5 Best Hiking and Backpacking Watches in 2024

Whether you're a hiker, camper, climber, or simply someone who loves to challenge yourself, finding the right watch can make a huge difference to your experiences outdoors. From tracking your altitude and mapping your journey to ensuring you stay in good health, the best hiking watches are essential gear.

While the appeal of a traditional mechanical watch for hiking is understandable, the modern hiker demands more. Today, it's about the kind of advanced functionality that keeps you safe and informed. Enter the hiking and backpacking smartwatch – a specialist device engineered specifically with outdoor pursuits and navigation in mind.

With GPS functionality, health trackers, and weather alerts, a good waterproof hiking watch is like having your own personal guide on your wrist.

That's why we've searched far and wide to produce the definitive list of the most reliable and durable hiking watches on the market. Our picks cater to every need and budget – the very best in timekeeping and navigation technology, which won't leave you out of pocket.

Let's dive in and get active:

The Best Hiking and Backpacking Watches in 2024

1. T1 Tact Watch Rugged Warrior

If you're into hiking or extended backpacking trips, the T1 Tact Watch Rugged Warrior is a fantastic choice for 2024. Priced at only $110, it's not just affordable—it's the total package for anyone needing a reliable watch on longer trips into the wild. Tough enough to handle harsh environments and loaded with features for outdoor pursuits, the Rugged Warrior is all about making every adventure more enjoyable.

Key features include GPS to keep track of your route, a big screen that's easy to read in any light, and a voice assistant for simplified interactions. The weather tracker helps you stay prepared for anything, while the breathing reminder keeps you focused on your well-being when things get demanding.

With its ultra-long 21-day battery life, you won't have to worry about constant recharging. And its total water resistance means it can handle anything you throw at it - rainy days, crossing streams, you name it.

As for connectivity, the T1 Tact Watch Rugged Warrior keeps you informed with on-wrist calling, message alerts, and social media updates. It's durable enough to resist knocks and can cope with (seriously) extreme temperatures (from -10°F to 138°F), so there's nowhere you can't take it. Plus, with over 50 watch faces to choose from, you can personalize it to match your style.

Simple to use and ruggedly designed, the T1 Tact Watch Rugged Warrior is an indispensable companion for expeditions into challenging environments. Offering great features for under $200 - a price that's hard to beat – it's our top-pick men's hiking watch for all-around performance.

Also, News platforms such as the Santa Cruz Sentinel and Monterey Herald recognized this T1 Tact Watch Rugged Warrior as the best watch for outdoor adventures.

Pros:

  • Outstanding battery life of up to 21 days.

  • Exceptional value for money at $110.

  • Huge 21-day battery life from a single charge.

  • Built with the harshest environments in mind.

  • Comfortable and easy to use.

  • Packed with dozens of fantastic features.

Cons:

  • Only 2 colour choices are available.

Summary of Customer Reviews

Countless customers have praised the Rugged Warrior's simple yet intuitive connectivity features, along with its stylish and sporty looks. It's also been recommended for its surprisingly lightweight properties, comfortable day-long wear, and user-friendly interface. Checkout T1 Tact watch reviews page for more feedbacks.

2. T1 Tact Watch - Rugged Pro

For those who love staying out and about as long as possible, the T1 Tact Watch Rugged Pro is another fantastic thru hiking watch. Priced at only $125, the Pro is seriously affordable, considering the top-notch features it offers. It also takes durability to a new level, making it the best GPS watch for hiking in unpredictable conditions.

The standout feature of the Rugged Pro is its super-accurate GPS chip, making navigation through unknown territories a breeze. With a screen 25% bigger than standard T1 models, checking your location or reading notifications is easy, even on the move. The watch's bright display comes in handy during early-morning treks or late-night camp setups when natural light is at a premium.

The Rugged Pro's battery life is genuinely impressive, lasting up to two weeks on a single charge. This is ideal for longer trips or thru-hikes where charging simply isn't an option, and you need a watch that won't let you down. You also get a huge list of health monitoring features to play with, which keep track of your heart rate, oxygen levels, and more—vital for staying safe and healthy when pushing yourself hard.

