Best Outdoor Adventure Watches

Best outdoor adventure watches

Just because you feel like getting lost in the woods for a couple of days doesn’t mean you shouldn’t actually know where you are and how you’re going to get back.

Taking a break from society and the buzz of major cities can be both safe and adventurous. Sometimes all you need is a little wrist helper to point you in the right direction.

These days there are many outdoor adventure watches designed to keep you apprised of environmental conditions, location, and, if you really want, some information on your vitals as well.

This article presents to you reviews on some of the best watches for die-hard and amateur adventurers. There’s something in here for everyone whether you’re a land or sea lover.

​Outdoor Adventure Watches Comparison Chart

IMAGEPRODUCT
EDITOR'S CHOICE 1. Garmin Fenix 5 Plus
  • Can upload GPX routes
  • Weather information provided
  • High-end waterproof rating
  • Solid construction
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RUNNER UP 2. Suunto 9 Baro Black
  • Barometer built-in
  • Multisport compatible
  • Above average battery life
  • Accurate GPS tracking
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3. Suunto Traverse Alpha
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Very durable construction
  • Multiple sensors included
  • Can be paired with Google Earth
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4. Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR Baro
  • Multisport compatible
  • Wide range of navigational sensors
  • Accurate GPS readings
  • Programmable routes
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5. Casio PRO TREK PRW-2500R-1CR
  • One-touch sensor readings
  • Tide graph
  • Supports 31 time zones
  • Dual LCD display
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6. Casio PRO TREK Smart WSD-F20
  • Tide graphs
  • Adjustable GPS settings
  • GPS/GLONASS/QZS tracking
  • Offline color maps
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7. Garmin Quatix 5
  • Wide range of sensors
  • Water navigation assistance
  • Multisport compatible
  • Accurate GPS tracking
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Our Outdoor Adventure Watch Reviews

1. Garmin Fenix 5 Plus – Best High-End Option

There’s a very good reason why a top fitness tracking watch is also a great outdoor companion for the avid adventurer.

Among the many preprogrammed workout routines, the Fenix 5 Plus also tracks activities such as hiking, paddle boarding, and swimming. The accuracy in detecting specific movements and their intensities gives you a clear readout every time.

The GPS feature is a must-have for any adventurer. It’s something you definitely need if you like exploring off the trail.

The Fenix 5 Plus can display topographic maps in color and the slightly larger screen display is particularly useful in this regard.

The battery life is not too shabby either. You will run out in about 18 hours but only if you use real-time GPS updates.

If you set the watch in UltraTrac mode, you can extend the battery life up to 42 hours or at least a two-day camping trip.

The design is somewhat rugged,and the construction is very solid. The watch also has a 10ATM waterproof rating which means that you’re not limited by much when planning your next outdoor adventure.

The wide array of sensors provides you with almost everything you need to know to stay safe. If you want some weather information, the barometric altimeter has you covered.

If you want to know just how steady your pulse is and whether or not it’s time to slow down your pace, the watch offers that too.

The built-in thermometer can also give you a clue about whether you’re pushing yourself too much. And the transflective display is legible even in bright sunlight.

  • Screen: Yes
  • Touchscreen: No
  • Heart rate tracker: Yes
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Barometer: Yes
  • Activity tracking: Yes
  • Rugged design: Yes
  • Battery life: 18 hours
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Compatibility: Android/iOS
  • SPECS
  • WHAT I LIKE
  • WHAT I DON'T LIKE
  • Pros/cons overview
  • VIDEO

PROS

  • check
    Can upload GPX routes
  • Weather information provided
  • High-end waterproof rating
  • Solid construction
  • Large screen

CONS

  • Doesn’t monitor blood oxygen levels
  • Expensive
  • Battery life varies greatly

2. Suunto 9 Baro Black

The Suunto 9 Baro Black is marketed as the ultimate athlete’s watch. However, its extensive library of 80 programmed sports also comes in handy for various outdoor activities such as camping, swimming in open water, climbing, and more.

