If you like to get outside and trek around, or travel to a trail or mountain for your hike, you might want your wrist adorned with an outdoor watch made specifically with you in mind. Outdoor watches for hiking can have basic features like a stopwatch to elaborate features like barometers, swim stroke count, golf course assistance, and storm alarms. Many have a compass and give you the temperature. Some even log the weather, predict storms, and tell you the altitude where you are.

Your level of activity can determine the type of watch you need. If you are a hiker, you may not need a watch that gives you rowing strokes or water depth, but you may want a storm alarm and compass. If you are a skier, you may not need to know your step count, but you may want your elevation and weather information. If you only cycle at night, you may need a backlight or other “glow” feature to help you see your progress. Check the watch features to see that it is offering you what you want.

Watch Features

  • Weight
  • Analog vs. digital
  • ​Battery Life
  • Functions
  • Technology
  • Face and back lighting
  • ​Durability
  • Price

When you’re shopping for your next watch, there are a few features you should keep in mind. The most important one is the time keeping and face - do you want digital or analog? You can find great sport watches with both functions. Once you’ve narrowed your search with this feature, you can whittle it even further with a price range. How much are you looking to spend on your new watch? Price will bring you into a more reasonable number of watches to compare.

You can further reduce your choices by looking at the battery and battery life. Some batteries will last you many months, while some can die on you quickly. You may even want the option of a rechargeable battery.

And the fastest way to reduce your option is with the functions. What, besides tell the time and date, do you want to do with your watch? Sport watches can do everything from count your steps and monitor your heart to log your exercise and record your elevation. Your watch can be a basic or fancy timepiece, or it can be a computer on your hand, syncing up to your phone and computer to keep a thorough journal of everything you do and where you do it in what weather.

We’ve compiled a list of four great watches with varying functions and prices. Take a look and see if any could be the next style on your wrist.

Comparison of the Best Outdoor Watches for Hiking

Garmin Fenix 52.4 oz.Lithium ion$$$
Suunto Core All-Black2.26 oz.CR2032$$
Timex Expedition Camper.96 oz.Lithium Ion$
Suunto Core2.26 oz.CR2032$$$

4 Best Outdoor Watches for Hiking

#1 Timex Expedition Camper

Timex Expedition Camper

Technical Specs

  • Water resistant to 50m
  • INDIGLO® night light
  • ​Quick date easy to set feature
  • Durable and lightweight resin
  • .96 ounce weight
  • ​Lithium ion battery
  • Acrylic lens
  • Quartz movement with analog display

The Timex Expedition Camper is a great everyday, simple watch with some nice features for the price. A lightweight resin and nylon band give this watch a comfortable fit that’s perfect for work, play, or just hanging out.

It is water resistant to 50m, which makes it a great watch for swimming, rowing, or just showering, but it’s not meant for diving. The QuickDate® feature makes it easy to set, and the INDIGLO® backlight helps you see the face in all lights, even at night.


  • INDIGLO® face is easy to see in night
  • Excellent fit and comfortable
  • Simple to operate


  • Band not long enough for bigger wrists
  • Loud ticking

#2 Suunto Core

Suunto Core

Technical Specs

  • Aluminum bezel material
  • Mineral crystal glass material
  • ​2.26 oz. weight
  • ​Altimeter
  • ​Barometer
  • ​Compass
  • ​Storm alarm
  • Depth meter
  • Multiple watch, date, and time functions
  • ​Multilingual menu
  • ​CR2032 battery
  • ​Water resistant to 100 ft
  • 2 year warranty

The Suunto Core tells time and gives you the date, as well as a stopwatch, but it does so much more beyond a basic watch. With an altitude range of 1,600 to 29,500 feet, you can know your elevation at any point along your hike and even track your ascent and descent. You can read the temperature and it has weather memory and a storm alarm to help you while you’re out hiking or skiing. With a 30 foot depth meter and water resistant to 100 feet, you can even wear it diving. Know the sunrise and set as well as sea level pressure. The temperature range of this watch is -5o to 140o.

Th CR2032 battery is long lasting and you even get a low battery warning to let you know when to give it a charge. The rotating bezel lets you time your dive and the backlight options let you see in any ambient lighting.


  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Easy to program
  • Very accurate when programmed


  • Difficult to see the display screen
  • Below 10o , not reliable

#3 Garmin Fenix 5

Garmin Fenix 5

Technical Specs

  • Multisport GPS watch
  • Virtual partner
  • ​GPS and GLONASS satellite reception
  • 3 Axis compass with gyroscope
  • Barimetric altimeter
  • Smart notifications
  • Extended battery life

The Garmin Fenix 5 is a multisport GPS watch that feels more like a smart watch. With a high resolution, full color display with LED backlighting gives you readability in all levels of light. You can count your steps, monitor your sleep levels, and it even offers heart rate monitoring without a chest strap. Performance metrics can be tracked for running, swimming, paddle sports, skiing, golf, and rowing. The information you can get ranges from calories burned to running speed to volume of oxygen you consume per minute.

Not only can you track your running stride and pace, but you can predict where you’ll finish in your next race. It even can give you data about your performance condition, cadence, and lactate threshold. And if you don’t run, you can learn distance, pace, and stroke count for swimmers, speed, distance and vertical drop for skiers/snowboarders, or if you golf it gives you yardage to the front, back, and middle of the green.

The Fenix 5 is also customizable to your style. You choose your watch band, or change it for the experience you’re heading to. You can also change the watch face, add data fields or get more apps and widgets for information.


  • Holds charge for long time
  • Simple menu interface
  • ​Feels like a smart watch
  • Easily synchs to phone
  • Simple to operate


  • GPS not always accurate
  • Certain bands are uncomfortable
  • Screen can be difficult to read in some lighting

#4 Suunto Core All-Black Military Men’s Outdoor Sports Watch

Suunto Core All-Black Military Men’s Outdoor Sports Watch

Technical Specs

  • Aluminum bezel material
  • Mineral crystal glass material
  • ​2.26 oz. weight
  • ​Altimeter
  • ​Barometer
  • Compass
  • Storm alarm
  • Depth meter
  • Multiple watch, date, and time functions
  • ​Multilingual menu
  • ​Water resistant to 30m
  • CR2032 battery
  • 2 year warranty

The Suunto Core All-Black Military Sports Watch not only tells the time and date, but it gives you a stopwatch, reads the temperature, sea level pressure, altitude, and sunrise/sunset. With a long lasting CR2032 battery that will last you a year and is easily replaced. The altimeter shows your vertical movement and tracks and records it for your reference, while the compass points you in the right direction. Giving you changes in air pressure, the barometer along with the weather trend graph, sunrise/set, and storm alarm, lets you know what’s heading your way so you can better prepare and plan for your hike.

The handsome all-black finish fits any style and you have band options in the standard elastomer and silicone, with a couple of different options in each material. The bexel material is aluminum and the glass is mineral crystal for added durability. Not just stylish, but this watch operates in temperatures ranging from -5o to 140o and is water resistant.


  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Excellent workmanship
  • ​Menu-driven system makes it easy to operate
  • Durable


  • Band breaks
  • Display difficult to read, especially in daylight
  • No automatic time sync

Final Thoughts

Watches are a very personal item. Some people look for style alone, and others want extra features like an altimeter or heart monitoring. Whether you are out hiking the appalachians, biking the Banks Vernonia Trail, or just swimming in your backyard pool, there are many watch options out there. With all of the watch options comes a wide range of prices. You can find watches for under $50 and watches for $50,000. Whatever your needs and whatever your budget, you can find the perfect watch to suit your desire..

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