Look, we’ll admit that we all love to dream about trekking through uncharted territories with high-tech gadgets at our disposal, kind of like Bond, but just rougher and tougher. The reality looks a little bleaker, when we find ourselves ‘roughing it’ on…the couch. Watching Bear Grylls’’ Ultimate Survival with our comfy PJ’s on. Nevertheless, we can and should still be allowed to dress like our heroes, and the best outdoorsman watch is something that plays a key role in the overall look.
What makes a great outdoor watch?
They’re rugged, they’re tough, and they endure abuse and yet always stay strong and ticking. Tough guys need tough timepieces that’ll keep up with the pace, won’t mind the dirt and are willing to take a hit for the team.
Ideally, the best outdoor watches should feature a couple (or better yet all) of these features:
- Shock absorbent
- Stain resistant
- Great functionality
Whether you’re into mountain trekking or survivor-style camping, we’ve rounded up the best watches that are tougher than nails and are more than willing to be your wingman during your extreme outing. Check out our lineup in the outdoor watch review!
Buying Guide: The Best Outdoor Watches of 2016
Best Bang for your Buck
An old classic from Casio’s G-Shock line, the GA100-1A1 is a die hard for a very good reason. We love the fact that it’s seriously affordable yet it boasts a build that’s military spec oriented. The tactical look is subdued by the matte black colour and the silvery hands that make it look sleek. It’s a perfect all-rounder. For a basic price you do get a basic watch with very basic features. You won’t see anything like atomic time sync per se, but it does what it was designed to do, and it does it extremely well. It’s not a superior night-vision watch, and if you need that, we’d suggest you look into another G-Shock model. For the outdoorsman that needs a simple watch without the need for constant tending, you can’t go wrong with the Classic G-Shock.
· It’s affordable
· It’s super durable
· It’s a straightforward watch with no fancy frills
· It’s shock and magnetic resistant
· It has a water resistance rating up to 200 meters
· It doesn’t sport features like a barometer, a compass, or altimeter
· The Auto LED backlight kind of stinks and doesn’t do much for night time watch checking
Best Mid-Range Outdoor Watch
Casio Pro-Trek Pathfinder PRW-2500
Casio’s Pro-Trek Pathfinder was the first of the generations that saw the integration of the Triple Sensor Technology from Casio, and even 4 years down the line, the Pro-Trek is a still a solid and reliable outdoor watch. Whether you’re into hiking, biking, running, camping or hunting, the Pathfinder will always be by your side, and give the right care, it’ll probably outlive you. It’s a solar powered watch boasting a duplex LCD screen, and even at 50mm wide, they’re some of the most comfortable large watches out there. Boasting a water resistance rating of up to 200 meters and a crystal that’s inset to protect the screen and dial, it’s a very rugged and durable watch; you can’t go wrong with the PRW-2500!
· It’s loaded with cool features including a barometer, tidal data, moon phase indicator, thermometer, altimeter and a calendar to name just a few
· It has an overall light weight
· It’s super durable
· The date and special features like the barometer are very accurate
· It’s solar powered, so there’s no need to fuss about batteries
· The rotating navigational bezel is a little too tough to turn, although it may just require a bit of ‘breaking in’ to turn smoothly
· Figuring out how to use all the features is a learning curve
Most Stylish Outdoor Watch
Suunto Elementum Terra Steel
Bridging the gap between city and country perfectly, the Suunto Elementum Terra Steel is an awesome outdoor watch. This watch was inspired by the urban jungle but equipped with everything you need for rugged adventures like a barometer and an altimeter. It sports a unique 3D compass that’ll guide you to where you need to be, whether it’s to the nearest bar or to the waterfall gorge. Made with a corrosion resistant stainless steel case and a sapphire crystal face, the Elementum is durable and as reliable as they come. Consider this the German sports car of outdoor wrist watches!
· It has a seriously upscale look
· The stainless steel design is rock solid
· Its readings are precise and always accurate
· It’s rugged and perfect for the outdoors
· It’s a bit bulky
· It’s expensive
Best Outdoor Sports Watch
Garmin Fenix 3
With the ability to master just about any outdoor activity, the Garmin Fenix 3 is a very substantial watch. If you’re the kind of man that likes to track his progress, this ‘full featured training watch’ is right up your alley. It’s big and makes a bigger statement on your wrist. As a runner’s watch at heart, the Fenix 3 offers GPS tracking among the range of other kick-ass features and modes. Essentially, it’s a smartwatch, but it’s nothing like the Apple Watches or Android Smart Watches.
· Despite its massive size, the Fenix 3 is comfortable enough to wear all day and the light weight just compliments that factor
· It’s waterproof up to 100 meters
· The watch taps into your Android/iOS notification stream so you can read headlines of what’s happening on your smart phone
· It boasts a great interface, battery life and software
· The Fenix 3’s scratch-proofing…nope not that effective
· It’s big and bulky, which will be an issue for many
We’ve shown you 4 of the Best Outdoor Watches, and they cater to very different needs. From the budget friendly Basic G-Shock to the sporty Garmin Fenix 3, they’re all designed with manly men in mind and will withstand the tough elements of an active outdoor lifestyle.