Best Outdoor Watches

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Suunto Traverse
Test Winner: Suunto Traverse
Amazon Link
No matter where you are or what adventure you find yourself experiencing, outdoor watches are one of the best tools you can have with you. Outdoor watches are much more than a timepiece, they are a whole new tool for the twenty-first-century adventurer.

Besides featuring high tech features such as GPS, activity tracking, and being a smart device, an outdoor watch can help you get out of the wilderness before sunset and keep an eye on your heart rate. Another feature we love is the ability to share your location with friends and family. These best outdoor watches will give you the extra edge when on your next adventure.

Standout Picks

Suunto Traverse
A slightly better user interface and battery life may have propelled the Suunto Traverse even further on this list. Still, this remains highly competent because of its integrated technology that ranges from its smart technology to its GPS functionality.
Casio 2500T Digital
For those who simply do not need activity tracking or GPS functionality, look no further than the 2500T Digital Watch from Casio. Think of this is a throwback watch with a built-in barometer, altimeter and compass all-in-one.
Amazon Link
$255.82
Suunto Sport
Garmin may be the “king” of this kind of technology but get one thing straight, Suunto is no slouch. Their various appearances on this list will prove that. But, their Sport Wristwatch offers efficient core functions such as activity tracking and GPS technology with a water-resistant design.
Amazon Link
$374.95
Garmin Epix
The epix is a great example of the best outdoor watch that excels in performance but one that may not be a fashion statement. As its Garmin, it has built-in GPS technology and also features mapping.
Amazon Link
$399.99
Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music
After a long hike with your Vivoactive, there's nothing better than relaxing at a beautiful waterfall and listening to your favorite song. Comparable with other outdoor Garmin watches, this watch packs all the best features and more with a slim and attractive interface.
Amazon Link
$299.99
Garmin Fenix 5
The Garmin Fenix 5 sports all the gizmos and gadgets that you come to expect from a high-quality Garmin device. But, what makes it so amazing for outdoor users is its rugged construction and GPS functionality.
Amazon Link
$399.99
Seiko Automatic Stainless Steel
For what the Seiko Men’s Watch is, it is highly-impressive and designed for an extensive lifespan. It does not implement some of the features of the previous watches on this list, but that does not signify it is unsuitable for outdoor use.
Amazon Link
$93.98
Victorinox Airboss
Simply put, this watch is visually stunning. It may be the finest watch ever crafted but do not be fooled, this can perform admirably as well. This is not only your standard watch but also a chronograph with amazing workmanship.
Amazon Link
$1,050.00
Fitbit Charge 2
Ideal for the less devout outdoor person, the Fitbit still tracks your steps, pace, and elevation while staying true to it's incognito, sleek design. One feature that would excel this watch to the top of this list is a compass.
Amazon Link
$209.99
Apple Smart Watch Series 3
I'm sure that Apple isn't the first brand to come to mind for an outdoor watch. However, the series 3 watch has an emphasis on fitness and is breaking into the outdoor world. The GPS is equally as accurate as the Garmin watches and with the new addition of a barometric altimeter, you can also track your elevation.
Amazon Link
$269.00

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Durability

Top outdoor watches, to begin with, should be designed with durability in mind, but when you factor in the unknown nature of the outside world, it enhances the importance. When it comes down to it, for use outdoors, you should look at two factors. One is the actual quality of the watch itself (and even the band). Two is the water-resistance rating (if it is water-resistant). For starters, let’s address the artistry.

First off, the watch should be crafted from durable alloys, for example, titanium and stainless steel. Take stainless steel, for instance, as it is a naturally hard alloy that can handle rough handling. If you accidentally smack your watch on something or drop it while trying to get it on, it should be able to withstand it.

Then, there should also be a scratch-resistant casing designed over the watch to protect it. Now, for the water-resistance rating. As opposed to waterproofness, water-resistance does not cover complete submerging. However, if the watch is rated for up to 100 or 200 meters (or beyond), then it is suitable for it. Still, most manufacturers will advise against diving with this type of watch.

