What is the Best Hiking Watch Under $100?

Being out in the wilderness is one of the most rewarding experiences life has to offer. Hiking and Backpacking have seen a such in popularity in recent years, thanks to people cutting back on expensive hobbies and focusing on a healthy lifestyle.

There are not many pieces of gear you need when you’re on the trail, however, a good hiking watch is one item you should have on you at all times, for a number of reasons which we will discuss below.

Let’s take a look a the 3 key elements you should consider before you purchase.

Short on time? We have chosen the Garmin Forerunner 15 as the best hiking watch under $100 – click here for the latest price.

Material

Being outdoors requires some tough and durable materials. Rubber and Nylon Fabric are the two most commonly found materials used since they are built to last and work well when wet.

Features

One of the more obvious features that would be helpful when outdoors is a watch that has GPS. Typically these are found on higher-end watches and since we have a $100 budget, what other features can we expect from this price range?

Well, first off we can look for a day/date feature, a stopwatch, maybe even a pulse meter.

Above all, you want the TIME to be accurate, so make sure you opt for a recognized brand that uses quality materials. There is nothing worse that a watch that tells the incorrect time.

Next up we should expect the watch to be waterproof. Now we’re not buying a diving watch here, so there is no need for 100m, 50m or even 10m depth rating. 5m would suffice just fine.

Digital or Analog?

This is very much a personal preference, but I personally prefer digital for outdoor use since the watch can then also double as a stopwatch/timer.

Along with providing other key pieces of information such as day/date, the ability to set alarm(s), improved shock resistance along with being much more robust than their analog counterparts.

Typically, if you find a digital watch you like but would prefer the analog version, most reputable brands will offer a similar model in the type you like. So take a look at the “suggested products” and see if one is available.

1. Casio G-Shock GD-100-1B Watch

Casio is a recognized brand all over the world, so it’s no surprise we kick off this list of the best hiking watches under $100 with one of their more robust models, the G-Shock GD-100-1B.

This digital watch has a range of excellent features for the avid hiker, such as an automatic LED backlight for nighttime use, a water resistance rating down to 200m and a large digital face.

Features and Specifications

  • Type: Digital
  • Water Resistant: 200m
  • Warranty: 2-years

Our Thoughts

We love the G-Shock range since it is more robust than the average watch you’d wear each day. One of the key features of this watch is the multi-timezone settings, allowing you to set the time in 4 different cities or states, which if you are doing any of the US long distance trails, would really come in handy.

There are also 5 different alarm settings, which may be slightly overkilling it, but if you need to remind yourself at various times per day perhaps to take on water, then this is ideal.

You really cannot go wrong with Casio and with a 2-year warranty you have nothing to lose.

Click here to check the latest price on Amazon

2. Timex Expedition Shock Digital Compass Watch

Another well-recognised brand is Timex, who build some great outdoor watches that are somewhat slimmer than the Casio models. So if you have thinner wrists them the Timex Expedition is a good solution.

Features and Specifications

  • Type: Digital
  • Water Resistant: 200m
  • Warranty: 2-years

Our Thoughts

The Timex Expedition Shock is also water resistant to 200m like the Casio, however, it does have one key feature that the others do not and that is a digital compass.

This feature alone could be a deal-maker for many of you, since having a backup compass or a means of finding your direction is key.

Click here to check the latest price on Amazon


3. Casio Men’s G7900-1 G-Shock

Another entry from Casio, this time we have the G-Shock G7900. With many features such as a built-in solar battery which is powered by sunlight, meaning no more replacing batteries.

There is also a split lap timer and stopwatch and a large digital display which is backlit for nightfall use.

Features and Specifications

  • Type: Digital
  • Water Resistant: 200m
  • Warranty: 2-years

Our Thoughts

Like the previous Casio, we reviewed the G7900 has some rave reviews from its owners, who point out that this is the watch worn by none other than Jack Silva, who plays John Krasinski in the movie 13 Hours – The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.

Click here to check the latest price on Amazon


4. Timex Expedition Grid Shock Watch

Out 2nd Timex piece and another “Expedition” watch. This version has a heavy focus on shock resistance with its stainless steel top plate and is designed for “For Life’s Outdoor Torture Tests”.

Features and Specifications

  • Type: Digital
  • Water Resistant: 100m
  • Warranty: 2-years

Our Thoughts

Water resistant to 100m, which is ample for hiking and backpacking with the odd swim in a lake, there is also no need to worry about bangs, bumps, and scrapes thanks to the superb anti-shock capabilities of this watch.

The Timex Expedition also works well for this with smaller wrists since is has a rectangular face, which enables it to fit nicely on the wrist without much overhang.

Click here to check the latest price on Amazon


5. Garmin Forerunner 15 GPS Hiking Watch

Whilst the Garmin Forerunner is designed for Running, it is a true activity watch that is designed for those into tracking their progress. You can count your steps, calories burnt and distance covered throughout the day.

The above features are what makes this Garmin Forerunner suitable for hiking, along with up to 5 weeks in watch/activity tracking mode. After that, simply recharge the watch via the supplied USB.

Features and Specifications

  • Type: Digital
  • Water Resistant: 15m
  • Warranty: 2-years

Our Thoughts

The internal GPS that comes with the Garmin holds up to the standards set by this company. It is both accurate and robust and allows you to download your data after a day out on the trail.

With the ability to track your every move, this is a fitness tracker and hiking watch combined.

Click here to check the latest price on Amazon