There are some items that are regarded as essential when you go hiking, such as decent footwear, and appropriate clothes. There are other pieces of equipment which may not be essential but add a great deal to the enjoyment of hiking. One such item is a hiking watch.
The types of hiking watches you could wear is almost as varied as the number of trails and walks you could go hiking along. Our article will help you understand a bit more about what the benefits of a hiking watch are, and what to use as a hiking watch if you choose to get one.
Basic Timing Functions
The most basic function that you need to look for is a stopwatch. This allows you to time how long it takes you to walk from one point to another. More advanced stopwatches will give you split times, so you can time several legs of your journey as well as the overall time.
Another timing function is a countdown, which is particularly useful if you pace your hiking journey by the amount of time you walk rather than distance. So, if you walk for one hour then have a rest stop, you can set it to sixty minutes, for example.
Other functions in relation to time will be sunset and sunrise times, alarms, time zones, 12/24-hour clocks and some of the more advanced watches will have calendars too.
There are a handful of features which gives hikers very useful data and information before and during their walks. Some of the most common are:
- Compass: Helps you stay on the right bearing and track
- Altimeter: Tells you the height you are walking at
- Barometer: Measures the surrounding air pressure
- Thermometer: Lets you know how hot or cold it is
- Weather Forecast: Readings from the thermometer and barometer help predict the weather
Watches can track your progress as you hike. The most basic of these is the distance you have walked, which is normally measured by a pedometer. If you are hoping to lose some weight by hiking, then look out for those watches which count the calories you have burned off. They do this as part of a calculation using the time and distance you have walked.
The most advanced watches track your progress and help you plan and follow routes, with the use of GPS.
Apps and Data
The most advanced watches can connect you to the internet allowing you to access hiking apps. You can upload the data the watch has recorded in relation to your most recent hiking trip, and then you can store this online.
You can then share this data or analyze it to see if you are achieving the goals you set for yourself. These watches are compatible with all the major operating systems, such as iOS and Android.
Linking To Mobile Devices
When you are hiking is it not always convenient or even wise to be carrying your mobile device, because it means you do not have both hands free. The best place to have it is in your backpack, but then what happens if you get a call and can’t hear it? Simple; your watch will alert you.
Some hiking watches can link to your cell phone and alert you whenever a call or an SMS comes through. They can even be used to activate the camera on your mobile device and take selfies on your journey.
Not Forgetting Your Comfort
Regardless of whether you chose a basic hiking watch, or go for one that has every function imaginable, you must remember that it is going to be on your wrist the whole time that you are hiking.
If that is to be several hours, then the last thing you need is for the watch straps to cause your wrist to sweat or cause chafing. Choose a wristband which will secure your watch properly but not at the expense of your comfort.
Classic Analogue Hiking Watch
If the only thing you need to know when you are hiking is what time it is, then your normal watch is all you need on your wrist. However, if you want to take your hiking more seriously and start to track things like the distance you’ve walked and the time it takes you between two points, then a hiking watch is what you need.
The first type is the classic type of watch, that has a standard watch face with hour, minute and seconds hands. These watches are very stylish and can be used equally well as a normal watch. They can give you timings from their stopwatch and will most likely be water resistant.
Digital Hiking Watch
The second type you might consider is a digital watch that has functions which can be used with and during lots of different sports and activities, including hiking.
A lot of them are suitable for water sports and are therefore waterproof. The functions will certainly include a stopwatch and other timers, such as one which counts down.
These watches may also have an altimeter so that you can see which height you are walking at, a barometer which may also be able to give you the weather forecast, and a compass which will no doubt be put to good use, in order to find your way to your destination.
Multi-Function Hiking Watch
These watches tend to have the most features and if you really want a watch which takes your hiking activities to a new level then this is the type of watch you need.
They have all the trackers we mentioned above, and these are enhanced by their ability to use GPS satellite tracking. These watches can even help you retrace your steps if you get lost or simply want to return via the opposite route.
As we said in the introduction, there are lots of choices for what you can use as a hiking watch. First, decide what you want to achieve from your hiking, and then decide which watch supports that.
If you just like to walk and enjoy the surroundings, without bothering about distance or calories burned, choose one of the more basic ones. However, if you want to set goals, track your progress and plan routes well in advance, a multi-function watch is what you need.