The watch is waterproof rated at 10ATM which means you should be able to cross any stream, explore any lake, and not worry about rain or snow.

The construction is also quite solid, so a couple of hits or accidental falls shouldn’t affect it too much. You can also easily take the watch with you during any weather conditions and temperatures.

The battery life can be extended to 120 hours, up from 25 hours. However, you may not be pleased with its GPS tracking accuracy in Suunto’s Ultratrac mode.

Still, you should get anywhere between 25 to 50 hours realistically,depending on what features you turn off. As far as smartwatches are concerned, this is good enough.

The barometer works in tandem with GPS data to relay accurate information regarding your altitude and changes in weather. This combination of sensors is also used to provide navigational improvements so that you can keep exploring on a safe path.

Because there are so many sports-related activities preprogrammed, the Suunto 9 Baro also comes with an accurate heartrate sensor. This allows you to track and record your vitals and determine whether or not you can keep maintaining the same pace.

  • Screen: Yes
  • Touchscreen: No
  • Heart rate tracker: Yes
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Barometer: Yes
  • Activity tracking: Yes
  • Rugged design: Yes
  • Battery life: 50 hours
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Compatibility: Android/iOS
  • SPECS
  • WHAT I LIKE
  • WHAT I DON'T LIKE
  • Pros/cons overview
  • VIDEO

PROS

  • Barometer built-in
  • Multisport compatible
  • Above average battery life
  • Accurate GPS tracking
  • Solid construction

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Clunky phone apps
  • Not the best screen readability

3. Suunto Traverse Alpha

The Suunto Traverse Alpha is one of the most rugged watches on the market. If you’re less worried about fancy tracking features and simply want a solid watch to take with you in the harshest of conditions, this may become your favorite choice too.

The battery life depends exclusively on the GPS settings in use. If you’re satisfied with one-minute updates, then you can get about 100 hours of use out of the watch.

If you want one-second updates, then you won’t be able to use it for more than 10 hours without recharging it. This can pose a serious problem if you don’t have a compatible solar charger or power bank with you.

The good thing is that the time and date are still displayed even when the watch is running on empty. The watch also comes with a unique point of interest marking system.

If you’re an avid hunter or fisherman, you can specify points of interest depending on the activity. You can assign tags for bedding areas, trail camera, and everything else that’s relevant and makes it easy to identify your surroundings.

The Traverse Alpha also has a built-in sunset and sunrise table which comes in handy if you travel all over the place. And, the time updates automatically as you move from one time zone to another.

Another interesting feature is called automatic shot detection. This can be enabled if you’re recording your route and it marks the location from where you’ve fired.

Although it consumes a bit of power, the Traverse Alpha also has an emergency flashlight mode which can help you find important gear or locate markers when in a hurry.

A barometer, thermometer, and altimeter are also included. The tactical nature of this smartwatch makes it a prime choice for almost any outdoorsman that means business.

  • Screen: Yes
  • Touchscreen: No
  • Heart rate tracker: Yes
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Barometer: Yes
  • Activity tracking: Yes
  • Rugged design: Yes
  • Battery life: 100 hours
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Compatibility: Android/iOS/Google
  • SPECS
  • WHAT I LIKE
  • WHAT I DON'T LIKE
  • Pros/cons overview
  • VIDEO

PROS

  • check
    Long-lasting battery
  • Very durable construction
  • Multiple sensors included
  • Can be paired with Google Earth
  • Hunting/Fishing navigational aids

CONS

  • Average quality nylon strap
  • Movescount app is not yet optimized

4. Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR Baro

The Spartan Sport Wrist HR Baro is yet another example of how a fitness tracking watch has just as much use to casual adventurers and survivalists.

What this watch lacks in terms of durability it more than makes up for in vitals tracking and activity tracking.

You can program up to 15 routes on the watch and a staggering 250 waypoints. You can make full use of the accurate GPS chipset to get storm notifications for your planned routes and ensure that you’re safe during your travels.

While the watch isn’t too durable per se, it does have a 10ATM waterproof rating which opens up many possibilities when exploring the outdoors.

