This is a collection of the best hiking watches review available in the in the market. In case you don’t know, a good hiking watch does not only show date and time of the day, but equally gives you vital information such as air pressure, altitude, sunrise and sunset times, location, and so forth. These are critical information which can help you with weather prediction, planning, and navigation.
Here’s the point, anyone that loves the awesome outdoors experience, or has a passion for hiking obviously knows that a reliable hiking watch is the one travel companion you should never leave home without. Gone are the days when you just needed a map, a notebook, and a compass. This is because a high-quality, smart, and reliable outdoor hiking watch can do much more than just tell you the time as I already stated above.
Moreover, wristwatches with hiking-specific functions are incredibly famous lately and the manufacturers are making insanely progress when it comes to bringing design and useful technology together to create a sophisticated masterpiece. They’re putting these high-end, mouth-watering features into their newest products and every company claims that they provide the battery life, waterproofing for scuba diving, design, GPS system, and best sensors. So how exactly do you decide which model is really considered to be the best hiking watch on the market today?
In this list of the best hiking watches reviews, we shall be talking about five hiking watches which are powerfully equipped with GPS and two without GPS.
What to Consider When Buying a Watch for Hiking
A good hiking watch should apparently have features more than a normal wristwatch. The most essential features which every hiking watch should have are typically compass, altimeter, and barometer.
Essentially, a compass displays the four cardinal points (East, North, West, and South) together with bearing and is, therefore, critical for navigation. With a good map and the compass feature, triangulation can easily be done in order to know your current location.
Similarly, an altimeter tells you how high you are above sea level. This is based on the GPS data or barometric pressure. However, a GPS altimeter is a lot more precise than the barometric altimeter and it does not also require any calibration. Additionally, the altimeter function is very useful for navigation as it’s much easier to determine your location on a map if you already know how high you are above the sea level.
And finally, the barometer helps to identify changes in the atmospheric pressure and, therefore, enables you to predict the weather easily. In other words, if the atmospheric pressure is going up, the weather will also get better and on the other way round – if the atmospheric pressure is going down, the weather will get worse (rain, clouds, and so on). A drastic fall in the atmospheric pressure usually indicates a rising storm.
The good thing is that every wristwatch mentioned in this review features both the atmospheric pressure and its tendency graph (changes in the atmospheric pressure in the last hours). Moreover, they equally all feature a storm alarm function that alerts you if the atmospheric pressure significantly drops.
Furthermore, most of the hiking watches out there are equally fortified with a thermometer which becomes quite useful on multiday travels. For example, you can use it to measure the temperature outside the tent so you can layer your clothes properly before setting out on the route again. It is, however, vital to remember that the thermometer will normally most correctly measure temperature when the timepiece is not on your wrist due to the fact that your body heat affects the measurements.
Apart from compass, barometer, and altimeter, below are the other things you should equally pay attention to before finally buying that hiking watch:
1. Heart Rate Monitor
Most of the numerous hiking watches out there equally display and record the heart rate. However, the most erudite hiking wristwatches has the wrist-based heart rate monitors feature, while the other ones need a chest strap transmitter (to be purchased separately sometimes).
This heart rate monitor feature becomes very useful on hiking travels as it lets you maintain a constant pace all through the hike.
Most of the modernized hiking watches in the market support GPS (some also supports GLONASS) which happens to be the best solution for tracking and navigation at the moment. A GPS enable watch lets you to instantly get the coordinates of your current location. Additionally, it can equally show current distance, ascent, descent, speed, and other GPS-related information. GPX or similar formats can also be imported to most GPS timepieces.
You can then use these routes for navigation as the watch displays your current location as related to the GPX trail. That’s not all, GPS enabled watches equally records your activities and lets you export the details (total ascent, total descent, duration, average speed, distance, and other important information) to web or mobile apps like Garmin Connect or Suunto Movescount for analysis. Unfortunately, GPS enabled watches have a shorter battery life span than sports watches that don’t have GPS feature. Nonetheless, they are usually armed with rechargeable batteries.