Battery Life

The adventure watches that were presented to you on this list varied a little. Some are equipped with GPS functionality, activity tracking, and work as a smartwatch. When it comes to these types of outdoor watches, you will need to focus on battery life. Considering that you are going to utilize these outdoor watches, you want to ensure they will last as long as you need them. However, it is not that simple with smartwatches (especially if they have GPS technology).

Anyone who knows anything about GPS should understand that it takes a ton of power to use and will bog down your battery significantly. Thus, you typically will see differing battery life ratings. Such as 20 hours in GPS mode and three weeks otherwise. How you use your best outdoor watches will determine the battery life of one charge. So, the more you use the GPS inside the watch, the quicker the battery will deplete. In other words, use it sparingly.

Features

This is where personal preference starts to come into play. Among the watches on this list, this is the section where they will differ the most from one another. The only thing you need to ensure is what you truly want your watch to be capable of. If you simply want to know the time and maybe have a few extra features, you can opt against versions that are loaded with technology. Some of the main design implementations that you want to consider are a GPS, compass, barometer, altimeter, activity tracking and Bluetooth.

GPS and activity tracking do go hand-in-hand with a watch and if it sports GPS technology, it should allow for sports and activity tracking. But, technology such as a barometer (which assists in forecasting the weather and determining the altitude), an altimeter (which allows you to determine the altitude attained) and a compass can provide you with necessary information when you are wandering in the wilderness. Then, there is Bluetooth. With this, your watch morphs into a smartwatch and then has the capability of syncing with your smartphone. This can then allow you to receive call and text notifications straight from your phone and also access to additional applications.

Watch Face

No matter if it is a smartphone, laptop, tablet, gaming console, or a watch, you will spend most of the time staring at the screen and navigating through the interface.

With watches, it can be a bit tricky because, due to their design, their screens will not be as broad and immense as smartphones or tablets. As such, the actual interface is not going to be able to show all the features present, and you want to ensure it is easy to navigate through. Of course, this is more referencing smartwatches and touchscreen watches.

But, you can also pay attention to the screen and display as a whole? What is the resolution of the screen? Does it have a backlight for dark environments? Also, can it easily be seen from a distance (from your eyes to your wrist)? Do you want to squint your eyes every time you look down at your wrist because the fonts and resolution are unbearably low and small?

Top Ten Outdoor Watches

1. Suunto Traverse

Where to buy
Suunto Traverse
Amazon Link

A slightly better user interface and battery life may have propelled the Suunto Traverse even further on this list. Still, this remains highly competent because of its integrated technology that ranges from its smart technology to its GPS functionality.

Read more

Overall Workmanship

All Traverse outdoor watches are hand-tested and designed in Finland and are composed of a stainless steel bezel. And, with a water-rating of 100 meters, it is designed for the outdoors.

Battery Life

Suunto advertises their Traverse to have up to 100 hours of battery life. But, as several reviewers have claimed, in GPS mode, this is laughably wrong and tends to fluctuate a lot.

Integrated Technology

You can achieve everything you can think of with this best outdoor watch. Use the GPS functionality for navigation, sync it to your smartphone and use it as a smartwatch, and track altitude statistics. Plus, you will be notified of weather changes and upcoming storms.

Watch Interface

How the interface is executed makes it challenging to navigate through as it is hard to know which functions are currently enabled. But, there is a backlight when you need it.

The Aesthetic

Despite the lukewarm appeal of the watch, it is convenient that there are different color options such as graphite, black, white, and amber.

Overall

Not without its shortcomings, the Traverse is a high-quality outdoor watch that is suitable for almost everyone. It also helps that it is manufactured by Suunto, who has an impressive track record. This is one of the best digital watches on the market.

2. Casio 2500T Digital

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$255.82
Casio 2500T Digital
Amazon Link

For those who simply do not need activity tracking or GPS functionality, look no further than the 2500T Digital Watch from Casio. Think of this is a throwback watch with a built-in barometer, altimeter and compass all-in-one.

Read more

Overall Workmanship

This can handle depths of water that you may never feasibly go to, up to 200 meters. Also, the band is made of titanium; however, some users have commented that the band is engineered cheaply.

