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Hey there, adventurer! I just want you to know that the world needs more people like you. Someone who is willing to step out of your comfort zone, not allow society’s expectations to dictate what you should do, and is willing to take risks.
And while you may not travel the way you used to today because of the pandemic, I bet your sense of adventure has not been completely squashed and you’re just as excited as the rest of the world is for your next exciting adventure.
Whether you’re into endurance sports, like trail running, hiking, wild swimming, or ultrarunning, having a reliable outdoor watch makes a big difference for your adventure.
A hiking watch can provide you top navigation features and a decent battery life that can accompany you for a multi-day adventure. Outdoor watches can also serve as your safety tool that can measure the speed and altitude of your downhills as well as track your route.
If you’re looking for the best hiking watch companion, I’ve rounded up below some of the best watches not just for hikers, but also for climbers, outdoor dwellers, and ocean-goers!
Top 5 Analog Watch for Hiking
|1.Garmin Fenix 5||2. Casio Pro Trek PRG650Y-1||3. Garmin Instinct||4. Suunto Core||5.Spartan Ultra|
|Navigation system||GLONASS, GPS||Digital compass||GLONASS, GPS, and Galileo||Compass||GLONASS, GPS|
|Battery life||Smartwatch mode up to 9 days, GPS mode 14 hours, and UltraTrac battery saver mode: 35 hours||7 months on rechargeable battery (without exposure to light after charge);25 months on rechargeable battery (when stored in total darkness with the power save function)||Up to 16 hours in GPS mode with wrist-based heart rate, 40 hours UltraTrac GPS mode, and 14 days Smartwatch mode||12-18 months, depending on usage.||15 days in time-only mode, 26 hours in power-save mode, and 18 hours in full-power GPS|
|Altimeter Barometer and Compass (ABC) data||✓||✓||✓||✓||Altimeter: current altitude|
|Weather forecast/ Storm alarm||The barometer can be used to predict weather changes||N/A||N/A||✓||✓|
|Water resistance||10 ATM or a depth of 100 meters||100M||100M||30M||100 m (300 ft)|
|Countdown timer||None||Yes, Countdown range: 60 minutes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
The Garmin Fenix 5 is a premium multisport GPS watch equipped with a wrist heart rate tech (Elevate™). What makes this hiking watch stand out from other watches offered in the market today is that you can easily view your performance or progress statistics.
This GPS watch also has connected features, including automatic uploads of your workout progress to the Garmin Connect app. The outdoor sensors built-in Garmin Fenix 5 includes GLONASS satellite and GPS reception as well as 3 axis compass with barometric altimeter and gyroscope.
It is durable since its case material is made of fiber that is reinforced with polymer and it also has a stainless steel rear cover. You can switch from digital to analog-style, depending on your preference!
Runners, swimmers, hikers, and cyclists who want to easily view their performance statistics while on an adventure or during a workout.
- Fiber case material
- Striking design
- Readability on the run (high-resolution and full-color display)
- With advanced running dynamics
- You can customize how it looks via the Connect IQ store
- A multisport watch
- Tracks pace, distance, and swimming stroke
- Dual navigation networks
- Very few users find the pace calculation sometimes erratic, where the GPS starts a run
- Costs 2 or 3 times more than other regular analog hiking watches
Like G-shock hiking watches, Pro Trek is also a pride of the Casio brand. It is designed primarily for outdoor activities, such as hiking. Most of its technical features are also present in G-Shock, such as the Tough Solar power, radio time-syncing, as well as environmental sensors.
But this watch is more of a go-to-brand and the advantage of this watch compared to G-Shock hiking watches is that you can get the Triple environmental sensors at a more affordable price.
Outdoor enthusiasts, such as backpackers, climbers, campers, and hikers who want Triple (ABC) environmental sensors at a cheaper price.
- Attractive night safari concept watch without sacrificing readability
- Soft yet durable bands
- Luminescent/ emits faint glow during night outdoor activities
- With altitude/barometric pressure features
- Tough Solar
- Movable lug components
- Affordable watch
- 12/24-hour format
- No multi-Band 6 (standard time radio wave reception)
- When set in digital display, some symbols are small and data is not easy to see
Another hiking watch with amazing functionality is the Garmin Instinct with 3-Axis Compass. You can set it in analog display and it features;
You can monitor your activity, stress level, and estimated heart rate using this gear. You can also use the trackback feature to follow the same route back to your starting point. To plan your adventure in advance, you can use the Garmin explore app and site.
