Best Outdoor Watches of 2020 Reviewed and Compared

The best outdoor watches will not only display the date and time, they can also provide the camper and hiker with important information including sunset and sunrise times, air pressure, location, and altitude. These features can help the hiker with weather prediction and navigation. Watches with features that are specific to hiking have become increasingly popular as of late, and the companies that produce these watches have been making incredible progress in terms of designing watches with the latest technology.

Our selection of the best outdoor watches includes five watches that are equipped with all the right features that both the beginner and experienced hiker can really rely on.

If you love hiking or have a passion for camping, you need a trustworthy device that can help you to safely reach your destination and navigate the great outdoors. An outdoor watch is designed to easily handle rough weather conditions and tough terrain. Amongst other top features, these watches include longer than average battery life, built-in altitude measuring systems and impressive GPS navigation.

If you’re looking for a model that can assist you throughout your hiking journey, then look no further than our top five picks.

A Watch Designed for the Great Outdoors

Choosing a watch that’s reliable enough to use when you’re hiking off-trail is a tough decision, especially if you’re new to hiking and camping in the backcountry. An outdoor watch is one of the few tech devices that you’ll take off-trail, so it has to be one that has a high rating for accuracy, durability, and reliability.

We looked at a variety of features when we chose our top five products.

Finding an outdoor watch with excellent battery life was obviously our main priority. You don’t want to be caught in a rural area with a dead watch.

We also looked at how each model rated in terms of accuracy. Each model scored very high in this area, ranging from their altimeter and barometer features to fitness tracking features and GPS location.

Some models aren’t GPS-enabled, but they do come equipped with top of the line altimeter and barometer functions, so you’ll always have the most current information.

We’ve included both basic outdoor watches and feature loaded models that are a perfect fit for hikers who love their tech.

Budget was another area we focused on. These watches can come with a pretty steep price tag, so we made sure we included some options that were perfect for hikers on a budget.

Those new to outdoor watch technology will also benefit from our buying guide which outlines the different types of features and tech you’ll want to consider before you buy.

Features, pricing, accuracy, and fitness tracking capabilities are just some of the features you need to look for. Fortunately for you, we dug even deeper to uncover just what makes each of these watches tick, and what you can expect regarding water resistance, battery life, ease of use, and viewing quality. Some models can even control certain smartphone features, which is perfect for hikers who can’t seem to put down their phone.

Now, we’ll begin with our best outdoor watch, a popular model by Garmin, and a watch you won’t want to hit the trail without.

Top-Rated Outdoor Watch-Garmin Fenix 5X Outdoor Watch

Rated Outdoor Watch

The Fenix 5X is an outdoor watch that easily blows the competition out of the water. Loaded with all the right features that the fitness enthusiast will love and the seasoned hiker can depend on, this is one model that you’ll come to rely on wherever your travels may take you. The variety of sports profiles, impressive tracking features, easy to use interface, and fun extras make up a watch that you won’t want to hit the trail without, which is why it’s our top-rated product.

Read Garmin Fenix 5x Review VIEW ON AMAZON

Beginner-Friendly-Suunto Traverse Outdoor Watch

Suunto Traverse Outdoor Watch

A top-selling outdoor watch that’s simply loaded with features, the Suunto Traverse is perfect for beginners and seasoned hikers alike. Choose from a wide range of features designed to help you easily navigate trails, climb mountains, and travel safely through the backcountry. The included features will also allow you to keep a close eye on your daily fitness goals by monitoring climb progress and speed, calories burned, and distance traveled.

Read Suunto Traverse Review VIEW ON AMAZON

The Best Outdoor Watch for Tech-Savvy Hikers-Garmin Fenix 3 GPS Outdoor Watch

Garmin Fenix 3 GPS Outdoor Watch

The Fenix 3 is basically a sports watch, outdoor watch, and smartwatch in one. It allows users to closely track their fitness progress based on workout or activity type, it’s highly accurate in terms of navigation, and it can even receive smartphone notifications. This model is perfect for hikers who love to stay on top of tech trends, but it can also be a reliable hiking watch you can use on your next hiking trip or triathlon.

Read Garmin Fenix 3 Review VIEW ON AMAZON

Longest Battery Life-Casio Men’s Pathfinder Triple Sensor Multi-Function Sport Watch

Pathfinder Triple Sensor Multi

Priced affordably, loaded with a number of features that the seasoned hiker will love and solar powered, so battery life is no longer an issue, the Pathfinder is one of Casio’s top-selling outdoor watches for a number of reasons. While it may not be able to compete with outdoor watches that feature GPS functionality, it can be the perfect buy for hikers in search of a reliable, accurate model to take on the trail.

