Hiking watches are an essential tool you’ll want to keep with you on the trail, particularly if you plan to go on a lengthy trek in the great outdoors.
Tired of trying to find the best hiking watch under $100 to suit your hiking needs and your budget? Stress no more, because this buying guide and detailed review are just what you’ve been looking for.
The top 5 hiking watch under $100 we recommend for 2023:
Best Hiking Watch Under $100 Reviews
These are the top 5 best hiking watches under 100. Check out our detailed review of each and keep scrolling to discover our final verdict for the ultimate champion of the bunch.
Casio GD100-1BCR G-Shock Watch
- Works well for a wide range of hiking environments
- High durable and designed to last
- Absorbs shock and repels water
- Handy alarms to keep you on track
- It can be difficult to adjust brightness settings
- Wristband could be tight for some preferences
The first best hiking watch under-100 contender on our list is this powerhouse by Casio and G-Shock. Not only is it very affordable for hikers, but it has an incredibly strong battery that will last you for many hikes to come, with a quality design you can rely on. We love the fact that this hiking watch provides night-time visibility with a LED backlight and easy to read display, so you can stay safe and secure at any time.
We also love the built-in alarms this hiking watch has to offer, allowing you to set any alarms you need to wake up or as helpful reminders. The construction itself is also noteworthy, as this hiking watch sports a quality rubber and metal exterior. The design means it will reduce shock from any impacts and deflect moisture from water.
Timex Expedition Shock Digital Compass Resin Strap Watch
- Fantastic digital compass
- Highly durable and water-resistant design
- Indigo night-light for added visibility on the trail
- The rubber on the watch’s band may wear out with prolonged use
- Watch band might be too stiff for some
The next recommended watch is an exceptional device by Timex, with impressive water-resistant capabilities that can hold up against 200m of water without affecting the display. It also features a helpful compass to keep you on course. We liked the resin exterior and rubber strap of this hiking watch, featuring a handy buckle that is sturdy on the wrist.
The digital compass of the Timex Expedition hiking watch is in a class of its own, making this a much more dependable option than a traditional compass. If you like to hike after dark or early in the morning, you’re in luck, because this hiking watch also sports an indigo night-light to light your path and help ensure you’re staying on the right trail.
While we wish the rubber on the watch’s band was a bit more durable, you’ll still get many hiking trips out of this device.
LAD Weather German Sensor Sport Watch
- Incredible tracking capabilities
- Digital compass with magnetic declination and calibration
- Very precise
- Barometer, altimeter, and other helpful tools
- Battery saving component
- Not as water resistant as some other devices
- Might not as durable for hikes in rough terrain or weather
The next watch on our list is this affordable, multi-feature LAD Weather German Sensor Sport Watch. The sensor is insanely precise, with fantastic tracking features and alarms to boot. We really liked that this hiking watch also features a thermometer, digital compass, and chronograph, so it truly ticks most of the major boxes for the best devices on the market.
Besides these features, we were really impressed by the watch’s altimeter, barometer, and sea level pressure graph, enabling you to track your exact course at any given point. The digital compass even comes with calibration and magnetic declination, so you’ll have all the essential tracking equipment you need in one place.
What’s more, if you like to set alarms for yourself to keep on schedule, you’ll love the stopwatch, timer, daily alarm, calendar, and other helpful features this LAD watch has to offer. The power saving mode allows you to extend the life of your battery too, making it a must-have for long treks outdoors.
Epson ProSense 17
- Quality GPS
- Incredible battery life
- Attractive design
- Durable construction
- Not shock absorbent
- No water-resistant materials
Our next recommendation is a technological wonder, making it a fantastic option for long hikes in the mountains and running on steep trails. It’s also a great choice for more moderate hikes, with highly durable construction that can serve you well for many outdoor excursions. The first feature that caught our eye was the top of the line GPS built into the watch device.
The GPS will keep you on course, but it also keeps track of elements like your pace and distance, which is an added plus! The battery is one of the best in its class, lasting for as long as 13 hours at a time after just one charge.
However, there are a few areas where this hiking watch falls short. For one thing, the watch does not feature shock absorption material and is not water resistant. So, if you’ll be hiking in rainy or adverse weather conditions, this might not be your best choice.
Garmin Forerunner 15
The Garmin Forerunner 15 is the ultimate tracking device to optimize your hiking experience, with a fantastic GPS functionality and heart rate monitor. We really like that you can get up to 8 hours of battery with a single charge, plus the watch also tracks your pace, calories, and distance.
The watch sends you regular alerts to keep you on your toes, plus it is comfortable to wear so you won’t have to worry about a stiff or itchy strap. Best of all, the Garmin Forerunner 15 is both shock resistant and water resistant.
