One of the most important pieces of hiking gear for experienced hikers is a high-quality hiking watch or an altimeter watch, popularly referred to as ABC (altimeter, barometer, compass). They provide a lot of useful functions for outdoors adventurers like assisting with navigation and exercise metrics. Ideally, a top-notch hiking watch should have an internal GPS system that tracks your coordinates and won’t let you get lost. Some watches also have fitness tracker-like features such as monitoring your heart rate.
These watches combine high-tech solutions with sturdy and waterproof designs ensuring that they will hold up well on tough terrains and in difficult conditions.
A top-quality hiking watch will be a great and reliable companion on a hiking trip.
Read our reviews of the best hiking watches to determine which functions are best suited for your needs.
If you are in a rush and do not wish to read the full article, here are the top 3 hiking watches in our opinion:
Garmin Fenix 6 Pro watch is a solid multisport GPS watch which has many great features and advanced tracking modes. It is easy to call it premium super watch.
Suunto 9 Baro is a premium quality advanced multisport GPS watch. It gets everything you might need for your sports or adventure activities.
This high-tech hiking watch has all three core ABC functions – altimeter, barometer and a 3-axis compass. On top of that, it also offers GPS tracking and more great features.
Best hiking watches
Suunto Spartan Sport HR
This sleek and modern hiking watch is a powerhouse with 100 meters water resistance, GPS route navigation, and battery life of up to 12 hours in training mode. It has a color touch screen made of outdoor-grade mineral Crystal Glass that will hold up well even in tough conditions. It is suitable for a wide range of outdoor and athletic activities, monitoring your heart rate and speed along the way and offering over 80 different exercise modes. You can even wear it while swimming!
It has plenty of features that are important on the trail including distance and altitude measurements as well as GPS and a digital compass function. This watch is on the expensive side but it’s worth it because of all the functions it offers.
This high-tech hiking watch has all three core ABC functions – altimeter, barometer, and a 3-axis compass. On top of that, it also offers GPS tracking, fitness training features, and the TracBack feature that navigates you back to the starting point of your route. You can be sure that you won’t get lost on the trail if you have this watch with you!
Garmin Instinct has a chemically strengthened, scratch-resistant display, treated silicone band, and reinforced housing for extra durability. Its high-resolution color display is clearly visible both in sunlight and in dark. It is water-resistant in up to 100 meters of depth. It has impressive battery life – up to 40 hours in Ultratrac battery saver mode and up to 16 hours in GPS mode. It may be rather expensive for a sports watch but given all the features, it is a good deal!
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).
Monitor your estimated heart rate, activity and stress.
Fitbit Ionic Smartwatch
While Fitbit is mostly known in the fitness circles, their Ionic smartwatch works well for hikers too! It has built-in GPS tracking that allows you to track pace, distance, and routes. It also has all the relevant fitness features like monitoring heart rate, sports, and weather apps and even lets you save more than 300 songs to listen to on the trail! This smartwatch is water-resistant so you can wear it in heavy rain.
Keep in mind that Fitbit Ionic does not have the ABC features. While it is good for GPS tracking and keeping your spirits up on the trail, if you are looking for plenty of hiking-specific features then some of the other options mentioned here will be a better deal for you.
Start dynamic, personalized workouts on your wrist with step by step coaching.
Store and play 300 plus songs, and download playlists from Pandora.
Use built in GPs to track pace, distance & routes and get pure, pulse continuous heart rate tracking & real time zones
Casio Pro Trek Hiking Watch
Blending digital and analog features, this hiking watch has the core ABC (altimeter, barometer, compass) functions as well as a built-in thermometer. With stainless steel bezel and Dura-soft band, it is great for outdoor adventures like hiking, mountaineering, and trekking but you can wear it on your wrist daily as well.
The coolest part? It is solar-powered! Yes, that’s right – you can charge it only using the sun. It is a very useful feature when you are hiking for days at a time and don’t have any power sources available.
Double LED light.
Selectable illumination duration, afterglow.
Quartz Movement. Case Diameter: 52mm.
Water resistant to 100m (330ft): in general, suitable for swimming and snorkeling, but not diving.
Suunto Traverse Alpha Hiking Watch
Stainless steel bezel, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass, and durable water repellant nylon wrist strap make this a sturdy hiking watch choice. This military-tested watch has GPS tracking and collects an automatic breadcrumb trail that you can access via an app to always find your way back no matter how far off you wander from your starting point. It also has a digital compass, as well as altimeter and barometer functions. Traverse Alpha is primarily made for hunting and fishing so it has features like a location-based moon phase calendar with moonrise and moonset times. It operates in a wide range of temperatures, from extreme heat to cold winter conditions.
Overall, it is a very good watch for a variety of outdoor activities. But with its black and white screen, it can look a little outdated compared to other hiking watches on this list.
Features a rugged, knurled stainless steel bezel, durable water repellent nylon strap, and a premium scratch resistant sapphire crystal glass.
Gps tracks your path, helping you find your way back using the automatic breadcrumb trail. Compatible with Suunto Movescount App (iOS and Android).
Garmin Fenix 6 Pro
Garmin Fenix 6 Pro watch is a solid multisport GPS watch that let you track your advanced activity status.
It has many great features like wrist-based heart rate monitoring (as well as abnormal heart rate alerts), pulse Ox blood oxygen saturation, GPS tracking, barometric altimeter, great music storage, accurate and advanced sleep monitoring, plenty of activity tracking features, and outdoor recreation profiles. Please note that this watch is push-button only, not screen touch.
Rechargeable battery life is excellent! It will hold up to 14 days of battery life in smartwatch mode and about 10h in GPS mode with music.
Garmin Fenix 6 Pro is a great looking watch. It is heavier and it has a bigger screen than previous Garmin models.
Enhanced estimated wrist heart rate and Pulse Ox to support advanced sleep monitoring and altitude acclimation at high elevations (this is not a medical device and is not intended for use in the diagnosis or monitoring of any medical condition).
Advanced training features include PacePro for grade-adjusted pace guidance throughout your activity plus environmentally adjusted VO2 max.
Suunto 9 Baro Watch
Suunto 9 Baro is a good-looking great quality advanced multisport GPS watch. It gets everything you might need for your sports or adventure activities.
Suunto 9 Baro offers GPS navigation, intelligent battery modes, barometer, wrist heart rate measuring, sleep tracking, over 80 sport modes, fused track, 100 meters water-resistant, and more great features. It also has an innovative weather function that alerts you with storm alarms and measures water temperature. The special feature of this watch with a barometer that guides you to accurate altitude information combining GPS data with barometric altitude information.
The battery life is amazing! It has great battery settings where you can change to different battery modes.
The Suunto 9 Baro watch is known to be considerably more comfortable to wear than the previous models.
This watch is made for everyday wear as well.
Also, it is important to note that it will become more accurate the more you use it.
This durable multisport GPS watch is designed for athletes who demand the best; Featuring over 80 sports modes, a barometer for accurate altitude info, and wrist heart rate monitor.
Made for training, racing and extreme adventures, this GPS watch delivers up to 120 hours of continuous exercise tracking; Water resistant to 100 meters;