Hiking is a pastime enjoyed by thousands of people throughout the world on their days off work, weekends or holidays. Hiking trails dot the landscape and enthusiasts enjoy the fresh air, scenic views and of course get a good cardio workout at the same time.
Good preparation and equipment for your hiking excursion is essential. Equipment does vary based on the hiking conditions, but carrying water, food, a map and the correct clothing will go a long way to ensure pleasant experience. So we would like to present you the best hiking watch.
However, there are certain risks attached to hiking as news media often report on lost hikers being found after days of being stranded in the wild. With this in mind, there are companies using the very latest GPS technologies and weather sensors in their hiking equipment.
One of the go to gadgets for the enthusiast is the hiking watch. There are plenty on the market and we will be looking at the top models available and their features to give an idea of the functionality and why they are a must have tool for hiking.
Best Hiking Watch
What Features Should A Hiking Watch Have?
The watch you choose should provide not only the date and time, but critical information like, altitude, location, air pressure etc. Features to look out for include;
The Barometer is used to detect the changes in atmospheric pressure and is a useful tool in predicting the weather, if the pressure is increasing, this means the weather is improving, if the pressure is decreasing then the weather will most likely get worse, possibly rainy conditions, if the pressure drops rapidly, this indicates a possible storm.
The altimeter shows how high above sea level the user is, this is determined by the current barometric pressure or the GPS data. The GPS altimeter is the most accurate as it does not need calibration like the barometric altimeter. A good feature for navigation.
A critical tool for hiking as it shows North, West, South and East as well as the bearing, with a compass and a map you will be able to determine your location if necessary.
Easily the best feature for navigation, the GPS allows for instant positional data and can show speed, distance from base or target area, as well as ascent and descent. The only downside to this feature on the hiking watch is decreased battery life. Most GPS watches have rechargeable batteries so do not let this put you off this crucial feature.
Strength and Durability
Robust design and strong wrist straps will prevent breakage in case of a fall, some of the available models come with sapphire lenses affording better resistance against scratching, bear in mind these are more expensive than normal lenses.
Best Hiking Watches
The Garmin Fenix 3 Sapphire
A Smartwatch with a high-res color display designed specifically for the outdoors. The bezel is made of stainless steel, the lens made of Sapphire glass. Combined these offer increased scratch resistance and durability, perfect for the harsh conditions of the outdoors.
The design and comfort of the watch make it an easy choice for everyday wear. Inbuilt features include a compass, altimeter, barometer, thermometer and GPS. The Fenix 3 can be synced with a smartphone using Garmin Connect software which is available on both Apple iOS and Android devices.
Overall the Garmin Fenix 3 Sapphire is hands down one of the best choices for a hiking watch, packed with features too numerous to mention here, the Garmin Fenix 3 has received glowing reviews on various platforms, if you have the budget, don’t hesitate to add this to your hiking equipment.
A popular choice amongst hikers due to an attractive design and many advanced features. Some inbuilt features include an Altimeter, barometer, thermometer and compass.
Other key features include vibration alerts and a step counter. The watch can be synced with a smartphone via the iOS and Android software with the addition of notifications from the smartphone when connected via Bluetooth. The watch can also be connected to the Movescount app.
- Very Stylish design
- Smartphone syncing
- Supports iOS and Android
- Multisport mode is unsupported
The Suunto Ambit 3
Another good choice for the hiker, the Suunto Ambit 3 offers great durability and functionality. Inbuilt features include an altimeter, barometer, thermometer, compass and GPS. One of the key features of the Suunto 3 is the very user-friendly interface.
The watch can be linked via Bluetooth to a smartphone and will display incoming and missed calls along with messages and notifications from the phone. The Suunto Movescount software is available on both Apple iOS and Android devices.
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Supports iOS and Android apps
- Movescount software
- Smartphone syncing
- GPS accuracy
- The External antenna
- The Suunto Traverse
Just a few examples of the wearable tech for hikers and as always it comes down to personal preference when it comes to design and functionality.
A hiking watch is an essential tool for the enthusiast or professional alike. Hiking can be a rewarding and uplifting experience, but never forget that the safety of you and your partner’s is paramount.
lways wear sturdy hiking boots for protection against rough terrain and increased stability. Essential hiking equipment for hiking includes a compass (the hiking watch being a perfect example), sunglasses for protection against glare, sunscreen, a first aid kit for unforeseen injuries, a flashlight, fire starting kit, a multi-function knife, gloves, and an emergency blanket. I hope you like the best hiking watch that we presented.
Looking for the best GPS watch for your hike? Check out this one here.
Curious about which brand of hiking boots is the best? Read about our top 3 here.
Need a daypack for your hike? We recommend this one here.