The best hiking watch is more than just a timepiece for your wrist. It will give you vital, up-to-date information which will help you navigate and plan your next step (literally!). The best hiking watch will inform you about altitude, location, air pressure, sunrise and sunset. Hiking watches are packed with great features, but this doesn’t have to come at a huge cost. As popularity in hiking watches has grown the manufacturers have developed more advanced technology and at a lower cost. This means that you can pick up the best hiking watch under $100.
There are several considerations you should think about before deciding on your perfect hiking watch. To help you decide we have set out some of these considerations and what the pros and cons of each one is. Now, we know that sometimes you want those extras and are willing to pay a little extra so we have not just included the best hiking watch under 100 in this article – we have also found you the best hiking watch at various price points so you can compare different watches at different prices.
So let’s get going!
Table of Contents
Best Hiking Watch Under $100 - the Details
Best Hiking Watch between $100 - $300 - the Details
Best Hiking Watch over $300 - the Details
Must have features in the best hiking watch under $100
A hiking watch should have features beyond those of an ordinary watch. The most important features that every hiking watch should have are barometer, altimeter and compass.
The best hiking watch under 1oo will comes with a barometer as standard. A barometer is an instrument measuring atmospheric pressure (air pressure). This is a must have on your best budget hiking watch. But why does a hiker need to measure air pressure? Air pressure is used to predict the weather forecast and weather patterns. This is great when you’re planning your route and whether to press on forward or to call it a day and return to base.
The importance of a compass needs no explanation. It is essential to beginners and experts alike. Furthermore, the time to realise you need a compass is before you begin your hike – not when you’re lost out on the train. So, having a compass built into your hiking watch is a must have.
An altimeter is used to determine altitude. It does this by measuring air pressure. It compares the air pressure at sea level to your current air pressure in order to determine your position. This is vital when trying to place yourself on a map or when deciding whether to continue climbing. Furthermore, if you are lost, you can use an altimeter to begin a descent which (hopefully) allows you to re-find a trail closer to sea level.
Optional features and considerations when picking your best hiking watch under 100:
The list we have compiled includes watches which have GPS in-built and some which don’t. GPS is great and undoubtably comes with added benefits such as excellent navigational tools and a modern interface. But it does have a few downsides. GPS lowers battery life increases cost and brings with it added complexity. GPS undoubtably takes your watch to the next level and whilst we would recommend it for its location settings it is ultimately your choice whether this is worth the costs.
A thermometer is great feature on a hiking watch. Not only will it allow you to check the temperature, it will inform you on weather patterns such as higher humidity being a sign of incoming storms. A thermometer compliments the barometer feature giving you a complete picture of the weather.
Heart Rate Monitor
A heart rate monitor is a must have for those with a heart condition. It can inform you if you are doing too much and need to take a break. For those without, it is great for monitoring health and wellbeing including weight-loss. Heart rate also reflects your overall health – an unexpected spike may be a sign that you are starting to get sick
When deciding on your best hiking watch under $100 you should look carefully at the weight of the watch. The more gadgets and features you watch has, the heavier it is likely to be. The sweet spot for a hiking watch is around 50g. Anymore and it will feel like your wrist is being weighed down and restricted. Any less and your watch is likely to be missing key features.
Buying a hiking watch under $100 does not mean that you should compromise on durability. When you are undertaking your next adventure, you will need equipment which can stand up to the toughest conditions. Most expensive hiking watchers have a sapphire glass watch face. This is extremely durable and is far beyond the traditional glass face on your standard watch. However, this is extremely expensive. The next best thing is gorilla glass. This is chemically strengthened glass which should stand up to the rigours of a good hike. Best of all, gorilla glass is a lot cheaper.
Whenever or wherever you hike, moisture is unavoidable. This may be because of rain or sweat. Therefore, it is important to have a watch which is waterproof. This will give you peace of mind as well as a durable watch which will stand up to the conditions. Fortunately, the most basic hiking watches are waterproof. Most are up to 100 meters (330 feet) but some are more. As a result, you can be confident that your best hiking watch under $100 will stand up to rain, sweat and anything else the weather chucks at you.
Ease of use
When you are lost, wet and cold the last thing you need is a hiking watch which you cannot work. This means you need to decide on what type of watch you would prefer. This is completely a personal preference. The main decision is on whether to choose a touch screen watch or one with buttons. The touch screen is a nice feature and is certainly more modern but is this ideal when wet and your fingers are numb from the cold? Probably not. Equally, buttons are vintage and can withstand more but they offer limited functionality and can be a pain when there are loads of settings and options. Ultimately, this choice is yours and your own preferences.
Conclusion: Best Hiking Watch Under $100
We have reviewed some amazing options for the best hiking watch under $100 available. Our favourite is the Casio Men’s SGW-1000. This watch has all of the great features of some of the more expensive watches whilst being manufactured by a world class brand. With an impressive battery life and long lasting durability this hiking watch is a great option at unbelievable value.
If you decide you want even more features the Garmin range is a great option with the enhanced navigation system which would make your watch the ultimate guide book whilst being a sophisticated time piece.
Remember, the best hiking watch under $100 for you will have loads of great features which will make your day out on the trail safer and more enjoyable.