The watch can also serve you for up to 40 hours if you’re content with GPS updates every one minute. However, if you also enable multiple tracking features and GPS/GLONASS recording, you won’t get more than 20 hours of use.

Because the watch is programmed to recognize a wide range of activities, you might want to use daily activity tracking at the cost of battery power.

That’s because you can get accurate readings on your performance on a 12-hour cycle. These should give you enough information to understand if you’re pushing yourself too hard and if you need to up your calorie intake.

Although exploring the outdoors can be a dangerous hobby, this smartwatch does the best it can to keep you aware of what your body’s going through. While veterans may not need all these extra bells and whistles, beginner campers and hikers can sure use them.

  • Screen: Yes
  • Touchscreen: No
  • Heart rate tracker: Yes
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Barometer: Yes
  • Activity tracking: Yes
  • Rugged design: No
  • Battery life: 40 hours
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Compatibility: Android/iOS
  • SPECS
  • WHAT I LIKE
  • WHAT I DON'T LIKE
  • Pros/cons overview
  • VIDEO

PROS

  • Multisport compatible
  • Wide range of navigational sensors
  • Accurate GPS readings
  • Programmable routes
  • Decent battery life

CONS

  • Movescount app still needs improvements
  • A bit expensive for the limited navigational features

5. Casio PRO TREK PRW-2500R-1CR

Casio is considered a pioneer of digital timepieces,so the inclusion of this watch here should come as no surprise to anyone.

The PRW-2500R is as rugged as it is technologically advanced,easily one of the most popular models in the Pro Trek series.

The watch is solar powered and can last almost two years even with minimum sunlight exposure. At least that’s the claim.

The durability is very impressive as the watch is capable of performing in harsh weather conditions. However, when it comes to comfort, the resin strap is not the most appealing choice even for diehard Casio enthusiasts.

The PRW-2500R has two LCD screens which help declutter the display. This is particularly noticeable when using the tide graph feature.

The watch is also equipped with Casio’s Multi-Band 6 atomic timekeeping which makes its accuracy unparalleled in its price range. At the same time, it saves you the trouble of having to set it ever again.

The chronograph is accurate down to 1/100 second and it works with split timing. There’s also a countdown timer which can be set between one and 60 minutes.

31 time zones are supported by the watch, so you can travel with it to anywhere in the world. The watch also has an automatic calendar which makes the change for you once you switch time zones.

The data measured by the sensors is very accurate, but you will need some basic understanding of environmental metrics to get a sense of what’s happening. There are no storm notifications displayed on the screen.

Pressing each sensor button displays more advanced metrics. For example, the barometer function displays atmospheric pressure in hPa or inHg.

You can make any unit changes in the settings menu to display the units that you’re most comfortable with.

The barometric pressure chart also provides pressure changes since the last reading. This is to help compensate for its 2-hour update interval.

Though you need some understanding of all the advanced environmental and atmospheric metrics, the watch is very user-friendly. Almost everything has a one-touch command and the big bold letters on each sensor button make things even easier.

This watch is also waterproof. Exceeding most models in this category and price range, the PRW-2500R is waterproof rated up to 200 meters underwater.

  • Screen: Yes
  • Touchscreen: No
  • Heart rate tracker: No
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Barometer: Yes
  • Activity tracking: Yes
  • Rugged design: Yes
  • Battery life: 5 to 23months
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Compatibility: N/A
  • SPECS
  • WHAT I LIKE
  • WHAT I DON'T LIKE
  • Pros/cons overview
  • VIDEO

PROS

  • One-touch sensor readings
  • Tide graph
  • Supports 31 time zones
  • Dual LCD display
  • Atomic time-keeping
  • Waterproof up to 200 meters

CONS

  • Hard to use the compass
  • The exact battery life is hard to determine

6. Casio PRO TREK Smart WSD-F20

This may not be the ultimate Casio outdoor watch, but it does offer a decent trade-off if you’re equally interested in smartwatch features and Casio’s build durability.