Read Casio Pathfinder Review VIEW ON AMAZON

Cheapest Outdoor Watch-Suunto Core Outdoor Watch

Suunto Core Outdoor Watch

The Core comes equipped with a highly accurate barometer and altimeter function, easy to use interface, the ability to display elevation in three-foot intervals, a newly designed menu, and a variety of great extra features that most hikers will find useful out on the trail. While it doesn’t have the flash that higher priced outdoor watches do, it is a highly accurate and dependable watch that will make any hiker feel more confident and well-prepared.

Read Suunto Core Review VIEW ON AMAZON

Garmin Instinct GPS Watch

This watch has every device you could need as an experienced, health-conscious, tech-savvy vacationer. With scratch, shock, thermal, as well as water-resistance, this watch is extra long lasting with a breathable, adaptable silicone-based wristband. You can wear it anywhere!

Garmin Instinct, Rugged Outdoor Watch with GPS, Features GLONASS and Galileo, Heart Rate Monitoring and 3-Axis Compass, Lakeside Blue
  • Rugged GPS watch built to withstand the toughest environments
  • Constructed to U. S. Military standard 810G for thermal, shock and water resistance (rated to 100 meters)
  • Built-in 3-axis compass and barometric altimeter, plus multiple global navigation satellite systems (GPS, GLONASS and Galileo) support helps track in more challenging environments than GPS alone
  • Monitor your estimated heart rate, activity and stress; train with preloaded activity profiles
  • Stay connected with smart notifications (with a compatible smartphone) and automatic data uploads to the Garmin Connect online fitness community

Consisting of smartwatch capacities, fit watch applications, a barometric altimeter, a compass, and also 3 various GENERAL PRACTITIONER systems, this watch does it all as well as is finest matched for the man (or female) constantly on the move. You can track your calories, respond to a sms message, and also examine your altitude all in the same breath. As well as if you are a swimmer, this watch has got you covered– it will track your laps for you (as long as you do not take it any much deeper than 100 meters, obviously.).

With a watch that does every little thing, you’ll need a battery that is willing to handle challenges as huge as you do. In smartwatch setting, one fee will last 2 weeks right! But, to be anticipated, it will need to be billed more often when you’re using the GPS to navigate your method down a hill.

The most effective part is that this treking watch remains in the very same price variety as your typical mainstream fitness watch, and also more economical than a name brand smartwatch.

Suunto 7 GPS Fitness Watch.

With more than 70 pre-configured sporting activities settings, this watch is every health nuts dream. Take it swimming, running, or (certainly) on a great, long walk! The wrist heart sensor will maintain your heart rate in check while the GPS tracks your every action.

Suunto 7, GPS Sport Smartwatch with Wear OS by Google - Black/Lime
  • A versatile smart watch and GPS sports watch in one, combining Suunto’s sports expertise with smartwatch features from Wear OS by Google. Compatible with iOS and Android phones.
  • Smartwatch features that make everyday life easier: Help from Google Assistant, quick payments with Google Pay, personalized coaching from Google Fit thousands of apps on Google Play plus daily features like notifications, calendar reminders and weather
  • 70+ sport modes, for running, cycling, swimming, skiing and more; daily steps and calories; connects to sport services like Strava, Under Armour, Endomondo, Adidas Running and Training Peaks and enjoy benefits of Suunto Value Pack
  • Accurate exercise tracking with GPS, barometer and wrist heart rate sensor; Music controls on the watch
  • Free offline outdoor maps and route navigation for finding your way. Built in heatmaps of 15 activities showing best tracks to follow; can be used without phone and network connectivity; Maps download automatically when connected to Wi Fi and charging

This Google-based watch is currently talked to Google Use OS, Google Fit, and Google Pay, for a quick, convenient repayment swipe on an after-run choice me up. If you currently have a precious physical fitness app of choice, not a problem! You can download and install various applications to sync up with this smartwatch and also record your exercises.

Whether you’re 50 meters underwater, climbing a rock wall surface, or throughout between, this tough watch has got you covered with a gorilla glass face and also water-, dirt-, and shock-proof outside. So regardless of exactly how you like to get your body moving, this watch can definitely stay on par with your speed!

The watch will instantly download and install regional maps when attached to wi-fi as well as save maps for offline usage, as well as the GENERAL PRACTITIONER function. Yet make certain to bill this physical fitness watch on a daily basis to make sure you have sufficient juice to tape-record your following workout!

This watch isn’t one of the most economical on our listing, yet if you are a fitness master stressed with tracking as well as logging your every action, with the added ease and also style of top smartwatches, this set is a game-changer.

Garmin Forerunner 45 GPS Watch.

