Hiking is a pastime that can be enjoyed with nothing more complicated than comfortable clothes and hopefully some decent weather. However, in today’s world, even hiking can embrace technology and it does so to great effect, with hiking watches.
These are almost like having a mini-computer on your wrist and can give hikers all sorts of information, such as distance walked and weather. They can also be very fashionable too. Our review is going to give you the lowdown on three of the best hiking watches currently available and highlight the great features they all have.
Suunto Traverse Hiking Watch
The Suunto Traverse is a GPS-enabled altimeter watch that delivers accurate climbing and descent metrics. It also comes with several activity monitoring functions such as calories burned (which resets at midnight), daily steps, 30-day step history, and detailed activity profiles (i.e. running, hiking, biking, swimming, etc.)
Walking in the great outdoors always has one great variable, and that is the weather. With this hiking watch, you have your very own weather forecaster. The watch measures the barometric pressure, and from that, predicts if the weather is going to change for the better or take a turn for the worse.
Talking of turns, knowing which way to turn as you walk along your route is aided by the GPS and Sat Nav capabilities of this watch. You can even upload routes and destinations to the watch and it will take you there.
As you are hiking, the watch can record your route as you go along, using what is called a ‘breadcrumb trail’, which allows you to retrace your steps. This is ideal if, despite the built-in compass, you somehow lose your way or need to return to any location on your route.
Another tracking function is the one which records your activity. The watch will keep track of altitude levels, distance hiked, and record places of interest.
Tracking the time might also be something which you find useful, and this watch does it in many ways. It alerts you to sunrise and sunset times, daylight hours remaining, plus it will record the steps you take, and the calories you burn off on a daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly basis.
- GPS and Sat Nav
- Weather prediction
- Easy menu system
- Map layout is small
- Battery life is disappointing
This is a great hiking watch with lots of excellent functions to enhance your hiking enjoyment, including recording your activity and predicting the weather.
Timex Men’s Expedition Field Chronograph Watch
The Timex Expedition Chronograph Watch is a best-selling classic and has been updated with an improved chronograph that measures to 1/20th of a second for up to 20 minutes. The metal housing and leather strap offer you a classic look, while the 100-meter water-resistance and Indiglo night light make this one of the best hiking watch for outdoor use.
This is a classic watch from Timex, which has a very stylish design inspired from vintage military watches from yesteryear. It may not appear to be as high tech as some of the digital hiking watches available but then not everyone likes that type of watch anyway.
When you are hiking you want everything to be as comfortable as possible such as your footwear and your clothes. Presumably, this extends to your watch; therefore, you will love the leather strap. Unlike plastic or even some metal straps, it does not irritate the skin. Leather straps are also very strong, so there should be no danger of it snapping.
There may not be any fancy Sat Navs or weather forecaster, but it does have a very accurate and attractive watch dial. This obviously shows minutes and seconds, but it also has a 1/20 second chromometer so you can record the times you have been hiking from point to point.
If you are walking after dark, the watch has a nightlight, so you can see its face clearly. An unexpected, but very welcome feature is the fact that this watch is water resistant to 330 feet; therefore, if you choose to go swimming there is no need to remove the watch.
- Shock resistant
- Strong leather strap
- 1/20 sec chronograph
- Water resistant
- Sits high on the wrist
- No manual included
While this might not have as many modern, or high-tech functions as many hiking watches, there can be few that offer the quality and style of this Timex timepiece.
Casio Men’s PAG240T-7 Watch
The PAG240T-7 is a trendy and fully featured altimeter watch. It is fairly easy to use, has nicely labeled buttons, and a powerful back light.
When you are miles out into the countryside and relying on your hiking watch for the time, and a compass for direction, the last thing you need is for your watch battery to die on you. There’s no danger of that happening with this Casio watch thanks to its solar-powered battery which uses the sun’s rays to recharge itself as you walk.
The watch has sensors which can give you data that will enhance your hiking experience. We’ve already mentioned the digital compass, and in addition to that, it can also indicate your altitude, show you the temperature, and it has a barometer which measures the atmospheric pressure.
If your hiking activities take you to different cities, states or even countries, then the watch can keep time in all of them, as it will adjust to whatever time zone you are in. It also has a countdown function, a stopwatch, a calendar, and it will alert you to sunset and sunrise times too.
Despite all this technology the watch finds time to look great too. This is no small measure due to the very stylish titanium strap, which can be double locked to ensure it remains securely on your wrist.
- Multiple sensors
- Solar power
- Sunrise/set time
- High quality bracelet
- Wristband not suited to thin wrists
- Alarm alert is quiet
This is a great hiking watch which manages to combine a great number of functions and alerts. It has a very stylish design thanks to its titanium bracelet.
When we review products there is a problem when they all very similar, not only in terms of their features, but in their styling too. In those cases, it is very difficult to differentiate them, let alone choose the best one.
We have a nice problem with the three hiking watches we’ve reviewed because they are all very different, and so to compare them brings its own difficulties.
All three are excellent and have features that are as good as any, compared to many of the hiking watches out there. In terms of technology and functions, the Suunto Traverse Hiking Watch has the most going for it, especially considering its GPS and Sat Nav capabilities.
If it’s simplicity, combined with style and quality you prefer, then the Timex Expedition Chronograph Watch is the one for you.
Of the three, we feel the best hiking watch is the Casio Pro Trek Hiking Watch. It manages to have the perfect blend of style and technology in terms of its titanium bracelet and the data it produces for hikers.