In fact, it sports 50 meters of water resistance so you won’t have to worry about your key components failing you if you hit a rainstorm. You can also wear it secured to your ankle or shoe, which is a handy bonus.
What Exactly Is a Hiking Watch?
A hiking watch is specifically designed for outdoor use but does so much more than simply tell you the time. These watches also feature compasses to keep you on course, distance readings, current air pressure, and other important components you need to keep track of when going off the grid.
A hiking watch is an important component to include in your trekking gear, because factors like air pressure and time will vary widely based on the weather, altitude, location, and zone you are hiking in. Its will keep you on the course and current with time so you can feel safe and secure whether you’re on a familiar path or out trekking in the wilderness.
Some hiking watch products also feature add-ons like a GPS, which is great to ensure accurate and speedy navigation. Hiking watches are also designed to hold up well against the wear and tear of weather elements, making them a far cry from your standard timepiece.
What Should You Look for When Purchasing a Hiking Watch?
There are a number of primary factors you should always look for in a hiking watch before making your final decision. If you don’t plan to do extensive hikes or off-grid adventures, bonus features like a GPS might not matter quite so much to you. Even so, the following features will make your life a whole lot easier once you get out on the open trail.
Most of the time, you’re probably going to be hiking in hilly or mountainous areas and such. If you end up hiking in varying altitudes, you’ll want to keep track of your exact level with ease. The further away you hike from sea level, the lower your oxygen level will be.
While some hikers have little to no response to very high altitudes, some individuals experience very strong symptoms with the sudden change. So, an altimeter will help you ensure you’re not straying off course or going to an altitude that you know could pose difficulty.
Not all outdoor watches are created equal, so a barometer is not an automatic feature for all products. Even so, a number of watches sport a pressure barometer to help you track weather shifts.
For instance, if your hiking watch barometer revealed a sudden drop in air pressure, you would know that big storm was coming, and you should probably seek cover. On the other hand, if you notice the pressure on your barometer elevating, you know the sun is just around the corner.
The best hiking watcher under 100 will include a compass to help you locate where you are and where you need to be at any given point. A compass is a must-have for both novice and experienced hikers alike, so this is a feature you should always keep an eye out for when selecting the best hiking watch to meet your needs.
Not all hiking watches feature a GPS, but this feature will prove invaluable alongside your compass. Not only will a GPS help you find your way through off-grid locations, but you’ll make sure you stay on course without a hitch.
Quite a few hiking watch GPS devices sport other measurement options like speed and distance, so this is definitely a feature to look for if you plan to go on extended hikes.
Some of the budget friendly models also feature a thermometer, so you can keep an eye on the current temperatures. The feature is most accurate when your hiking watch is off your wrist, so that is something to bear in mind. That said, knowing the temperature in any location you are hiking in is always beneficial.
It’s imperative that you select a hiking watch with a sturdy case to prevent damage or breakage in case the watch drops unexpectedly or hits against something. You never want your watch to fail you while on the trail, so always pick a device with a quality case is durable enough to withstand your hiking endeavors.
The right watch for hiking should have a quality lens that is strong enough to handle long hiking trips and outdoor excursions. The best hiking lenses are manufactured from sturdy crystal or sapphire. These materials have a longer shelf life and can withstand scratches and wear quite well; however, they do typically come with a more costly price tag.
Heart Rate Tracker
While not included in all device models, you might want to consider looking for a hiking watch with a heart rate tracker. The monitoring feature can literally make the difference between life and death in emergency scenarios.
Even if no emergencies arise while you are out on the trail, the helpful monitor will help you keep an eye on your overall pace to ensure you don’t push yourself too hard and get sufficient rest.
Finally, you should always look for a waterproof design when hunting for a hiking watch. You never know when you’re going to hit a river, lake, or simply a stormy rain cloud. If any of these scenarios occur, it’s wise to ensure that your device has the proper design to hold up against water and not sustain damage.
It’s also a good idea to purchase a watch that sports a minimum of 1 liter of water pressure. These specs will mean that your hiking watch is durable enough to withstand moisture and rain while being dependable and resistant to wear and tear.
The Final Verdict
Hands down, we have to award the top spot for the best hiking watch under 100 to the Garmin Forerunner 15. It not only features impressive tracking components but a spot-on GPS that will keep you on track from the beginning to the end of your next trek.
Some of the selections on our list were less durable or didn’t quite make the cut in terms of water resistance and shock absorption, but this hiking watch truly leads the pack for versatility, the longevity of use, and those key features you want in a quality device.
We love its powerful shock absorption and water-resistant capabilities and feel it provides an excellent amount of battery life with a single charge. The added bonus of being able to attach it to your shoe or ankle as you desire is just another reason why the Garmin Forerunner 15 is our best overall.