Each year, more and more people are escaping into the outdoors to find peace and solitude while soaking in the beauty of nature.
The outdoor industry has been growing exponentially as a reflection of this, and there is a seemingly endless list of products that will improve or enhance the time you spend exploring the great outdoors.
While everyone has a personal preference, there are a few items that are almost universally helpful to all outdoors enthusiasts – a hiking watch being one of them. Like most outdoor gear, you can spend as much as little money as you would like. However, when you are on a budget, finding quality gear can be a challenge.
For this review, we put together a list of what we consider to be some of the best hiking watches under $100.
Why Use a Hiking Watch?
Whether you are a casual hiker, new to the sport, or are preparing for a major expedition, a hiking watch can be an incredible tool to help you along the way.
For something so small and convenient to wear, hiking watches can provide you with valuable data to gauge your hike in real-time or reflect on upon completion.
From simply telling time to tracking altitude, temperature, direction, and barometric pressure, hiking watches are an incredible way to monitor your time in the outdoors and make informed decisions on routes and objectives.
There are many options to choose from and each watch will have their own set of pros and cons. No matter which watch you choose, we guarantee once you have one that you like, you’ll never hike without it again.
We’ve also got a list of of the best hiking watches under $200 if you’d like to check out some slightly more advanced options as well.
Best Hiking Watch Under $100
Casio Men’s SGW300HB-3AVCF
The Casio Men’s SGW300HB-3AVCF is one of the lowest-priced watches on our list. It can be an excellent entry-level option for someone who isn’t sure they want to commit to a higher-end product yet.
Even with its low price point, this Casio watch has a slew of hiking features, including an altimeter to measure altitude, barometer to measure air pressure, and thermometer to measure temperature.
It also has standard watch staple features such as a countdown timer, stopwatch, 5 alarms, and water resistance up to 330 feet. All in all, this watch pretty much has everything you’d look for in one of the best hiking watches for men under $100.
Timex Expedition Grid Shock Watch
The Expedition Grid Shock Watch from Timex is a good option for someone that wants a more durable watch but does not need the added frills and features of some of the other options on our list.
This watch has a 24-hour countdown timer, 3 audible and vibrating alarms, and added shock resistance.
The Expedition Grid Shock also claims water resistance up to 330 feet, though some users have found that to be a stretch.
Overall, it is an excellent introductory option for hikers who do not need the bells and whistles of more advanced hiking watches.
Casio Men’s Pro Trek PRG-270-1
The Casio Men’s Pro Trek PRG-270-1 costs a little more than the $100 budget we are shooting for, but this watch is definitely worth the extra few bucks.
For hikers looking for a tool that can do it all, look no further than the Men’s Pro Trek PRG-270-1. This watch is fully loaded with a barometer, digital compass, and altimeter to help with all of our route finding and expedition planning needs.
In addition to all standard watch functions, this Casio watch also has Tough Solar built-in – meaning its 9-month battery life will get an extra boost when exposed to the sun.
Casio Men’s Triple Sensor Digital Display Watch
The Casio Men’s Triple Sensor Digital Display watch is a step above the Twin Sensor. It offers many of the same features but with slightly higher usability.
The 5 alarms, countdown timer, stopwatch, and auto calendar are standard digital watch attributes, and the altimeter, barometer, compass, and thermometer are especially helpful for looking for a good trail companion. The latter features are a bit more intuitive to use than the Twin Sensor and seem to provide a slightly higher level of accuracy.
Casio Men’s GD100-1BCR
It should come as no surprise that Casio has more watches on our list than any other brand. They have a solid reputation and a watch for virtually all budgets and needs.
The Casio Men’s GD100-1BCR is another no-frills option with the bare-bones features. With five alarms, an auto-calendar programmed until 2099, and a large face with oversized buttons, this watch is exceptionally user friendly.
It has the Casio’s famed shock resistance making it plenty durable for all hiking adventures. Plus, it has the deepest water resistance on our list at over 600 feet.