The WSD-F20 is part of the PRO TREK Smart series and features a very rugged design, albeit thinner than its predecessor. But unlike the WSD-F10, the WSD-F20 has a built-in GPS chipset with eliminates the need to carry a smartphone.

The WSD-F20 is nothing if not equipped to handle any environment anywhere in the world. Setting aside the durability of the design, the compatibility with GPS, QZSS, and GLONASS ensures that you will get accurate readings anywhere you go.

You can also tweak the accuracy of the GPS if you want to save battery life, which you probably should if you’re just camping or hiking.

In case you run out of signal, you can make use of some offline color maps. However, they’re not too easy to read because the WSD-F20 has a rather small screen.

The Location Memory is a very cool feature that allows you to save a trail and review the data at any time, with or without a connection.

As is the case with most smartwatches these days, the WSD-F20 also has some nice tracking features for various activities such as trekking, skiing, and fishing. Sadly,running doesn’t seem to be part of the deal, and neither is swimming.

  • Screen: Yes
  • Touchscreen: No
  • Heart rate tracker: Yes
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Barometer: Yes
  • Activity tracking: Yes
  • Rugged design: Yes
  • Battery life: 24 hours
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Compatibility: Android/iOS
  • SPECS
  • WHAT I LIKE
  • WHAT I DON'T LIKE
  • Pros/cons overview
  • VIDEO

PROS

  • check
    Tide graphs
  • Adjustable GPS settings
  • GPS/GLONASS/QZS tracking
  • Offline color maps

CONS

  • Average battery life
  • The screen may be too small for maps
  • Doesn’t pair as well with iPhones

7. Garmin Quatix 5

Whether you need a fishing aid or a navigator by your side, the Garmin Quatix 5 has you covered. It’s designed for a different type of adventurer, one that prefers exploring on water more than on land.

One of its coolest features is the anchor calculator. Surprisingly, the waterproof rating is only 10ATM.

The battery life is quite decent as it can last up to 60 hours if you’re using a toned-down GPS setting. Still, if you’re on a boat you should have no trouble recharging it every day.

But make no mistake, this is a real smartwatch. And it has more tracking features than just those helpful to weekend sailors.

The Quatix 5 is able to track various activities like hiking, cycling, jogging, swimming, etc. It also does a good job of capturing your vitals and displaying information regarding your level of exhaustion.

The notifications include text messages, phone calls, and various social media updates. However, what you can do about those notifications is another matter.

The design of the watch is quite bulky and rugged which means this is not a yachting watch. If you want to feel fancy, you might want to opt for a thinner device that has a similar aquatic theme.

That being said, the watch isn’t exactly cheap. But it’s perhaps worth every penny if you’re going to use all of its features.

To make the most out of it and get all the navigational information, it’s best to use the watch with other Garmin boat-related devices.

The complexity of the gadget may seem overwhelming at first but navigating through the menus is rather easy even if you’ve never owned a smartwatch before. The interface is very intuitive and there are multiple buttons around the bezel that eliminate the need for using specific press/hold combinations

  • Screen: Yes
  • Touchscreen: No
  • Heart rate tracker: Yes
  • Waterproof: Yes
  • Barometer: Yes
  • Activity tracking: Yes
  • Rugged design: Yes
  • Battery life: 25 hours
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Compatibility: Android/iOS
  • SPECS
  • WHAT I LIKE
  • WHAT I DON'T LIKE
  • Pros/cons overview
  • VIDEO

PROS

  • check
    Wide range of sensors
  • Water navigation assistance
  • Multisport compatible
  • Accurate GPS tracking
  • Solid construction

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Needs other Garmin aquatic gadgets to unlock its full potential

FINAL VERDICT

If you’re really serious about exploring the outdoors and don’t mind venturing to uncharted territories, the Casio PRO TREK PRW-2500R is probably your best bet.

The watch is solar-powered, atomic, automatic time zone, very durable, and waterproof up to 200 meters.

The navigation is one of the easiest you’ll encounter and the compatibility with GPS, GLONASS, and QZSS satellite systems ensures global coverage and data tracking.

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