CAMPING & HIKING

Best Outdoor Watches: Keeping Time While You’re Hiking

Best Outdoor Watches
Daniel Carraway
Written by Daniel Carraway

So, your old watch has reached the end of its lifespan, or simply is not as good looking as it was when you bought it? Are you aware that today’s watches, are built for various activities, therefore, there’s a special type, perfect for the rough, outdoor conditions? This is why you might want to take a look at the best outdoor watches in order to make an informed and comprehensive choice.

When you are in the outdoors, there are so many things you need, but one of the most important accessories that you need to consider is the watch, as it is something which is going to be critical when you are out in the open.

The truth is that there is an abundance of different hiking watches on the market, but they are designated for different budgets and are going to cover various requirements. With this in mind, we’ve taken the liberty of preparing an article that will help you make the right choice.

Analog Altimeter Watch

In this article, not only that you will be able to find the right outdoor watch for your needs, thanks to our in-depth reviews of the finest models on the market, but you will also learn what to pay attention to when doing the research, so that the one you choose, is definitely the one you need. But first, let’s start with the table of the reviewed models, so that you have a better insight into what to expect.

Our Top Picks

ProductWeightSpecific featuresBest usePrice
Casio Pro Trek Tough Solar4 ouncesSolar power, water resistantHiking, divingCheck price on Amazon
Samsung Galaxy Gear9.9 ouncesSmart phone compatibleCamping, outdoor activitiesCheck price on Amazon
Tag Heuer Formula 12 ouncesWater resistant, stylishDiving, hikingCheck price on Amazon
Casio G-Shock Classic4.96 ouncesShock resistant, 4 alarmsDiving, hiking, fitnessCheck price on Amazon
Tag Heuer AquaRacer16 ouncesLocking clasp, water resistantDiving, outdoor useCheck price on Amazon
Garmin VivoActive1.3 ouncesTouchscreen, GPS enabledCamping, outdoor useCheck price on Amazon
Citizen Titanium Eco-Drive2.56 ouncesTitanium, water resistantOutdoor, casual useCheck price on Amazon

Features to Consider Before Buying

The outdoor watch provides you with a lot more features than just telling you the time. Modern technology has turned the outdoor watch into a handy tool that can take care of all your needs, such as the inclusion of altimeters, barometers, GPS, radio, and several alarms that you can use for various things. Here is what you should pay attention to:

Water Resistance and Durability

You never know how your camping and outdoor activities are going to turn out. Having a water-resistant watch is going to ensure that it withstands even the worst weather.

Watch Battery Life

As it is with every outdoor solution, your hiking watch needs to be reliable. This is not your suit watch and you are likely to get it dirty once in a while, so make sure that it’s durable enough to withstand any punishment from the outdoors.

Multiple Alarms and Stop Timers

Multiple alarms are particularly beneficial when performing different tasks. Furthermore, they could be used as reminders. Stop timers offer a great deal of utility, especially when you cook or have some other sort of task that requires perfect timing.

Impact Resistance

Outdoor usage clearly means that your watch is going to be constantly exposed to threat of impact. That’s why you need a sturdy solution, capable of withstanding dramatic impacts.

ABC Watch

Most modern outdoor watches are built to be resistant to impacts. Of course, it will break if a tank runs over it, but if you just hit a rock during a climb, or you accidentally drop it on pavement, it will survive the impact.

Accurate Date and Time

Even though camping should be thoroughly planned and accounted for, you never know what may happen. That is why you need a watch that tell accurate time, or even more importantly, an accurate date. With this in mind, having the accurate date as well as flawless time indication could be particularly helpful in extreme situations. Also, you don’t want a watch that will always make you late or make you be somewhere too early, right?

Long Battery Life

The last thing you’d want is for your watch to die out because it has run out of battery. Of course, you need to understand that there is simply no such thing as a watch with a perfect battery life, but you don’t need to get the one with the shortest battery life, right?

Altimeter Watch Display

Regardless of how high-quality a battery is, battery life, mostly depends on how much the watch itself consumes the power. The more features it uses, for example GPS, the faster the battery gets empty. So, if you want a watch packed with numerous features, don’t expect the battery to last forever.

Best Products on Today’s Market

What might be perfect for one person could be something absolutely unnecessary for another. That’s why we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of solutions which are designed to satisfy various demands and personal requirements. Without any further ado, let’s go ahead and take a look.