SUUNTO Core Men’s Outdoor Watch
The SUUNTO Core is one of our favorite watches on the list. It is incredibly user friendly, especially considering all of its features.
This watch truly does it all. In addition to a built-in altimeter, barometer, and compass, the Core also tracks weather and has a storm alert updating you on major shifts in barometric pressure. You can also log and save your hikes to track total ascent and descent.
Further, it has sunrise/sunset times for over 400 places so that you can customize your watch to your location. While this all may seem overwhelming, one of the best things about the Core is how intuitive it is to use.
Anmino Smart Watch
One of the best budget hiking watches on our list, the Anmino SmartWatch is a great option for those looking to track their output while hiking.
This smartwatch pairs with the SMART TIME App and allows users to monitor heart rate, blood pressure, steps, calorie-burning, distance, and sleep patterns – the first watch on our list that does so.
The touch screen display is attractive and durable, and the Bluetooth capability allows for a smooth transfer of data.
Casio Men’s Twin Sensor Analog Watch
Yet another Casio watch, this one catering to someone looking for one of the best cheap hiking watches with a few added frills.
The Casio Men’s Twin Sensor Analog Watch has a simple yet bold design. It has all the standard digital watch features (alarms, a countdown timer, stopwatch, calendar) as well as an excellent introductory altimeter, barometer, and thermometer.
The Twin Sensor Analog is a good beginner hiking watch for anyone that wants to start experimenting with more features but are not quite ready to invest in a higher-end, more complex watch.
AOSLSI Outdoor Digital Watch
Despite the low cost, the AOSLSI Outdoor Digital Watch still does many things reasonably well.
In addition to all standard functions, the AOSLSI Outdoor Digital Watch is a great entry-level option that packs a punch elsewhere. The altimeter on this watch records your last 24 hours of activity on a graph, allowing you to track your climbs in one-day increments.
The barometer shows both pressure at sea level and current location, and the weather forecast gives a four-day prediction. Lastly, sport mode allows you to track steps, distance, and calories and will store data for 7 days at a time.
Lad Weather Outdoor Hiking Watch
The Lad Weather Outdoor Hiking Watch is perhaps the most elegant on our list– boasting a beautiful design and a slew of functions to go along with it.
Along with standard digital watch features the Lad Weather Outdoor Hiking Watch has a compass, thermometer, altimeter, barometer, and weather forecasting capabilities.
Though some users have found faults with the accuracy of some of these functions, the price makes it a good choice for users trying to toe-in to what hiking watches are all about.
How to Choose a Hiking Watch
The market is flooded with hiking watches with all kinds of features, different designs, and at all price points. The highest-end hiking watches will cost far more than one hundred dollars, but they’ll function effectively and be extremely durable.
At the lower price point we’ve covered here, it will be challenging to find a watch that can do everything a higher-end watch could. So, when you are looking at different options, try and hone in on the most important features you want and go from there.
As you learn more about different hiking watches or gain more experience using one in the outdoors, consider increasing your budget to find a more well-rounded watch. Our budget-friendly watches are ideal for beginners. But if you have a higher budget, the watch will have better features and increased accuracy across the board.
To help you decide how to choose the perfect hiking watch for you, we rounded up our selection criteria for you to use.
When looking for a hiking watch, there’s a number of different features that can help aid you on your hikes.
Whether or not you have a hiking watch, every outdoor enthusiast should learn how to read a map and compass. Both should ideally be carried with you on all excursions into the backcountry.
Virtually all hiking watches will have compass capabilities. Oftentimes, their accuracy will vary with the price. Buying a watch with an accurate compass is a good way to eliminate the need to carry a separate one in your backpack.
Many gear outfitters offer courses that will introduce you to this necessary art and skill if you are not confident in your map and compass reading ability. Finding one of these classes is one of the best ways to get reliable advice that directly applies in the backcountry.
A step above a map and compass is GPS technology. Some higher-end hiking watches boast incredibly accurate GPS functions. Still, you will be hard-pressed to find a hiking watch with quality GPS under $100.