All these features packed into a budget-friendly package make the T1 Tact Watch Rugged Pro not just a watch but a valuable multi-tool for anyone passionate about the outdoors. It's tough, reliable, and packed with everything you need to make the most of whatever you get up to.

Pros:

  • Fantastically durable for challenging hikes.

  • A great choice for longer trips and thru-hiking.

  • The screen is 25% bigger than the standard T1.

  • Up to two weeks of battery life per charge.

  • Impressive health and fitness monitoring.

  • Superb value for money at a price of $125.

Cons:

  • No music storage option on the device itself.

Summary of Customer Reviews

The accuracy of the Rugged Pro's GPS system and general fitness tracking functionalities are major talking points among customer reviews. Buyers have also been impressed by how the Rugged Pro combines super-premium looks with cutting-edge performance and exceptional battery life for such a low price.

3. T1 Tact Watch Apex Commander

Next up, we chose the T1 Tact Watch Apex Commander as the best outdoor watch for climbers and high-altitude hikers in 2024. Its standout features - like its 33% bigger screen, high-accuracy GPS navigation, and altimeter - make it ideal for navigating difficult (and potentially dangerous) mountain terrains. At just $130, it's kitted out with everything you need to keep you safe on your treks without overspending.

Anyone venturing into high altitudes needs a reliable ABC (Altimeter, Barometer, and Compass) smartwatch, and that's exactly what you're getting here. These features help monitor your climb and provide vital environmental data, helping you make informed decisions while on the trail.

The Apex Commander also reminds you to move if you've been stationary for too long, which is essential for maintaining energy levels during long climbs. Plus, its health monitoring features run 24/7, giving insights into heart rate, blood pressure, and sleep, ensuring you stay in top condition and letting you focus on your climb without worry.

For those long and demanding days, its battery life doesn't disappoint - more than 18 days of use from a single charge. And with over 50 customizable watch faces and near-total waterproof properties, the Apex Commander is not just practical, but also super stylish and able to withstand even the worst weather conditions.

Simple, durable, and designed with climbers in mind, the Apex Commander is all about keeping you informed, on track, and, most importantly, safe.

Pros:

  • An outstanding watch for hiking and mountaineering.

  • The best ABC hiking watch you'll get at this price.

  • High-accuracy location and altitude tracking in all conditions.

  • Incredibly durable and built to last.

  • Runs for more than 18 days from a single charge.

  • Superb 24/7 health tracking for round-the-clock insights.

Cons:

  • The display can be hard to read in direct sun.

Summary of Customer Reviews

The oversized screen holds huge appeal with those who've bought the Apex Commander, along with how easy it is to get to grips with right out of the box, and its fantastic range of specialist features for climbers and high-altitude hiking.

4. T1 TACT WATCH CHAMP X

Next up, the T1 Tact Watch Champ X is your go-to all-around sports watch for hiking, backpacking, and pretty much all other activities. For just $140, it offers top-shelf features that outdo what you'd usually expect from a premium-priced sports watch. And with its tough metal edge and Gorilla Glass screen, it can handle the kind of punishment that would destroy most standard timepieces.

What sets the Champ X apart is its comprehensive activity tracking. There's a super-accurate GPS chip for pinpoint journey mapping and a sedentary reminder to keep you moving on longer treks. Then there's the additional 50+ sports modes, covering everything from walking to swimming to running to cycling. If you enjoy getting active in any way, this thing is engineered to help you enhance your performance and enjoy every minute of the experience.

The Champ X isn't just tough; it's also smart. With a voice assistant, seamless Bluetooth connectivity, and health monitoring (including heart rate and blood oxygen levels), it's designed to keep you safe and informed. Its full touchscreen is responsive even in rugged conditions, ensuring you can access its features with zero hassle.

Add to this an impressive battery that promises up to 20 days on a single charge, and you've got a watch that's ready for any challenge. Water, fire, and dustproofing ensure the elements won't slow you down, making the Champ X a fantastic choice for anyone seeking a reliable, feature-rich sports watch that does it all.

Pros:

  • Premium features and build quality at a budget price.

