11 Best Watches for Hiking Enthusiasts to Explore the Mountains

Written by Ankita Kandade, Certified Fashion Expert
Updated on Feb 08, 2024
Watches for Hiking Enthusiasts to Explore the Mountains
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When it comes to hitting the trails, the best watches for hiking prove to be invaluable companions, offering a wide range of functionalities and benefits. Not only do these watches allow you to track vital information like speed, distance, and elevation changes, but they also give insights into your physical performance, serving as a motivating factor to overcome challenging sections of your hike. A hiking watch with a GPS acts as an excellent safety tool, enabling you to accurately pinpoint your location and navigate back to your starting point with ease.

Prioritizing your safety during hiking adventures is of utmost importance, making it essential to make an informed decision when selecting a watch that caters to your specific needs. However, selecting the right one can be a daunting task, considering the wide array of choices available. To make your decision-making process easier, we have compiled a list of watches that will help you to narrow down your choice. We have also outlined the key features to look for in a hiking watch.

Now, let's delve into the details!

11 Best Watches for Hiking

When it comes to durability, look no further than this watch for the outdoor enthusiast by Garmin. It is designed to withstand the toughest of conditions, making it an ideal companion for hiking and outdoor adventures. Equipped with multiple global navigation satellite systems, GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo, the watch gives precise location tracking so that you never lose your way. The built-in 3-axis compass provides accurate directional information, and the altimeter lets you know your current altitude. With the heart rate monitoring feature, you can keep a close eye on it while hiking or even doing other activities. The crisp display has excellent readability even in bright sunlight, eliminating any visibility issues and the graphite color adds a touch of modern style. Additionally, It is also water-resistant and the trackback facet navigates you back to your starting point using the same route.

Pros
  • Constructed to U.S. Military Standard
  • Fiber-reinforced polymer case
  • Connects with a mobile phone with Bluetooth
  • Battery life of up to 16 hours
  • Scratch-resistant
Cons
  • Has a plastic feel
  • Most Durable

    Suunto Core Classic Outdoor Watch

    Suunto Core Classic Outdoor Watch
  • This outdoor watch by Suunto offers a powerful combination of essential attributes for hiking. The ABC (altimeter, barometer, and compass) combo is just the beginning of what sets this watch apart. The altimeter keeps track of your altitude, allowing you to monitor elevation changes while the barometer provides real-time weather updates, letting you know about sudden changes in atmospheric pressure and the compass ensures that you stay on the right path. One remarkable attribute of this watch is the Storm Alarm – it keeps track of the air pressure over a three-hour period and if it senses any significant change, it will activate the storm alarm with a sound and flash. As one of the best hiking watches it shows you the predicted sunrise and sunset time so that you can plan your activities.

    Pros
    • Water-resistant
    • Convenient access modes
    • Lightweight
    • Durable
    • The battery may last for about 12 months
    • Value for money
    Cons
    • No GPS or smartwatch mode
  • Best AI-Enabled Watch

    AMAZTIM AI Voice Assistant Smart Watch

    AMAZTIM AI Voice Assistant Smart Watch
  • Packed with great qualities and a robust and durable design, the AMAZTIM M2 smartwatch is a great ally to have with you on a hike. With a 1.85-inch Corning Gorilla screen and TC4 titanium unibody, it is strong enough to endure harsh conditions. It has passed 12 military tests, ensuring its reliability in extreme temperatures, dust, salt spray, and more. Additionally, it is waterproof and has a dual smart chip that offers impressive capabilities. The AI Voice Assistant allows you to control the watch with your voice, asking questions, playing music, setting alarms, and making voice calls. It boasts an exceptional battery life – with a 30-minute charge, you can get up to 3 days of battery backup. It also excels in health monitoring with real-time tracking of sleep, heart rate, blood pressure, and blood oxygen.

    Pros
    • Can track your activities
    • Allows video calls
    • Big screen size
    • Biotracker PPG optical sensor
    • 70 exercise modes
    • AI Tracker automatically detects and tracks six sports
    Cons
    • Sleep tracking works only once a day
  • Best ABC Watch

    AVTREK Men’s Tactical Hiking Watch

    AVTREK Men’s Tactical Hiking Watch
  • AVTREK’s timepiece is a standout choice for those seeking a watch that excels in tracking performance, direction, and weather during hiking and other outdoor adventures. With its advanced altimeter, barometer, and compass, the watch lets you keep track of the altitude, weather changes, and directions. It also has various additional functionalities like a pedometer, countdown timer, and metronome that are engineered to thrive in challenging environments. Its sturdy construction and 50-meter water resistance ensure that it can survive harsh conditions without compromising on performance. Plus, it has a user-friendly design with a large display and a comfortable nylon band.

