The beefier, the better.
A hiking watch requires as many features as possible to be a perfect companion for navigating meandering trails and unexplored areas.
The top feature that shouldn’t be missed in a hiking watch is an altimeter—it helps you calculate the altitude at which you stand while crawling up a cliffside or some other adventure.
The function utilizes air pressure to approximate the height above sea level. Knowing your height above sea level during hiking is as important as knowing your direction.
Some of these watches will only show your current altitude, while others draw a graph against time on the Y-axis. We recommend a watch that will sync your altitude data with your smartphone or computer, which will help you keep track of your activities and achievements.
A built-in barometer is another hiking watch essential. Being stuck in the middle of a dense forest while the storm is raging is like participating in a horror movie, but a barometer will warn you of an impending storm so that you can set up camping facilities before it hits.
It’s a simple technology that detects sudden pressure drops—a direct warning of an impending storm.
A compass is another gadget you never want to miss in your camping gear. The best hiking watch under $100 will dare not miss this feature, but some watches have more effective compasses than others.
For example, if your watch has a 2-D compass, it will not be able to function correctly until you hold it in a perfectly horizontal position. A 3-D compass is built-in, however. It will work irrespective of the angle.
The best hiking watch should have a 3-D compass so that you don’t risk falling off a cliff while trying to level your wrists.
A GPS feature in a watch can be particularly useful while navigating unknown areas, too. The feature can tell you more than the route to follow—it also calculates your speed, distance covered, distance to destination, and current location. It enables you to plan before dusk finds you stranded.
The best hiking watches under $100 may miss this feature, but you can get it in under $200 watches.
Another great aspect that you need to consider in a hiking watch is the battery.
A hiking watch can come jam-packed full of features only to experience a battery life shortfall. Nothing is as scary and annoying as the watch you are depending upon dying in the middle of a hike.
Always go for the best watch for hiking that has decent battery life.
A hiking watch is the lifeline of your hike. It must be packed with as many features as possible and should be of great quality. Features like sapphire glass display and a scratch-resistant bezel that won’t get bruised by jagged rocks are essential.
The best hiking watch under $100 won’t come with sapphire glass, but it will still bring useful features to the table for hiking and camping, excluding GPS. For the best hiking watch under $200, you may get all the features, including GPS and a Gorilla-glass display (the next best thing to a sapphire glass display).
In 2020, you may get watches with sapphire glass beyond $200. The speed at which technology is evolving, however, means that we should be able to get all these features at under $200 sooner than anticipated.