  • Super accurate GPS for precise location tracking.

  • Full health monitoring and general lifestyle support.

  • Lasts up to three weeks per charge.

  • The best watch for hiking and multi-sports support.

  • Amazing value for money at just $140.

Cons:

  • The learning curve is to figure out all of the settings.

Summary of Customer Reviews

The Champ X has built archives of positive feedback from outdoors types and fitness fanatics in general, who love its huge range of sports and workout-tracking capabilities. Its battery life is also a key point of appeal among verified buyers.

5. T1 Tact Watch Midnight Diamond

For hikers and outdoor types searching for an unbeatable deal, the T1 Tact Watch Midnight Diamond is the best cheap hiking watch by a clear mile. Priced at an incredibly affordable $65, what you get for your money is remarkable - a durable, feature-packed watch designed to face even the most challenging outdoor pursuits head-on.

It's almost invincible in the face of the tough conditions hikers, campers, and trekkers deal with. With a shatterproof and glare-resistant screen, it's easy to read in blazing sunlight or pouring rain. It can take a beating and keep on ticking, thanks to its dustproof and shock-resistant build quality.

Not only is this original T1 practically indestructible, but it also keeps you up to date with accurate health monitoring features. It's designed for those who love to stay active, offering workout and activity tracking across a broad range of sports and outdoor pursuits. It's easy to use, comfy to wear, and designed to go places you wouldn't dare take a regular watch.

Another huge point of appeal is its 15-month battery life, totally eliminating the worries of regular recharging. But it's the price of the package that really stands out. At just $65, the T1 Tact Watch Midnight Diamond delivers insane value for money.

It's an elegant, reliable, and feature-rich watch that enhances every outdoor experience without putting the slightest dent in your budget.

Read the full Review of T1 Tact Watch Midnight Diamond

Pros:

  • A good hiking watch at a great price.

  • Almost indestructible build quality.

  • Feature-packed yet easy to use.

  • Battery life of around 15 months.

  • A broad range of health tracking features.

  • An absolute steal at just $65.

Cons:

  • Lack of customization options.

Summary of Customer Reviews

As you'd expect, it's the mind-blowing value for money the original T1 represents that dominates customer reviews. Most buyers simply cannot believe the kind of hardware you get for your money and how well the T1 performs in even the most brutal environments.

Our Selection Process for the Best Hiking and Backpacking Watches

In order to single out the five best hiking and backpacking watches you can buy right now, we assessed dozens of products from a long list of major brands. In all instances, we were only interested in those who came through in all important areas.

Specifically, the criteria we used to evaluate the outdoor watches we looked at were as follows:

GPS Chip for Navigation

The inclusion of a high-quality GPS chip was crucial in selecting the best GPS watches for hiking, which ensures you can navigate trails with confidence. Reliable GPS means you can count on your device to show you exactly where you are in real time, as opposed to just providing a vague estimate.

Suitability for Tough Conditions

Watches designed for the outdoors must be able to withstand rugged terrain and adverse weather. Out top-pick outdoor watches for hiking were chosen for their proven durability, water resistance, and ability to endure tough conditions, ensuring they keep you moving when things get seriously tough.

Health Tracking

Incorporating health-tracking features like a heart rate monitor and pedometer is essential. These features allow hikers to monitor their well-being in real-time, adapting their pace and efforts according to their physical condition. This isn't about just enhancing the hiking experience – it's about staying safe and well.

ABC Hiking Watches

The ABC (Altimeter, Barometer, Compass) features in a watch for hikers are vital, both for navigation and predicting weather changes. It's all about knowing where you are, understanding where you're going, and also being able to plan for any possible changes in weather conditions while out and about.

Long Lasting Battery

Superb battery life is non-negotiable for long excursions. In our assessments, we were only interested in devices with genuinely long-lasting performance – not those that might let you down at the worst possible time. The less frequently you have to charge an outdoor smartwatch, the better.

Cost-Effective Prices

Last, great value means enjoying a broad range of advanced features at cost-effective prices. It's about balancing quality with affordability, ensuring all types of outdoor enthusiasts have access to essential functionalities without overspending. You shouldn't have to pay over the odds to get a great watch that does it all.