    Pros
    • Big watch face with large numbers
    • Two sets of alarms
    • Dual clock
    • Super Backlight
    • Can be used for tactical training
    Cons
    • May be bulky
  • Most Number of Features

    Smilkat 23-in-1 Survival Military Digital Watch

    Smilkat 23-in-1 Survival Military Digital Watch
  • Staying true to its name, this watch from Smilkat is truly a savior. It comes fully loaded with important functions that you may need in a hiking watch, like a time dual display, paracord, fire starter, survival whistle, SOS led light, card pin, compass, thermometer, tool card, bottle opener, bicycle banner, and more. It also has a 5ATM waterproof rating, which means it is suitable for daily use and can sustain splashes, rain, and hand washing. The watch comfortably fits wrist sizes ranging from 10.24 to 11.02 inches and the magic sticker inside the band allows for its size to be adjusted.

    Pros
    • Full automatic calendar
    • EL backlight for visibility
    • A very long battery life
    • High-decibel whistle
    • Paracord can be loosened up to 10 feet
    Cons
    • Limited water resistance
  • Best Athletic Watch

    Polar Grit X Pro GPS Smartwatch

    Polar Grit X Pro GPS Smartwatch
  • The Grit X Pro from Polar is the ultimate companion for hikers and adventure lovers. When it comes to heart rate monitoring, this wrist-based technology is unrivaled. It also tracks your sleep behavior and helps you understand how well you've recovered from training and other factors overnight. This hiking watch with GPS provides exact locations and the assisted GPS ensures its speed and accuracy. Turn-by-turn guidance powered by Komoot keeps you on the right track during your hikes, runs, or other outdoor activities. What's more is that it comes with scratch-resistant sapphire glass and FKM wristbands that withstand the toughest environments. The 100-meter water resistance adds an extra layer of protection and its ultra-long battery life makes it a must-have!

    Pros
    • Superior biometric tracking
    • Watch faces can be customized
    • Broadcasts heart rate via Bluetooth
    • Has a stopwatch and alarm
    • Allows incoming email alerts
    Cons
    • The backlight may have limited brightness
  • Best No-Frills Watch

    LAD WEATHER Sensor Master Watch

    LAD WEATHER Sensor Master Watch
  • As the flagship model of LAD WEATHER, the Sensor Master is packed with a bunch of cool elements, including an altimeter, barometer, compass, thermometer, weather forecast, stopwatch, timer, and alarm. It is built with a sturdy plastic case, a stainless steel case back, and a comfy polyurethane strap. With its lightweight design, you won't even feel it on your wrist. The altimeter function lets you measure altitude from crazy heights of -706m to an impressive 9,164m. It's perfect for tracking your progress while climbing, hiking, or trekking and the barometer keeps you informed about atmospheric pressure, helping you predict the weather. The built-in compass points you in the right direction, while the thermometer keeps you informed about the current temperature.

    Pros
    • Water-resistant
    • Lightweight and durable construction
    • Easy-to-read display
    • Comfortable and adjustable strap
    • Versatile for various outdoor activities
    Cons
    • Doesn't come with a GPS
  • Best 2-in-1 Watch

    Fitpolo Smart Watch with Bluetooth

    Fitpolo Smart Watch with Bluetooth
  • Fitpolo’s fitness watch is a combination of a smartwatch and a fitness tracker. It provides step count, calorie tracking, distance measurement, time display, heart rate monitoring, and sleep tracking. It also lets you take or make calls, and you can even check text notifications and receive social media alerts. Its 1.96-inch screen ensures clear visibility and the watch is compatible with both Android and iOS. Additionally, it is also water-resistant – you can use it while swimming, showering, or in rainy weather. Some other functions of the watch include an alarm clock, motion alerts, a stopwatch, and a timer.

