When you first start hiking, you go through a transition where you truly start to realize just how big the world is. Along with this, you realize that there are still huge areas of land that are completely wild. That being said, you realize just how alone you are when you are out hiking. But once you realize this, you can start to understand that you really need to be prepared when you go out. Now while hiking gear like backpacks and tents are extremely important, you can’t overlook the importance of getting the best hiking watch possible!
Similar to a military watch, hiking watches are meant to be all purpose devices that will help keep you prepared, and safe.
What Makes the Best Hiking Watch of 2016?
When you are thinking of getting a watch for hiking, then there are few different things you need to consider. Because each watch is different, and all watches are featured with different tools and functions, you will definitely need to do some research and realize what you really need in a watch. Thankfully, I am going to do my best to help explain the differences in these watches, and help explain the different functions. From there you will be able to pick out the best hiking watch for your needs.
Functions Included In The Best Hiking Watch!
As I said above there are quite a few different types of these outdoor watches, and there are quite a few different types of functions. Each of these functions solve a specific problem, the problem is, not everyone will need certain functions. Thankfully you have the ability to pick certain watches that only have exactly what you want on them. So let’s jump right into it.
Built In Compass
If you are truly using this watch for hiking, then obviously you are going to be out in the wild. With this, a compass is definitely something you should always have when you are out hiking, and it makes it that much easier when you have one on your watch.
The majority of watches with compasses I have seen and used have all been digital compasses. This makes it incredibly easy to read especially if the weather is bad. I suggest this over analog compasses, unless you have experience with analog. Overall digital compasses are easier to read and easier to use for anyone.
An Accurate Altimeter
Having an accurate altimeter in your watch maybe more important to some than to others. But if you plan on hiking or camping out in the Rockies or somewhere well you will be climbing and changing elevation quite often, then an altimeter can be quite useful.
There are quite a few hiking watches that are featured with altimeters, but some of them aren’t really accurate enough to be useful. I have used some cheaper watches that the altitude on the altimeter is truly a guess, and not based off any scientific data, which doesn’t really help all too much. Thankfully the technology has improved quite a bit in the past few years, and the majority of upper tier hiking watches do a great job with their altimeter.
A Barometer To Keep You Dry
When you are out hiking or camping for a few days, it can be extremely important to know when a weather storm is going to come through, and whether you should hunker down for the evening or if you can go out or not. There are quite a few watches that have barometers featured in them now. From what I have found, a large majority of these watches simply make these tools way too complicated, and in turn they are hard to use. Thankfully there still are a few that keep the graph extremely simple and easy to read.
Generally speaking, on a barometer, if you lose four bars you know a storm is on the way, if you lose six bars, then it’s going to get pretty nasty, and if you lose anymore than six bars then you should definitely stay in. That’s why it’s extremely important to be able to read the graph and evaluate what the weather is going to do.
I think if you are out hiking without a watch that doesn’t have at least a good amount of water resistance then you should definitely reconsider. Just because you don’t go swimming every hiking trip doesn’t mean you don’t need a good water resistance. I personally recommend a water resistance level of at least 30 meters, but generally I go with around 100 meters. This really protects you from any sort of water damage. This even lets you go swimming if you find a nice swimming hole on your hike.
The last function you need to consider if you want to pick out the best hiking watch is a tough design! You want a watch that will be able to withstand any type of abuse you might accidentally throw at it. If you are depending on your watch to help you navigate the dangers of the great outdoors, then you will need something that won’t crap out on you.
Thankfully the past few watches I have tested out have all been great in this category. I loved my G-Shock and I loved my Casio Pathfinder, I thought these were both great in this category. These watches have a durable shock resistant design which prevents scratches on the screen, and prevents damage to the case.
What is The Best Hiking Watch?
After reviewing the above functions of watches, there are definitely quite a few watches that will do a great job. I have tried quite a few different watches over the past few years, and there are definitely some great choices, but personally I love the Casio PAG240-1CR Pathfinder!
The PAG240-1CR Pathfinder is featured with the following features:
- Digital Compass
- Accurate Digital Altimeter
- Accurate Digital Barometer
- Thermometer (Also Has Low Temperature Resistance)
- Solar Powered/Rechargeable Battery (Up to six month battery life without a solar recharging!)
- Water Resistant Up To 100 Meters
Overall this watch is a complete beast! It provides you with all the functions that you need in a hiking watch. Along with this, all of these functions are accurate and they will provide you with the information that will keep you safe! Overall, I definitely recommend this watch, the Casio brand has been built off their quality, and this watch is no different. This watch will keep you safe, and will last you years!