As an avid hiker, I have come to appreciate the value of a reliable outdoor watch. These timepieces are not just about telling time; they serve as essential companions for any outdoor adventure. Whether you are a casual walker or an experienced mountaineer, having the right watch on your wrist can make all the difference. In this article, we will explore the reasons why you need an outdoor watch for hiking and how it can enhance your overall experience.
First and foremost, an outdoor watch provides accurate timekeeping, which is crucial when you are out in the wilderness. Knowing the time allows you to plan your hike effectively, ensuring that you reach your destination before darkness falls. Additionally, many outdoor watches come with features such as altimeters, barometers, and compasses, which provide valuable information about your surroundings. These features help you navigate through challenging terrains and keep track of changes in weather conditions.
Furthermore, outdoor watches are built to withstand the rugged conditions of the outdoors. They are designed with durable materials and are often water-resistant or even waterproof. This ensures that your watch can withstand the elements, including rain, snow, and even accidental submersion. With a gps watch for hiking watch on your wrist, you can hike with confidence, knowing that your timepiece can handle whatever nature throws at it.
Features to consider when choosing an outdoor watch
When it comes to choosing the best outdoor watch for hiking in the UK, there are several key features to consider. These features will ensure that your watch meets your specific needs and enhances your hiking experience. Let’s explore some of the essential features to look out for when selecting an outdoor watch.
1. Durability: A durable watch is essential for outdoor activities. Look for watches made from robust materials such as stainless steel or titanium. These materials can withstand impacts and resist scratches, ensuring that your watch remains in pristine condition even after rigorous hikes.
2. Water Resistance: Hiking often involves encountering water bodies such as rivers, lakes, or even rain. Ensure that your outdoor watch has adequate water resistance to withstand these conditions. Look for watches with a water resistance rating of at least 100 meters, so you can confidently wear your watch while crossing streams or during unexpected rainfall.
3. GPS Navigation: Having GPS capabilities on your outdoor watch can be a game-changer. It allows you to track your route, mark waypoints, and even find your way back if you get lost. Look for watches with built-in GPS or those that can connect to your smartphone for accurate navigation.
4. Battery Life: A long battery life is crucial, especially for extended hikes or multi-day adventures. Look for watches with extended battery life, ideally lasting for several days or more. Some watches even have solar-powered or rechargeable batteries, ensuring that you won’t run out of power in the middle of your hike.
5. Altimeter and Barometer: These features are particularly useful for hikers who venture into high-altitude terrains. An altimeter measures your altitude, helping you track elevation changes and monitor your ascent or descent. A barometer, on the other hand, measures atmospheric pressure, providing insights into weather changes and potential storms.
By considering these features, you can select an outdoor watch that meets your specific hiking needs and enhances your overall experience on the trails.
The best outdoor watches for hiking in the UK
Now that we have discussed the importance of outdoor watches for hiking and the key features to consider, let’s dive into some of the best outdoor watches available in the UK. These watches have been carefully curated based on their durability, functionality, and overall performance in outdoor settings. Whether you are looking for a watch with GPS capabilities or a smartwatch that can connect to your smartphone, you are sure to find the perfect companion for your hiking adventures.
Top hiking watches with GPS capabilities
Garmin Fenix 7
This premium multisport GPS watch comes in 7S, 7, and 7X sizes. It has a touchscreen display and multiple physical buttons. The multi-band GPS provides accuracy by using multiple satellite systems. Advanced training features include VO2 max tracking, recovery time, training load focus, and more. Battery life goes up to 57 days in basic mode or 20 hours in GPS mode.
Suunto 9 Peak
Equipped with Suunto’s updated GPS and route navigation features, the 9 Peak provides accurate data even in challenging environments. The weather functions monitor storm warnings, sunrise/sunset times, and other insights. It offers 170 hours of battery life in GPS mode. Constructed with durable titanium or stainless steel bezel options. Customizable with over 300 sport modes.
Smartwatches with GPS for outdoor adventures
Apple Watch Series 8
The latest Apple Watch is swim-proof, dust-proof, and crack resistant with a durable titanium casing. It has a new temperature sensor and crash detection feature that can alert emergency services if needed. The built-in compass works offline along with 18 hours of battery life when in GPS mode. Activity tracking provides detailed metrics for hiking and climbing. A great walking watch.
Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro
Constructed from premium titanium, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is both lightweight and durable. It offers turn-by-turn routing with advanced navigation prompts and track back capabilities. Up to 80 hours of battery life in GPS mode. Enhanced GPS accuracy even in challenging environments. Comes pre-loaded with topographic maps, hiking activity tracking, and altitude info.
Adventure watches for extreme outdoor activities
Casio G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400
With its rugged, triple-layered construction, this watch is shockproof and can withstand mud, vibrations, freezing temperatures, and water up to 200m. Features include a digital compass, barometer, altimeter, sunrise/sunset data, and wireless time sync via radio signal. Powered by Tough Solar technology for reliable performance.