It was based on each of these six quality and performance factors that we came up with our shortlist of the best hiking and backpacking watches for 2024. Each of these made the grade where it matters most, outpacing competing brands and models in all instances.

Import Factors to Consider for Buying Hiking and Backpacking Watches

Picking up the perfect hiking or backpacking watch is about more than durability alone. You need a watch that doesn't just cover the basics but packs the full range of features you need to get the most out of the time you spend outdoors.

That's why we strongly recommend prioritizing each of the following when narrowing down the options to your ideal all-terrain timepiece:

Battery Life

When choosing a watch for hiking, prioritize models that guarantee exceptional battery life. Longer battery life means less worrying about frequent recharges, ensuring your watch keeps up with you on long trails. Look for watches that can last several days or weeks on a single charge for uninterrupted use.

Water and Fire Resistant

An outdoor watch should be able to withstand the elements. Water resistance is crucial for rainy days or accidental dips in streams, while fire resistance adds an extra layer of durability against extreme conditions. These safety features are essential for keeping your watch functional in all environments.

Location Tracker

A sports watch for hiking that doubles as a location tracker needs high GPS accuracy, helping you stay on course and measure distances accurately. It's a crucial tool for both safety and enjoyment but is only worth investing in where the quality of the GPS chip is up to scratch.

Durability and Comfort

For a hiking or camping watch to do its job, it needs to handle rough treatment while being comfortable on the wrist. Look for materials that won't chafe, rub, or irritate your skin, and make sure the watchband is comfortable for all-day wear. Comfort should never be compromised when pushing yourself to the limits.

Watch Design

While functionality is a big deal, the design of your hiking watch matters, too. A stylish, lightweight design makes an outdoor watch an all-around lifestyle tool – not just for hikes into the wild. Additionally, a clear and easy-to-read display helps you get the info you need at a glance, even under the bright sun or in wet conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the Best Hiking Watch in 2024?

T1 Tact Watch Rugged Warrior is the Best Hiking Watch in 2024. Along with being super durable, it's loaded with incredible features for hikers, climbers, campers, and nature lovers. It's also a great lifestyle tool; it looks amazing, and its price is almost too good to be true.

Do I Need a GPS Watch for Hiking?

You don't always need GPS tracking, but it's beneficial if you're heading into places you're not familiar with. Reliable hiking GPS watches can prevent you from getting lost and also help you track your journey more accurately.

How Accurate are the GPS and Altimeter Features of Hiking Watches?

Very accurate if you choose a high-quality piece of hardware like those in our list. Low-end GPS provides a vague estimate of where you are, while high-end devices track your location and altitude with pinpoint precision.

Can I Use a Hiking Watch for Other Activities Besides Hiking?

Yes – some of the devices outlined above offer more than 50 sports and activity modes, covering everything from walking to cycling to running to swimming and more. So there's no need to buy a separate biking watch, for example, as one good hiking watch does it all.

Can I Receive Smartphone Notifications on My Hiking Watch?

Yes – a Bluetooth-enabled hiking watch can be set up to provide all types of notifications and alerts, from emails to social media to messaging. Many even support on-wrist calling, so you'll never need to reach for your phone when out on trial.

How Durable Are Hiking Watches?

Very! The T1 brand's smartwatches have been out through as many as 12 military-grade toughness tests, along with being dropped, hit with hammers, and even run over by cars. They're also impervious to extreme temperatures and weather conditions.

Final Thoughts

Today's outdoor smartwatch technology is so advanced that what you're getting is eventually a compact computer you can wear on your wrist. Top GPS watches go beyond simply telling the time – they play an active role in helping you stay on track, monitor key health metrics, and stay safe – wherever you go.

It's down to you to decide exactly what you need out of a hiking watch, but there are some quality factors and features you should always be on the lookout for. A truly great GPS watch will boast the longest possible battery life, accurate activity tracking for hiking and running (and other sports), and the kind of build quality that can stand up to just about anything.

By prioritizing these features, your watch becomes more than just an accessory – it becomes an essential companion for your hikes, climbs, camping trips, and more.