Exploring the vast great outdoors is, in essence, a blissful endeavor. Getting lost in it, on the other hand, tends to make you feel completely different. Terrified, maybe? To my knowledge, there is no better way to shield yourself from these types of potentially dangerous situations than by relying on outdoor watches. Since they come equipped with a plethora of useful features like a barometer, compass, or activity tracking, you become able to better control and predict the road ahead of you. In case your journey of exploring the world of outdoor watches for men has just begun, rest assured that this review will help you better understand why these wearables are an absolute necessity!
Before I divulge my top ten outdoor watches for men, let us first discuss the advantages of these nifty little devices, as well as some invaluable features they come equipped with.
The Very Importance of Outdoor Watches
Experienced hikers, mountaineers, skiers, and outdoorsy people alike will all tell you that their most irreplaceable piece of equipment is their outdoor watch. Not only does it help them stay on the right track, but it also keeps them out of harm’s way by providing them with accurate information about the upcoming unfriendly weather conditions. Here are a few most relevant aspects worth taking into consideration prior to settling for a particular outdoor watch.
Aesthetics and The Design
Let us start off with something of least PRACTICAL importance. The essence of an outdoor watch is by no means to be a work of art. I think we all get that. However, we as people are inherently drawn to pretty-looking objects and prefer order over chaos. Even though tastes do vary, there are certain parameters like symmetry to which most tastes tend to converge. For example, the Polar M400 is not the best-looking watch because it was designed to look more like a plastic toy watch than a high-tech gadget that it actually is. Nonetheless, the aesthetics are a great criterion for making up your mind when you are torn between two awesome sports timepieces. But please, do not let it be the most important one! Remember, DUTY before BEAUTY!
It is perfectly clear that outdoor watches would be of no use to us if they were not built to endure the toughest of conditions. Therefore, apart from looking for an abundance of smart features, you should really make sure that the watch you are interested in is as rugged as they come. Since your hiking escapades will most likely include plowing through the deepest of woods, your watch is bound to get smacked on a few tree trunks.
Precisely because of that, you should look for outdoor watches which have stainless steel or titanium cases and are scratch-resistant. Plus, it is of utmost importance to have a water-resistant watch as well. Keep in mind, however, that I am not talking about waterproofness! Most outdoor watches are not made to endure deep submersions! You are looking to get an outdoor watch about whose safety you do not need to worry when the heavy rain sets in or when you have to swim across a narrow river.
It is hard for me to stress just how important large and readable screens on outdoor watches are. If there is a part of the watch with which you will be interacting the most it is going to be the screen. Thus, you have to make sure that the watch you are particularly interested in comes equipped with a screen of decent resolution and size. Think about it for a second. When the going gets tough, especially in terms of weather conditions, you want to be able to read out the information from the screen in a matter of seconds, without having to have it 2 inches from your face.
The Interface and Features
When it comes to the interface, you should seek for a very user-friendly one. I cannot even begin to describe how many outdoor watches on the market come with mind-bending counter-intuitive interfaces. When I am in the midst of my spiritually healing, nature-based journey, I do not want to have to spend time on figuring out how to navigate through the menus and access the altimeter.
Feature-wise, the deciding factor should be your needs and preferences. Since there is an array of features with which some outdoor watches are equipped, do not make a rash decision and buy the most gadgety of timepieces. Nonetheless, it has to be said that some features are absolutely necessary to have. Among those are the GPS, activity tracking, compass, barometer, and Bluetooth. I guess that the importance of GPS and compass needs no special explanation. The barometer, on the other hand, is something we are not used to using. It is important because it helps with forecasting the weather! One could even argue that the weather information is the most important in deciding on what your daily activities will include. Lastly, Bluetooth connectivity allows you to connect the watch to your smartphone and use it to receive messages and call notifications.