Garmin Instinct 2
Built to U.S. military standards 810 for thermal, shock and water resistance (100m). Offers unlimited battery life in certain settings thanks to solar charging lens. Comes with ABC sensors (altimeter, barometer and compass) along with multi-band GPS for navigation. Preloaded sports apps for hiking, climbing, skiing, etc. Garmin’s new touchscreen interface for easy navigation.
How to choose the perfect outdoor watch for your needs
Choosing the perfect outdoor watch for your hiking needs can be a daunting task, given the wide range of options available. Here are some factors to consider to ensure that you make an informed decision:
1. Define Your Requirements: Consider the specific features you need in an outdoor watch. Are you primarily looking for GPS capabilities, durability, or a combination of both? Make a list of the essential features that will enhance your hiking experience.
2. Set a Budget: Determine your budget range for an outdoor watch. This will help narrow down your options and ensure you find a watch that offers the best value for your money.
3. Research Brands and Models: Read reviews, compare specifications, and research different brands and models. Look for reputable brands known for their quality and reliability. Take into account customer feedback and expert opinions to make an informed decision.
4. Try Before You Buy: If possible, try on different watches before making a purchase. Consider the comfort, fit, and overall design of the watch. Some watches may feel bulky or uncomfortable on your wrist, so it’s essential to find one that suits your preferences.
5. Consider After-Sales Service: Look for brands that offer excellent customer support and warranty options. A reliable after-sales service can give you peace of mind, knowing that your watch will be well taken care of in case of any issues. By following these steps, you can choose an outdoor watch that meets your specific needs and enhances your hiking adventures.
Where to buy outdoor watches in the UK
Now that you have an idea of the best outdoor watches for hiking in the UK and how to choose the perfect one, the next question is where to buy them. Here are some reputable retailers in the UK where you can find a wide range of outdoor watches:
1. Outdoor Gear Retailers: Stores such as Cotswold Outdoor, Blacks, and Go Outdoors offer a variety of outdoor watches from different brands. They have knowledgeable staff who can assist you in finding the right watch for your needs.
2. Online Retailers: Amazon, eBay, and specialist outdoor gear websites such as OutdoorGB and Ultralight Outdoor Gear have a vast selection of outdoor watches available for purchase. Online shopping allows you to compare prices, read reviews, and conveniently have the watch delivered to your doorstep.
3. Brand Websites: Visit the official websites of outdoor watch brands such as Garmin, Suunto, Casio, Apple, and Samsung. These websites provide detailed information about their products, including specifications, features, and where to buy.
Ensure that you purchase from authorized retailers or directly from the brand’s official website to guarantee authenticity and warranty coverage.
Outdoor watches maintenance and care tips
To ensure that your outdoor watch remains in optimal condition and lasts for years to come, it is essential to follow proper maintenance and care practices. Here are some tips to keep your outdoor watch in top shape:
1. Regular Cleaning: Clean your watch regularly to remove dirt, sweat, and other debris. Use a soft cloth or a toothbrush with mild soap and water to gently clean the watch case, band, and buckle. Rinse with clean water and dry thoroughly.
2. Avoid Extreme Temperatures: Extreme temperatures can affect the performance and lifespan of your watch. Avoid exposing your watch to extreme heat or cold for prolonged periods. Store your watch in a cool, dry place when not in use.
3. Service and Battery Replacement: Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for servicing your watch. Regular servicing can prevent potential issues and ensure accurate timekeeping. If your watch has a replaceable battery, have it replaced by a professional when necessary.
4. Avoid Impact and Shock: While outdoor watches are designed to withstand impact and shock, it is still essential to avoid unnecessary rough handling. Remove your watch during activities that could subject it to excessive impact, such as rock climbing or heavy-duty manual labor.
5. Read the User Manual: Familiarize yourself with the user manual provided with your outdoor watch. The manual will contain specific instructions on maintenance, care, and any precautions to take to ensure the longevity of your watch.
By following these maintenance and care tips, you can extend the lifespan of your outdoor watch and keep it functioning optimally for your future hiking adventures.
Is an Outdoor Watch for you?
An outdoor watch is more than just a timekeeping device; it is a valuable companion for any hiking adventure. With features such as GPS navigation, durability, and weather monitoring, these watches enhance your hiking experience and provide essential information to keep you safe on the trails. By considering the key features, researching different brands, and trying on different watches, you can choose the perfect outdoor watch for your needs.
Whether you prefer watches with GPS capabilities, smartwatches that connect to your smartphone, or adventure watches for the outdoors, there is a wide range of options available in the UK. Remember to maintain and care for your watch properly to ensure its longevity and optimal performance. So, get ready to uncover the ultimate outdoor adventure companion and embark on unforgettable hikes with the best outdoor watches for hiking in the UK.
If you are looking for a more traditional GPS device why not check out our reviews on the best handheld GPS devices.