We might have several smartwatches today. But not all of them are good for outdoor adventures. If you are looking at the best outdoor watches in the market today, you might find a huge variety of those. So how do you know which one to buy? Here is a list of the most popular outdoor watches to help you pick the right one:
Suunto Men’s Core Watch-Black
If you are looking for a rugged outdoor watch that you can wear for your mountaineering trips then this is one of the best options. Keeping in mind the needs of an avid outdoor enthusiast, this one comes with a lot of useful features. There is a barometer for pressure indication, an altimeter that comes in handy during mountaineering and a compass so you know that you are in the right direction.
The fact that all the features packed in the watch are easy to use is what matters the most. So you do not have to meddle with the watch for long.
If you are snorkeler, there is also a depth gauge provided.
The watch can notify you of any extreme weather predictions
With the sunrise and sunset indication, you would be able to know the available length of daylight left for the day.
This doesn’t come with GPS and other features that you might find in similar watches in the same price segment.
Garmin Forerunner 110 GPS Running Watch with Heart Rate Monitor – Grey/Pink
If you are looking for the best outdoor watch with GPS, this is one of your easiest bets.It is a fully-packed sports watch that comes with the capacity to measure your speed and distance traversed. There is also a calorie tracker. There are no complicated steps involved in setting up the watch. And reading the parameters is also pretty simple. All you have to do is to hit the start button when you begin running.
This is one of the most reliable smartwatches that suits outdoor use with its rugged design and great viewability.
The sensitivity of the GPS receiver is pretty good.
The battery efficiency is also good and there is an additional power save mode that can be used when the battery is draining fast.
If you wish to use the heart rate monitor you would have to use the additional strap provided. So toggling the straps every time might be a bit inconvenient.
There is a music player to keep you entertained
The Fitness Age feature and the training modes make this watch an ideal training companion.
Synchronizing the watch data is very simple. All it takes is to download the TomTom Sports app.
If you are looking for an outdoor watch for trail running, hiking, snow sports and other occasions then this one can be pretty useful.
The trail exploration feature allows you to preload a defined trail while you begin your trip.
It is slightly on the chunky side in its form factor. So if you are looking for something sleek and lightweight there are many other better options.
Casio PRG270-7CR 54mm Black Plastic Band & Case Men’s Watch
This is popular among those looking for the best watch for outdoor adventure. From the line of the ever popular G-shock watches this outdoor watch comes with a robust reliable construction. This is a solar powered watch and so it automatically charges while you are out in the sun.
The watch can withstand extreme temperature conditions. It can function without any hassle even in temperatures as low as -10deg C.
If you are looking for altimeter, barometer, thermometer, compass, sunrise and sunset indication, alarms, and other outdoor features this watch has them all.
The battery life of the watch is pretty impressive as one full charge can last for nearly 9 months.
There is a backlit display but the readability might appear a bit low in total darkness.
Casio Men’s G-Shock GA110NM-2A Navy Plastic Quartz Sports Watch
Another watch from the G-Shock collection by Casio, this best outdoor activity watch comes with a Japanese Quartz movement. It can withstand scratches and take hits like a pro without showing any sign of damage. It doesn’t just score well on the looks segment but also stays as good as new for a long time.
It is water resistant for up to 200m. So you can have your watch on without a worry, even when you go swimming.
This is one of the most durable watches you would ever find.
It carries an alarm, stopwatch, and other essential features all on an easy to use dial.
Talk about precision this is one of the most popular models in outdoor watches.
Reading the watch in the dark is the problem with this model as well, as with the previous one on the list.
EZON H011F11 Multi-functional Hiking Watch Outdoor Waterproof Climbing Watch with Compass Barometer Altimeter Thermometer Temperature Wristwatch Men’s Sports Watch (Black)
This is the best outdoor watch under 100 pounds price segment. This automatic field watch comes with a 50-year automatic calendar. The backlit display is pretty good in a variety of lighting conditions. This watch comes with a water resistance rating of 5ATM. It features a barometer, compass, altimeter and an alarm as well. Time can be displayed in 12hour or 24-hour formats.
Some of the unique features this one carries are the keypad lock and low battery indication.
It comes with the option to record heights and climbing records.
There is an option to put the watch to a sleep mode if you wish to conserve battery.
