Everything You Need to Know About Hiking Watches

Everything You Need to Know About Hiking Watches

Everything You Need to Know About Hiking Watches


If you’re an avid hiker, it’s good to be up to date on what technology is best to used in the backcountry. One item we can’t get enough of is the hiking watch. Hiking watches come in all different shapes and sizes, but most of them can carry out the same type of functions. Before you buy your hiking watch, take a minute to read up on some of the facts.

More Than Just the Time

The primary function of a watch is of course to tell the time, but hiking watches should be able to do much more than that. Any good hiking watch should feature a barometer, which can help you predict the weather and determine altitude. It should have an altimeter, which will tell you the altitude attained. There should also be a thermometer, and of course, a compass. Many hiking watches also come with a complex GPS system, so that you can navigate your way around the wilderness.

Do You Know How to Read It?

A wall clock serves no purpose in a classroom of children who a. Can’t read time, and b. Have no solid concept of how time works. The same goes for a hiking watch, and any technological outdoor gear for that matter. If you don’t know how to read your hiking watch, how to analyze it and understand what it’s telling you, then it really serves no purpose for you. Make sure you are familiar with the readouts and read up on how to utilize a watch to its fullest potential.

hiking watches

The Pros and Cons

While there are a lot of benefits to owning and using a hiking watch whilst on the trail, there are also some downfalls. First of all, a hiking watch runs on a satellite. If there’s an obstacle in the way, the accuracy of the watch can sometimes be affected. It’s also important to remember that in general, the GPS equipment inside the watch isn’t always precise. This can be frustrating if you’re trying to figure out how long it takes to get somewhere, or how little time it took you to complete a trail. They can also be a risk if someone is relying on this information too much, as it could result in you getting extremely lost.

Different Devices are Better for Different Jobs

We all know that some smartphones are better for taking photos than others. Some computer operating systems are better for making movies than others. The same goes for hiking watches. While some watches are better for hiking or everyday use, others are designed for long term treks or mountaineering. It’s essential that you look into these credentials before purchasing a watch, and knowing which one is better for the type of outdoor activities you’re planning on doing.

hiking watches

It Needs to Be Durable

This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how often consumers overlook this. A hiking watch needs to be durable. After all, you’re going to be climbing mountains with it in all sorts of weather conditions, so you need to be sure it can hold up, regardless of what you may face. Not all watches fit this criteria, so make sure you buy one that has good reviews in this category.

They Can Get Pricey

Hiking watches are a snazzy piece of technology, so don’t be too thrown off when you come across the price tag on these things. Most hiking watches start at $100, and the more features, style, or reliability you expect, the more it’s going to cost.  A good watch is certainly an investment. If you don’t think you’ll use it all the time, then there are plenty of other options that are cheaper. Nowadays, you can even get shoes that have chips in them that collect similar data. Maybe that’s a better choice for somebody like you.

hiking watches

What Brand Should I Get?

The million dollar question…what brand should you get? There are actually quite a few reputable brands out there when it comes to buying a hiking watch. These include Garmin, Suunto, and Casio. Of course, within these brands are different types of hiking watches. Though with these brands, you can be sure you’re most likely getting a good product no matter what.

If you weren’t sure about getting a hiking watch before, hopefully now you’re a bit more familiar. When it comes time to actually making a purchase, it’s good to read up on reviews or ask an expert for some tips. 

hanalarock I'm Hana- a freelance travel writer and teacher who currently lives in South Korea. I'm originally from New York, but have spent the last two years traveling and living abroad. My first time hiking in the US was when I traveled around the country as a teenager. Though, my first adult backpacking trip was a year ago, when I hiked from Thailand down to Singapore for a month. I'm looking forward to many more adventures in the future. Visit my site for more information.