If you’re a fitness fan as well as don’t have a workout buddy, this may simply be the option for you. This watch will not only track your calories, heart rate, rest patterns, runs, workouts, and all that, but it also has integrated safety features to ensure your safety is a top priority.

Garmin Forerunner 35 Watch, White (Renewed)
  • This Certified Refurbished product is tested and certified to look and work like new. The refurbishing process includes functionality testing, basic cleaning, inspection, and repackaging. The product ships with all relevant accessories, a minimum 90-day warranty, and may arrive in a generic box. Only select sellers who maintain a high performance bar may offer Certified Refurbished products on
  • Built-in GPS - built-in to acquire satellites quickly to track how far, how fast and where you run, even under tree cover. No phone required!
  • 24/7 heart rate monitoring - warm gives you heart rate all day and night -no additional Strap required
  • Vibration alerts - helpful vibration alerts notify you of running prompts, activity tracking milestones, smart notifications and virtual pacing progress.
  • Updated display perfect for indoor/outdoor viewing, smart connectivity auto uploads, smart notifications, live track, music controls and automatic software updates

As a female jogger myself, I have been out in the morning hours alone on a run. Having a smartwatch to track my run as well as understanding it might send an emergency situation alert with my area in case of a fall, bike-crash, or any other emergency situation would be life-changing.

Certainly, it additionally has all the fun features also! From physical fitness applications to music streaming, this watch is the best exercise companion. With a battery life lasting up to 7 days, don’t anxiety concerning it excessive if you’re too tired after your workout to plug it in after you climb up in bed.

This watch is bringing a great deal to the table for a little price.

Fitbit Ionic GPS Heart Rate Monitor Watch.

If you wish to try an outdoor watch however are on a budget or uncertain of if you would take pleasure in utilizing one so aren’t ready to invest, this one has a little bit of everything consisted of for a swipe! From treking watch abilities to health and fitness applications to smartwatch alerts, this watch is up there with the best of them.

Fitbit Ionic GPS Smart Watch, Charcoal/Smoke Gray, One Size (S and L Bands Included)
  • Start dynamic, personalized workouts on your wrist with step by step coaching. Synchronizing range: up to 30 feet. Certain features like smartphone notifications may require android 5.0 plus. Syncs with Mac OS x 10.6 and up, iPhone 4s and later, iPad 3 Jan. And later, android 4.4 and later and windows 10 devices
  • Store and play 300 plus songs, and download playlists from Pandora. If the band sizes are small, it fits a wrist of circumference 5.5 6.5 inches and if the band size is large, it fits a wrist in circumference of 6.7 8.1 inches
  • Use built in GPs to track pace, distance & routes and get pure, pulse continuous heart rate tracking & real time zones
  • The package includes both large and small size bands for the perfect, comfortable fit for all day & all night wear
  • Access your favorite apps for sports, weather & more and make payments on the go with a built in NFC chip. Durable screen corning gorilla glass 3 is tough and damage resistant

Coming with different sized bands, this unisex watch is the perfect fit for anyone who desires a trustworthy outdoor watch. Fitbits are recognized for their personalized interfaces and also fitness applications, but did you recognize this watch has 2 various global navigating systems, as well as an altimeter for those people that like to leave the grid every so often.

This watch will certainly track your exercise, your heart price, your sleeping patterns, and your laps in the swimming pool. Keep it charged every few days as well as you prepare to take it on your following experience!

Garmin Leader 735XT Run-Bundle.

Being satellite-based, this altimeter isn’t mosting likely to be as exact as a barometric altimeter. However with 2 different satellite navigation systems, this is mosting likely to be practically as precise as it can obtain. Not to mention all the various other amazing things this watch is capable of!

Garmin 010-01614-06 Forerunner 735XT - EU, Black/Gray
  • Form factor - the most lightweight multisport-capable watch ever from Garmin in an attractive, traditional watch shape, with soft, comfortable silicone bands
  • Built-in activities - data support for: running, cycling, swimming, multisport, hiking, xc skiing, strength, paddle sports and cardio
  • 24/7 Heart rate monitoring - Elevate wrist Heart rate gives you Heart rate all day and night -no additional Strap required
  • Connected Features - automatic uploads to Garmin connect, Live Tracking, audio Prompts, music controls, Smart notifications and social media sharing
  • Smart notifications - get any notification from your Phone, including incoming call alerts, texts, and social media, all with vibration so you don’t Miss a thing

This outdoor watch can track your exercise, count your calories and also steps, as well as monitor your heart rate with the comfort of the wrist strap or even more precisely via a chest strap! Having total running and also cycling metrics permits it to help you improve your balance and type as well.

The swimming-specific attributes of this waterproof watch are extremely useful in underwater depths up to 50 meters. But if the fitness elements aren’t sufficient to convince you, customizable smartwatch functions and user interface could be.

