Anytime while hiking or camping – especially in the backcountry – it’s important to remain aware of not only the time but of your surroundings. And when we mean surroundings, we’re referencing the ubiquitous environmental and climatological factors that are at play (i.e. sunrise and sunset times, altitude, barometric pressure, and precise location). Awareness of these elements not only helps keep you prepared or allow you time to prepare in case a weather event is in the works or the sun is setting but also helps expectations remain aligned with reality in nature’s unforgiving landscape. Remember, adaptability is always the key to survival.
Thankfully, there is a way to remain in tune with Mother Nature during these excursions. And it only takes up a little bit or wrist space but can be extraordinarily helpful in the outdoors. These are hiking watches – offering so much more than just standard time keeping. The majority of options out there offer elevation status, precise locational coordinates, a GPS, compass, and barometers to offer a few examples. And like any new technology therein lies a handful of great and not-so-great options to choose from. Naturally, we’re going to focus on the former in this list of the best hiking watches around.
Casio Pro Trek Solar
Personally, we can’t think of a better way to keep a hiking watch powered than via solar power. It’s what the fine folk over at Casio decided to hook the Pro Trek up with in congruence with a stainless steel rotating bezel, digital dial and compass, a barometer, thermometer, sunrise and sunset data, altimeter, and low-temperature resistance. Also, with a water resistance of 200 meters, power saving functions, and a 56mm resin case make this is one fine durable timepiece built for just about any outdoor excursion into the wilderness. No need to fret here about longevity that’s for sure.
Functioning as a hiking watch with smartwatch capabilities, the Suunto Traverse is an ideal companion for an active on-the-road lifestyle. Thanks to the Traverse’s GPS timekeeping, you can upload routes to the watch and explore new terrain and trails at the same time. Also, with a barometer, you can keep ahead of changing weather patterns – even getting notified via a storm alarm when inclement weather is imminent. Also, an altimeter helps you keep track of your progress throughout the hike, and sunrise and sunset times help you schedule your trip around available daylight hours.
Suunto Ambit3 Peak
As a significant player in this space, Suunto makes some of the most reliable and user-friendly hiking watches around. Even if digital watches aren’t your forte, there’s still something to be said about the sheer functionality of their outdoor-friendly timepieces. The Ambit3, for instance, comes stock with a GPS, compass, altimeter, sunrise/sunset notifications, thermometer, fitness log and a heart rate monitor among other training programs. It’s all housed within a handsome black case and comes with a 2-year warranty. Additionally, a little water resistance never hurt either – especially 100 meters worth.
For more traditional look, Seiko offers their handsome Prospex for those who value analog over digital but still want a handful of perks to help them hike from A to B. In this case, the Prospex ticks along thanks to Caliber 4R35 movement and comes complete with 100 meters of water resistance along with an inner rotating compass ring. Also, LumiBrite hands and markers keep things visible and legible at all hours of the night, and a screw down and see-through caseback helps you admire the inner workings of the fine timepiece whenever you please.
As stylish and sleek as the Core may be, it’s functionality is still something to be admired. Here, it’s the best of both worlds – combining form and function to bring you something that’s fitting from the office to the trail. Each Core comes complete with an altimeter, barometer to track trends in air pressure, and a compass to always keep you pointed in the right direction. It’ll also track the weather and the sun so you can make the most out of your outdoor activities while alerting you when foul weather is in route to your location – helping you stay safe in the process.
Garmin Tactix Bravo
For the navigator and backcountry explorer comes a more tactical-inspired hiking watch built to tackle just about any adventure. The Tactix Bravo features high-sensitivity GPS positioning, an automatic altimeter, barometer, and three-axis compass. Additionally, this piece is also night vision goggle compatible, is water resistant up to 100 meters, and even wirelessly compatible. Combine that with all-black, non-reflective design inspired by tactical gear used in the field and this is one mean outdoorsman’s watch ideal for hiking, camping, and climbing.
Garmin Fenix 5
As a manufacturer of some of the more reliable GPS navigation systems out there, it’s no surprise Garmin would have their hand in the hiking watch market. This option, dubbed the Fenix 5, is their latest addition to the Fenix family and comes with a slew of different options and features. We’re talking a built-in altimeter, compass, heart-rate sensor, GPS, water resistance to 100 meters and comes with preloaded profiles for different sports and activities. From the campsite to the summit and back down to the lakeside cabin before the weekend is over, the Fenix 5 covers all the bases.
Citizen Promaster Altichron
Nothing like a little Japanese precision to keep you on the right track when journeying off the grid for any matter of time. Here, it’s their Promaster Altichron powered by their Eco-Drive technology to bring you an analog watch complete with an altimeter and compass to supplement any adventurous excursion. It’s also made with their light-weight Super Titanium, boasts a black dial along with yellow accents, is water resistant up to the 200 meters and features a black polyurethane strap for reliability and comfort no matter what.
Everything You Need To Hit The Trails This Fall
Along with a watch, suiting up with some trusted gear is a must for an enjoyable hiking experience this fall. So with that in mind, why not check out some of our favorite fall hiking essentials for some harvest season exploration.