Keep it Real
If you ask me, the worst thing that you can do, in case you are not on a limited budget, is purchase an outdoor watch that is equipped far more than you will ever need. Why spend a couple of hundred dollars more on something that you will never use? What I am trying to say is, keep it real and be aware of your needs. If you are just starting off with your outdoor adventures, settle for a simple but reliable watch which will help you get used to using these type of devices. Also, if you just like the idea of owning a gadgety watch but not actually using it for what it was made for, better get yourself a proper Fossil watch.
Best Outdoor Watches For Men
If you are familiar with the outdoor watches market, you are surely aware of TomTom wearables. It would not be too far-fetched to say that TomTom has been setting industry’s standards for quite some time now, starting with their incredible TomTom Spark 3 Cardio. This particular model, the Adventurer, is designed for those of you most experienced athletes and nature lovers. I say this because the amount of smart features the Adventurer is equipped with is nothing short of astounding!
Unlike some more affordable sports watches out there which either come without a heart rate monitor or require you to pay some extra cash for it, the TomTom Adventurer comes with a built-in heart rate monitor which helps you adjust the intensity of your training to your current fitness condition. In case you are uncertain of how you would fare, athletically, with others in your age group, the Adventurer can help you answer that question by using its Fitness Age feature.
Additional features include advanced training modes, trail exploration, integrated music player, GPS, compass, altimeter, etc. If you purchase the Adventurer, apart from the watch and the charging cable, you will also get Bluetooth headphones with contoured ear hooks! Oh yes! You get 3gb for your favorite playlist!
- The Adventurer comes with a myriad of smart features like a compass, barometer, altimeter, Fitness age, and other.
- It includes a built-in heart rate monitor
- The watch comes with Bluetooth headphones
- Very limited water resistance (only 130 ft)
- HR monitor is not as accurate as a chest-band
TomTom Adventurer GPS Hiking & Trail Running Watch + Heart Rate Monitor – Black
- Multisport modes: Hike or ski, swim or bike, gym or run – track all of your activities indoor and out. With special modes for trail-running, hiking, skiing and snowboarding, you can elevate your adventures.
- GPS sport watch and music player: Included Bluetooth headphones have contoured ear hooks, are sweat and weatherproof, last up to 6 hours, and pair with your Adventurer or phone.
- Outdoor fitness watch: Discover new routes with confidence, reach new heights with a built-in compass, barometer, long battery life, and waterproof performance up to 40M.
- GPS watch with advanced features: Built-in music player to keep you motivated. Push yourself with audio feedback on your performance and see real-time stats on the go like altitude, 3D distance, pace, and total ascent and descent.
- Heart rate monitor: With a built-in heart rate monitor, feel the freedom of tracking your pulse without a separate chest strap. 24/7 activity tracker logs your heart rate, steps, active minutes, and calories burned.
Casio Pro Trek
When I look at the Casio Pro Trek I am amazed by how far we have come from pocket watches of the olden days. I mean, look at this Casio’s masterpiece. Who would have imagined a century ago that you would be able to have a screen on the face of the watch which shows you the map of the world? Yes, the Pro Trek comes with a full-color display which relies on three different satellites in order to provide accurate positioning data
The Casio Pro Trek is compatible with both Android (4.3 and later) and iOS (8.2 or above) smartphones. So, no compatibility issues to worry about. It provides water resistance of up to 165 ft which is decent enough to take it swimming but not snorkeling. Most importantly, the Pro Trek is equipped with a quad sensor system which provides a real-time compass, altimeter, activity tracking, and barometer readings. Therefore, you will not have to have your phone with you at all times to access this data!
There is a special social feature with which the Pro Trek is equipped. It is called the “Casio Moment Link”. Basically, it is a social gathering application. The watch uses GPS to determine the location of your friends even when you are on the go.
