The best hiking watch has to pack in more than merely a device to note the time. In fact, if you see manufacturers are competing with each other to pack in as many features as possible and offer you the best watch for hiking. Altimeter, barometer, compass, thermometer, there is practically no end to features that are included in the hiking watches today. The effort is to excel in offering the most compelling range of options for the user. The watch often becomes the single most useful device with a host of options that are available across the board.
The idea is to convert your hiking watch into this super device that keeps you updated at all points through the hike. Imagine all the sci-fi that you have seen thus far, often the idea is to convert your hiking watch to something as magical as that. But the point is though most of these features are extremely useful, it can be a confusing ordeal to trying to identify what is there and what is not and which feature to stress upon. Often the question is what functionality you should choose over what? That is by far the most pertinent issue whether you should go for the fastest GPS or the most accurate altimeter.
Therefore, deciding on the best hiking watch is no child’s play. You have to make sure that the watch addresses all your needs, but at the same time, is not unnecessarily packed with features that you don’t need. You have to carefully consider all that you may require in the best watch for hiking and weigh the pros and cons. But if you feel it is too much of a task, simply go through this ready guide of the top options that we have created for you. This is a collection of some of the most functional alternative available now.
1. Garmin Fenix 3 GPS Watch – EXO Antenna
When you are looking for the best hiking watch, the Garmin Fenix 3 remains a crucial player and features prominently in any list of the best watches for hiking. It is a powerful and smart hiking watch that can be easily personalized as per your necessity and customized to your preference list.
The Garmin GPS deserves a specific mention in this context. It accurately records details of the trail and movement and enables you to mark your points with a wide array of details, as many as 1000 points. This means that your route is both detailed and well etched out. So if someone is indeed looking for direction, this will be able to guide them accurately.
That apart, this watch is connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth, and you can easily get alerts about emails and text messages directly on your watch. In case you want, you can also attach a heart rate monitor for additional data tracking. However, this has to be added separately and is not part of the original package.
The other features of this power-packed watch include a 1.2” sunlight-visible high-resolution Chroma display. It has a 10ATM or 100 meters water rating. That implies that this is also appropriate for swimming. The case of this watch is made of fiber-reinforced polymer, and it comes equipped with Omni-directional EXO antenna made of steel.
The battery life of this watch deserves a mention too. If you use it in watch mode, the battery can last up to 6 weeks and 50 hours in UltraTrac mode. In GPS mode, however, it can last about 20 hours. This can be a concern if you are going for a long hike spread over several days.
2. Casio Men’s Pathfinder Triple Sensor Watch – Triple Sensor
If you are keen about a multifunctional super device, then the Casio Men’s Pathfinder can be one of the best hiking watches. It is functional, practical and extremely simple to navigate at every stage.
The Altimeter in this hiking watch helps you determine the height or the altitude of your location. This is calculated by pressure sensors using the changes in atmospheric pressure. This is known for the precision measurements and accuracy of the data.
The Barometer/Thermometer is another interesting addition to this watch makes it undeniably one of the best watches for hiking. It measures the atmospheric pressure at a 2-hour interval and displays the latest weather conditions. The digital compass adds to the advantages of this hiking watch. It allows you to keep your bearing straight and also assists in determining the location in a low light condition of fog.
The sunrise-sunset timing details, the dual-layer LCD displays, and the large register ring are some of the key elements that add to the charm of this watch. That apart, it also comes equipped with a solar-powered battery-recharging system that ensures that your watch will not fail you even for longer hikes. The auto lights in this watch add a unique dimension. They sense illumination levels and can be switched on with a mere tilt of the wrist.
3. Suunto Ambit3 Peak HR Running GPS Unit – Running GPS Unit
When you are looking for the best hiking watch, the Suunto Ambit3 Peak is amongst the top contenders. This is one of the best-equipped GPS watches for any type of adventure and sports. It helps you with all coordinates and details that can help you stay safe and on the course during your trek.
Moreover, you can even connect your watch to your smartphone wirelessly and use the Suunto Movescount App absolutely free. You can use it to adjust the watch and also share your experience online. You can also sync your phone applications and can get email and message notification on your watch. This hiking watch also deserves mention for recording temperature and altitude quite accurately and offering a stable set of readings.
This watch is also resistant to 100-meter water and comes with one of the best batteries in the industry. It can be operational for almost 200 hours with just 1-minute accuracy. That is decidedly one of the biggest advantages of this watch and helps you get a distinct edge over others when you are wearing this.