Battery Life

Instead of a traditional power system, this runs off of solar light. On a full charge, it can last up to five months. However, if you use power saving functions, this can increase to 23 months. But, when exposed to sunlight, it will be charging as you wear it.

Integrated Technology

All the bells and whistles of a traditional watch are present here, such as a full auto-calendar and 12/24 hour formats, but it adds a digital compass, altimeter, barometer, and thermometer.

Watch Interface

A duplex LC display is construed on the face of this watch and when in darkness, it features an auto backlight with afterglow. It is not the fanciest interface you will ever see, but it suffices.

The Aesthetic

Some may feel this is not discreet enough for them. In other words, this watch will stand out very quickly due to the complexity and ruggedness of the display and band.

Overall

Past the cheaply made, according to some users, titanium band this is designed to withstand the elements that await you. All in the meanwhile, providing you with design functions such as an altimeter and full-fledged compass. So, if you are looking for the best watch for outdoorsman, you should consider this product as it is one of the best on the market today.

Amazon Link
$255.82

3. Suunto Sport

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$374.95
Suunto Sport
Amazon Link

Garmin may be the “king” of this kind of technology but get one thing straight, Suunto is no slouch. Their various appearances on this list will prove that. But, their Sport Wristwatch offers efficient core functions such as activity tracking and GPS technology with a water-resistant design.

Read more

Overall Workmanship

This outdoor watch also features a stainless steel bezel, but the case is crafted from a glass fiber reinforced polyamide. Also, the Sport Wristwatch is water-resistant to up to 100 meters.

Battery Life

While not the best battery life when you utilize it in training mode, up to 10 hours, you can enhance this to 40 hours with power saving options.

Integrated Technology

The GPS and GLONASS tracking technology, heart-rate tracking, sports and activity tracking, and breadcrumb trail to display your current route make this ideal for outdoor explorers. As a bonus, the watch also shows sunrise and sunset times; while also informing you of upcoming storms in your area.

Watch Interface

For a watch, the display is utterly fantastic. With a color touchscreen and three action buttons on the side, it is difficult to gripe about anything here.

The Aesthetic

If you do not like the standard stealth color option, which is mostly consistent with black, you could opt for the amber color option. Either way, both look visually appealing.

Overall

It may sport more features than you will ever care to use, but you have to applaud the in-depth nature of this watch. Plus, thanks to its sturdy construction that can hold up in the rain, it is suitable for any outdoor activity.

Amazon Link
$374.95

4. Garmin Epix

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$399.99
Garmin Epix
Amazon Link

The epix is a great example of the best outdoor watch that excels in performance but one that may not be a fashion statement. As its Garmin, it has built-in GPS technology and also features mapping.

Read more

Overall Workmanship

With its combination of rugged PVD-coated surfaces and a mineral glass lens, the epix is ready for your adventures. In the instance of inclement weather, it is also water-resistant for up to 50 meters.

Battery Life

If you were to use the GPS functionality without stopping, you could get up to 20 hours of battery life. Used sparingly, you could extend this to up to three weeks.

Integrated Technology

There are eight GB of internal memory installed, and this allows you to load a variety of maps. Also, this can work as an activity tracker and also sports GPS and GLONASS reception for navigation.

Watch Interface

With the Connect IQ application, you can customize your watch with different fields and widgets. As a whole, it features a 1.4-inch high-resolution, Chroma touchscreen display.

The Aesthetic

No doubt, this is the least impressive aspect of the epix. It is not necessarily appalling to the eyes, but the design is fundamental and probably not one you would want to wear to a party.

Overall

For pure performance, this could easily be at the top of the list. Any outdoor enthusiast would be proud and thrilled to put this on before their adventure. This is thanks to its unique GPS technology, mapping capabilities, and use as a sports tracker.

Amazon Link
$399.99

5. Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$299.99
Garmin Vivoactive 3 Music
Amazon Link

After a long hike with your Vivoactive, there's nothing better than relaxing at a beautiful waterfall and listening to your favorite song. Comparable with other outdoor Garmin watches, this watch packs all the best features and more with a slim and attractive interface.

