Mountaineering and hiking watches have so many features besides GPS tracking. Many are Bluetooth connected, measure barometric pressure and monitor your health by measuring your vo2 max and heartrate.
But it can be confusing to figure out which is the best one for your adventures. That’s why we’ve created this guide to help you choose the best hiking or mountaineering watch for you.
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Given all the features, it’s important to choose a mountaineering or hiking watch that does what you need it to do, without paying extra for features that you’ll never use. For example, some outdoor watches don’t even have GPS functionality – which I think is an absolute must when heading outdoors. Don’t worry, all the ones I’m recommending have a GPS function.
Check out the video below for further information on what features you should consider in a mountaineering or hiking watch, then see our recommendations below.
Garmin Watches for Hiking Comparison Chart
Garmin is the global leader for GPS navigation in the outdoors (and other industries). They’re the most well known brand for rugged adventure watches. Check out our comparison chart below for the top Garmin watches.
Garmin Pay Watches is a contactless payment system that lets you make purchases quickly only using your watch. No wallet or phone necessary. When you’re trying to keep your pack weight down, or move quickly you’ll find that it’s a useful feature.
Our Recommended Garmin Watch for Hiking and Mountaineering
Of the three Garmin watches our top pick is the Garmin Fenix 5X Plus. In addition to the features listed above, it also features color topographical maps and can store up to 500 songs. Perfect on a long day in the mountains when you need a pick-me-up during a challenging adventure.
Related Reading: The Best Hiking Boots for Men
Hiking and Mountaineering Watches Comparison Chart
Suunto, Coros and Polar also make great watches for hikers and mountaineers. Check out our favourites below:
Of the above 3 mountaineering and hiking watches the Coros Vertix GPS Adventure Watch is our top recommendation. In addition to the features mentioned above, this titanium watch is a great choice for hikers or mountaineers because it also includes a pulse ox monitor, barometric altimeter, accelerometer, compass, gyroscope and thermometer with 24/7 heart rate monitoring, sleep, step, and calorie tracking.
In addition, you get training programs created by Coros athletes and coaches, helping you reach your mountain goals even faster.
The Best Solar Powered Watches for Hiking and Mountaineering
Solar-powered watches are a great choice for multi-day adventures like hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc or backpacking. When you’re carrying your own gear, it’s nice to not have to carry a charger.
They can be charged easily under most light sources so you’ll never run out of battery. You also don’t need to worry about fighting a charger for them, which is ideal if you’re going off-grid or on a backpacking trip with no electrical outlets.
They’re also eco-friendly. Another plus is that GPS can drain batteries so you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’ll never run out of battery. The only downside is that they can be more expensive, but I think that’s a small price to pay for all the benefits that a solar-powered watch offers.
The Fenix 6X Pro Solar is a great extensive mountaineering watch that includes Garmin Pay. With an improved display that uses solar energy to help preserve battery life, this watch won’t let you down on long multi-day treks. You can preload topo and ski maps from almost anywhere in the world. This watch includes great functions such as an altimeter and accurate GPS tracking.
• Comes with preloaded TOPO maps
• Rechargeable lithium battery for 15 hours in GPS mode
• Rechargeable lithium battery for 15 hours in GPS mode
• Advanced training features including PacePro plus environmentally adjusted VO2 max and training status estimates
With a rugged shock-resistant exterior and solar charging, the Garmin Instinct Solar is a great entry-level mountaineering and hiking watch. It includes an altimeter, barometer and GPS tracking, and is water-resistant up to 100 meters. Note: it does not include Garmin Pay.
• Integrated Wrist-based Heart Beat Tracking
• Military toughness level
Related Reading: The Best Hiking Backpacks
More Recommended Mountaineering and Hiking Watches
The Coros APEX Pro is an all-around outdoor watch. It’s water-resistant, so you’ll have no problem with water crossings. It also has an accurate GPS, making it perfect for hiking or mountaineering. This outdoor watch includes 24/7 blood oxygen monitoring in altitudes. You can count on good battery life, and the Coros APEX Pro Premium comes with its own power bank.
• made of titanium
• 40-hour battery life in GPS mode
• includes a barometer
• includes training plans created by Coros athletes and coaches
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The Coros Vertix offers unparalleled battery life that will last you up to 60 hours in GPS mode. With its tough exterior, it is the perfect mountaineering watch. This watch also offers you 24/7 blood oxygen monitoring, perfect to help you with altitude acclimatization.
• Accurate GPS Tracking
• Tough Exterior
• 24/7 Blood Oxygen Monitoring
• Great Battery Life
Related Reading: The Best Hiking Poles
7 Tips to Help You Choose the Right Hiking/Mountaineering Watch
Look for a watch with a long battery life
Ensure that it has a GPS and an accurate one (by looking at reviews)
Choose a watch with a barometer to warn you of storms
Consider if you want your hiking watch to also track your vitals (blood oxygen, heart rate, etc)
Look for a watch that’s waterproof or at least water-resistant
Select a watch that’s easy to use and set up (so that you’ll actually use it
Choose a multi-sport watch so that you can use it for other activities besides hiking or mountaineering
Related Reading: The Best Snowshoes: How to Find the Right Ones for You
A good hiking or mountaineering watch is a critical part of your hiking gear so choose the features that are important to you (like GPS functionality, Bluetooth connection, etc) and decide if you’ll use other features like heart rate monitoring. That way, you’ll have the right watch for your outdoor adventure.