If you’re a hiker, hunter, fisher, or simply enjoy heading out into the great outdoors, it’s important to have a good outdoor watch strapped to your wrist. Not only will it tell you the time, so that you don’t lose track of it and find yourself too far from your base as dusk is closing in, but it should also be loaded with lots of features that will aid you with your outdoor sports.
GPS is one of the most important features of a modern outdoor watch, as it can monitor your movements and ensure that you don’t get lost. Other features that you’ll find on outdoor watches include a monitor for your heart rate, a barometer, an altimeter, and a compass. Of course, outdoor watches need to be rugged and robust too, and features like a stainless steel bezel can enhance the watch’s durability.
We’re going to look at the best eight outdoor watches on the market. Then we’ll show you a buying guide so that you can see what all the key features of a quality outdoor watch are.
View The Best Outdoor Watches Below
1. SUUNTO Ambit3 Running GPS Unit
This outdoor watch from Suunto is packed with all the necessary features for hitting the trail or heading out on a long trek. But, perhaps, its most impressive feature is the effective GPS that allows for route navigation and guidance while you’re hiking. The GPS is accurate up to five seconds, so you’ll always know exactly where you are.
Besides the GPS function, this Suunto watch also includes a compass, heart rate monitor, altimeter, barometer, and you can also log your activities into it too. The screen is large and easy to read, and the battery life can’t be argued with either. You get a whopping 30 hours from it. You can also easily sync it up to your smartphone so that you can use your phone’s screen as a second display.
+ 30h Battery Life
+ 100m Water Resistance
+ Altimeter and Barometer
+ Bulky, Durable Construction
Why We Liked It – This is a solid, all-round, GPS watch that is perfect for taking outdoors for a long hike, especially as it has route guidance, as well as all the other important features you need when heading out on a trek.
2. Casio G-Shock Grey Sport Watch
Everyone loves a Casio G-Shock. And this is one of the best G-Shock watches for outdoorsmen. Of course, like all Casio G-Shock watches, it’s highly durable and robust. It can survive almost anything you throw at it. And that goes for water too, as it offers resistance up to 200m, so, if you fancy a swim to cool off after a hike, then you don’t even need to take it off.
It’s got a handy LED backlight, meaning that you can check the time regardless of how dark it is. And it also has an abundance of features too, including a countdown timer and an hourly time signal. The textured resin band also makes this hiking watch comfortable to wear. It also offers that famous value-for-money that Casio G-Shock watches are so well-known for.
+ Shock Resistant
+ Water Resistant Up To 200m
+ World Clock
+ LED Backlight
+ Quartz Movement
Why We Liked It – Casio G-Shock watches are easy to love. They are affordable, durable, and look good too. This is a solid watch for any outdoorsmen who want reliability and value-for-money from their outdoor watch.
3. Timex Weekender Watch
This Timex watch is proof that outdoor watches can be cheap, look good, and be affordable at the same time. It has a gorgeous cream dial, which is perfectly complemented by the Arabic numerals that are printed onto it. For checking the time at night, it has Indiglo, which is handy when you’re outdoors. Water isn’t an issue for this outdoor watch, either. It offers resistance up to 30m.
The green, nylon strap both enhances the look of the watch, as well as adds to its durability. It’s unlikely to snap or break, even if you get it snagged when you’re involved in outdoor sports. Its battery is one of the best around, offering up to 10 years of life. The scratch-resistant, mineral glass will also continue to look its best after a hike, even if you scrape it against bushes.
+ Scrat-Resistant Mineral Glass
+ 10 Year Battery Life
+ Great Looks
+ Very Cheap
+ Indiglo Backlight
Why We Liked It – It might not be one of the best outdoor watches when it comes to fancy features, but it’s got a low price tag, eye-catching looks, and it’s been built to last.
4. Garmin Forerunner 35 GPS Running Watch
This versatile watch from Garmin is ideal for outdoor sports, as it features a heart rate monitor that is very useful so that you can ensure that you’re burning calories while hiking. Not only can this watch monitor your heart rate, but it also features GPS so that you can see exactly how far you’ve hiked, as well as how fast you were and exactly where you went.
As you’d hope from most modern outdoor watches, this one can be easily paired with your smartphone. If you like to listen to music while you hike, then you’ll enjoy the fact that you can control your music directly through the watch, There’s no need to have to keep fetching your phone from your backpack or pocket when you want to skip a track.
+ Heart Rate Monitor
+ Smartphone Compatible
+ Affordable Price
Why We Liked It – Outdoor watches like this one are easy to like because of the abundance of features that they offer. The GPS function is useful, just like the heart rate monitor and the ability to track your steps, speed, and location.