The satellite altimeter isn’t the only fantastic quality of this watch, clearly.

Outdoor Watch Buying Guide

Outdoor Watch Buying

Outdoor watches are what many hikers rely on when they decide to hike off-trail. When we say off trail, we mean routes that are less traveled. These off-trail areas can be dangerous if you don’t have much experience hiking and camping in the backcountry. It can be all too easy to get turned around and lost, or you may be unfortunate enough to get caught up in a major storm. But the outdoor watch is designed to keep you safe. While it shouldn’t replace a traditional map and compass, the outdoor watch can provide you with real-time information regarding your route, weather conditions, temperature, and altitude.

While a camping trip isn’t exactly the best place for a fashionable timepiece, you still need a high-quality watch that can help you track important information when you’re out on the trail. Fortunately, these days there is a wide selection to choose from. The features range from basic, durable timepieces to multifunction wrist computers that will pinpoint your location via GPS. Other models can even tell a hunter how far their bullet will drop depending on the range.

So, what type of outdoor watch is right for you? This can depend on a few factors. Here are some factors you should consider:

Features To Take Into Consideration


Hiking and camping can be tough on all your gear, especially your watch. Because of this, you’ll need a model that’s strong enough to handle a few knocks and scrapes and keep on ticking. Look for a quality brand. Hiking is not a sport for the faint of heart, so you need a watch that’s tough, built strong and ready to meet extreme conditions. These outdoor watches come equipped with a variety of features that are designed to combat any type of harsh conditions you’ll encounter in the backcountry. Many models are scratch proof, waterproof, heat resistant, and shock resistant. All of these factors together contribute to the overall durability of the watch.


If you plan to spend any time in the water, or you want to protect your timepiece from a heavy downpour, then you need to choose a model that’s waterproof. Models with a generic water-resistant label often won’t cut it. Instead, you need a watch that’s properly sealed and one that can be fully submerged and still survive.


An altimeter is a great feature to have on any outdoor watch and one that will tell you exactly what your current elevation is when you want to locate your position.


This is a great feature for campers and hikers. In fact, it can provide all the key info you need to gauge the changes in the weather. A barometer can even be a lifesaving feature for hikers who enjoy hiking up mountains and hills or deep in the backcountry where a serious storm can be fatal. A good barometer will help a hiker perceive any type of change in environmental pressure.


The top models of outdoor watches are often equipped with a GPS system. This is a great feature for hikers to have, especially those who often prefer hitting less-traveled trails in the backcountry. Just keep in mind that some models with GPS functionality tend to have a shorter battery life.


No outdoor watch is complete without a built-in compass. A compass works great with an altimeter and will help hikers to easily navigate through challenging trails. These watches will have a 3D compass. The 3D compass works impressively well, regardless of how the watch is held and it’s the next best thing to a traditional handheld compass.

User Interface

A easy to use interface is crucial. It can consist of a number of screens and menus, and this is where you’ll be able to customize many of the features. Some watches will allow users to change or modify which data they want to be displayed on the home screen.


Many models have poor display quality and low resolution. A good outdoor watch will have excellent resolution which translates to data that’s easier to read.

Battery life

Battery life is one of the most important features to pay attention to before you buy and it plays a key role in a hiker’s schedule. Obviously, the longer the battery life the better. Battery life tends to vary from model to model with an average of eight to twelve hours. If you use the GPS feature on your watch often, it can quickly become a drain on battery life.

For some amazing camping tips visit our dedicated article on the topic.

Other Features to Consider

On modern outdoor watches, you’ll find a whole range of features including ballistic computers, cameras, and even heart rate monitors. But do you really need all of these features built right into your wristwatch or would you prefer to bring along separate devices? As an example, while a heart rate monitor would be a great feature to have on your watch, is it necessary for your typical hiking trip? The choice is ultimately yours, but with these types of extra features, you can expect a shorter battery life and a higher price tag.

You’ll need to decide on the style and type of outdoor watch you want and actually need. If you’re someone who has a hard time parting from their smartphone, or if you’re trying to get in shape, then a feature loaded model complete with GPS and fitness tracking capabilities may be right up your alley.

Final Thoughts

There are many outdoor watches to choose from and more released every month. Each of the models we’ve reviewed will come with their own set of pros and cons, but ultimately, each of the models that have been chosen stood out for their reliability and overall quality.

Before you buy, determine your needs, including the type of features you want, length of battery life, and whether or not you’d like a watch that can be paired with your smartphone.

We hope our reviews of the best outdoor watches and our buying guide has helped you to find the right model that will meet your camping and hiking needs, and your budget.

Last update on 2020-09-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API