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The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Hiking Watch: Features and Functions to Look For

by Thomas Jentzsch on May 11, 2023


Hiking is a popular outdoor activity that offers numerous physical and mental benefits. However, it can also be risky, especially when hikers don’t have proper equipment.

A hiking watch is one of the most essential tools for any hiker. It not only helps you track your progress and monitor your performance but also ensures you stay safe on the trail.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll help you choose the best hiking watch for your needs by taking a look at key features and functions to consider when making a purchase decision. We will also highlight some of the best hiking watches in the market.

Importance of a Hiking Watch

A hiking watch is an essential tool for anyone who loves outdoor activities. It provides valuable information about your location, altitude, weather patterns, and other critical data that can help you stay safe while enjoying nature’s beauty.

Also, hiking watches provide convenience by allowing hikers to track their progress without having to use their smartphones or other devices that could hinder their experience. Furthermore, wearing a hiking watch offers peace of mind as it provides much-needed safety features such as emergency alerts, GPS tracking capabilities and barometers that can warn hikers of impending dangerous weather conditions.

Overview of the Guide

This guide is designed to provide insight into what makes a good hiking watch – from hardware specifications like battery life and durability to software features like GPS navigation or local weather forecasting – all with an eye towards helping readers make informed purchasing decisions based on their specific needs. We’ll cover everything from top-performing brands/models out there today (including Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar Suunto 9 Baro Casio Pro Trek PRW-6000Y-1ACR Coros Apex Pro) to considerations like budget, wrist size/comfort, and the type of hiking/outdoor activity you’ll be using the watch for. By the end of this guide, you’ll know how to choose the perfect hiking watch for your needs.

Key Features to Look For in a Hiking Watch

GPS and Navigation

One of the most important features to look for in a hiking watch is GPS and navigation. A built-in GPS will allow you to track your location, view your route, and record your progress.

This feature can be extremely useful on longer hikes or in areas where you are not familiar with the terrain. Some hiking watches come with pre-installed maps which can help you navigate through trails easily.

Another useful feature related to GPS is the ability to mark waypoints or create routes. These features allow you to save important locations along your hike such as water sources or campsites, and also plan out future hikes.

Durability and Water Resistance

Durability and water resistance are important considerations when choosing a hiking watch. A good hiking watch should be able to withstand tough conditions such as drops, scratches, extreme temperatures, and exposure to water. Look for watches that have been tested against military standards for ruggedness.

Water resistance is particularly important if you plan on hiking near bodies of water or in rainy conditions. Look for watches that are rated at least 5 ATM (50 meters) of water resistance so they can withstand splashes or brief immersion in water.

Battery Life and Charging Options

Battery life is another important feature when choosing a hiking watch. You don’t want your watch dying halfway through a hike or outdoor activity.

Look for watches that have long battery life so they can last multiple days without charging. It’s also essential to consider charging options when purchasing a hiking watch.

Some watches use rechargeable batteries while others use disposable ones. Rechargeable batteries are more convenient since they don’t need replacement but might require an external charger depending on the model chosen.

Moreover, some brands offer solar-powered options which come handy during extended outdoor activities like backpacking, hiking in the mountains, or kayaking. You can rely on the sun to recharge your watch and keep you going without worrying about losing battery life.

Top Hiking Watches in the Market

When it comes to choosing the best hiking watch, there are several options available in the market. However, not all of these watches are created equal. Here we have compiled a list of the top hiking watches that you should consider before making a purchase.

Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar

The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar is considered one of the best hiking watches available in the market today. It comes with advanced GPS features such as multi-GNSS support for precision tracking even in remote areas.

Additionally, it has a long battery life that lasts up to 14 days in smartwatch mode and up to 36 hours in GPS mode. The watch also has solar charging capabilities, which means it can charge itself when exposed to sunlight.

In addition to its advanced GPS capabilities, the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar also has useful features such as an altimeter, barometer and compass that make it suitable for use during outdoor activities like hiking and mountaineering. Its rugged design ensures that it can withstand harsh outdoor conditions without getting damaged.

Suunto 9 Baro

The Suunto 9 Baro is another popular hiking watch that offers advanced features such as GPS navigation, altimeter and barometer sensors. One of its most remarkable features is its long battery life that can last up to 120 hours depending on usage. This makes it an ideal choice for hikers who want a reliable watch that can last for extended periods without requiring recharge.

The Suunto 9 Baro’s durable design is also impressive since it can withstand tough outdoor conditions without getting damaged or losing functionality. It has a comfortable strap made from silicone material which provides extra grip on your wrist and prevents slipping during strenuous outdoor activities like hiking and climbing.