- It is 0.8 mm thinner than the first generation Pro Trek, so it sits lightly and comfortably on the wrist
- Comes with a social gathering application, microphone, dual LCD display (one monochromatic, one color)
- Reliable built-in quad sensors provide very accurate readings
- With a price tag of $500 it is a bit too pricey
- Even though Casio promises a 25-hour battery life with GPS on, you will have to be extra careful to achieve it
Casio Men’s ‘Pro Trek’ Resin Outdoor Smartwatch, Color:Orange (Model: WSD-F20-RGBAU)
- Android wear 2.0, gps, mil-standard 810 g durability, 50m water resistant
- Digital compass, altimeter, barometer, activity tracker, dual layer lcd structure, original watch face, casio moment setter, microphone, timepiece mode
- Case Diameter: 61.7mm
- Water resistant to 50m (165ft: in general, suitable for short periods of recreational swimming, but not diving or snorkeling
- Up to 25 hours of battery life with GPS on and one month when in Timepiece mode
Garmin Fenix 5
You could easily categorize the Garmin Fenix 5 as one of the best smartwatches on the market. The amount of features it is equipped with is really mind-blowing. Not only that, since we are talking about a Garmin watch, you know that it is not just a watch for showing off. Each and every feature it has is as reliable and accurate as they come. Do not get me started about the GPS accuracy. It is Garmin for God’s sake.
Depending on what you need, you can either by the watch alone, get a complete biking bundle which includes a bike mounting kit and a bike cadence sensor, or settle for the performance bundle. The bezel, rear case, and the buttons are all crafted from premium stainless steel in order to provide the ultimate durability.
One of the greatest features of the Fenix 5 is its high-resolution full-color display. Not only does it come with LED backlighting which provides incredible readability no matter the ambiance, but is also equipped with transflective technology which allows the same amount of readability even when the sun is glaring.
In case you want to monitor your performance, the Fenix 5 is packed with advanced performance metrics. From tracking your progress to comparing your performance with your peers. Be it running, swimming, skiing, golf, or other sports, the Fenix 5 will help you take your athletic prowess to another level.
- Interchangeable wristbands to suit your taste
- An incredible amount of performance data
- Ultimate GPS technology and heart rate monitoring
- Brilliant high-resolution display
- A Garmin watch? No chance.
Garmin Fenix 5 – Slate Gray with Black Band
- Premium multisport GPS watch with Elevate wrist heart rate technology. Physical size- 1.8 x 1.8 x 0.6 inches. QuickFit watch band compatible-included (22 mm)
- Fit for adventure with rugged design that features stainless steel bezel, buttons and rear case. Display type : sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
- Put key stats at your fingertips with the performance widget that shows the effects and progress of your workouts. Case material : Fiber-reinforced polymer with stainless steel rear cover
- Connected features include smart notifications, automatic uploads to Garmin Connect online fitness community and personalization through free watch faces and apps from our Connect IQ store.Display size: 1.2″ (240 x 240)
- Outdoor sensors, including GPS and GLONASS satellite reception and 3-axis compass with gyroscope and barometric altimeter
I highly doubt that all of you fans of outdoor watches for men have not heard about Suunto by now. It is a Finland-based company which specializes in manufacturing the best sports watches and adventure equipment. Their Traverse model is widely regarded as one of the most durable and reliable outdoor watches on the market today.
One of its most notable features is its GPS and GLONASS satellite technology for route and POI navigation. No matter where you are located on this planet of ours, the Suunto will help you stay on the right track. What I particularly love about this watch is that it look incredibly versatile, meaning that it could be worn on many different occasions. Even the fancy ones.
In order to do this watch justice, I would have to write an independent article devoted only to its features. Unfortunately, I don’t have that type of time on my hands, so let me just briefly list just some of the features the Suunto Traverse comes equipped with. You get daily, monthly, and yearly activity tracking of steps made and calories burnt. Then, there is the vibration alarm, sunrise-sunset times, barometer, breadcrumb trail, compass, 330 ft water resistance, and many more. See my point? Endless.
