A hiking watch is a hiker’s best friend. Not only it would look good on its hiker’s wrist, it is also a tool that would give you directions in case you get lost. Furthermore, most hiking watches come with a GPS tracker that would provide you information where you are and point you to where you should be going.
Though a hiking watch is known to provide directions, some would choose a fitness tracker over a hiking watch due to its numerous features, functions thinking it could work as a hiking watch. However, this is not the case as there are differences in using a hiking watch over a fitness tracker.
Differences of Fitness Tracker and Hiking Watch:
A fitness tracker has numerous functions including providing its users information such as speed and time. However, using a fitness tracker is very much different with a hiking watch in terms of providing safety information. A hiking watch provides your location and helps its users to find their way and supply important information such as the elevation process while a fitness tracker does not provide any of the said important information.
Combination of Fitness Trackers and Running Watches:
How about a watch that combines a fitness tracker and a running watch? Though this type of watch has GPS like a hiking watch, this is not advisable as most running watches’ GPS are created for suburban running and not for hiking. If you would use this for hiking, it will not work as a normal hiking watch would. It will have weaker GPS and might not be reliable. Thus, it is best recommended to use a hiking watch while hiking if you want to ensure additional safety. Here are some of the best hiking watches:
Best Hiking Watches
1. Suunto Core Hiking Watch
The Suunto Core Hiking watch is considered as the best hiking watch not only because of its features that would make you feel safe and equipped but also with its handsome stylish design.
The Suunto Core comes in all black chassis and white LED screen that would display the time if you are not using its GPS system. Its band is comfortable to wear and would not catch any of your arm hair. This watch also includes a stopwatch or countdown which you could find in a fitness tracker. So, if you are looking for this feature of being able to time your hike, Suunto will be able to provide it to you.
If by chance during your hike, you would like to dip in water, you will not have to worry and take off your watch as this hiking watch is waterproof. Aside from that, this hiking watch also comes
with weather and sun tracker, altimeter to measure the altitude, barometer, depth meter and compass.
2. Garmin Epix Hiking Watch
Garmin is one of the most popular hiking watch brands. This brand is known for its BaseCamp software that provides different maps of most countries. Its GPS is very reliable and is highly recommended for hiking.
Though Garmin is very popular, there are a few instances that you might encounter some problems. However, this is not something that could not be addressed with its customer service.
The Epix Hiking Watch comes in stylish, sleek design with its touch screen which avoids any accidentally clicks. For its performance, though, you will need to connect to your PC to download your maps before going hiking. Moreover, you will not have a problem with space as this watch has a decent processor and RAM. It also includes a year subscription of birdseye satellite imagery and this watch also will send you notifications to your phone, tablet or any device you wish. Through this, your loved ones will not have to worry of your safety with its constant updates.
3. TomTom Adventurer Hiking Watch
Looking for a hiking watch with some fitness tracker functions? The TomTom Adventurer is the perfect hiking watch. It comes with a heartrate monitor, music which could entertain you while you hike and a GPS that would guide your hike.
Since this watch has numerous features, its battery life does not last that long as well. However, TomTom allows you to control the app that you will use such as for skiing, biking or for gym. It also comes with altimeter, barometer and compass. This watch is recommended for those who are into checking their health, fitness while hiking.
4. Garmin Fenix Hiking GPS Watch
The Garmin Fenix Hiking GPS Watch is known as the best mountaineering watch with its waterproof features and with its wide range of global base maps. This watch could store up to 1000 different waypoints and track points that would help you in finding your way. Its battery life
has a long life-span and the Fenix GPS comes with three-axis compass which strengthens its features of providing you location information.
The downsides of this hiking watch is it sometimes run into issues and the watch is a bit heavy.
5. Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire
Known for its handsome aesthetics, the Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire offers more than its looks. This watch comes with three axis compass which ensures you get a reliable and accurate information about location. It also provides updates on your phones, tablets and PCs. The Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire integrates a heartrate monitor which will oversee your health while you hike.
6. Casio Protrek Sports Watch
A very well- known brand, Casio’s watches are highly handsomely attractive, inexpensive and are loaded with functions and features and this model is not an exemption. The Protek Sports Watch comes with an altimeter which could replace the GPS feature. This watch is solar powered which takes away the problems of battery life and charging. The Protrek Sports Watch could also be used in underwater activities.
7. Timex Expedition Grid Shock
This watch has a killer altimeter and is shock-resistant. It is also water resistant and could be used in water activities. Expedition Grid Shock comes with alarms and night light in case night falls during your hike.
8. Timex Expedition Rugged Analog
Are you into watersports? The Timex Expedition Rugged Analog would be a great partner for you. With this watch, you could use it up to a 100 to 150 feet underwater. It also comes with light up dial for night-time and calendar feature. As for its downsides, however, this watch’s battery is unique and it is difficult to find a replacement and its tick-tock might come a little too loud for some. If you are on a tight budget, this watch could be yours by about 100 bucks.
9. Casio Multi-Function Watch
The Casio Multi-Function Watch is not only for hiking but also for cycling and other activities as well. It is a water resistant watch that could be used up to three hundred feet underwater. It also comes with a stopwatch and a timer which you could use to time your hikes.
Hiking Watches Buyers Guide
Purchasing a hiking watch is difficult and there are a lot of things you will need to consider. This buyers’ guide will help you know what to consider before purchasing the best watch that will suit your needs and taste.
One of the most important factor in choosing a hiking watch is your budget. There are hiking watches that comes with useful features and additional features that are also within budget. All you have to do is choose the right model and the right budget for you.
Another thing that you will need to check on your hiking watch is its functions. Do you need a mountaineering functioned watch? Are you huge on altimeter or would you need a barometer more? Would you need a compass or would you need all of those in order to equip you in your hiking activity?
3. Strap Quality
Nothing beats comfortability. Though this might seem as a small concern, but in reality this is one of the most important factor when choosing a hiking watch. You would want something you could wear all day all the time during your hike.
4. Style and Design
It doesn’t hurt to have a handsome good looking watch with loads of useful features. Not only you could wear it during hikes but also when you go out.
Weight is part of comfortability. If you go on a hike, you wouldn’t need something that would weigh you down and make you feel uncomfortable.
Choosing your Hiking Watch
Having a GPS watch for hiking is essential for a hiker in terms of providing you navigation information. However, in choosing a watch, you will also need to consider if you need a GPS for large scale outdoor areas? Or will you be travel through a lot of woods? Or hilly areas? Would you need altimeter to check the altitude of the area you are in? Would you need to track your progress?
Moreover, when choosing your watch, you will need to know the difference of a fitness tracker and a hiking watch and why a fitness tracker could not be used as a hiking watch. Are combined watches effective? Or does it weaken its functions?
All these information could be found in this article and we hope it helps you get the right hiking watch for you.