A good outdoors watch has much more than just simple date and time. It also provides you with other important information such as altitude, location, pressure, etc. All these extra features and functions will assist you with the planning, navigating, and executing of your journey into the outdoors. More and more people are taking to outdoor sports such as hiking, hunting, fishing, running, etc. This has created a new market for watches with tailored features for these active individuals. Each year new models created by different brands are introduced. The problem is that it is difficult to separate the best outdoor watches from the overpriced pretenders. Furthermore, false advertising companies are running rampant pushing their inferior quality products. This brings me to the reason I’m writing this article. I’m sick of seeing good people being scammed or persuaded into purchasing something unworthy. As a watch connoisseur and a man of the outdoors, I hope to help as many people as I can. All the following information is accurate and researched first hand. I hope you find it useful when making your purchase.

Outdoor Watches Reviews

These are the top 5 picks for this year. Ranked based on their usefulness, look, price, and overall value. All of these are also great as survival watches.

Garmin Fenix 3 HR

First up on the list is the Garmin Fenix 3 HR. Not only does it look great but it’s our top pick for our best outdoor watches guide. This action packed wrist watch for men is chock full of useful features.

To begin I would like to note that this is a large watch. It needs to be to fit in all the various features and power. It’s also heavier than most with the lions share of the weight coming from the battery. Ironically the battery is what most sets it apart from the others. It’s capable of a whopping 20 hours straight of GPS usage before it needs to be recharged. That means five weeks of regular use.This is miles ahead of most other models and brands.

Another cool feature is being able to sync it with your smartphone. This means you can get alerts and notifications such as texts and calls all displayed right there on your wrist. Making this watch very convenient and simple to use. The screen is made from transflective materials. This means it’s quite visible even in direct sunlight. If you have ever looked at a screen in bright daylight you will understand how fortunate having this is.

On top of all that it also has a built-in GPS, compass, heart rate monitor, and activity tracker. Each and everyone feature works extremely well and can be easily synced with your phone or computer.

In terms of durability it’s build to last. It can take a beating and still function problem free. The glass, bezel, and case materials are all high quality and build to withstand scratches, dents, and shocks from hard falls. I believe there is even a video of it being ran over by a car and coming out the other side intact.

With all these amazing features it’s easy to understand why this takes the #1 spot. If you’re looking for the best, we cannot recommend anything else more.

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Suunto Ambit3






Purchasing a Outdoor Watch – What is Important?

An outdoors watch is meant to last through a lifetime of hard work. You will be relying in it to help you not only navigate, but also to ensure your body is okay. That’s why it’s so crucial you do the proper research before making any purchase. Please read through our reviews and recommendations thoroughly before making any decision. You don’t want to waste your time and money, and you really don’t want the watch to have a critical failure when you need it most. You know, in the back country with nothing familiar around you.


GPS(global position system) was invented in the 1973’s by the United States Military. It quickly became apparent that it had many uses including commercial and personal. If you plan on doing any back country outdoor activities I highly suggest purchasing a outdoor watch with GPS. For the obvious reasons of making your trek safer and more efficient. Getting lost in the woods can happen to anyone, even the most savvy outdoorsmen among us. It is one of the most influential inventions of the past century


An altimeter is an instrument used to measure the altitude of an object and atmospheric pressure. The reason this is important is it will help you determine the upcoming weather. Air pressure changes are a great indicator of upcoming weather.

As you move to higher altitudes the pressure will decrease. Moving to lower altitudes causes the inverse effect, the pressure increases. In general, when poor weather is approaching, you should see a drop in pressure. However, be sure you haven’t moved up in altitude as that would make the readings false.

This is important information to have when spending much of your time outdoors. By getting a jump on the weather you will be able to setup camp or find somewhere safe before the storm hits. We often forget the dangers that storms pose when you’re not safe inside of a building. There are many hazards including hypothermia, lightning, and falling objects. Not to mention the ground becomes muddy and visibility drops to near zero.

Even if you already have a form of weather tracker, it’s good to have a backup. Sometimes one may fail you or will have inaccurate readings due to any number of complications.

Heart Rate Monitor

Having a heart rate monitor is more of a luxury than a requirement. They will help you reach the optimal training zone for heart health improvement. Furthermore they can also tell you if your heart rate is too high or beating to fast for much to long of a time. They can be invaluable for those in training and those with heart problems. By employing one properly you can get a heads up on any health issues as you are in the great outdoors.


We spend most of our lives in cities and towns. We don’t realize how much light pollution there really is until you’re away from it. In the outdoors at night or in poor weather there is very little light. You wont be able to see your hand in front of your face nevertheless a regular watch. That’s why it’s so important to have a watch that has proper illumination.

When I say proper illumination I mean a few different things.

  • Brightness is incredibly important. Dim lights are not of very much help and neither are lights that are too bright. Blinding the wearer or leaving afterimages making it even more difficult to see. You would think this of little consequence but would be surprised to learn of how many companies get this wrong.
  • Secondly you need to be aware of battery drainage. With most modern high quality timepieces this is not a problem. However many knockoff brands wont last long if you’re using the illumination setting often.


These are not the type of watches you wear to events or parties. They are meant to be extremely functional and practical and long lasting. The environments that these survival watches will be subjected too will be varied and rigorous. From wet and muddy to dry and hot. There will likely be many collisions with branches and other hard objects. This is why durability is so important. Most watches aren’t capable of withstanding the trials of outdoorsmen. Chinese made knockoffs will quickly fall apart and all the features they promise will stop working. You will end up paying twice for a mediocre product when one quality one will last a lifetime. Remember to never go cheap with tools such as these.


Our reviews will ensure you don’t spend more than the worth of the products. Paying for a brand name or fancy design is what we try to avoid. You can expect to pay somewhere between $200-$500 for most high quality models. Less than that is likely a knockoff or poor quality product. More than that and you’re paying for a fancy brand name and not the actual craftsmanship.

Go Digital or Go Analog?

Analog watches are a more classical choice that do tend to look better and more sophisticated. However, for the outdoors digital is categorically better. It is easier to read quickly and the illumination will be better and simpler to use. Furthermore digital typically offers more in terms of extra functions. Where an analog watch makes it difficult to have these extra functions such as heart rate monitors, GPS, and other navigational tools.

Best Outdoor Watches Comparison Chart

Garmin Fenix 3 HR$$$4.8/5Digital
Suunto Ambit 3$$4.6/5Digital
Laco Type B Dial Miyota Pilot Watch$$4.5/5Automatic
Citizen Eco-Drive Men's Pilot$4.4/5Quartz
Alpina Men's SmartimePilot$$$5/5Quartz

Proper Maintenance

Like most valuable things, outdoor watches need to be properly maintained and serviced. By neglecting these crucial responsibility your watch may malfunction or cease to work. Furthermore, sometimes these failures can cause permanent damage. We highly suggest having your watch serviced once every two years or after an exceptionally hard fall. Look to your owners manual for more information on this.