Read more

Overall Workmanship

A mixture of stainless steel chemically strengthened glass, and silicon, this is a very sturdy watch that can accompany you on any adventure. It can withstand water pressure up to 50 meters and has a beautiful display that can easily be seen in the sun.

Battery Life

If you are having a week in and only using the Vivoactive as a watch, the battery can last you for an entire week. In GPS or music mode, the battery lasts up to 13 hours.

Integrated Technology

Equipped with Garmin Pay, you won't need to worry about bringing your wallet with you. Compatible with most banks, you can pay for that bottle of water or bug repellant that you forgot without ever pulling out your debit card. Tracking your V02 Max, heart rate and GPS location, this watch will never leave you feeling stranded.

Watch Interface

Customizable with over 50 digital faces, you can personalize this Garmin watch to your liking. Many reviewers praise the large font on the interface making it easy to read and swipe from screen to screen.

The Aesthetic

We love these outdoor watches because it could easily pass as a regular, fashionable watch. It isn't bulky or bright. You can easily change out the band with any 20mm quick release band.

Amazon Link
$299.99

6. Garmin Fenix 5

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$399.99
Garmin Fenix 5
Amazon Link

The Garmin Fenix 5 sports all the gizmos and gadgets that you come to expect from a high-quality Garmin device. But, what makes it so amazing for outdoor users is its rugged construction and GPS functionality.

Read more

Overall Workmanship

The bezel, buttons, and rear case are all crafted from high-quality stainless steel. Also, you can swap out the band with a wide selection of QuickFit bands (options include leather, metal or silicone).

Battery Life

Utilizing the GPS technology non-stop would provide you with up to 24 hours. Otherwise, in smartwatch mode, you could feasibly get up to two weeks.

Integrated Technology

Not only does this feature both GPS and GLONASS satellite reception, but it also sports a triple-axis compass and a barometric altimeter. You can sync this watch with your smartphone to receive smart notifications and uploads to Garmin Connect.

Watch Interface

A beautiful interface is highlighted by the high-resolution and full-color Garmin Chroma LED Display. Plus, with the performance widget, all your vital stats are at your fingertips.

The Aesthetic

While there are various color designs that you can select from, the jet-black design is downright gorgeous for any wrist.

Overall

If it is a watch or any GPS device and it has Garmin’s name plastered on it, you know it is worth the money. Then, when you take into consideration that the watch is the best outdoor version the company has crafted, all the guesswork should be done.

Amazon Link
$399.99

7. Seiko Automatic Stainless Steel

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$93.98
Seiko Automatic Stainless Steel
Amazon Link

For what the Seiko Men’s Watch is, it is highly-impressive and designed for an extensive lifespan. It does not implement some of the features of the previous watches on this list, but that does not signify it is unsuitable for outdoor use.

Read more

Overall Workmanship

A mix of brushed and polished stainless steel makes up the watch itself, and a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal case protects the dial. For rainfall, it has a water-resistant rating of 200 meters.

Battery Life

Again, unlike GPS outdoor watches, battery life will not be much of a concern here. Plus, with a 50-hour power reserve, you should be set.

Integrated Technology

There is a compass that is integrated into the watch, and besides this, the 23-jewel automatic movement features both automatic and manual winding capabilities. Additionally, it beats at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour.

Watch Interface

The display is crystal-clear, and the green dial blends with the gold hands perfectly. Furthermore, there is a date display directly next to the 3 o’clock position.

The Aesthetic

All in all, the dial is downright gorgeous and visually appealing to the eyes. The blend of gold and green may not seem stylish, but it works like a godsend here.

Overall

Sometimes, you want an outdoor watch that is rugged enough to withstand the elements without unnecessary features and technology. That is the Seiko Men’s Watch. But, it is worth noting, the band leaves a lot to be desired.

Amazon Link
$93.98

8. Victorinox Airboss

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$1,050.00
Victorinox Airboss
Amazon Link

Simply put, this watch is visually stunning. It may be the finest watch ever crafted but do not be fooled, this can perform admirably as well. This is not only your standard watch but also a chronograph with amazing workmanship.

