The Best Five Watches for Hiking in 2014


Suunto Ambit 3

Suunto Ambit 3

Knowing the time is important when hiking. It allows you to calculate your average speed, estimated time of arrival and other useful information. Until a couple years ago there was no watch designed specially for hiking. Today the situation is different and there are many hiking watches available. Watches designed for hiking of course offer special features. Hiking watches have altimeter, barometer, compass and some even GPS (Global Positioning System). GPS watches are the most suitable for hiking because they provide help in navigation and tracking. In this article we reviewed the best five watches for hiking. This will help you to choose the right watch for your needs.

Best Hiking Watches in 2015 review is now released. You can read it here.

1. Buying a Watch for Hiking – What is important?

Features:

A hiking watch should have special features. The most important features every hiking watch should have are barometer, altimeter, thermometer and compass. A barometer will give you the data to predict the weather. Storms in the mountains can be very dangerous, so it’s good to be able to detect rapid changes in pressure quickly. Some hiking watches also have a storm alarm which notifies you about the weather changes. An altimeter will provide you with information about how high above the sea level you are. The compass is used for navigation and when used together with an altimeter it makes navigation significantly easier.

Most hiking watches today also have a GPS which is currently the best solution for navigation and tracking routes.

Durability:

Watches for hiking must be durable and tough. All watches listed here are known for their durability which is achieved by using special materials.

2. The Best Five Watches for Hiking in 2014

Cover

  1. Suunto Ambit 3
  2. Garmin Fenix 2
  3. Suunto Core Crush
  4. Casio PRW 2500T
  5. Casio STB1000-1 Bluetooth

Comparison

Feature/Product Suunto Ambit 3Garmin Fenix 2Suunto Core CrushCasio PRW 2500TCasio STB1000-1 Bluetooth
Weight86 g85 g64 g81 g55 g
Water Resistance100m50m 30m200m100m
BatteryRechargeable lithium-ionRechargeable lithium-ionUser Replaceable Solar Rechargeable User Replaceable
Battery Life30 days in time mode5 weeks in time mode12 months5 months (no light exposure)24 months
AltimeterYes (GPS and Barometric)Yes (GPS and Barometric)Yes (Barometric)Yes (Barometric)No
BarometerYesYesYesYesNo
ThermometerYesYesYesYesNo
CompassYes Yes YesYesNo
GPSYesYesNoNoNo
BluetoothYesYesNoNoYes
Hear Rate MonitorYesYesNoNoOptional (through Smartphone)
Suunto Ambit 3

Suunto Ambit 3

1. Suunto Ambit 3

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Running
  • Everyday use

The Suunto Ambit 3 is by our opinion the best hiking GPS watch currently available. The Suunto Ambit 3 is designed for many sports and fulfills the demands of every hiker. The watch has a built-in GPS, altimeter, barometer, thermometer and compass. Navigation with this watch won’t be a problem. You can even import routes in GPX format from your computer to the watch which then navigates you on your hike. Altogether the Suunto Ambit 3 offers superb navigation and tracking. After the hike you can simply export your activity to the cloud-based Suunto Movescount Application and you get a complete overview of the move. The watch can track the distance walked, find a route back to your starting point, show current speed and much more. It is also compatible with a heart-rate belt and so, based on your heart rate and other data, it can calculate the amount of calories burned. This watch from Suunto is also the first Suunto watch which is Bluetooth compatible. It can easily be connected to a smart phone and with the Suunto Movescount App, the watch can also show you incoming and missed calls, messages and other notifications from the phone. Different apps for the watch are available on Suunto website and you can even create your own apps for the watch. Suunto Ambit 3 is something every hiker wants and loves.

 

Pros:

  • Display technology
  • Bluetooth chip
  • App support
  • Long battery life

Cons:

  • Size

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Garmin Fenix 2

Garmin Fenix 2

2. Garmin Fenix 2

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Running
  • Everyday use

The Garmin Fenix 2 is one of the most sophisticated multi-sport watches currently available. It provides navigation and tracking with a built-in GPS receiver. The watch is heart rate compatible but the heart rate belt is sold separately. Analyzing and planning of the move can be done in the Garmin Connect or BaseCamp application. These applications also allow you to share your moves with your friends. The Garmin Fenix 2 is equipped with barometer, altimeter, thermometer and 3D compass, thus making navigation easy. If you by any chance get lost, it also has a track back feature which will lead you back to the starting point of the hike. However, it’s better to plan a hike before going and avoid getting lost! This can be done in the above mentioned applications. The Garmin Fenix 2 allows you to store up to 1000 waypoints. The watch is rugged and can easily withstand severe conditions. The lens is made of scratch-resistant mineral glass. Like the above mentioned Suunto Ambit 2, Garmin Fenix 2 also supports smart phone integration. When the devices are paired you will receive notifications from the phone directly to your watch.