5. Suunto Traverse Alpha Watch
This is another one of Suunto’s excellent outdoor watches. There’s a lot to love about it, but one of its best features is the stainless steel bezel, which is rugged, knurled, and looks good too. This Suunto watch is loaded with other features.
It’s built with fishers and hunters in mind, including a GPS that allows you to coordinate your location when you’re shooting and mark important locations. And it even features automatic shot detection technology. It’s got other useful features, such as an altimeter and a barometer.
The digital display is very easy to read. With 14 days of battery life, it’s one of the best mountaineering watches for a long trip, as you don’t have to worry about it dying on you. Like other premium Suunto watches, this one is built by some of the best watch craftsmen at the Suuni workshop in Finland.
+ Shot Detection Technology
+ Long Battery Life
+ Water Resistant Up To 100m
+ Sapphire Crystal
+ GPS and GLOSNASS Satelite Systems
Why We Liked It – It’s quite simply one of the best outdoor watches on the market that’s manufactured by one of the best outdoor watch manufacturing companies in the world. It’s full of essential features for outdoor pursuits.
6. Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire
If you’re willing to spend money, then this could be the best watch for you, as it’s a premium outdoorsman watch that’s made by Garmin, widely regarded as one of the best manufacturers of outdoor sports equipment around. This Garmin watch ticks all the important boxes in terms of features. It’s got a rugged design that’s enhanced by a bezel made from stainless steel.
It has a compass, altimeter, barometer, and a gyroscope. Of course, it also includes the all-important GPS, which all the best outdoor watches have. The screen is large and offers excellent visibility in all conditions, no matter if you’re hiking somewhere foggy, dark, or misty. And it has a Sunlight Visible mode in case you’re trekking through the mid-day sun.
+ In-Built Navigation Sensors
+ Barometer and Altimeter
+ Made By Garmin
+ Compatible With Garmin Connect
Why We Liked It – Garmin watches are always a solid choice for hikers, as they’re rugged, robust, and packed with handy features, such as an altimeter, barometer, and digital compass. This Garmin watch is a perfect example of why this company has such a stellar reputation for mountain watches.
7. Casio G-Shock Quartz Watch
This another excellent G-Shock watch from Casio that’s perfect to be used as an outdoor watch. It features the celebrated durability and shock resistance that G-Shock watches are so famous for. And it also includes a Quartz movement so that you can be ensured accurate time while you’re out hiking.
Water is no match for this watch, either, as it offers water resistance up to 200m. The display is easy to read. And the resin strap is extremely comfortable to wear, too, enhancing the durability of this watch. It might not be the best watch for a hiker who wants lots of features, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a reliable, durable, and useful watch to wear on your wrist, because it is.
+ Shock Resistant
+ Water Resistant Up To 200m
+ Quartz Movement
+ Affordable Price
Why We Liked It – It’s one of the best outdoor watches in the budget price range because it features shock resistance, water resistance, and has an easy to read display, making it a trusty watch for heading out hiking.
8. PALADA Digital Sports Watch – Waterproof
Palada might not have the same reputation as Suunto or Garmin when it comes to outdoor watches, but this low-priced outdoor watch offers a lot of bang for the buck. It has some premium features, such as 50m water resistance, an LED backlight for checking the time in darkness, and a useful Chronograph function. It’s also been constructed of high-grade materials.
For example, the clasp is made from stainless steel, and the case is made from engineered ABS plastic. Both of these materials are known for being the best for durability. Battery life is another big plus for this digital watch, so there’s no need to worry about having to replace the battery too regularly. And, it must be said that this is a good-looking outdoor watch too, which appears to be much more expensive than it is.
+ Long Battery Life
+ Water Resistance Up To 50m
+ Durable Construction
+ Affordable Price
+ LED Backlight
Why We Liked It – This is the best option for an outdoorsman who wants a cheap watch that will perform when you need it to. It’s durable, rugged, and looks good too.
Outdoor Watches Buyer’s Guide
There are some fantastic outdoor watches on the market. It can be overwhelming to know exactly which one is the best for you. Some features are better suited to some outdoor pursuits, while others are necessary for other outdoor sports.
To ensure that you choose the best watch for your needs and price range, then consider this buyer’s guide, where we’ll look at all the key features to consider when choosing an outdoor watch.
Any watch that’s to be worn for an outdoor sport needs to offer a rugged construction. To see if a watch fulfills this essential prerequisite, then you need to check what material the watch face, the bezel, the band, and the clasp are constructed from. You want to keep away from cheap, flimsy materials.
If you want a good gauge of the ruggedness of the construction, then you should also look at features such as shock resistance and water resistance. When a watch offers both of these capabilities, it’s likely that it will be able to withstand some wear and tear when you’re out on a hike.