Read more

Overall Workmanship

This is fitted with a stainless steel bezel, case, and bracelet. To top it off, there is a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal casing. Plus, if exposed to water, it can handle it as it has a water-rating of up to 100 meters.

Battery Life

Instead of being designed like GPS watches and activity trackers with limited battery lives, this does not have that. But, it does have a power reserve of 44 hours.

Integrated Technology

The Airboss Mach 9 watch has the functions for a date, hour, minute, second, and a chronograph. For the chronograph, it functions for 12 hours, 30 minutes, and 60 seconds.

Watch Interface

While there is a lot of information clustered on the interface, it is easy to see. There are 24-hour markers, minute markers located around the outer rim, a date display at the 6 o’clock position, and chronograph subdials that display this function.

The Aesthetic

You can opt for either a leather, steel, or nylon band. But, the red and black blend of the nylon band with the watch interface is as beautiful as you will ever see on a watch.

Overall

Some may feel the immense price tag should warrant more from this watch. But, you really would be hard-pressed to find a watch that is physically designed better than this.

Amazon Link
$1,050.00

9. Fitbit Charge 2

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$209.99
Fitbit Charge 2
Amazon Link

Ideal for the less devout outdoor person, the Fitbit still tracks your steps, pace, and elevation while staying true to it's incognito, sleek design. One feature that would excel this watch to the top of this list is a compass.

Read more

Overall Workmanship

The Fitbit Charge 2 is made from elastomer, similar to many other outdoor watches, and has stainless steel, surgical grade, band. The screen is made from hardened plastic, which can scratch, but screen protectors are easily found and applied.

Battery Life

Depending on your settings, this battery can last up to 5 days, making this watch ideal for trekking around the mountains or through your favorite national park. To extend the life of the battery, you can turn off the heart rate monitor, quick view, and all day sync.

Integrated Technology

With the new Cardio Fitness Score feature, your Fitbit gets to know you. From the moment you put it on your wrist, it begins tracking your resting heart rate to provide better feedback on your exercise statistics. Ideal for the days that you are ready to conquer the day before your partner, this watch is equipped with a silent alarm. We also like this feature for camping. The watch vibrates on your wrist and wakes you up peacefully and quietly.

Watch Interface

The OLED display is tap sensitive and user-friendly. The watch has a large screen that is easy to read and automatically syncs with your nearby devices.

The Aesthetic

The Charge 2 is available in three different sizes, six different colors, and all feature an adjustable band. The thin design allows you to wear the watch with confidence, without weighing down your wrist or being bulky.

Amazon Link
$209.99

10. Apple Smart Watch Series 3

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$269.00
Apple Smart Watch Series 3
Amazon Link

I'm sure that Apple isn't the first brand to come to mind for an outdoor watch. However, the series 3 watch has an emphasis on fitness and is breaking into the outdoor world. The GPS is equally as accurate as the Garmin watches and with the new addition of a barometric altimeter, you can also track your elevation.

Read more

Overall Workmanship

The Apple Smart Watch features an aluminum structure and ion x-glass. Ion x-glass is scratch resistant and similar to the ever-popular gorilla glass, that has made iPhones so popular. The 1.3-inch display is water resistant up to 50 meters.

Battery Life

With regular use, the battery of this watch can last you up to 18 hours. If you have a lot of apps running in the background or are constantly receiving messages, it may die a bit faster.

Integrated Technology

Like all of Apple's products, you can easily sync your watch to your iPhone or MacBook. The watch records your daily exercise and movements, including intensity, route, and speed. Hundreds of apps are available for the watch, including an Activity App to encourage you to get moving every day.

Watch Interface

The Apple outdoor watches are very user-friendly, even more so for those who already own an Apple product. One complaint we have heard is that there is a limited amount of watch faces. However, with new updates readily available, we don't foresee this being a long-term issue.

Aesthetic

Just as sexy as an iPhone without a case, Apple watch is sleek and intriguing. With two band sizes available, 38mm or 42mm, you'll be able to find your perfect fit.

Amazon Link
$269.00