Casio Pro Trek Tough Solar Watch

Price: Approx. $240Casio Pro Trek Tough Solar Watch

Weight: 4 ounces

Specific features: Diameter is 20.5 mm, thickness is 15 mm, band width is 20 mm, sturdy

Best use: Hiking, diving

The Casio Pro Trek Tough Solar Watch is without a doubt one of the best outdoor watches currently available on the market. This is because it’s packed with everything you might possibly need when you are out in the open. The first thing that you need to consider is that it’s a multi-band atomic timekeeping watch which has the capability of withstanding pressures under 200 meters of water. It has a duplex LCD display designed for increased durability and longevity.

Furthermore, the display is specifically designed to be shock-resistant, which makes it perfect for outdoor hiking activities.

Now, it’s also worth noting that the watch is solar powered. Even though this implies that at some point down the line you’d have to change batteries, this won’t happen anywhere near the first 10 years of usage.

The manufacturer promotes 5 months of usage on full charge without exposing it to light any further. What is more, if you fully charge it and use it with the power-saving function, you can expect it to work without any issues for 23 months, without exposing it to further light.

The watch is packed with different features such as a thermometer, altimeter, barometer, digital compass and whatnot. You can basically measure everything you might need to while you are out in the open. It also has independent daily alarms as well as a time signal for every passed hour and a 1/100 stopwatch, which is pretty convenient.

PROS:

  • Solar powered
  • Digital compass, altimeter, barometer, thermometer
  • Long battery life
 CONS:

  • Bulky
  • Alarms can malfunction
  • Compass isn’t truly accurate

Related: Having a small tool set for your watch can be helpful. The SE Watch Band Link Pin Tool Set has 5 pieces that include pins, small hammer, watch band holder and more. It will definitely come in handy if you need to replace the band on the watch.

Check the price on Amazon

Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch

Price: Approx. $400Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch

Weight: 9.9 ounces

Specific features: Rubber band, stylish

Best use: Camping, outdoor activities

This is a glimpse into the future, so to speak. The Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch is particularly designed to be your perfect hiking companion. It is contemporary and modernistic and it comes packed with different features which were once considered unthinkable for regular watches.

The first thing that you need to know is that the watch is fully compatible with the Galaxy Note 3 as well as with other smart phones from the Galaxy line. This means that you can easily sync it with these devices and share useful information.

What is more, you can transfer data from one device to another seamlessly and without any significant hassle. Another thing to note is the 1.63 inch Super AMOLED screen. It allows for a tremendous amount of usability and convenience. You can place and answer phone calls directly from your watch without having to take out the mobile device.

Furthermore, there is a 1.9 megapixel camera which is located on your writs – yes, it’s that comfortable. Also, you will be able to enjoy the comprehensive and impressive S Voice assistant in order to make the usage of the smart watch particularly hassle-free.

The watch has everything that you might think of and it’s also capable of providing you with pretty comprehensive metrics such as steps, heart rate and tons of other things. You can connect the device to your computer easily and relocate necessary information.

It comes with a wall charger, charging cradle, as well as a convenient starting guide for you to fully understand how to use it.

PROS:

  • Connects with many Galaxy smart phones
  • Comes with wall charger, charging cradle
  • Many color choices
 CONS:

  • Can stop charging
  • Doesn’t have a long battery life

Related: While outdoors, beside a reliable outdoor watch, you will also need a good flashlight. The J5 Tactical V1-PRO Flashlight is under $15 and has 300 Lumens, plus it clips to your belt.

Check the price on Amazon

Tag Heuer Formula 1 Watch

Price: Approx. $1,400Tag Heuer Formula 1 Watch

Weight: 2 ounces

Specific features: Stainless steel, scratch resistant

Best use: Diving, hiking

The TAG Heuer Formula 1 Watch has the characteristic Swiss quartz movement in order to ensure absolute 100% accuracy.

As far as the dial goes, it’s made out of extruded, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal which guarantees that you wouldn’t be able to damage it that easily. This is particularly important and one of the reasons for which we decided to place it on the list.

Being outside in the open means that you are likely to expose your watch to certain risks of physical contact but this particular one wouldn’t get even slightly scratched. In fact, it’s more likely that you damage the stainless steel band than the dial.

Talking about the band, you should know that it’s also considerably durable. There is a solid and particularly strong 41-mm brushed stainless steel case which has checker flag decoration. The band itself is made out of fine-brushed stainless steel and it has three rows for additional durability. The watch has a date function set at 3 o’clock conveniently and the dial itself is colored in black.