3. Battery Life
The last thing you need is for your hiking watch battery to dry up when you’re in the middle of something such as the woods. Interestingly, all of those handy features you’ve depended on becomes totally useless because your sports watch’s battery is dead. That’s why it’s of utmost importance for an outdoor timepiece to provide exceptional battery life.
However, while this might not necessarily be a threatening problem for most of you that enjoy going on short hikes, whoever walks for hours or goes for overnight camping will definitely find a tremendous deal of comfort in being aware that your watch is equipped with a long-lasting battery, think about it.
Well, it can get really tough out there and a trusted and dependable hiking wristwatch have to be very durable and rugged. You want a model which provides an awesome waterproof design that can overcome scratches, cold, impact, and dust. A super-quality timepiece that can surmount the demands of the difficult outdoor exercises will never disappoint you in the middle of a hike.
Furthermore, if you will be spending your hard-earned money on a new hiking timepiece, won’t it be necessary to be assured that your investment is well protected?
Sports watches today are ideal for nature enthusiasts, hikers, and backpackers. With GPS receivers, barometers, altimeters, compasses, and even the means of tracking speed, distances hiked, and calories burnt, they offer a bunch of practical features that are designed to help you on your outdoor hiking activities.
But with lots of brands and options to choose from out there, it becomes really challenging and daunting to select the right one that will suitably cover your needs. However, the good thing is that we’re here to help you.
We examined the best models in the market, comparing features such as:
- Available features
- Customer reviews
And finally, we were able to come up with a list of the best 10 hiking watches of 2018. By the time you’re done going through the list, you should be able to choose the smart hiking watch that’s perfect for your needs.
Best Hiking Watch Reviews and Buyer’s Guide 2018
In 2017, the Garmin Fenix 5 sports watch replaced the famous Garmin Fenix 3 timepiece. Basically, the Germin Fenix 5 is a Smartwatch that has a high-resolution color display which is designed for tough outdoor activities. The wristwatch is made of very strong materials – while a stainless steel material was used to make the bezel, and the lens is designed with Sapphire glass, but that’s only for the Sapphire models. Therefore, the watch is durable and provides awesome abrasion resistance.
Nonetheless, the watch’s design makes it stylish enough to wear to anywhere without thinking twice, even to business meetings. Furthermore, the Garmin Fenix 5 hiking watch is fortified with a thermometer, altimeter, 3-axis compass, and barometer. For more truthful temperature readings, it can be connected to an external temperature sensor (Garmin Tempe). Also, the altimeter and compass are automatically calibrated through GPS.
Furthermore, other mouth-watering features that are made possible by GPS include the fact that the sports watch can set the time based on your location automatically, and of course offers tracking and navigation. You can easily import points of interest and routes, and the timepiece will give you the directions. All your activities can be saved with you being able to access detailed information about every activity via the Garmin Connect app (mobile or desktop version).
Additionally, this outdoor watch has various fitness features such as race predictor, recovery advisor, V02 estimator, and so on. It’s equally suitable for other type of sports such as skiing, running, and swimming. Interestingly, the Connect IQ connectivity lets you personalize the watch with widgets, apps, and unique watch faces (for instance, you can easily install a weather widget on the watch to enable you access the weather forecast on the watch directly). Moreover, you can also synchronize the watch with a Smartphone to show alerts, texts, emails, and other relevant notifications. This can be done via the Germin Connect mobile app which is available for both Android and iOS devices
Finally, another exciting feature is that you can pair the watch with the Garmin Virb action camera and hence, the camera can be directly controlled from the watch. It might also interest you to know that the Fenix 5 watch is available in 3 different sizes which includes:
- Fenix 5S (42 mm/1.7 in)
- Fenix 5 (47 mm/1.9 in)
- Fenix 5X (51 mm/2.0 in)
Also, the 5X model, together with the features stated above, equally supports maps – you can use it to see a topographic map which is very handy for navigation.
Watch this short video to learn more about this watch:
This is an excellent timepiece that can closely compete with the almighty Garmin Fenix 5 reviewed above. Although, the Suunto Spartan series wristwatches had a terrible start in 2016, they managed to boost their performance dramatically adding sophisticated and useful features through their various updates.