- Each and every function that a hiker could end up needing is included
- Its versatile looks make it a watch for all occasions
- Impeccable GPS and GLONASS satellite system which provides the ideal navigation experience
- The Movescount app is not very intuitive to use
- Some have experience issues with the battery life
Suunto Traverse Graphite
- Upload routes to your watch, and you’re ready to explore new terrains with the help of GPS and glonass Satellite navigation systems
- Follow your Progress with distance and altitude statistics, save points of interest and re-trace your steps using the breadcrumb trail
- Barometric Trend helps predict weather changes, and storm alarm alerts you when it’s time to find shelter
- Sunrise and sunset times keep you informed of the Available daylight hours. Up to 100 hours battery life
- Stay up to date with GPS timekeeping, incoming calls, texts and push notifications from your Smartphone to your watch
Garmin Quatix 5
If you thought that we are done with Garmin, boy, were you wrong. This time we have a very sport-specific watch. As the name discloses it, this is an outdoor watch made specifically for water-sports purposes. I know, it has to be the blue wristband that gives it away. The bezel, back case, and the buttons are all made from stainless steel.
The truth is that the Quatix 5 provides its customers with all the features a regular dry-land outdoor watch does. I mean, it is not exactly equipped like the Casio G-Shock Mudmaster, nor is it stripped down like the Emporio Armani Classic Chronograph. It comes with activity tracking, heart rate monitoring, and it allows you to read emails and texts on it. Pretty good given that it is a marine watch!
Now, let us get a bit more aquatic! The Quatix 5 was designed to be compatible with Garmin chartplotters in order to be able to stream data like wind, speed, and temperature to your watch, as well as have autopilot control, sail racing assistance, and remote waypoint marking. Additionally, the Quatix 5 is equipped with GPS navigation, tracking, as well as an altimeter, barometer, and compass sensor capabilities. The SailAssist is an amazing feature which is designed specifically for sail racing! It helps you track your progress in the race in regards to the time and distance covered.
- Even though it is a marine watch it is great to use for other types of outdoor activities as well
- Compatible with Garmin chartplotters and other devices
- 24-hour battery life with the GPS on
- It would be very useful it had inductive charging
Garmin Quatix 5, 1.2 inches
- Provides connectivity with compatible Garmin chart plotters and other devices to provide autopilot control, remote waypoint marking, data streaming including speed, depth, temperature and wind
- Sail Racing assistance includes virtual starting line, distance to start line, race countdown timer, and tack assist
- Built-in Fusion-Link Lite App controls connected Stereo Active products, as well as other ANT enabled stereo models (RA70/BB100)
- Includes Elevate wrist-based heart rate, built-in GPS and features QuickFit band system, steel bezel, buttons and rear case
- Preloaded activity profiles for all of your sports and adventures, including for paddle boarding, kayaking and canoeing
Moving on to traditional looking timepieces. If you are a proper watch enthusiast, you are certainly very familiar Victorinox and what sets them apart on the market of men’s wearables. Even though it does not look as vintage as the Stuhrling Original Pocket Watch, the AirBoss does have a very classic appeal to it. Unlike most of the other outdoor watches found on this list, the Victorinox AirBoss is not obsessed with being a feature-packed wearable. It excels in performing its essential duty. Telling time. Much like Fossil watches.
Precisely because of its minimalist nature, the AirBoss does not include Bluetooth connectivity, nor GPS navigation. What it includes is a brilliant Swiss-automatic movement, military time etched on the underside of the glass, date window, chronograph, and an anti-reflective sapphire crystal. Nothing more, nothing less.
If you are wondering why this watch is even on this list, the reason is very simple. It is classy enough to work as a regular day-to-day watch and since it was built to meet Swiss watchmaking criteria, you know that it is as reliable as a watch can be! To me, reliability is of utmost importance when you are planning to expose the watch to your harsh outdoor adventures. Plus, it comes with a chronograph which is useful for many sportsmen.