The entire thing is water resistant to 200 meters and it’s particularly appropriate and suitable for scuba diving undertakings which are rather recreational. This is without a doubt one of the best hiking watches which are currently available.

PROS:

  • Water resistant up to 200 meters
  • Highly durable
  • Reliable, stylish
 CONS:

  • Very pricey
  • Basic look

Related: Whenyouhave a dial watch, you can use the dials and the sun to find the North, but you should also have a good hat to block the sun. The Condor Tactical Cap is a tactical hat that comes in many colors for under $20.

Check the price on Amazon

Casio XL G-Shock Classic Watch

Price: Approx. $90Casio XL G-Shock Classic Watch

Weight: 4.96 ounces

Specific features: Resin bands and case, G-shock

Best use: Diving, hiking, fitness

The Casio XL G-Shock Classic Watch is magnetic resistant apart from being shock resistant as well. This means that even if you accidentally get it close to a magnet when you are out there camping, the performance of the unit would remain intact. The watch has an automatic LED light which will turn on when it gets dark outside, but it’s also controllable so you can conveniently turn it off when you go to sleep.

It also has the capability of showing you the world time in order for you to adapt to different camping destinations. It features 4 comprehensive daily alarms as well as the snooze function.

As far as the additional features go, the watch comes with a stopwatch and a countdown timer which makes it perfect for detecting intervals of time when you are cooking out in the open, for instance.

It is also convenient and widely used for recreational scuba diving as it is water resistant as long as you don’t dive deeper than 200 meters.

PROS:

  • Water resistant to 200 meters
  • Daily alarms, stop watch
  • Affordable
 CONS:

  • Hard to read in low light
  • Buttons are hard to press
  • Not the best screen

Related: When the watch tells you it’s time for lunch, there’s nothing else to do than start the campfire, right? The Maverick ET-733 Dual Probe BBQ will help you cook your meat to perfection. It has a large display and many features, and its wireless.

Check the price on Amazon

TAG Heuer Aquaracer Watch

Price: Approx $2,250TAG Heuer Aquaracer Watch

Weight: 16 ounces

Specific features: Stainless steel, traditional design

Best use: Diving, outdoor use

This is another great solution brought to you by Tag Heuer – a word renowned brand when it comes to watches. TAG Heuer Aquaracer Watch combines quite a lot of comprehensive assets and features which combined make it the perfect outdoor watch to complement your hiking gear. What is more, unlike the majority of different solutions available on the market, this particular one is water resistant to 300 meters and it’s capable of withstanding up to 2 hours of pressure under 30 meters of water which is particularly impressive.

Now, as far as the watch goes, it delivers particularly strong advantages. Right off the bat, it has a quartz movement mechanism which is guaranteed to provide you the highest levels of accuracy.

The dial is silver, and particularly reliable in order to provide you with the durability and longevity which are to be expected from an outdoor watch.

The watch comes with stainless steel case as well as a 3-row stainless steel bracelet. The latter can be adjusted to fit the width of your forearm in order to customize it to fit perfectly. This is particularly convenient.

Now, as the name suggests, this particular watch is obviously designed for underwater usage as it has impressive water-resistant qualities. However, it’s also a great hiking watch as it is reliable, durable and most importantly – quite functional.

PROS:

  • Great look, stylish
  • Water resistant to 990 feet
  • Quartz movement
 CONS:

  • Highly expensive
  • One color choice
  • No camera or wireless use

Related: When in the great outdoors, you will need power to charge your electyronic gadgets so that you can stay connected with the world. The Anker 21W Solar Charger is a great solar charger for your electronics. It is under $70 and works on many smart phones and tablets effortlessly.

Check the price on Amazon

Garmin Vivoactive Smartwatch

Price: Approx $100Garmin Vivoactive Smartwatch

Weight: 1.3 ounces

Specific features: Digital dial, rubber band, sleek design

Best use: Camping, outdoor use

The Garmin Vivoactive Smartwatch, is one of those watches which come packed with absolutely everything you might need when in the outdoors.

It is undeniable that the features delivered by this smart watch are simply incomparable with those delivered by a regular one. Right off the bat, it’s particularly convenient and it delivers a great sensation when you wear it. It has an ultra-thin GPS display, which is readable even under the conditions of sunlight glares. The touch screen is colorful, responsive and most importantly – highly functional.