Every good outdoor watch is a GPS watch. Why? Because GPS is a critical feature for outdoorsmen as it allows them to monitor their movements. This means that important data to do with the hike can be logged and then referred to later.
GPS can also be used by hunters so that they can precisely locate their movements, see where they’ve been, and make markings for important spots where they may have encountered signs of their prey. Of course, GPS is simply handy on a long-distance trek because it can help you from getting lost.
A compass is another feature that comes in handy on a hike, as it will also stop you from getting lost. The compass has been the most important tool for outdoorsmen since it was invented in 206BC. Just because we live in the digital age doesn’t mean that this still isn’t a helpful tool for navigation.
Outdoor watches have varying battery lives. If you choose an outdoor watch with GPS, then it’s likely that it will be rechargeable, so you need to ensure that the battery will be powerful enough to cover the type of treks, hikes, or outdoor pursuits that you’re used to doing.
Altimeter and Barometer
An altimeter is an essential tool for working out the altitude of your current location. If you’re a mountain climber, then it will be important that the watch has an altimeter function.
A barometer is also important as it will monitor the atmosphere and the pressure that you’re around.
Both of these functions can keep you safe so that you don’t overexert yourself when conditions aren’t optimal for climbing. They can also provide important information that may alter your route.
A heart monitor is a useful function for several reasons. Firstly, it can let you know exactly how your body is reacting to the exercise. If you have a heart condition, for example, then it can be useful to know that you’re not over-exerting yourself. If you see that your heart rate is reaching speeds that are much quicker than you want, you can then stop, take a break, and then resume the sport.
A heart monitor is also useful as it can then be logged into your system, meaning that you can have data that will allow you to monitor your performance during a trek or hike. Knowing what your heart rate at all times can also make it easier for you to calculate the number of calories that you’ve burned during the exercise. This can be useful information simply because you can adjust your diet accordingly.
If you know you’ve burned a substantial amount of calories that day, and then you’re planning on going for another long hike the following day, then you may want to fill yourself with a calorie-rich meal at camp that evening. Of course, knowing how many calories you’ve burned in a day can also be useful if you’re trying to lose weight. If you haven’t hit your target for the day, then you may want to head back out to burn some more.
What is the best survival watch?
Survival watches offer many of the same features as outdoor watches. They will keep you safe even when you find yourself in difficult situations or environments. Perhaps the best-known manufacturer of survival watches is Suunto.
There are many fantastic survival watches by Suunto, but one watch that stands out above the rest is the Suunto Ambit3. It’s a typically high-quality Suunto watch that includes all the necessary features for survival, such as GPS, a compass, extended battery life, and a heart rate monitor.
Is the Apple watch good for hiking?
An Apple watch is an excellent choice for many things. It can easily sync with your Apple iPhone and other Apple devices so that you can control your phone without needing to retrieve it from your pocket or bag. It can also monitor the distance that you’ve traveled, the number of steps you’ve taken, and provide you with essential information related to the weather. But it’s a matter of taste as to whether you wear it for hiking or not. There are much better watches on the market for hiking, which have been designed specifically for that purpose.
What smartwatch is waterproof?
There are too many smartwatches that are waterproof to list. Many of the most popular smartwatch manufacturers, such as Garmin, Fitbit, TomTom, and Samsung, all sell waterproof smartwatches. That’s not to say that all smartwatches are waterproof. But a substantial amount of smartwatches will still function after they have gotten wet. You should research any smartwatch before you purchase it so that you can ensure it’s waterproof.
Having GPS, a compass, a long battery life, and other advanced features are all well and good, but you’ve always got to ensure that the watch is built with durability in mind. Make sure that the watch has received good reviews when it comes to the ruggedness of its construction. That way, you can be sure that it won’t break while you’re midway through an outdoor sports session.
Did you know?
The Pacific Crest Trail is the world’s longest hiking trail in the world. It’s even been given this distinction by the Guinness Book of World Records. It measures a remarkable 2,650 miles in all. If you’re planning on hiking on this trail, then you certainly want to have a quality outdoor watch strapped to your wrist.
If you’re heading out into the great outdoors for a long hike, fishing trip, or an organized hunt, then it’s important to have the right watch on your wrist. The best outdoor watches will have essential features to not only keep you safe but also to make your experience more enjoyable too.
Features that will be important when involved in an outdoor sport include GPS, a compass, a barometer, an altimeter, and a heart rate monitor. It’s also important that the watch has a decent battery that can offer you enough life to get through a trip or hike.
And you also want to ensure that the watch is rugged, easy-to-read, and comfortable to wear. You don’t need to spend over the odds to get a great outdoor watch either, as there are some excellent watches on the market that tick these boxes and come with an affordable price tag.