- Very sturdy and reliable
- Comes with an anti-reflective sapphire crystal window
- Includes a chronograph as well as military time markings
- Swiss-automatic movement
- The 18-hour mark is positioned right above the date window making it hard to see the date
- The leather strap is not very flexible and sits a bit tough around the wrist
Victorinox Men’s ‘AirBoss’ Swiss Stainless Steel Automatic Watch (Model: 241720)
- Swiss-Made mechanical self-winding AirBoss Mach watch with antireflective sapphire crystal
- Etched military time on underside of crystal
- Swiss-automatic Movement
- Case Diameter: 42mm
- Water Resistant To 330 Feet
Huawei Watch 2
Even though Huawei has made its name on the market by manufacturing quality affordable android phones, it should not surprise you to find out that their outdoor watches are pretty solid as well. Since Huawei is still not a renowned sports watch manufacturer, the prices of their timepieces cannot be out of most people’s reach. Hence, the Watch 2.
Even though it retails for just above $200, the Watch 2 brings to its user all the benefits and features of the more expensive items on the market. For instance, you get a built-in GPS and GLONASS dual-positioning system which provides very precise running tracking and navigation. In addition to that, you get independent storage for your personalized playlist, TruSleep which keeps track of your sleeping patterns, wrist-based heart rate monitoring, real-time workout guidance, and many more.
The only thing that sets high-end watches and the Huawei Watch 2 apart is the battery life. The watch 2, with GPS on, is not capable of working for more than 7 hours. That is, honestly, quite a big flaw, because you never know how long you will be stuck somewhere and you need your watch as a guiding hand. Nevertheless, some people might not need more than that. To those people I say, the Huawei Watch 2 is the right choice to make!
- Incredibly affordable
- Stuffed with a plethora of handy features
- On watch-mode, the battery can last up to 3 weeks
- With GPS on, the battery lasts no more than 7 hours
Huawei Watch 2 Sport Smartwatch – Ceramic Bezel – Carbon Black Strap (US Warranty)
- Built-in GPS and continuous heart rate: monitor your heart rate and track your workout routes without your phone
- Scientific sleep tracking: HUAWEI TruSleep keeps track of light, deep and REM sleep stages to make your sleep truly restful
- Workout Coach: get real-time guidance and workout data such as recovery time and Vo2 Max
- NFC and Google assistant: make payments and have a personal voice assistant from your wrist
- Music and power: download and listen to music with Google Play Music on your watch. You can optimize power consumption settings to get the most out of your device
Here we have another great piece by Suunto. Most of the watches reviewed so far were not simple and pure outdoor watches as the Suunto Core is. I am trying to say that the Core is not as fancy and well-equipped as the Garmin Fenix 5 is. However, it provides its user with the most basic features a passionate hiker might end up needing. As you can imagine, the Suunto Core’s price resembles its essential nature. Usually, these watches retail for around $150.
If you purchase the Suunto Core , you get the basic altimeter, barometer, and compass functions. Apart from knowing which way to go, knowing what the weather will look like within the next couple of hours is a crucial piece of information you simply need to know at all times during your adventure. The altimeter offers you precise altitude measurements, whereas the barometer helps determine the upcoming stormy weather.
Other features include sunrise/sunset times, depth gauge for snorkeling, weather warnings, and a water resistance of up to 100 ft. All in all, if you plan to swim with the Suunto Core, go right ahead. However, try not to test its limits by going deep under.
- Not too complicated to use
- Sticks to the basics
- Fairly priced
- Even though it is meant to be a simple outdoor watch, it would be better off with GPS
- The battery is not particularly good
Suunto Core All Black – Military
- An altimeter tracks your vertical movement, a barometer tells the Trend in air pressure, and a compass points the way
- Suunto core tracks both the weather and the sun for you
- A weather Trend graph and storm alarm along with preset sunrise/sunset times for over 400 locations help you stay safe and Plan your activities
- With stylish designs in more than a handful of variations, you are sure to find just the right Suunto core for your style
- Wrist-top computer watch with altimeter, barometer, compass and weather indicator
Casio Pro Trek PRG-600YB-3CR
No, this is not the same Pro Trek as the one we have previously reviewed. This one is a bit more low-key feature-wise. If I am honest, all of you who are searching for a proper work-horse outdoor watch, there is no better piece to settle for than the Pro Trek. To me, it looks amazing, and the overall design showcases its tough essence. The case is made from stainless steel whereas the band is made from very durable cloth.
