Best Hiking Watch Under $100: Budget Timepieces for Outdoor Junkies

Best Hiking Watch Under $100

Are you in the market for the best hiking watch under $100 to fit your rugged, outdoor lifestyle?

The right hiking watch must be tough enough for the harsh outdoor conditions. Of course, it also needs to have features such as an altimeter, barometer, compass, GPS, and many others – features that will improve your hiking experience as a whole.

You are probably thinking, “aren’t hiking watches, expensive?”

Sure, there are many high-end outdoor watches like the Suunto Traverse Alpha that can cost several hundred dollars. However, there is no shortage of budget-friendly watches for hikers of all skill levels.

Today, we have a list of the best hiking watch under $100.

Best Hiking Watch Under $100

Key Features

Our Rating

Casio SGW-1000-1ACR Triple Sensor Altimeter, Barometer, Digital Compass, 100m water resistance, LED Backlit, 5 Daily Alarms, and 1 Snooze Alarm, Quartz movement, World Time ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Timex T49612 Expedition Shock Shock Resistant to I.S.O. Standards, Digital Compass, Durable Resin Case, Indiglo Light-Up Watch Dial, Water resistant to 200m ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Casio SGW100-1V Twin Sensor Easy-to-read digital display, Digital compass, Protective mineral crystal, Precise quartz movement, Water resistance up to 660 ft, Alarm and stopwatch functions, Thermometer ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Sunroad Outdoor Sports Watch ABC features, Sunrise and Sunset Times, Thermometer, Log Record, Clock, Stopwatch, World Time, 160 Ft/50 M water resistance ★ ★ ★ ★
Timex Expedition Grid Shock Shock resistant to I.S.O. standards, Stainless steel top plate, Stopwatch, Countdown timer, Vibration alarm, Hydration alerts, Water resistant to 100m ★ ★ ★ ★
Lad Weather Outdoor Watch Altimeter, Barometer, Compass, Track Mode, Power Saving Mode, Thermometer, EL Backlight, Stopwatch, Alarm ★ ★ ★ ★

Best Hiking Watches Under $100

1. Casio SGW-1000-1ACR Triple Sensor

best hiking watch under $100

 

When it comes to tough as nails outdoor watches, there’s plenty of options from Casio. If you want a durable ABC watch that won’t break the bank, the Casio SGW-1000-1ACR Triple Sensor is an easy recommendation.

A No-Fuss ABC Watch

The Casio SGW-1000-1ACR is an outdoor watch that just works. It’s a triple sensor model so it features an altimeter, barometer, and a digital compass. For the most part, I am happy to report that these main features work well.

The compass is accurate and can go several days without any recalibration. The watch also displays the temperature and barometric pressure with fair accuracy. However, the altimeter could use a bit of work. There’s a bit of a learning curve for operating the ABC features but once you get the hang of it, it becomes rather painless.

This watch boasts the signature Casio ruggedness and dependability. It is waterproof to 100 meters, so you don’t have to worry about the rain when you’re outdoors. The watch face is very easy to read regardless of the lighting conditions. When it’s dark, you can simply toggle the illumination and you’re good to go.

For the price point, this watch offers incredible value.

2. Timex T49612 Expedition Shock

best hiking watch under $100

 

I love a good rough and tumble digital watch that can take a beating. The Timex T49612 Expedition Shock is a popular outdoor watch and good reason.

Well, mainly because it’s the best hiking watch under $100 with loads of features.

Take a Licking and Keep on Ticking

Does anyone remember the old Timex advertising slogan? The Timex Expedition Shock embodies that tagline and then some.

The watch is shock resistant to I.S.O. standards and is designed to withstand any outdoor test. Whether you are hiking, camping, or backpacking, this is the type of watch that you would want on your wrist. However, it’s tough and stylish enough that anyone won’t have any problem wearing this as an EDC watch. The durable resin case does a great job of protecting the face.

Just to be clear, this is not an ABC watch but it does come with a digital compass. The compass works well but it does require a good deal of calibration. However, I suggest that you only utilize the compass for direction and orientation. The compass is not accurate enough to be used for navigation.

The face is fairly large with a negative display. There are many complaints about the legibility of the face but for me personally, it’s just right. The only downside that I can think of is that the nylon strap is very prone to breaking off.

Whether you’re looking for a hiking timepiece or simply a tough EDC watch, the Timex Expedition Shock comes highly recommended.

3. Casio SGW100-1V Twin Sensor

best hiking watch under $100

 

Casio is truly a contender when it comes to high-utility watches that don’t cost an arm and leg. The Casio SGW100-1V Twin Sensor is a tough hiking watch that cost less than $50. It doesn’t have that many advanced features but it’s a watch that will serve you well during your hiking trips.