Though the watch carries a thermometer, measuring ambient temperature can get a bit tricky. Variations in readings are sometimes seen as the temperature of the hands would also be picked up. But this is a problem that several outdoor watches with thermometer function encounter.
How to pick the best watch for outdoor?
Why do you really need an outdoor watch? The one feature that sets apart a normal watch and an outdoor watch is the construction. The form factor of outdoor watches is generally designed to be rugged, tough enough to withstand heavy use. So even if the watch has to take bumps and hits and scratches this would not affect the functionality of the watch. Depending on the type of outdoor activity you would be involved in you can find a variety of watches with a variety of features. Here are some of the most common considerations to keep in mind when you buy your outdoor watch.
If you are looking for watches that can withstand mild water splashes then a minimum water resistance rating would be sufficient. This is usually indicated with ATM values. Higher the ATM rating deeper can you take the watch below water. So if you want something that you can wear during your diving adventures then you should look for something with a reasonably high ATM rating, around 20ATM. Most normal outdoor watches can be worn in the rain and for a swim. They come with ATM ratings around 5.
When you are outdoor, you might have to tackle different types of lighting conditions. So watches that come with a backlit display would be the best picks. Also, those that come with luminescent handles and markers would be even better.
Ease of use
It is not just important for the watch to carry all the useful features. The watch should also be easy to use. What use would the features be if you have to tediously skim through various steps to get a single reading! It doesn’t mean that your watch should carry a lot of buttons one for each function. It could instead come with all the functions straightforward to use with just a few clicks.
Do you really need a sports watch or a smartwatch?
That is the big question you should first ask yourself. Because you have smartwatches that can be used outdoor but not all outdoor watches are smart. The smartwatches designed for outdoor adventures might not always be as tough as the conventional outdoor watches. So the choice boils down to the type of outdoor activities. If you want something for a countryside hike or something that you can wear to track your fitness then a smartwatch would be a better option. And given the option to sync with your smartphone you can always view the readings on a larger screen and analyze your daily, weekly and monthly performance. And as some watches come trail trackers you would also be able to preload a hiking trail route and make use of the GPS to track whether you are on the right route. But if you do not really want a GPS but would need other raw features like altimeter, barometer, and compass a conventional outdoor watch would be the best option for you.
This is a feature you cannot ignore. This is one area where the conventional outdoor and sports watches score way higher than the smart outdoor watches. Smart watches, as they stay connected with GPS, tend to drain quickly. So for longer trips, when you would be outdoors for several days you would have to hunt for charging outlets. If you are camping in an area without electricity this might be a bit of a hassle. But with the normal sports watches, they often come with batteries that can last for months together. Some might even come with convenient solar charging feature. So you can use all the functions throughout your trip without worrying about the battery draining. If you still prefer smartwatches you could pick those that come with power save modes or sleep modes to help save battery life.
Size and build
Talk about the build, it determines the looks and the feel of the watch. There are those that look tough and chunky. And these might also be slightly heavy. But they characterize the outdoor life well. Some might, however, prefer a minimalist design, a sleek and lightweight form factor. Choosing based on the looks is totally a matter of personal choice. The material of the watch is another feature that you cannot miss. The material and the build quality would determine the durability of the watch. In general, given the incorporation of a touchscreen, smartwatches are slightly less durable than the normal outdoor watches.
Why do you really need an outdoor watch?
This is a question that you might have in your mind before you buy an adventure watch. Because most features of the smartwatch and outdoor watches are found on smartphones today. It boils down to the convenience. When you are hiking or mountaineering carrying a smartphone with you might not be safe for the smartphone. You might often toss it in your backpack. So you cannot stop and look for your smartphone for quick glances of the height or pressure readings the direction etc. And not all smartphones are water resistant. So you cannot use them while it is raining outside either. So if you are an avid outdoor enthusiast then investing in an outdoor watch would be the best investment.
The best outdoor watch for you
Our adventure watches pick of the best 6 is the Casio PRG270-7CR if you do not mind missing out on the GPS. But the others on the list all come with their own pros. We have only chosen those that make a good value for money. We have shortlisted only those that carry all the features that are currently popular in the industry and those that really matter to the outdoor adventurers. So which one are you buying next?