Hiking lovers can now enjoy the ultimate technology on their routes thanks to these new and modern watches.
More technologically advanced, these practical watches help us on our hiking trails with an altimeter, a barometer, a compass, GPS and many other features. They let us determine our average speed, the number of calories we have burned or the distance we have left until we reach our destinations. Built with modern and contemporary designs, these watches can be used not only by hikers, but also by backpackers, travelers or any outdoors lovers.
I’m going to review the Top 10 Best Hiking Watches of the year so that you can see what’s new, the differences between them, their features and their designs.
THE BEST HIKING WATCHES – OUR LIST:
- Garmin Fenix 5X
- Garmin Tactix Bravo
- Suunto Spartan
- Suunto Ambit 3
- Suunto Traverse
- Casio PRW 2500T-7CR
- Casio Pathfinder PAG240-7CR
- Suunto Core Crush
- Casio PRW6000-1ACR
- Garmin Epix
Top 10 Best ABC Smartwatches for Hiking, Review 2019
GARMIN FENIX 5X
ABC: Altimeter, barometer, compass
FEATURES: Rechargeable battery, TOPO maps, thermometer, Chroma display, Wi-Fi, heart rate monitor, calorie and step counter, 100-meter water resistance
PROS: Has virtually all the functions you’ll need, Great Maps
The Garmin Fenix 5 X is definitely one of the best GPS watches you can find on the market. It’s not a toy you’d buy for your kids. This is a watch for serious hikers!
This high-tech watch has absolutely all the outdoor navigation features you’ll need on your routes, including a three-axis compass, GPS, TOPO maps altimeter, barometer, rechargeable battery, WIFI software, sunlight readable color Chroma display, high-strength domed sapphire lens, connect IQ compatibility for customized apps, widgets that show the progress of your workout, watch faces, and many more.
Besides being fully equipped with technology, the Garmin Fenix 5 X has a sophisticated and stylish design. This watch is suitable for hiking, running, swim training, skiing and other outdoor activities.
I own this watch and I couldn’t be happier. Probably the best hiking watch of the year!
You can get the Garmin Fenix 3 now for a great price!
GARMIN TACTIX CHARLIE
SPORTS: Trekking, military, hunting
ABC: Altimeter, barometer, compass
FEATURES: Wi-Fi, non-reflective design, rechargeable batteries, simultaneously shows two sets of coordinate systems on one screen
PROS: Resistant; can be used for many activities
Garmin Tactix Charlie. A great outdoor watch for adventure lovers. Based on the Garmin Fenix, this amazing watch comes with some extra tactical features.
This multifunction training watch combines tactical functionality with some smart features for hiking and activity tracking, all in a stylish design. The Garmin Tactix Charlie features an all-black, non-reflective and resistant design built for the tactical environment. Its dual-mode operation optimizes the sunlight-readable display for daily use or night vision goggle compatibility.
It comes with features like: three-axis compass, GPS, altimeter, barometer, rechargeable battery, WIFI software, sunlight-readable color Chroma display, high-strength domed sapphire lens and more.
SUUNTO SPARTAN SPORT WRIST BARO
SPORTS: Multi-sport, hiking
ABC: Barometer, altimeter, compass
FEATURES: Heart rate monitor, calorie and step counter, thermometer, good design, touch screen, Bluetooth
PROS: Resistant; has many features; energy saving setting
Suunto Spartan. After the success of the Garmin 5, it seems that Suunto didn’t want to be left behind and it has finally presented its flagship watch. This ABC watch has a sophisticated, elegant and even futuristic design.
It features a beautiful steel bezel for extra strength and a minimalist touch-screen for easy use. If you’re wearing gloves, don’t worry: it includes side buttons to access all the menu controls.
The GPS system is fantastic. I think it’s the most graphic and easy-to-read of all the models, with the exception of the Garmin Epix. You can use the Suunto Movescount app to prepare your hiking routes. There are three options; you can create them from scratch, from existing routes or by importing existing trails as GPS files.
In addition, it features an altimeter, a barometer, a thermometer and a three-axis compass. Because it’s designed not only for trekking but for a wide variety of sports, it offers a complete overview of your activities: traveled distance, duration of workout, burned calories, heart rate, etc. As you can see, it’s one of the most complete smartwatches of the year!
SUUNTO AMBIT 3 PEAK GPS HT MONITOR
SPORTS: Hiking, running, swimming
ABC: Compass, barometer, altimeter
FEATURES: Calorie counter, heart rate, solid design, thermometer, storm alarm
PROS: Reasonable price; good features; good batteries
CONS: Display isn’t sophisticated
Suunto Ambit 3 Peak. One of the best outdoor watches with heart rate monitor. This multi-sport GPS watch helps you track your progress while you are hiking, running or swimming.
It measures time and tracks distance walked, altitude, temperature, pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate. It comes with other features like: GPS, digital compass, storm alarm and barometer, and can receive push notifications from your smartphone.