Great Looking Watch in a Durable Package

For starters, the Casio SGW100-1V looks great with a standard sports watch design. Thus, many of you will have no problem wearing it on a daily basis. The digital display is big and very easy to read and shows the day, date, and month.

What makes the Casio SGW100-1V great for hiking is certainly the compass. The compass is very accurate provided that you will spend a bit of time with the calibration. Use the watch in conjunction with a map and you already got your navigation needs covered.

It also comes with a thermometer but I found myself not using it at all. The watch utilizes the back plate for temperature readings which makes it inaccurate if you’re wearing it. If you want accurate temperature readings, you’ll have to strap the watch to your belt loop or backpack.

Despite some glaring drawbacks, the Casio SGW100-1V is a high-performance outdoor watch in a durable package.

4. Sunroad Outdoor Sports Watch

best hiking watch under $100

 

The Sunroad Outdoor Sports Watch is the perfect cheapish ABC watch if you don’t have the budget for Suunto Cores. While you certainly can’t expect high-end features and quality from this model, it’s the best hiking watch under $100 that’s worth the look.

Multi-function Timepiece for Hikers

At first glance, you’ll see that the design of the Sunroad Outdoor Sports Watch looks to be lifted from the Suunto Core, especially with the case and the band.

However, the similarities end there.

One of the biggest differences is that the Sunroad watch features separate buttons for accessing the ABC features. I’d say it’s quite similar to the Casio ProTrek series. To switch between the altimeter, barometer, and compass features, you need to press the Mode button.

After calibration, the Compass mode of the Sunroad works quite well. Unlike the Suunto Core, the compass still appears to be working while the backlight is enabled. For the Barometer mode, the watch shows the barometric, graph, and ambient pressure. Much like the compass, the barometer manages to impress. When toggling Altimeter mode, the altitude will be displayed in the middle while the time is displayed on top of the face.

For a budget ABC watch, the build quality of the Sunroad is surprisingly decent. Definitely worth the price if you’re looking for a cheap Suunto Core alternative.

5. Timex Expedition Grid Shock

best hiking watch under $100

 

For another best hiking watch under $100, we have another model from Timex. The Timex Expedition Grid Shock is a solid timepiece for those who often well, go off the grid. It’s another Timex model so you can expect legendary reliability from this watch.

Best for Beginner Hikers

The Timex Expedition Grid Shock is a solid option for beginners since it focuses less on navigation and more on the smaller features. Like with the previous Timex watch, the Expedition Grid Shock features a shock resistance that’s in compliance with the I.S.O. standards.

Yes, it’s a watch that can once again take a beating.

Once you get the watch, you’ll be surprised that it’s a little larger than you thought it would. That’s certainly the case with me. If you have smaller hands, the size of the watch might be an issue. I highly recommend that you check the specs and decide if this watch’s size is right for you.

The digital display looks crisp, clear, and very readable. The Indiglo backlight provides just the right amount of brightness without blurring the display.

One of the main reasons that I bought this watch is the vibration feature. Once set, the vibrations coming from the watch is very noticeable. The vibration function works well with the watch’s hydration feature.

Overall, the Expedition Grid Shock is a very basic watch but it’s a reliable, comfortable, and best of all, affordable timepiece.

6. Lad Weather Outdoor Watch

best hiking watch under $100

 

The Lad Weather Outdoor Watch is an ABC watch from a rather obscure brand. However, don’t let that scare you because this watch offers incredible value and is an amazing compass watch.

A Budget-Friendly Full-Featured Activity Watch

The Lad Weather Outdoor Watch stands out because it’s more than an outdoor watch since it’s also an activity tracker. Fitbits and Garmins can be expensive, so this watch is a good alternative.

The watch features a negative display which is just the way I like it. The watch is easily readable even under bright lights. For darker lighting conditions, it features a backlight that works great.

As I’ve mentioned, the watch comes with an excellent compass. Once calibrated, I was surprised by its accuracy and it’s easily comparable with a magnetic field compass. The graphic display for the compass is one of the best I’ve seen in an ABC watch. The compass even works at night. Unlike most ABC watches, the compass continues to work even when the light is on.

It’s certainly one of the best budget ABC watches that you can get.

Hike With Confidence

That concludes our list of the best hiking watch under $100. Regardless of your needs, the watches we’ve highlighted boast a good balance of quality and cost-efficiency. With these budget hiking watches, you can now hike with confidence.

In case you are looking for a higher-end watches for hiking, you may read our review of the best Garmin watch for hiking.