Casio Pro Trek PRW-6000Y-1ACR

The Casio Pro Trek PRW-6000Y-1ACR is a versatile hiking watch that offers useful features such as a compass, altimeter and barometer. Its solar-powered battery ensures that the watch can last for extended periods without requiring recharge. Additionally, it has an accurate atomic clock that synchronizes with time signals from six different radio stations worldwide.

The watch is also water-resistant up to 200 meters, making it suitable for use even in wet conditions. One of its standout features is its tough design which makes it durable enough to withstand harsh outdoor conditions without getting damaged or losing functionality.

Coros Apex Pro

The Coros Apex Pro is another impressive hiking watch that boasts advanced features such as GPS navigation, barometer and altimeter sensors. It has a long-lasting battery life that lasts up to 40 hours in GPS mode, which makes it ideal for hikers who want to embark on extended trips without worrying about battery life.

In addition to its impressive battery life, the Coros Apex Pro’s durable design ensures that it can withstand harsh outdoor conditions without getting damaged or losing functionality. Its touchscreen display is easy to navigate and allows you to customize your settings according to your preferences.

Overall, these are some of the best hiking watches available in the market today. Each one comes with unique features and functions that make them suitable for specific activities and user preferences.

When choosing a hiking watch, consider factors like durability, GPS capabilities, battery life and charging options among others. Take time to compare different models before making a purchase decision so you can choose the best one for your needs.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Hiking Watch


When looking for a hiking watch, one of the most important factors to consider is your budget. Hiking watches can range in price from around $50 up to $1,000 or more, depending on the features and quality you’re looking for. It’s important to set a realistic budget before beginning your search so that you don’t waste time looking at watches that are out of your price range.

Keep in mind that while it may be tempting to go for the cheapest option available, investing in a higher-quality hiking watch can save you money in the long run. Cheaper watches often have shorter battery lives and less durability, meaning they may need to be replaced more frequently.

Wrist Size and Comfort

Another important factor when choosing a hiking watch is wrist size and comfort. It’s important to find a watch that fits comfortably on your wrist so that it doesn’t rub or chafe during long hikes. You’ll also want to consider the weight of the watch – while some hikers prefer heavier watches with lots of features, others may find them cumbersome.

If possible, try on several different models before buying to see which feels most comfortable on your wrist. Some brands also offer interchangeable straps or bands so that you can customize the fit even further.

Type of Hike or Outdoor Activity

The type of hike or outdoor activity you plan on doing will also play a role in determining which hiking watch is right for you. For example, if you’ll primarily be doing day hikes on well-marked trails, a basic GPS-enabled watch may suffice. On the other hand, if you plan on doing longer backpacking trips where navigation and weather forecasting are critical, you’ll want a watch with advanced features like an altimeter and barometer.

Consider what types of activities you’ll be doing most often and what features will be most useful in those situations. Keep in mind that some watches are better suited for specific types of outdoor activities – for example, the Suunto Traverse Alpha is designed specifically for hunting and fishing, while the Garmin Instinct Tactical Edition is geared toward military-style training.

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Conclusion: The Best Hiking Watch for You

Summary of Key Points Discussed

Throughout this article, we have explored the importance of a hiking watch and the key features to look for when choosing one. We discussed GPS and navigation, durability and water resistance, battery life and charging options, altimeter, barometer, compass, display size and visibility, connectivity with smartphones.

We also went through some of the top hiking watches available in the market such as Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar, Suunto 9 Baro, Casio Pro Trek PRW-6000Y-1ACR and Coros Apex Pro. One important factor to consider when looking for a hiking watch is your budget.

It’s important to find a watch that meets your needs without breaking the bank. Additionally, you should consider your wrist size and comfort level as well as the type of hike or outdoor activity you will be doing.

Final Thoughts on Choosing the Best Hiking Watch

Choosing a hiking watch can be overwhelming with so many options available in the market today. However by taking into consideration your specific needs like GPS functionality or battery life requirements you can make an informed decision on which hiking watch to purchase.

Remember that it’s not just about finding a watch with all the latest features but also one that meets your individual needs without exceeding your budget. Utilizing this guide as a reference point will help ensure that you make an informed decision when it comes to purchasing your next hiking watch.

we hope that our Ultimate Guide has assisted in making an informed decision about choosing the best hiking watch for you. As technology continues to advance at lightning speed there are sure to be exciting new releases coming soon from these top brands listed above or from newcomers who are looking to carve out their space in this rapidly expanding market!


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