The Suunto Spartan Sport Wristwatch is loaded with a colored touch screen and a stainless-steel bezel. That’s not all, the watch equally has buttons which lets you to easily make use of it when putting on gloves. The Suunto Spartan is also fortified with compass, altimeter, thermometer, and barometer, and GPS (and GLONASS).
Furthermore, it’s pretty easy to navigate the trails with the watch as the GPX routes and the waypoints can be easily imported to the watch via the Suunto Movescount app, from where you can simply plan tracks before hiking. Additionally, existing routes can be found from other Movescount users and then import them to your own wristwatch. Preferably, you can use the Heatmap feature that shows popular routes within a specific area.
Apart from planning, the Movescount app equally provides an ample overview of all your workouts (a calendar displays workouts with parameters like burned calories, distance, duration, and so on).
Also, watch can track:
- The walked distance
- Show current speed and much more
- Find a route back to your starting point
It features a wrist-based heart-rate-monitor which removes the need of putting on a chest strap transmitter.
Finally, the Bluetooth connectivity feature lets you connect the watch to your Smartphone with ease, which will enable you to always get notifications from the phone to your watch. Unfortunately, the Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR Baro sports watch is unavailable with the Sapphire glass lens.
However, if you really need the Sapphire glass lens, you might want to check out Suunto Spartan Ultra watches rather. The good thing is that Suunto Spartan Ultra wristwatches have a bit longer battery life but are costlier, and do not come with the wrist-based heart rate monitor.
Garmin is undeniably one of the top manufacturers of performance and sports watches in the world today. All their watches (just like the Fenix 5 we mentioned above) are always equipped with lots of sophisticated features – and the Garmin Fenix 3 HR, Gray is definitely not exceptional. The device is the ideal choice for not just hikers alone, but also for runners, athletes, and other outdoor enthusiasts.
This Garmin model was built for easy use and provides an optically-welded, high-resolution color Garmin Chroma Display which measures about 1.2″. Also, with a display resolution of about 218 x 218 pixels, as well as a transflective MIP color sapphire lens, this timepiece is stylish and outstandingly easy to read.
Additionally, with numerous mobile apps available for download on the internet, the display style of your watch can be easily swapped out so you can add various widgets with effortlessly. And for durability and comfort, it’s built with a black silicone band which is soft-to-the-touch but pretty much resists discoloration.
This outdoor watch is quite durable, and stylish with so many remarkable features which is why this Garmin brand is one of our best selections here. As for outdoor navigation, this Garmin model was built with a barometer, 3-axis compass, TracBack, and altimeter feature. The TracBack guides you back to your kickoff point – with it, you’ll never worry about getting lost or being turned around.
It also features a GPS track log which lets you mark locations such as checkpoints, campsites, and other points that most interests you. It also lets you monitor your heart rate without putting on a chest strap, this is especially useful for athletes that are interested in viewing their performance data.
Thanks to its easy wireless connectivity which you can use to easily receive alerts, texts, and emails right on your watch, this is made possible due to the fact that the device can get the wireless signal from your smartphone.
Finally, you no longer have to worry about the elements when you’re putting on the Garmin Fenix 3 HR. With water rating up to 10ATM/ 100 meters, this watch can be worn in the snow, rain, and even while swimming.
Best Outdoor Watches 2018
Just like the Garmin Fenix 3 above, the Suunto Ambit3 Peak is also a pure ABC enabled (Altimeter, Barometer, Compass) outdoor smartwatch which equally has a GPS function. This wristwatch has almost the same functions as the popular Garmin Fenix 3 but is more affordable.
With available mobile apps for download, and the edition of Suunto’s Movescout website, the Ambit 3 is really classical. The timepiece is also handy for the backwoods hiker or the jogger who want to keep track of his runs.
The Movescout lets you upload your routes, trips, and every of your fitness data while also letting you download apps that you can either create or have already been created by other people, all for free.
