Hiking is one of the most thrilling experiences away from the busy life of a chaotic urban setup and enjoy the refreshing aura of nature. However, with hiking comes getting confused and lost in the wild on numerous occasions. The good news is, hikers can now track, measure and find their way on their hikes, thanks to modern and high-tech watches. In this article I’ll be reviewing and identifying the best hiking watch under 100 dollars.
The Top 5 Best Hiking Watch Under 100 Dollars
While most advanced hiking watches have a lot of digits on the price, there are great hiking watches that are under 100 dollars you can try. Here is the top 5 most recommended hiking watch under 100.
The Casio SGW-1000-2BCF is a triple digital display hiking watch that is truly the jack of all trades. It has all the features listed above and if you are looking for a gadget that does it all, then this is the winner.
It includes a daily alarm setting in which you can program five daily alarms and a snooze alarm. It also has a stopwatch, countdown timer, and even a calendar. This can be very helpful when you choose to experience nature for days. It can also withstand a low temperature of up to -10 degrees Celsius, a LED backlight with Afterglow and a daylight saving settings.
This hiking watch is extremely durable. It is specifically made for outdoor use and can stand up to anything that you put it through. It is water resistant to up to 330 feet and has a battery life of 3 years!
Watches made by Timex are essentially built to endure any form of torture. And the T49612 Expedition Shock Watch is not an exception. It has an “easy-to-understand” user interface and has a more stylish design than other hiking watches.
This hiking watch is specifically designed to endure torture from outdoor activities and sports. It is shock-resistant that meets the ISO standards. A digital compass, thermometer altimeter, and barometer are all present in this hiking watch.
The Timex Expedition Shock Watch also has an Indiglo light up watch dial which ensures a watch dial with even illumination. It has a durable resin case which can last for many years. and a strap that comes with Buckle Closure. This hiking watch is water resistant to up to 660 feet which can be suitable for marine activities.
The Timex Expedition Grid Shock Watch is a high-tech watch that offers more to those people who are into techy stuff. It is water resistant to up to 330 feet and is shock resistant that meets the ISO standards. Its large screen might seem vulnerable however, it is really tough.
The unique feature of the Timex Expedition Grid Shock Watch is its hydration alarm. It is quite easy for most hikers to forget about water when they are busy on their trail. This hiking watch can alert you to stop and drink up every now and then.
Like the previous Timex watch also has an Indiglo Light up watch dial. Moreover, it has vibration alarm, countdown timer, and a stopwatch.
This G-Shock by Casio does not have all the features of the previous watches. However, if you are just a casual hiker then you will not need a compass, barometer or altimeter built into your watch. If so then this G-Shock would be perfect for you.
Although lacking in features that need for hiking, the Casio GA1900MB-1A G-Shock tops every other watch in one thing— durability. This G-Shock can endure almost everything you throw at it. It is indestructible.
It looks rugged and quite large, however it very light. Additionally, it has a backlight for easy reading during the night or in the dark and has a multi-function alarm.
Like all previous G-Shock on this list, the Casio Classic/Rescue “Big Case” Watch is tough and durable that can withstand almost any torture. It has a 50mm resin case with mineral dial window and is waterproof of up to 660 feet that can be suitable for marine activities.
This G-Shock features a 4-point protection system and has very large buttons for easy use. Unlike the other G-shock watches included in this list, this one displays moon-phase (moon age of input data and moon phase graph) and tide (tide level at a specific time and date) data.
It can withstand a low temperature of up to -20 degrees Celsius. Moreover, it has an auto EL backlight with afterglow flash alert and buzzers that sound the alarm. It has an hourly time signal, a countdown timer, and stopwatch function.
Features of a Hiking Watch
A hiking watch is much different than an ordinary watch. This is because a hiking watch has features that are beyond normal watches that only tells time.
Based on GPS data or barometric pressure, an altimeter can show you how high above sea level you are. A GPS altimeter does not require any calibration and is much more precise than a barometric altimeter.
Altimeter feature is handy for navigating. Finding your location on a map is easier when you know how high above sea level you are.