Furthermore, the watch comes with built-in sports applications which are designed to make your life a lot easier. They include GPS-tracked running, swimming, biking and other forms of activity tracking. The device is designed to pair with your smart phone quickly and conveniently.

What is more, it makes a slight vibration and displays an alert when you get an incoming text, email or call. It has calendar items as well as different options when it comes to all sorts of notifications. You can also easily customize the watch with widgets and face designs which are free and downloaded on the internet.

One of the biggest concerns of people when it comes to smart watches is the battery life. Taking proper care of this issue, the watch makes it possible for you to use the watch for up to 3 weeks even if you are using all of the applications as they are particularly sparing when it comes to it.

However, if you are constantly using the GPS, the battery is going to last you for up to about 10 hours.

PROS:

  • Affordable
  • Can be purchased with a heart rate monitor
  • Simple to use
 CONS:

  • Can stop syncing
  • Does not tell time while tracking
  • Can freeze up

Related: While outdoors, it can be useful to have a pack that will store some of your items. The Creator Fanny Pack is a great pack that is camo colored, under $20 and can be used for all kinds of outdoor sports from camping to fishing.

Check the price on Amazon

Citizen Titanium Eco-Drive Watch

Price: Approx. $220Citizen Titanium Eco-Drive Watch

Weight: 2.56 ounces

Specific features: Leather band, titanium case, stylish

Best use: Outdoor or casual use

You know how they say that first impressions are really important? Well, Citizen Titanium Eco-Drive Watch makes the most flawless first impression. Bringing in stylish looks yet sturdy appeal at the same time, this watch is without a doubt one of the best units to watch. Of course, it’s not only the outside, which makes the time piece particularly convenient, and one of your best bets when it comes to a hiking watch. The functionality and convenience that it brings are also enviable, to say the least.

The unit has a round dial in a titanium casing which has textured chronograph sub dial. Furthermore, the movement is relying on a Japanese movement mechanism and an analog display in order to secure high-end accuracy.

Also, the dial is protected by a crystal dial window made out of protective minerals, which are designed to withstand to a lot of pressure and different impacts.

The watch has quite a lot of features such as unidirectional bezel and a Tachymeter inner chapter ring as well as the common date window. It also has an alarm feature as well as a buckle closure which is also particularly convenient. The watch is water-resistant and it can withstand pressure of up to 200 meters of depth.

PROS:

  • Water resistant to 200 m
  • Date window, bezel Tachymeter
  • Alarm features
 CONS:

  • Not very bright
  • Hard to set time and date
  • Band is small

Related: If you want to make this watch even more stylish, but also easier to put on and take off, we suggest getting the iStrap Butterfly Deployant Buckle. It is made of 316 L solid stainless steel, with a polished finish, has a butterfly deployment clasp, and a general style that fits most watch straps as thick as 3.5mm.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

With the Citizen Titanium Eco-Drive Watch, we have reached the end of our article. Now, after going through the entire read, you realized that you need to make sure that you find the watch which suits you. This is going to be a timepiece which is not only functional, but also comfortable, convenient and, most importantly, a pleasure to wear. Your watch should be something that you look forward to putting on, not a burden.

This is why you need to actually try the watch on your hand and make sure that it feels as if that’s where it belongs. Of course, the features are also particularly important, and they should be highly regarded and thoroughly considered. This is especially true because out there in the open, you are going to need quite a lot of functions in order to be comfortable.

Watch Ergonomics and User Interface

With all this in mind, the watches that we listed combine comfort and convenience and are designed to fit different price ranges. From more affordable units to ones which are rather costly, we have made sure to include solutions for the different pocket. That’s why we reviewed a few different units for you to take a look at.

So, the only thing which is left for you is to pick the one which is perfectly suitable for your own necessities. Going through the specifications of the watch in details as well as actually putting it on your hand is going to provide you with everything you need to make a properly informed decision.

And don’t forget to leave a comment down below, sharing your stories with us about any of these products you’ve had experiences, with, or other products we haven’t included in this list. Who knows, we may include your suggestions in a future article.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel Carraway

Daniel Carraway

Daniel Carraway joined our team last year. He is a gear freak when it comes to hiking, climbing and camping. He went to REI Outdoor School to meet new people and learn best practices. Don’t even try to argue with him about the latest backpack or ice axe, he tried most of them. Daniel’s dream is to climb Mount Everest.