Interestingly, the Suunto Ambit3 also provides an accurate altimeter which records data points every 15-minutes – and with just the push of a button, will display the last 24-hours in a profile graph format. Pretty awesome.
The same feature is equally available with barometric data and you can easily upload all data to Movescout for safety. Additionally, the compass works at nearly any angle, so your wrist doesn’t need to be level to get a correct reading which is unlike a magnetic compass.
Furthermore, the compass heading displays in a plainly visible degrees layout with an arrow showing north. However, you’ll be required to manually set declination. The Movescout.com website can be used to load points of interest into the smartwatch, and also navigate to the points with the help of the GPS. Moreover, the FindBack feature will enable you to navigate back to your starting point.
Another good thing is that you never have to worry about missing your route as the Ambit3 equally displays a digital map which shows your path. You can log your route, distance, and speed to Movescout.com, if you like. A wonderful feature for bikers or runners!
Ambit3’s battery life is excellent at roughly 20-hours with the GPS feature switching on, it’s notably more with it being off, up to one month. You’ll be asked to set it up when you first unbox it, just like the Garmin Fenix. Except you’re already familiar with GPS hiking watches, you’ll perhaps need to check online or consult the user’s manual in order to configure the menus properly.
Unlike most ABC watches out there, the Alimeter is very accurate but even at that, it’ll will still need to be calibrated frequently. You can use the FusedAlti feature which works with GPS for the calibration. You can also use the large, easy to use function buttons to effortlessly toggle between screens.
The display is equally clear, easy to read, and has a wonderful backlight for night use. However, the Ambit3 is somehow bulky compared to the Garmin Fenix, but it’s still very comfortable to put on all day.
Finally, regardless of what you need a GPS for, marathons, hiking, kayaking, biking, the Ambit3 is a perfect option. It is equally rated for more than 300 feet (100m), so you could also use it for diving or snorkeling.
This happens to be the most expensive hiking watch on our list – but that’s simply due to the fact that the Garmin Fenix 5x Sapphire was built as a premium option for serious and highly committed outdoor athletes. However, if you’re a passionate camping or hiking enthusiast, and desires a wristwatch that provides almost every possible feature you can think of, then the Garmin’s leading model is ideal for you.
Excitingly, this Garmin model features Transflective technology which reflects and simultaneously transmits light, letting the face of the watch to be read anytime, anywhere, even in direct sunlight. Additionally, it has a 1.2 inches high-resolution display at 240 x 240 pixels together with a full-color “Garmin Chroma Display” and LED backlighting. This means solid color delivering a striking clarity in any environment.
Talking about durability, the watch’s large face is protected by a scratch resistant sapphire lens which can surmount drops and impact. Also, the additional silicone wrist strap is comfortable but won’t change color. It also features a rugged rear case, a stainless steel bezel, and a sturdy buttons which adds to the longevity of this remarkable hiking device.
The Garmin Fenix 5 Sapphire outdoor watch is indeed feature-rich and is an excellent choice for swimmers, runners, skiers, and hikers. In order to help you navigate routes, it has a variety of outdoor sensors such as GLONASS satellite reception and GPS, and also a 3-axis compass with an altimeter, barometer, and gyroscope. And for whoever is interested in athletic activities, it equally offers to boost wrist heart rate technology.
Additionally, thanks to this watch’s Wi-Fi connectivity, which lets you stay connected and receive updates, get smart notifications, change your watch face, add new apps, and connect to the Garmin Connect online fitness community always.
Finally, with a water rating of about 10ATM/100 meters, this is the ideal smartwatch for any outdoor and hiking adventurer, letting you wear it while swimming or in the rain.
For more than 4 decades, Casio has been one of the prominent names in digital watch brands and opting for the “Casio Men’s PRO TREK Quartz Resin Casual Watch” is one of the best buying decisions you can ever make. This is a simple hiking wristwatch that is excellent at helping you navigate routes while being more affordable than most of the other available options in the market.