Best Garmin Watch for Hiking [Quick Buyer’s Guide]

Best Garmin Watch for Hiking Featured

When it comes to fitness watches, there’s no denying that Garmin is one of the top players in the industry. As a world-leading GPS manufacturer, Garmin has made some of the best GPS watches available. Therefore, many outdoor enthusiasts and hikers consider Garmin as one of their top options.

If you are considering a Garmin watch for hiking, I say that it’s a step in the right direction. However, there are loads of options to choose from. Garmin has some of the widest portfolios of watches so it can be a little overwhelming. If you are looking for the best Garmin watch for hiking, you’ve come to the right place.

Today, we handpicked some of the best Garmin watches that you can use for hiking and other outdoor pursuits. Let’s get to it.

Best Garmin Watch for Hiking

Key Features

Our Rating

Garmin Fenix 5X Full color TOPO U.S. mapping, Silicone band, Built in navigation sensors include GPS and GLONASS, Preloaded run profiles, 3 axis compass, gyroscope and barometric altimeter 5/5
Garmin Tactix Charlie 1.2” high-resolution, sunlight-readable display, TOPO mapping plus routable map navigation, Rugged design, Tactical-specific features, Built-in navigation sensors include GPS and GLONASS 4.5/5
Garmin Instinct Constructed to U. S. Military standard, Built in 3 axis compass and barometric altimeter, Smart notifications, TrackBack feature 4.5/5
Garmin Fenix 3 HR Precision satellite navigation, Activity and sleep tracking, Heart rate monitoring, 1.2 inch Chroma colour display, LED backlight 4.5/5
Garmin Fenix 6S Pro 1.2” sunlight-readable display, Enhanced estimated wrist heart rate, Advanced training features include PacePro, Preloaded TOPO maps, Support for Garmin Pay 4/5
Garmin Epix 1.4 inch high resolution, sunlight visible color Chroma touchscreen display, 8GB internal memory, Customizable, Multi activity tracking 3.5/5

Best Garmin Watch for Hiking

1. Garmin Fenix 5X

The ever-reliable Garmin Fenix 5X is our top pick for the Garmin watch for hiking. There’s already a newer version with the Garmin Fenix 5X Plus but I will still recommend the Fenix 5X over the 5X Plus.

Loaded With Great Hiking Features

The Garmin Fenix 5X is loaded with great hiking features such as altimeter, barometer, and compass (ABC sensors). It’s also a watch that comes pre-loaded with real topo maps.

The topo maps are very useful for hiking since they display your exact location while hiking. You can also load the routes into the watch before you set out. While you’re out hiking, you can simply follow the route in real-time. It’s a real godsend particularly for tough hiking spots.

Like many GPS hiking watches, you can add waypoints using the Fenix 5X. Waypoints are basically points of interests such as trails, landmarks, camping spots, or your parking area. Once you have set a waypoint, the watch tells your exact location in relation to your set waypoint and estimated time to get there. The ABC sensors are working great and the watch even comes with storm alerts and barometric trends.

The Fenix 5X offers an impressive battery life and can last up to 24 hours in GPS mode. There’s also a feature called UltraTrac mode that extends the battery life even more.

The Fenix 5X is a powerful GPS that’s suitable for everyday wear, hiking, and other activities.

2. Garmin Tactix Charlie

The Garmin Tactix Charlie GPS watch is a successful follow-up to the popular Tactix Bravo. The Tactix Charlie is a rugged tactical watch that makes it an ideal tool for hikers.

Great Tactical Watch for Outdoor Adventurers

For starters, the Tactix Charlie is one tough GPS tool with its black DLC coated titanium bezel, black titanium rear cover, and stainless steel buttons. It’s suitably rugged and I can’t see things letting you down even under the toughest outdoor conditions.

For hiking purposes, the Tactix Charlie comes preloaded with topo and routable map navigation. With the Garmin Basecamp app, you can create waypoints on the device and later explore it to the Tactix. You can name the waypoint and even assign an icon for easy identification. The Basecamp app is the main software solution for route and waypoint planning – it’s highly recommended.

Of course, the watch also comes with other sweet hiking features such as GPS and GLONASS plus a three-axis compass, barometer, altimeter and gyroscope. The built-in altimeter is quite impressive and does a great job of monitoring ascent and descent while hiking.

As for the battery life, you got 12 days in smartwatch mode, 20 hours in GPS mode, and up to 35 hours in UltraTrac battery saver mode.

With loads of hiking-related features and excellent battery life, the Garmin Tactix Charlie is an easy recommendation for outdoor junkies.