As for its battery life, it can last up to 14 hours if you set it to UltraTrac GPS mode that periodically turns off GPS to save power or 16 hours if you set it to GPS mode with a wrist-based heart rate.
Hikers and bikers who want an entry-level GPS watch with the TrackBack feature, allowing them to travel off the beaten path or destinations.
- Estimates activity, heart rate, and stress level throughout the day
- GPS, Galileo, and GLONASS satellite network capability
- Built to withstand the toughest environments
- Allows you to view smart notifications
- Access to Garmin online fitness community
- Incredible battery life
- Serenely simple but packed with great features
- Design: buttons extend beyond the edge of watch housing. This may not be good for someone with a fat wrist, who often bends their wrist, like putting on a coat or lifting heavy objects as they may accidentally press the buttons.
- Some find the vibration loud
4. Suunto Core
One of the best adventure watches on the market today is the Suunto Core. It has three alarms, like the Suunto Vector and Suunto Ambit2. And if you prefer a hiking watch with a timer and a stopwatch, then this is an ideal choice.
Suunto Core likewise has altimeter and barometer functions that are linked together. It works by measuring the elevation in one-meter or three-foot intervals and calculates long-term pressure so you’ll have more accurate readings during your trails.
Wilderness travelers, skiers, and mountaineers are looking for a watch with long battery life and have a feature that allows them to gauge their overall progress on a climb.
- With sunrise/sunset times
- With stopwatch and calendar functions
- Up to 18 months of battery life
- Forecasts sudden alterations in the weather
- Allows you to keep a close eye on air pressure trend
- Altimeter function allows you to determine the elevation
- Helps you gauge your progress on a climb
- With its dark glass, it may be difficult to read the screen in high-intensity light conditions.
- No GPS, yet expensive than other GPS watches
The Spartan Ultra has a big display (1.97 inches in diameter and 0.67 inches thick) and powerful battery life. On the right side, it has three buttons or you can use the touch screen to scroll through the menus.
As you hike or run, the Spartan Ultra displays basic information, like pace per mile, elevation gain, and distance). It will also show you the peak training effect, workout recovery time, and excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.
Serious athletes who want a durable analog watch that features different sport modes or profiles.
- Long battery life
- Real-time metrics (pace, speed, altitude, heart rate, distance)
- Comfortable for its size
- Easy to use
- The face material is made of sapphire glass, ensuring of its durability
- Silicone strap material
- 24/7 activity tracking of steps and calories
- GPS navigation watch
- Premium titanium bezel
- Daily step counter a bit on the higher side
- Low contrast
- Weak vibration (for notifications and alarms)
What to Look for When Buying an Analog Watch for Hiking
1. GPS Access/ Navigation System
An acronym for global positioning system, GPS is important for orienteering and tracking location in real-time while you hike. But, it would be best if you can also use other navigation technology, like Russia’s GLONASS or the Galileo system of Europe.
2. Ease of Use
As a hiker, what interface would you prefer? Using buttons or touchscreen for navigation? For many, a touchscreen interface is more intuitive, because it’s like using a tablet or phone.
But in case you’re wearing gloves or your fingers are wet when you’re outdoors, touching the screen to select functions may not be easy. So, in that case, buttons are much easier to operate.
3. Battery Life
Another essential consideration that a hiker should consider when looking for an analog watch is battery life. After all, you want a watch that will accompany you as you go the distance.
Some watches, such as the Suunto, have power-saving modes too that lessen GPS usage so you can use your watch longer without the need for a recharge.
Final Verdict: Which One Should You Buy?
Considering all the features and its price point, my favorite timepiece for hiking would be the Garmin Instinct. This mid-range sports watch has GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo navigation systems and also has Altimeter/Barometer/Compass features.
It is water-resistant for up to 100M and has a heart rate monitor and Bluetooth features. I think it just hit the sweet spot for adventurers out there. Not to mention that its size is not too big nor too small.
If you like this review, you might want to read our other reviews at EvesWatch.com.