It features an easy-to-understand GPS navigation system that allows you to use its route maps while hiking. You can access the Movescount Suunto Application, which tracks all your hikes and stores them in an online cloud so that you get an overview of your routes.
The watch comes with a rate belt that uses a Suunto application to monitor you heart rate and calculate the number of calories burned. This watch is compatible with Bluetooth, so it will also show your messages, missed calls and other notifications.
This is definitely one of the best watches you can find with a very good quality-to-price ratio.
SPORTS: Hiking, hunting, fishing
ABC: Barometer, altimeter, compass
FEATURES: Storm alarm, monitors several activities, provides information about sunrise and sunset
PROS: 100 hours of battery; good features
CONS: Display is quite simple
Suunto Traverse. The best trekking watch for long routes. Its very stylish design and ultimate features make the Suunto Traverse a great hiking watch.
It has most of the Suunto Ambit 3 features like: GPS, altimeter, barometer, thermometer and digital compass, and some extra features like: vibration alerts, flashlight backlight and activity monitoring, which estimates daily steps and calories. On the downside, it doesn’t support advanced training analysis and multisport mode.
You can synchronize the watch with your smartphone via Bluetooth to access all the information from there, and it comes with a Movescount Application that allows you to import your routes and data.
A great GPS watch with all the key features, including GPS, and a very attractive design.
CASIO PRW 2500T-7CR
SPORTS: Everyday use, hiking
ABC: Compass, altimeter, barometer
CHARACTERISTICS: 200-meter water resistance, moon calendar, thermometer
PROS: Nice design; rechargeable solar battery
CONS: No GPS
The Casio PRW 2500T-CR has a beautiful traditional design suitable for any occasion.
The watch’s main features are: digital compass, 200M water resistance, moon data, altimeter, altimeter memory, barometer and thermometer. Features like a barometer and thermometer will help you determine what weather will greet you during your hikes.
The battery is recharged by a solar panel built into the face of the watch, so you won’t need to change batteries anymore. Furthermore, the watch displays five daily alarms, world time, a countdown timer, a battery level indicator and many other features.
This is one of the best Casio watches you can find for a reasonable price. It is a very practical tool you should bring to your hikes or simply wear everyday due to its beautiful design.
Unfortunately, it has neither GPS nor a heart rate monitor.
CASIO PATHFINDER PAG 240
SPORTS: Trekking, outdoor activities
ABC: Barometer, compass, altimeter
CHARACTERISTICS: Low temperature resistance, several alarms, 100-meter water resistance, thermometer
PROS: Good price
CONS: No GPS
Casio PAG240. This is another great model with one of the most beautiful designs on the list.
It has a round stainless steel case with a mineral dial window and a strong titanium bracelet with double-locking fold-over clasp.
It comes with all Casio main features like: 100M water resistance, low temperature resistance, world time, daily alarms and, of course, an altimeter, barometer, thermometer and digital compass.
SUUNTO CORE CRUSH
SPORTS: Trekking, hunting, fishing
CHARACTERISTICS: 30-meter water resistance, notifies you of weather conditions, thermometer
CONS: No GPS
Suunto Core Crush. Another good watch you can find for a reasonable price. The Suunto Core Crush doesn’t have GPS like some other Suunto models do, and it is, let’s say, simpler.
However, it does come with features like: 30M water resistance, altimeter, barometer, thermometer and compass. This watch’s barometer is especially great, as it has a trend graph that will let you know what weather is coming. The watch detects possible storms and the alarm goes on. Isn’t that cool?
This is the best option for those who want a good hiking watch with almost all the features, except GPS, but who don’t want to spend much money.
CASIO PRW 6000Y-1ACR PRO
SPORTS: Outdoor sports
FEATURES: LED light, 100-meter water resistance, stopwatch, thermometer
PROS: Solar battery; good functions, design
CONS: No GPS
Casio PRW6000Y – 1ACR. The best hiking watch with an elegant design. This is a beautiful black sport watch featuring a multi-function dial with analog and digital displays.
It features a triple sensor altimeter, digital compass, barometer, thermometer, world time (29 cities), five daily alarms, LED light, 100M water resistance, 1/100-second stopwatch, power-saving function and countdown timer. The battery is recharged by a solar panel.
It’s a beautiful option for those looking for a stylish and attractive hiking watch with all the main features, except GPS.
SPORTS: Adventure, multi-sport, hiking
FEATURES: Touch-screen, very practical and easy-to-follow GPS
PROS: Best map on the list
CONS: Design might be too retro
Garmin Epix. The best hiking watch with a cool GPS system. This watch has a very different and practical design. It’s definitely not as stylish and attractive as some of the watches mentioned above, but it’s probably the most feature-filled watch you’ll find on the market.
It has a 1.4-inch high-resolution touchscreen, 8 GB of expanded internal memory, connecting applications, a multi-activity option for hiking, running, navigation, swimming, indoor workouts, and more.