The case of this Casio model measures about 47.1mm and is pretty lightweight when compared to few of its bulkier competitors. Apart from that, it also has a smooth quartz movement, and the digital displays makes use of STN liquid crystals, enabling for enhanced readability. With afterglow feature and full auto backlight, this timepiece is pretty easy to read both at night and in the day time. Also, thanks to its in-built solar battery, which ensures you don’t have to border yourself about getting the batteries replaced.
While it’s not as feature-rich as most of the more expensive options mentioned here, this Casio outdoor smartwatch still has more than enough features to see you through most of your hiking exercises. Furthermore, this low temperature-resistant model has a thermometer, barometer, altimeter, and a digital compass with bearing memory. Aside from that, it equally features a 1/10 second stopwatch, sunshine and sunset data, 4 daily alarms, and world time which add to its flexibility.
Finally, feel free to take a quick swim or go hiking in the rain since this Casio PRO TREK Quartz Resin Watch is equally water-resistant up to 100m/ 330 ft. deep.
Outdoor Watches For Hiking Activities
While the Garmin Foretrex 401 is definitely not a watch to be precise, it can be worn on your wrist just like a watch. Dissimilar to the hiking watches reviewed previously, you can easily mount the Germin Foretrek on your quad, kayak, bike, and so on.
And similar to the Garmin Fenix 3 we talked about earlier, it also has GPS function with Garmin’s “TracBack” capability so you don’t have to border yourself about missing your way in the woods. Literally, it will show the trail you took.
Furthermore, the high-sensitivity GPS receiver works even in the thickest woods – this is quite unlike most other less expensive GPS units. Interestingly, even at a lower price, Garmin has added some breathtaking features such as barometric and altimeter which gives you a warning of a change in imminent weather. Aside from that, it equally serves as a compass when you are just trying to determine what direction is north.
Additionally, I love the watches ability to save locations as waypoints letting you locate your way back to vital locations. If you’re a fisherman or a hunter, this is indeed a very awesome feature once you find an excellent fishing spot! With a standard changeable “AAA batteries” and about 17-hours of life, you’ll never go wrong by choosing this hiking wristwatch. When the batteries runs down, simply put in some new sets of battery, and you’re set to go, no bordering about recharging or even dead batteries.
Finally, while I wouldn’t put on the Garmin Foretrek 401 to work or any other special occasion like I would the Fenix 3, it’s perhaps our most recommended mountaineering watch!
For the very committed outdoor enthusiast, this is one of the best hiking watches that money can buy. The Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR Baro Watch is a multi-sport GPS smartwatch built with serious athletes in mind and comes pre-installed with about 80-sports modes so it can comfortably handle any outdoor activity right off the bat.
With a durable, lightweight casing and stainless steel bezel, the Spartan Sport watch is comfortable but insanely rugged. The watch has a customizable face which is designed with mineral crystal glass. Aside from that, the durable color touch screen provides a wide-angle viewing for a much easier visibility. This is indeed an impressive sports watch for longer hikes since it gives a very remarkable battery life of up to 40-hours when GPS is enabled.
Furthermore, like most of the other Suunto models out there, this timepiece is loaded with a bunch of awesome features. GLONASS/GPS route navigation provides points of interest, ETA data, and breadcrumb view – while the digital compass helps to make sure that you’ll never miss your way. An altimeter and barometer help you to track your progress, and finally, the storm alarm will allow you to be aware of when bad weather is coming your way.
Moreover, to help monitor your performance accurately, Suunto built this device to not only monitor your heart rate, but also track burnt calories rate from your wrist. Another exciting feature is its Bluetooth connectivity, which lets you receive alerts from your smartphone and easily sync with the Suunto Movescount mobile App. And if the super-lasting battery begin to run down, just plug the included USB cable into any USB port and it’ll start charging.
Finally, there’s absolutely no need to worry about the weather conditions or taking off your wristwatch when going for a swim since this model features water resistance up to 100m/ 330 ft.
Regardless of if you’re searching for a rugged-looking, stylish wristwatch – or you just dislike the feel of a silicone or resin strap on your wrist, the Casio Men’s ‘PRO TREK’ Quartz Resin Watch is your best choice. It provides almost the same functionalities as other PRO TREK models, but it’s designed with a soft green band which is sure to look amazing with any of your hiking gear.
