equipped with a heavy-duty battery that can easily last up to 200 hours of use.
Just when you thought things couldn’t get better with the Ambit3, they do with the watch’s ability to connect with your smartphone. This lets it alert you to phone calls and other notifications on your phone on the go. Don’t forget to also check our guide to the best hiking sandals.
You can sync the watch with your smartphone
Adjustable strap that makes it easy to wear/take off
You can add photos and even create a movie with the watch
Bulky watch that feels heavy on the hand
Syncing the watch with your phone is a challenging process for some
Many consumers have complained of poor customer service
8. Garmin Tactix Bravo Black With Nylon Strap
Rugged features lends itself well to the unforgiving terrain
Possesses GPS/GLONASS satellite reception that keeps track even in nasty terrain
Powerful altimeter that keeps you abreast of your altitude
Compass feature to help properly navigate your route
Finally, we have the Garmin Tactix Bravo, Black with Nylon Strap, which going by the impressive construction of Garmin wristwatches in general, is undoubtedly a lovely watch to get. Right out the gate, the Garmin Tactix affords the wearer with visibility even under sunlight with its excellent high-resolution display. Furthermore, the Garmin Tactix comes with GPS/GLONASS satellite reception, which makes it possible to keep track of your route even in more challenging terrain.
Apart from that, it sports a cool looking design which is easy to fall in love with and will set you apart from the average hiker. This altitude watch allows you to measure the altitude from a fixed point, and it does this with unerring precision. It doesn’t end there; the Garmin Tactix also possesses a barometer and a compass for tracking the weather and superior navigation, respectively. Moreover, the watch can be synced with your smartphone, allowing you to receive notifications from the phone on the smartwatch.
The robustness of the Garmin Tactix should not be overlooked as this is a watch that is made to brave the fiercest elements and the nastiest conditions. On top of this, the watch is blessed with a powerful battery that lets you rest easy, knowing that your watch won’t die on you at an inopportune moment.
Powerful battery that lasts for a long time
Great barometer feature that alerts you of changes in weather
Sync the watch with your phone to get notifications directly on your timepiece
Syncing with your smartphone could be a real hassle
The watch doesn’t do too well with regular wear and tear
The screen is difficult to see for some
Hiking Watch Buying Guide
Features To Look For In Hiking Watches
Altimeter - Simply put, an altimeter helps you measure altitude. This is very important when you go hiking, especially if you find yourself climbing up or down a surface. An altimeter gives you an accurate reading of where you are, meaning that you can keep track of your location with relative ease. You might think to yourself that with a GPS and a compass, there is no need for an altimeter, but you couldn’t be more wrong. GPS readings could be compromised, especially when you’re down a canyon or other challenging terrain, and it is in these situations that the altimeter really shines. So, ensure that you get a watch that has a functioning altimeter.
Barometer - Weather is a fickle thing. One moment, the sun is shining, and all’s right with the world, the next moment, you’re drenched, cold, and the rain is pouring down like you stole its lunch money. To avoid such a situation, you need to get a hiking watch that possesses a barometer. The barometer helps you keep track of weather patterns, and for some watches, it even alerts you of incoming storms or other unfavorable weather conditions. With that in mind, getting a watch with a barometer feature is of the utmost importance and shouldn’t be neglected.
Compass - The compass makes up the triumvirate of the hiking watch. Along with the altimeter and barometer, the compass is a feature that most hiking watches worth their salt possesses. As you have most likely guessed, the compass helps you to navigate your path and enables you to find your way easily.
Thermometer - If you plan to go mountaineering with a timepiece, you had better ensure that it comes with a thermometer. As you already know, a thermometer is a device that helps to measure temperature. This function becomes important when climbing, as depending on the altitude, the temperature could become detrimental to a human being. Therefore, with the help of a thermometer, you will be able to predict the temperature of your destination based on the temperature of your current location. The importance of this cannot be overstated as it could be the difference between life and death. Ensure that you get a watch with a competent thermometer, as this will aid you greatly while climbing.
GPS - We have become so used to GPS systems on our phones, in our cars, and other devices that it is almost impossible to live without. However, getting lost while trying to find a way to your grandmother’s house is a lot more favorable than getting lost in the wilderness while hiking. This is why any hiking watch you propose to buy must be equipped with a functioning GPS. Note that the GPS tends to drain battery life, so it should be used with care.
Connectivity - Your watch’s connectivity is vital as this is what determines some of the information your timepiece can get. If your watch has inferior connectivity, it is possible that you’d get wrong information that could be a hassle for you while hiking.
Water Resistance - You never know where you’ll end up on a hiking trip; sometimes, the rain will lash at you while you try to navigate your way through, and other times, you might fall into a creek while traversing your chosen path. This is why having a water-resistant watch is so important because having your watch die on you due to a little water is every hiker’s worst nightmare. Therefore, you need to consider the IP rating of your watch before making a purchase.
Interaction - Of what use is a watch that you can’t see? It might not cross your mind, but being able to see the information that your watch is providing is very important when you seek to brave the outdoors. This is why it would be good for you to have a look at the device you’re getting and make sure it is easy to interact with. This covers being able to see it at all times and how the buttons work for you.
Battery Life - Due to the sheer amount of information that your hiking watch gives you, running out of battery power is a nightmare situation for hikers everywhere. For this reason, you are advised to research the battery life of your watch before buying it. Many of the watches highlighted above have powerful batteries that run for hours on end, thereby giving you the peace of mind you need when out hiking.
Wristband - One of the biggest criticisms of some hiking wristwatches is how uncomfortable they can be. This is why the wristband of the watch is important. When looking at the many features of some hiking wristwatches, you might be led to believe that the wristband isn’t as important, but this is false. If you wear a wristband that’s uncomfortable, you not only have to endure the discomfort that comes with it, but you might also be unable to wear it all day. Additionally, your skin could even react to a poorly made wristband, and that would be an unpleasant thing to deal with.
Glass - The glass that your watch comes equipped with plays a massive role in the durability of your timepiece. There are different types of materials used to make watch glass, however, the most popular is sapphire glass as it comes only behind diamond in hardness and is less prone to shattering and breaking. What’s more, with a strong enough glass, you might have to start worrying about other materials getting scratched upon contact with your watch.
Weight - When packing up your hiking supplies, you need to keep in mind how much your luggage weighs. Ideally, you would like to hike as lightly as possible, and in such a case, the last thing you need is a bulky wristwatch weighing you down. Therefore, it would be in your best interest to make sure you get a wristwatch that is as lightweight as possible so that you are less burdened while hiking.