 

Pros:

  • Battery life
  • Comfortable strap
  • Watch’s shape

Cons:

  • Complicated setup

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Suunto Core Crush

Suunto Core Crush

3. Suunto Core Crush

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Running
  • Everyday use

The Suunto Core Crush has a stylish design as well as many useful features for hiking. This watch is perfect for somebody who doesn’t need a GPS watch with a rechargeable battery. Also the price is a lot lower than both Suunto Ambit 3 and Garmin Fenix 2.  The Suunto Core Crush supports compass, altimeter, barometer and thermometer. The watch also has an automatic altimeter/barometer switch. It will provide you weather information from a trend graph or trend indicator which is shown on your watch while the barometer is on. If a storm is rising, the watch will detect this and the storm alarm will warn you. The basic features of the watch are time, alarm, dual time and sunset/sunrise times. The battery is replaceable and has a battery life of approximately 1 year. Sadly, the Suunto Core Crush doesn’t support a heart rate belt.

 

Pros:

  • Automatic Alti-Baro Switch
  • Design
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Doesn’t support heart rate monitor
  • Doesn’t have GPS

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Casio PRW 2500T-7

Casio PRW 2500T-7

4. Casio PRW 2500T-7

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Everyday use

The Casio PRW 2500T-7 is a classic sports watch which many hikers prefer. It is simple to use and has all the functions an average hiker needs. With this watch you won’t get GPS, heart rate belt, smart phone synchronization and other now popular features, but you will get incredible durability and simplicity. The Casio PRW 2500T-7 has altimeter, barometer, compass and thermometer – which is all what an experienced hiker needs. The watch shows a pressure tendency graph which will help you to predict weather – which gets even easier with the visible barometric change indicator. The Casio PRW 2500 T-7 is radio calibrated so time accuracy definitely won’t be an issue. The battery is solar rechargeable and the watch has a battery level indicator. The Casio PRW 2500 T-7 is definitely a good choice for those who want a simple hiking watch which will last for years.

 

Pros:

  • Simplicity
  • Solar rechargeable
  • Radio calibrated

Cons:

  • No GPS support
  • No heart belt support

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Casio STB1000-1Bluetooth

Casio STB1000-1Bluetooth

5. Casio STB1000-1

Suitable for:

  • Hiking
  • Mountaineering
  • Trekking
  • Cycling
  • Running
  • Everyday use

The Casio STB1000-1 is an interesting watch which is a lot different from all the above mentioned watches. This watch is meant to be used with an iPhone from where it gathers all the data about your move. So why did we list it here? Because the watch offers incredible simplicity and functionality in terms of navigation and since most of people bring their smart phones on hikes, it should not be a problem that you need to have your smart phone within Bluetooth range. The Casio STB1000-1 can be used with the Abvior’s Runmeter, Walkmeter, and Cyclemeter, as well as Wahoo Fitness sport apps for smart phones. When the watch and smart phone are paired via Bluetooth, the watch will show you distance, speed, cadence and heart rate. The heart rate belt is sold separately and needs to be connected to your smart phone. Also the notifications from your phone will be shown on the watch when the devices are paired. However, the Casio STB1000-1 doesn’t offer compass, thermometer, barometer or altimeter. We would recommend this watch to people who don’t mind to use a smart phone for navigation (and are less concerned with predicting the weather). Another good thing about this watch is it’s long-lasting battery. The battery lasts for 2 years with reasonable use of Bluetooth. And you can get it for less than 100$. However, this watch is more meant for running and cycling than hiking.

 

Pros:

  • Simplicity
  • Battery
  • iPhone integration

Cons:

  • No navigation features
  • No barometer
  • No altimeter
  • No thermometer

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3. The most attractive product in the review

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