    Pros
    • Lightweight and comfortable to wear
    • Eco-friendly strap
    • Heat and cold resistant
    • Drop and shock-resistant
    • 100+ sports modes
    • Has a battery life of up to 30 days
    Cons
    • May be large for some wrists
  • Most Compact Design

    SUNROAD Altimeter GPS Digital Tracker

    SUNROAD Altimeter GPS Digital Tracker
  • This triple-satellite-compatible wrist-mounted tracker from SUNROAD has an array of features. It does nine groups of route tracking, tracks return records, and does speed and distance measurements. Its altimeter not only measures altitude but also records data for up to seven days. A barometer and compass will help you navigate your surroundings while the easy-to-read large-faced electronic dial, a multifunctional humidity meter, a thermometer, a weather forecast, and an alarm clock come in handy when you are enjoying your adventure. It comes with a built-in rechargeable battery mode that can be charged with a USB cable.

    Pros
    • LCD screen backlight
    • Flashlight function
    • The compass can be calibrated
    • Displays the coordinates
    • Compact size for easy portability
    Cons
    • Limited battery life
  • Best Battery Life

    COROS VERTIX GPS Adventure Watch

    COROS VERTIX GPS Adventure Watch
  • VERTIX from the Fire Dragon edition of COROS is the ideal companion for hikers and thrill-seekers. Equipped with a range of sensors, including a barometric pressure altimeter, accelerometer, compass, gyroscope, and thermometer – this watch provides comprehensive tracking and monitoring of your fitness activities. It offers 24/7 heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, step counting, and calorie tracking. The watch is designed with a Grade 5 titanium alloy bezel, offering superior strength and resilience. The touchscreen-enabled diamond-like coating protects it from scratches and impacts. Despite its sturdy build, the watch is surprisingly lightweight with offline mapping capabilities and Landscape, Topo, and Hybrid modes. You can easily explore new territories and navigate challenging terrains with confidence as it has an impressive battery life of up to 45 days in regular mode and 60 hours in full GPS mode.

    Pros
    • Feather-light
    • Corrosion-free titanium frame
    • Navigation with zoom in/out
    • Allows storage of up to five different watch faces
    Cons
    • Very expensive
  • Pyle Multifunction Sports WristWatch

    Pyle Multifunction Sports WristWatch
  • Last on the list is this amazing watch from Pyle, which will become your trusty sidekick on all your outdoor escapades. It is tailored to meet the needs of active people and adventure lovers. The altimeter, barometer, and compass work together to keep you on course during your hiking or sailing expeditions. The yacht timer and chronograph functions give precise timing for water sports and other fitness activities. It is waterproof up to 33 feet, making it perfect for those wet and wild adventures. Its robust build ensures long-lasting performance, while the included nylon pouch case keeps it protected from dust and dirt when not in use. The electroluminescent backlight lets you read the time even in low-light conditions. Wear it around your neck or clip it to your gear using the included neck cord and plastic clipper.

    Pros
    • Great look and design
    • Contains a propeller blade for wind speed measurement
    • 10 laps of Chronograph memory
    • Great value for money
    Cons
    • Does not come with a battery

    We hope you would find the above list quite useful. Read on to know the important factors that you need to consider before making a final decision.

    Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Hiking Watch

    When choosing the best watch for hiking, it's crucial to consider various key factors that directly impact your outdoor experience. Here are some important details to be considered:

    Battery Life: A hiking watch must have a long battery life, typically measured in days or weeks. This is especially important if you plan to go on extended hikes or multi-day trips. Consider watches that offer efficient power management and customizable settings to maximize battery performance.

    Durability: Select a rugged and weather-resistant hiking watch capable of withstanding the harsh conditions that you may encounter on the trail. Ensure it has an appropriate water-resistance rating to be able to survive during rain, splashes, and even submersion. This will allow you to hike confidently without worrying about damaging the watch.

    Comfort, Size, And Fit: Consider the comfort aspects of the watch, including the material and design of the strap or bracelet. It should have adjustable and skin-friendly straps, be lightweight, and have ergonomic designs that won't cause any discomfort or irritation during long hours of wear. Also, it should comfortably sit on your wrist without hindering your movement. 

    Interface: Choose a watch with an intuitive and user-friendly interface that allows easy navigation through menus and access to various functions. It should have a clear and legible display, preferably with customizable settings. This will make sure that you can quickly glance at the watch for essential information while on the move.