A barometer detects atmospheric pressure changes. Therefore, it helps you predict the weather when going out. Falling of atmospheric pressure means that the weather will worsen (rains, clouds etc.). Rising atmospheric pressure, on the other hand, means sunny outdoors and great weather.
There are some hiking watches available the features thermometers which becomes helpful on multi-day hiking. For example, you can check the temperature outside your tent for you to appropriately know the type of clothes or how many layers you should wear before setting out again.
Take note that thermometers measure temperatures, so it can also measure your body heat. So it is best that you remove the watch from your wrist when measuring outside temperatures.
A compass is crucial for navigation. It shows you the 4 basic directions (North, East, West, and South) and also your bearing. With the help of a map and a compass feature, triangulating to determine your current location can be easily done.
GPS or global positioning system is a common feature for most hiking watches. It is currently the best solution for tracking and navigation. A watch with a GPS feature allows you to quickly find the coordinated of your location. Moreover, it can also show your current descent, ascent, distance, speed, and other GPS-based information. Most GPS watches allows you to import routes which can be used for navigation.
Also, GPS watches can record or track your activities and allow you to export information like total descent, total ascent, average, speed, distance, duration and other parameters to the web or mobile apps like Garmin Connect or Suunto Movescount for analysis. GPS watches, however, have a much shorter battery life than other watches that do not have GPS.
- Heart Rate Monitor
Most hiking watches under 100 can also track and show your heart rate. Most sophisticated hiking watches have a wrist-based heart monitor feature while others need a chest strap transmitter which is sometimes purchased individually. This feature is helpful for hiking trips since it allows you to maintain a steady pace throughout your hike.
Hiking watches normally features durable straps and robust cases. Other watches are even equipped with Sapphire glass lenses for increased scratch resistance than the common mineral crystal lenses.
Things to Consider For the Best Hiking Watch
For a hiking watch, the display quality is very important. Words or items on the watch should be easy to read on a small screen. Find a hiking watch that offers high-resolution display so that you can read even under the sun and a backlit feature for night reading.
As more features became available, the user interface of hiking watches significantly change for the past few years. Because of the extra features, the once traditional watches that only shows time and date, now offers multiple screen and menus.
There are more advanced watch models that allow you to download various user interface that will suit your style and taste. You are allowed to change what you see on the main screen and customize your settings.
There are some models of hiking watches that offer 3G connectivity, WiFi, or Bluetooth which allows them to sync wirelessly to other devices. This feature is helpful when you like to track lots of data. It allows the watch to send all information about your hike such as speed, altitude, route, and location to your mobile phone.
Look for a hiking watch that offers a rechargeable battery. This is helpful, especially if it has a lot of features to offer such as bright displays or GPS. Draining of power is most likely to occur when the watch has a lot of features. So, a hiking watch with rechargeable batteries only needs a power bank and it will be on full power on your next hike.
Wearing a watch with metal straps can cause wrist swelling due to hot weathers. Also, when hiking you will surely get sweaty and hot. When that happens, a metal strapped watch might feel tight and itchy on your skin.
Leather straps are also not a good option. Due to sweating, leather straps has the tendency to break down. Also, it is very hard to clean.
Choose rubber straps for comfort. It can expand when the weather gets really hot. Plus, it is very easy to clean under running water.
Choose a hiking watch that is resistant to water. This is because water can penetrate a watch very easily and damage the components inside. Hiking is being outdoors and that means that you and your watch are exposed to morning dew and rain. Also, hiking can make you really sweaty. A great hiking watch can easily resist water without any difficulties.
Hiking, like any outdoor activities, can be a little harsh. And like any hiking gear, it is important to choose a hiking watch that can withstand beatings. Luckily, most hiking watches are durable and strong enough to cope with outdoor activities.
Watches are not just for businessmen and corporate executives. In reality, watches are quite useful to all people from all walks of life. Watches like smartphones have now evolved to be more useful and effective in every aspect. Although its primary function is to tell time, hiking watches under 100 dollars should be able to go beyond that.
Lastly, a great watch is not all about styles and sophisticated designs, it is also about how strong and durable it is to withstand and cope with your hiking needs and all the torture of the outdoor activities.