The main difference and advantage is the touchscreen which displays real GPS mapping. It’s equipped with all the features like step counter, activity tracking, altimeter, barometer, thermometer, digital compass and more.
This is a practical option for those looking for a good GPS integrated watch with a real mapping system.
Considerations to take into account when choosing the Best Trekking Watches:
A wide variety of watches are available on the market. Therefore, it’s important to know exactly what you’re looking for. For hiking lovers, an easy-to-read GPS and a large and easy-to-use display are must-have features.
There are apps from which you can download maps of the area where you’re planning to hike, as well as routes created by other people. Devices equipped with a storm alarm can be very helpful, too. They warn us when the weather is likely to get a bit ugly.
If you need a watch designed for running and fitness, look for other features. In this case, take a look at models that monitor heart rate, steps, traveled distances and burned calories. Most of them allow you to download all the data to fully track your activities and evolution.
For hunters and fishermen, some models show useful information about sunrise and sunset times, tides, fishing and hunting calendars, moon phases, etc. They tend to be especially resistant to harsh weather conditions and possible impacts.
The main features are:
Possibly, the most important function of all, a GPS helps us locate our situation, making it easier to explore unknown mountains. GPS is based on information received from several satellites. These satellites are synchronized with each other and constantly inform us about their exact position. They act as reference points for land navigation. The GPS receiver detects and processes the signals from the satellites to show us all the information on a map.
The main disadvantage of built-in GPS watches is the duration of their batteries because this system consumes a lot of energy. In some cases, the battery life is only a few hours. Fortunately, these models include rechargeable batteries.
Keep in mind that GPSs may fail. For example, if you’re walking through deep canyons or thick forests, the GPS might not get the signal properly and may therefore provide inaccurate information.
Altimeters work in a different way. They use a pressure sensor that measures the actual atmospheric pressure. In this way, they create an approximate calculation of the height in relation to that atmospheric pressure. These height measurements are made according to ISA (International Standard Atmosphere) values. In most models, you can download the route information.
The barometer helps us understand what weather is coming. It measures the atmospheric pressure and indicates climatic trends. The higher we climb, the lower the barometric pressure. When the atmospheric pressure increases, the weather will likely improve. When the pressure decreases, you should put on your raincoat.
A compass includes a sensor that uses the earth’s magnetic field to indicate direction with great accuracy. Most models include a three-axis digital compass, although some models (not included in the list) incorporate a real compass attached to the strap.
A thermometer can be useful in some circumstances. It helps us anticipate the weather ahead. Most models can measure in a range of -10º C to 60º C.
HEART RATE MONITOR
Some models include a heart rate monitor. Most new models feature wrist-based heart rate monitors. However, in some cases you must use a chest strap transmitter. They offer valuable information for tracking your fitness activities.
Obviously, all trekking watches are water-resistant. The only difference is the depth they can resist; most are designed to resist 100 meters.
As we would with any hiking gear, we’ll focus on quality and durability. These watches are specially adapted to potential hiking-related situations such as scratches, impacts, extreme temperatures and water.
All the watches mentioned above are great mountaineering watches that you can find on the market this year.
If you are willing to spend some money, I’d recommend that you get the Garmin Fenix 5 X for a nice design and best maps.
Another amazing watch is the Suunto Spartan, which comes with all the best and more modern features.
If you are not that interested in having GPS but still want the most attractive and stylish design, the Casio PRW 2500T-7CR might be your watch.
A few tips for enjoying your ABC Hiking Watch:
– New models come with so many features and apps that you can be overwhelmed at first sight. Take the time to read the instructions and play with your new toy.
– Some watches are recharged by a solar panel. If they run by regular batteries, be sure your hiking watch is fully charged before you explore the mountains.
– Most manufacturers want to keep their models up to date, so they release new apps and software. Check that you have installed the latest firmware on your watch.
– Have a plan B. These watches include the latest technology and they are all great. However, you can’t rely on only the watch’s GPS when hiking. This doesn’t happen often, but you may find that the satellite doesn’t work in certain “dead zones.” Always bring along a good map with your watch.
– Import the tracking data of your routes to your computer or phone and check your progress.
A personal story
A few years ago I was hiking the Huayhuash trek in Peru. Absolutely spectacular place. At that time I didn’t have a GPS, so we were using a map. That’s also cool. I mean, I like to read maps and it’s kind of adventurous, but this was a 10-day trek. One day it was snowing pretty hard and the snow covered the path. We tried to follow the right trail but we got lost. We ended up on a steep hill; it was really cold and we couldn’t pitch our tent. It wasn’t fun. After that day, I thought, ‘I want a hiking watch with GPS for my next hike!’
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Hi, I’m Miguel; Adventure traveler, scuba diver and hiking lover. I have been traveling the world for the last 7 years and I hope my experiences, photos and hiking routes inspire you to travel the world too.