    Navigation System (GPS): A reliable GPS will provide accurate positioning and tracking capabilities. Watches with features like route navigation, waypoint marking, and the ability to load or create custom routes to help you navigate unfamiliar trails confidently should be preferred. Some GPS-enabled watches come with preloaded maps or allow integration with a mapping app like Komoot.

    ABC Sensors: When selecting a hiking watch, prioritize models with ABC sensors: altimeter, barometer, and compass. These vital features offer crucial data on altitude, weather conditions, and accurate navigation. A digital compass provides real-time readings, bearing indicators, and adjustable declination settings. This aids in navigation and orientation in the wilderness. 

    Heart-rate Monitor: A watch with a built-in heart-rate monitor will track your fitness levels and exertion during hikes. This smart feature will let you monitor your heart rate zones, optimize your training intensity, and ensure you maintain a sustainable pace throughout your outdoor activities.

    Timekeeping: While seemingly basic, accurate timekeeping is crucial for planning and managing your hiking schedule. Make sure that the watch maintains precise time, offers various time zone options, and includes features like multiple alarms, countdown timers, and stopwatch functionality to assist you during your hikes.

    Other Things to Consider When Choosing a Hiking Watch

    Apart from some of the key factors that are mentioned above, some hiking watches may offer additional features. The following are some of them that can enhance every hiker's experience, especially if they are hiking alone.

    User Interface: It is crucial that you consider this fact when you’re choosing a hiking watch. It should be easy for you to use, allowing you to quickly access essential information like navigation and weather updates while you’re on the trail. If the watch is going to slow you down or cause you to lose focus, it can be a big hassle. 

    Size And Weight: Watches that are compact and lightweight are ideal for hackers as they won’t weigh you down or impact your movement. This also makes it much more comfortable to be worn for long periods, and it is easy to store in your backpack as well, whenever it isn’t being used.

    Built-in Thermometer: Watches with this advanced feature allow hikers to track the ambient temperature along their long journey. When there are fluctuations in the temperature, it tends to have an effect on the hiker’s safety, comfort, and overall well-being. It also hampers their decision-making process which may lead to improper hydration, clothing, and shelter. When they can depend on an accurate temperature reading right from the convenience of their wrist, it helps them to adapt better to the surroundings and make more informed choices.

    Music Playback: This functionality is a great way to enhance your overall hiking experience. Extended hikes can sometimes become boring, and what better way to give yourself some motivation than with music. It serves as a source of entertainment and inspiration, allowing you to rest and calm down after a tiring journey. Plus, it can create a positive mindset within you and aid in the enjoyment of the natural setting.

    Solar Charging: Being outdoors for an extended period of time will leave you with little or no access to electric outlets. In this case, solar charging lets you use this standout feature to harness the sun’s energy as a convenient source of power. This will enhance the longevity of your watch’s battery, helping you to navigate and access functions wherever you want with absolutely no worries about its depletion.

    To wrap it up, when it comes to the best watches for hiking, it's all about finding the perfect fit for your outdoor adventures. A reliable hiking watch equipped with GPS, an altimeter, a barometer, a compass, and a sturdy build can enhance your hiking experience. It's like having a trusted companion on the trail, keeping you on the right path, monitoring your vital stats, and ensuring you're prepared for any challenges along the way. So, whether you're an experienced hiker or just starting out, a high-quality hiking watch is an essential piece of gear that adds excitement and safety to your hikes. Take your time to explore the options and choose one that matches your hiking style and preferences.

    FAQ's

    What watch do hikers use?
    Hikers often use hiking and outdoor watches designed specifically for their needs. These watches are equipped with essential features like GPS navigation, an altimeter, a barometer, and a compass.
    Should you wear a watch while hiking?
    Yes, wearing a watch while hiking is highly recommended. It helps prevent you from getting lost by providing timekeeping and navigation. It can also prove helpful for monitoring your heart rate, raising an alarm, and staying safe in an emergency.
    Is Garmin or Polar better for hiking?
    Both Garmin and Polar offer good options for hiking watches. Choosing one model depends on your specific needs, preferences, and budget.

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    Ankita Kandade
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    Ankita is a budding journalist and a certified fashion expert. If the Fashion police were an official organization, A More