If you are willing to spend a little bit more money on a hiking watch with GPS function, it may be worth it. When used correctly, GPS functions can be a great way to navigate in the wilderness or bail you out of sticky situations.
If risk management is your top priority for getting a hiking watch, consider prioritizing a GPS function and plan for a higher budget to do so.
If you spend a lot of your time outdoors climbing mountains, consider finding a hiking watch with high quality and an easy-to-use altimeter.
Generally, altimeters on watches use changes in barometric pressure to tell you your current elevation. This is incredibly helpful when climbing a peak and gauging how far you are from the summit. It will also assist in tracking how much you have climbed throughout a day hike or longer backpacking adventure. Some higher-end watch altimeters can track your progress, which can be a fun and useful tool for number crunchers and peak baggers.
Many hiking watches will have a built-in barometer. By itself, a barometer is an excellent tool to gauge changes in weather both in the coming hours and days.
A barometer measures atmospheric pressure. Many watches will generally show weather trends instead of numbers, which makes it easier for users to forecast any larger scale predicted changes. Barometers are especially useful on extended trips in exposed terrain where a drastic change in the weather could put you at serious risk.
Sleek, beautiful watches are not commonplace in the hiking world. These wrist computers often pack in a ton of features, and, to do so, they are going to be bulkier than a more formal dress watch.
When exploring design options for hiking watches, consider function over fashion and opt for burlier choices if you plan on putting it through the wringer. That said, there are a handful of hiking watch companies that have put in a concerted effort to ensure that their products are appealing as well as functional.
Overall, the design and aesthetic of the watch shouldn’t be a top priority. If you shop around a bit, you will eventually find a design that suits you. Still, you shouldn’t compromise watch features and functionality just because of the way a watch looks.
Virtually all hiking watches will have some level of water resistance. Since you’ll be exposed to the elements when you’re hiking and backpacking, water-resistance is a necessity.
If your time outdoors is often spent rafting, kayaking, or swimming, consider choosing a watch with better water resistance. Most watches are rated to a certain depth (usually a couple hundred feet), but check out verified customer reviews to understand how each watch holds up to water exposure.
As a friendly reminder, with any hiking watch, it is good practice to take it off before getting in the shower to avoid any unnecessary wear and tear.
Durability and Scratch Resistance
Most hiking watches are meant to be put to the test outdoors and will be much more robust than their formal cousins. You should prioritize durability and scratch resistance if you spend a lot of your time rock climbing, scrambling, and regularly using your hands to help navigate the natural world.
Some watches are certainly more durable than others, and this is often reflected in the price. The good thing is, if you spend a little more on a watch, you will likely find one that will last you for many years to come.
As with all outdoor goods, quality can be represented by the price. Our list includes some excellent introductory and affordable options and a few watches that slightly exceed the $100 budget proposed in this article’s title.
It should go without saying that the more you are willing to spend on a watch, the better it will serve you. The best hiking watches exceed the $100 limit, but they offer impressive durability in conjunction with many accurate and easy to use features.
After your first budget hiking watch, you will quickly learn what you like and don’t like, as well as what you need and don’t need in a watch. Then, you can invest in a higher-quality watch that will serve all your future outdoor adventures.
When shopping for a hiking watch, there is a lot to consider. Each watch feature provides something to enhance your outdoor experience. Every function can improve the safety, efficiency, or convenience of your time outdoors. A solid hiking watch is honestly a tool that every passionate outdoorsman should have.
As you explore our options for the best hiking watch under $100, think about how you spend your time outdoors and consider which features are most important to you. Each watch is as unique as the person wearing it, and everyone will have their preference.
While our list offers a substantial selection of budget-friendly hiking watches, it is by no means exhaustive. Additionally, if you expand your budget above one hundred dollars, you’ll discover a whole new world of high tech gadgets that guarantee to improve your outdoor experience.
If you are new to the world of hiking, consider choosing a more affordable watch to get a feel for what they can do – chances are you will never hike without one again.