3. Garmin Instinct

The Garmin Fenix series is the Ferrari of outdoor and sports watches but not everyone can blow $600 on a smartwatch. The Garmin Instinct is an affordable outdoor-focused timepiece for the budget-conscious hikers.

Affordable Heavy-Duty Outdoor Watch

While the Garmin Instinct offers a wide variety of activity tracking features, it excels at navigation. With that said, the Instinct supports GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo. Based on our tests, the Instinct connects to these satellite systems fairly quick.

Unlike the previous watches, the Instinct doesn’t come with built-in topo maps which is a bit of a downer. This is because the Instinct has a low-resolution, non-color display, and isn’t compatible with top maps. However, you do get other navigation features. You can upload the routes to your watch or go back to basics by using the Instinct’s compass.

Another good feature that’s worth the mention is the Backtracking feature. If you have decided to turn around on a hike, the backtracking feature allows you to navigate back to your starting point. Garmin’s navigation features are rather basic but they will save you in a pinch while you’re out in the wild.

Overall, the Garmin Instinct is less of a smartwatch but it’s a very reliable GPS watch. At this price point, it’s a great buy for any hiker.

4. Garmin Fenix 3 HR

The Garmin Fenix 3 HR might be an earlier version from the Fenix series but it has enough bells and whistles for an amazing hiking watch.

Spot-On GPS Functions

If you’re going to get the Fenix HR 3, get it for the highly-accurate GPS. The watch comes with an omnidirectional stainless steel EXO antenna that easily connects to GPS and GLONASS satellites. You get accurate and reliable tracking whenever you’re outdoors.

Like all of the watches in this list, the Fenix HR 3 features a rugged design that will serve you well in the wild. The watch also features a crisp 1.2 inch Chroma display that offers excellent visibility in daylight and dim environments. When things get darker outside, you can use the LED backlight for reading the watch.

For navigation, you can simply download the route or track into the watch, and then use it to get on course. Following the track through your watch is about as easy as it gets since the screen shows your position relative to the track.

In terms of battery performance, the Fenix HR can work up to 14 days in smartwatch mode, 16 hours in GPS mode, and 40 hours in UltraTrac mode. It’s a heavy-duty hiking watch with excellent GPS features and battery life.

5. Garmin Fenix 6S Pro

For my premium pick, the Garmin Fenix 6S Pro is an excellent multi-sport watch that offers many features for adventure junkies.

Premium Navigation on Your Wrist

As you can see, we have another entry from Garmin’s Fenix series which is not a surprise since it’s some of the best multi-sport watches out there. The Garmin Fenix 6S Pro is no different.

For hikers, the main draw here is the preloaded topo maps. There are over 2,000 topo maps here which include trails and even skip maps. The Fenix 6S Pro also supports GPS, GLONASS and Galileo satellite systems and based on my tests, the GPS performance is on-point. As expected, the watch also comes with built-in sensors for 3-axis compass, gyroscope and barometric altimeter.

Aside from navigation features, this watch offers a wide range of activity tracking options. Plus, it also has an HR monitor and the Pulse Ox feature to monitor your sleep and altitude acclimation at high elevations.

For the battery life, the Garmin Fenix 6S Pro offers up to 9 days in smartwatch mode, 6 hours in GPS and music mode, up to 20 days expedition GPS activity mode, and 34 days in battery saver watch mode. Pretty impressive.

6. Garmin Epix

The Garmin Epix is not the most fashionable watch (it’s not that bad, though) on this list but nevertheless, it’s a reliable GPS watch for hikers and campers.

Oldie But a Goodie

The Garmin Epix is not the latest and greatest GPS watch from Garmin but even today, it still holds up.

For navigation, the Epix offers colored maps which is a nice touch. These maps are mostly accurate but there were some issues when you’re hiking in locations with poor connection. The GPS function shows the exact location of your destination, how far you’ve hiked, and how many steps you’ve taken so far. Of course, it has a compass as well for basic navigation.

In terms of connectivity, the Epix is a bit outdated. You can connect your watch to a computer via USB cord but you need to make a Garmin Connect account first. Bluetooth is also another way to download information to your watch.

For battery life, it can go up to 50 hours which is not much when compared to similar GPS watches. You can find many watches that are more advanced than the Epix but it can hold on its own.

Found the Best Garmin Watch for Hiking Yet?

Best Garmin Watch for Hiking Featured

That wraps up our buyer’s guide of the best Garmin watch for hiking. When it comes to GPS and navigation features, it’s hard to go wrong with Garmin. We hope that this guide has helped you choose the right unit for your hiking needs.