Additionally, this digital watch features a large 52mm case diameter and a smooth quartz movement. The capability of STN LCD makes reading the high-contrast display effortless and it has a double LED light, which lets you illuminate the backlight or face – in order to extend the battery life, you can easily adjust how long the display should be light up. Plus, the Dura-Soft bracelet is breathable and comfortable, and its movable lug components ensure a better fit.
Finally, this triple-sensor smartwatch is built with a one-touch measurement button, which allows you to easily switch between thermometer, compass, barometer, and altimeter. The altimeter measures from about -700 to 10,000 meters so you can correctly gauge your altitude anywhere. Also, you can put it on all year round, since it is low-temperature resistant to about 14 degrees Fahrenheit. This hiking watch is suitable for swimming or hiking in the rain, it equally offers water resistance up to 100m/ 330 ft.
Casio goes a step forward into the smartwatch industry with one of the best hiking watches of 2018, the “WSD-F20 PROTREK Smart.” This rugged, durable wristwatch is excellent for numerous outdoor activities, and comes loaded with a bunch of features to satisfy even the most demanding user.
Casio manufactured this timepiece to handle any outdoor activity. It’s rugged and meets all the military “MIL-STD-810” testing conditions. Interestingly, the large 61.7mm case diameter of this smartwatch is simple to read and can provide up to about 25-hours of battery life with GPS enabled, and about one full month usage in normal timepiece mode.
Furthermore, the WSD-F20 has enhanced GPS functionality and includes an in-built sensors which measure directions, atmospheric pressure, and altitudes while showing your location on a full-color map. You simply need to press the tool button to switch from a barometer, compass, sunrise or sunset information, altimeter, tide graph, etc.
And since it tracks all your activities, you can easily monitor your burned calories, steps taken, highest altitude achieved for the day, and workout time. Plus, thanks to its straightforward syncing capability that you can use to receive messages, alerts, and also check your calendar right from your wristwatch.
This hiking watch model is resistant to 50m/ 165 ft, letting it withstand snow, rain, as well as short recreational swimming.
Hiking Watches Review 2018 Conclusion
Regardless of if you’re just taking short strolls via your local park or you are hiking along different hiking routes in the wilderness for hours, you’ll definitely find this best hiking watch reviews valuable. This is because buying a good hiking watch for your outdoor adventures is one of the smartest investments you can ever make.
All the rugged outdoor watches we reviewed here are designed to help you to easily navigate the perfect outdoors so you don’t have to worry about missing your trails. And with lots of other handy features, these smartwatches can replace nearly any tool you carries in your backpack. However, before you go out to purchase your own GPS enabled hiking watch, there are some vital things you need to really pay attention to.
Ideally, the key point is that you need a high-quality outdoor, hiking watch that offers a long-lasting battery life, weather-proof design, a fast and dependable GPS receiver, and is durable. Any outdoor watch that meets these primary requirements will certainly be able to lead you through even the most challenging of adventures.
Furthermore, there are lots of watches in the hiking niche and more produced every month. You just have to determine your needs by checking all of the features we mentioned above, and also decide whether you’ll want to pair your watch with a phone or not.
Everyone obviously has different needs and style so consider these things before choosing a watch.
However, out of all the watches reviewed here, I have to really give the Casio Protek high marks for price and versatility, however, I think the trusted and refined features of the Suunto Core are indeed worth spending some extra bucks on.
And for the high-spenders, it’s difficult to argue with the stunning and robust Garmin Fenix 3, but the greatest downside of it is the relatively shorter battery life that might be an issue for some serious backcountry nomads. Finally, enjoy your hiking activities and look for a wristwatch which can keep up with your tempo!.
Don’t miss to read the garmin hiking watches experts reviews of Garmin Fenix 3 HR Review, Garmin Fenix 5 review, Garmin Vivosmart 3 review, Garmin Vivofit 3 review and Fenix 5x review at dealsngadgets.com