This Pro Trek model is fitted with a full auto LED light screen (both the face and the backlight). It is also worth mentioning that we are dealing with a chronograph watch here. However, the most important thing to highlight is that the Pro Trek is solar powered and is capable of enduring the coldest of weather (up to 14F)! If you thought that it is missing an altimeter, rest assured that it does have one with a measuring range of -700 to 10,000 meters.
Lastly, the Pro Trek PRG-600YB-3CR is water resistant up to 330 ft of depth. Swimming and snorkeling are a breeze, but no scuba diving, please. In all seriousness, I am yet to test an outdoor watch which is tougher and more durable than this Pro Trek beast. I could not recommend it enough. It is not a fancy outdoor watch. It is a proper macho man’s wearable companion.
- Capable of withstanding very low temperatures
- It is solar powered so forget about battery issues
- Well-equipped for a minimalist outdoor watch
- Incredibly tough and durable
- Nothing worth mentioning
Casio Men’s ‘PRO TREK’ Quartz Resin and Cloth Casual Watch, Color Green (Model: PRG-600YB-3CR)
- Double LED light. For the face and backlight: full auto LED light,
Low-temperature resistant (-10C/14F)
The auto hand home position correction
- selectable illumination duration, afterglow
- Quartz Movement; Altimeter Measuring range: -700 to 10,000 meters
- Case Diameter: 52mm. Digital compass measuring range is 0 to 359 degree
- Water resistant to 100m (330ft): in general, suitable for swimming and snorkeling, but not diving
What better way is there to conclude this list than by presenting you with the Spartan. The most elegant of outdoor watches. As you are able to deduce by know, Suunto is my favorite brand of outdoor watches for men. However, there are a few reasons why I particularly love the Spartan.
First and foremost, the display. The Suunto Spartan is equipped with a color touchscreen display with a very wide viewing angle making it readable in the great outdoors. Of course, if you prefer navigating through the menus in a traditional way, you can always make the best of the Spartan’s side buttons. Needless to say, Spartan’s display is protected by a mineral crystal glass which is, of course, scratch-resistant.
Finally, let us run through the Spartan’s features. It comes with a wrist-based heart rate monitoring which is very useful in both your daily as well as sports activities. Secondly, no matter what your preferred activity may be, the Spartan comes with 80 pre-installed sports modes. At all times, you will be ready for action. Other features include Bluetooth connectivity, storm alarm, sunrise and sunset times, sleep monitoring, and a 40-hour battery life. Imagine that! 40 HOURS.
- Splendid battery life
- Comes with a color touchscreen with a protective scratch-resistant mineral crystal window
- 80 pre-installed sports modes
- Very precise GPS/GLONASS route navigation
- Not the most accurate heart rate monitoring
- Again, the Movescount software is far too complicated to use
Suunto Sport Wrist HR Baro – Stealth
- Convenient wrist hr. measurement
- Battery life up to 40H with GPS
- Steel bezel, mineral Crystal glass
- Barometric altitude and100 water resistance, GPS/GLONASS route navigation
- Sport expertise and support for over 80 sports with racing and interval Use
Sadly, we have to conclude this Spartan effort of ours. Hopefully, some of the information presented here will help you make your mind up when it comes to choosing the best outdoor watch for you. However, there is one more thing I have to say. Even though all of the watches mentioned above are great sports/outdoor wearables, only one can emerge as the undisputed winner.
To me, no watch can surpass the Garmin Fenix 5. From the overall design, all the way to the precision of its navigation system, it is flawless. When you hold it in your hands you are able to sense that it is not just some attempt at a smartwatch. Moreover, it is so tough that no obstacle can disrupt its performance. But, above all else, it is the most versatile outdoor watch out of the whole lot. Whether you are an amateur athlete or a devoted professional, the Fenix 5 will serve you good.
Trust me, if you are looking to expand your body’s athletic potential, there is no better companion to have than the Garmin Fenix 5. Make sure to check it out.