4. Suunto Traverse Hiking Watch – Integrated GPA & GLONASS Navigation
The next in our list of best hiking watch is the Suunto Traverse. It will not be wrong to term it as one of your best companions on long treks and adventure trips. The GPS Navigation coupled with topographic maps on Movescount site helps you plant out treks flawlessly and then stay on course. This watch has GPS and GLONASS for POI navigation and route selection too.
This watch gives you the option to record and then look at the recorded route with ease. You can also track your altitude, speed, and distance using this watch. The heatmaps help you to discover new routes and chart your own treks with ease.
There are several other features why you may consider this as one best watch for hiking. It is resistant to as much as 100 meters or 330 feet water depth and alerts you about storm and weather possibilities. The compass and the backlight further enhance user convenience, and the vibration alarm makes sure you do not miss a single deadline while on a trek. You also get a mobile notification on your watch after syncing it to your phone.
Last but surely not the least, this watch also has a reasonable battery life. Depending on the settings that you are using, it can last as much as 15 days.
5. Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR Baro Watch – Sports Expertise
Another offering from Sunnto, the Spartan Sports Wrist HR Baro Watch is one of the best watches for hiking. This GPS Watch is ideal for any type of athletic and adventure. A durable and sturdy watch, it is specially meant for those who are driven by their passion and are constantly looking for a functional alternative to meet their necessities
This hiking watch comes equipped with a heart rate measuring software along with the barometer for assessing the altitude at which you may be standing. This watch also has a highly sensitive touch screen and superior water resistance abilities. This is an extremely practical watch, and it is very well suited for any outdoor training.
The battery for this watch lasts for almost 40 hours and comes with a fairly accurate GPS for easy navigation. This is also a very stylish hiking watch with a steel bezel and mineral crystal glass adding to both practicality and the charm of the watch.
Like most other Sunnto variants, it is resistant to almost 100-meter water and supports close to 80 sports activities. On an average, this is an extremely versatile and functional variant.
Tips for Buying The Best Hiking Watch
So when you are looking for the best watch for hiking, you have to pay attention to a lot of factors. It is essential to choose one that is functional and fits your budget. But you may consider the term functional as confusing. After all, something that may be a necessity for you may not be for someone else. The challenge is how best you can draw a balanced view and an affordable variant. Here is a quick lowdown on some of the most important features that are an absolute necessity.
Ease Of Use
The best hiking watch has to be undeniably the one that is easy to use, operate and extremely functional in nature. The basic rule of thumb is if you go for a very complicated watch with too many features, you may be overwhelmed by it at times, and it may fail to offer you all the relevant information that you need. Make sure the one that you choose has just a select number of buttons and a convenient navigation mode for easy and error-free access every time.
Now, this is the most basic priority when you are deciding on the best watch for hiking. You have to choose a watch that has a proven track record of the long-lasting great quality battery. We all know that replacing a watch battery is both a tedious and complicated process and if you are dependent on the watch for every coordinate, this can be a major hassle. That is why the best hiking watch is decidedly the one with a proven battery life. On an average, a reliable good quality hiking watch battery lasts for at least 48 hours without needing any charge. There are others that may last even longer. Additionally, if you are carrying this for a longish trip, you need to carry spare batteries or a solar charging kit
The durability of the hiking watch is also crucial. Remember when you are hiking that there is every chance that you may fall or the watch may slip from your hands. These minor reasons should not be triggers for the watch breaking down, or else you may be stranded in the middle of nowhere without the watch. So, it is better to choose the ones that have hardened glass faces and adequate protection from pressure. The broad consensus is that the watch face has to be durable and withstand any type of extreme pressure. That will make sure that the watch will not get damaged by any unnecessary force and you are not inconvenienced by any type of disconnect.
The accuracy of the GPS coordinate is a crucial factor. When you are out hiking, your coordinates are very important. Therefore the accuracy of the GPS plays a very important role. So it goes without saying that you go for a hiking watch that offers excellent GPS accuracy and help you stay connected with the rest of the world. It also enables easy and hassle-free navigation and ability to easily reach out to your known circle any time you are in trouble. Moreover, in case of an emergency, the accuracy of the GPS will be crucial. Therefore this factor will play a key role in deciding the best hiking watch for you.
Therefore, you can clearly understand that the best hiking watch is never just about going for a great company or a bevy of features. Most importantly, it needs to be functional, versatile and properly calibrated. The ease of use is primary in this case and you must make sure that the watch can be navigated with minimum possible buttons. This adds to the efficiency and functionality in every possible way. You have to also make sure that you give more credence to durability than just looks or features because if the watch cannot withstand the pressure, features will be of no use. In many ways, that goes on to decide the best watch for hiking.