hiking watches

7 Best Hiking and Backpacking Watches in 2023 [UPDATED]

Durability and practical function for an enjoyable hike.

Date Published
December 20, 2021
Gnomon Watches
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For anyone who loves going for a hike, or a backpacker having complete gear to accompany the adventure is definitely a must. Among a list of basic needs, having a reliable hiking watch is a useful one.  There are a lot of best watches for hiking with features designed for this outdoor activity.

Yet, the best of all is the ones that would make hiking be more convenient. Choosing hiking watches is more than just picking the stylish one but also a timepiece with durability and reliable features — as the reason for having one circling on the wrist is to complete the gear for any trail of adventure.

Hiking Watches Features

There are three things to consider before buying hiking watches.

First of all, it definitely needs to be practical in function. At a very bare minimum, hiking watches should have enough water resistance, can withstand external shocks and scratches to an appropriate degree. Hiking watches should also be water resistant. Lastly, a hiking watch also needs to be able to absorb external shocks and scratches and, in effect, keeping it precise.  

Secondly, comfortability is the ultimate thing when choosing hiking watches. The materials used in the watch should fit the condition during hiking. As a basic requirement, it should be light that it won’t give any weight when it is worn.

A watch with titanium would be a great option. Also, the watchband should be comfortable to be worn throughout the day. Therefore, having a watch band with a material that won’t irritate your skin and help prevent sweat build-up would be great. 

See also: Watch 101: Get the Correct Measurement for Watch Band Sizing

Last but not least, the extra feature. First feature is ensuring the crystal of the watch has an anti-reflective material for better and easier reading the time. For better legibility at night, a watch with luminous applied markers would be a great pair. As an extra feature, you might need a time-measuring complication in your watch. As such, a chronograph function might be helpful to perform the action. 

Mechanical watches are indeed built with delicate efforts to produce an impressive movement to suit any circumstance, yet they might not be the best-suited ones to resist the life of a wild. However, the mechanical watch brands have always upgraded their watch performance with advanced gears, such as anti-shock and anti-magnetic materials as well as silicon balance springs. As such, many mechanical watches have participated in notable moments of adventurous journeys, such as Rolex watches with the expedition to Mount Everest. 

The number of hiking watches in the market might be overwhelming for you. Therefore, here we’ve listed some of the best watches for hiking among a plethora of options. A solid watch for hiking as your backpacking buddy. 

Best Hiking ad Backpacking Watch in 2023

Seiko 5 Sports “Sports Style” Blackout 40 Ref. SBSA059

Seiko 5 Sports “Sports Style” Blackout 40 Ref. SBSA059
Seiko 5 Sports “Sports Style” Blackout 40 Ref. SBSA059

Seiko 5 offers its best-looing hiking watches and one of the best watches for active lifestyle. This series stands out for their excellent functionality and accuracy. The Seiko 5 Sports “Sports Style” Blackout is built for harsh outdoor activities. It is protected with a flat Hardlex crystal for optimum resistance to scratch and shock.

Despite its bold look, the watch is designed as a slim watch with only  11.5mm in thickness and 40mm in diameter. A slimmer profile for a comfortable hiking watch buddy.  It has a minimalistic watch dial for clear legibility added with a Lumibrite handset and markers. To top it off, the watch is water-resistant up to 100m.  

Glycine Combat SUB 42 Sports Bronze GMT Black Ref. GL0320

Glycine Combat SUB 42 Sports Bronze GMT Black Ref. GL0320
Glycine Combat SUB 42 Sports Bronze GMT Black Ref. GL0320

Glycine has been well-respected for its rugged and reliable watch construction. One of its toughest watch is the Glycine Combat SUB 42 Sports Bronze GMT Black is one of the company’s signatures that highlights its enduring strength. As such, this timepiece would be a good choice as a watch for hiking. Measured 42mm in diameter and 11.5mm in thickness paired in black silicon strap for unsurpassed comfort on the wrist.

This one also comes with a sapphire crystal equipped with three layers of anti-reflective coating on the underside for extreme clarity under different lighting conditions. Further, it has a good amount of SuperLuminova for a vibrant glow-in-the-dark. 

Hamilton Khaki Field Titanium Far Cry® 6 Limited Edition Ref. H70645533

Hamilton Khaki Field Titanium Far Cry® 6 Limited Edition Ref. H70645533
Hamilton Khaki Field Titanium Far Cry® 6 Limited Edition Ref. H70645533

Hamilton offers a classic watch designed for real-world adventures. Not only appealing but also a sturdy watch design that would fit the need of hiking watches. It might look big with 42mm in diameter, but the use of titanium as its case material, allows this watch to be lighter than another watch with the same size. Further, it is pretty slim with 11mm of thickness. The Hamilton Khaki Field Titanium Far Cry® 6 also comes with a simple dial with a 24-hour marker paired with a red seconds hand. Not to mention, this one is paired with a brown NATO leather strap for optimal comfort and breathability throughout the day. 

Seiko Prospex Alpinist SPB121

A modern take for a reliable tool watch, the Seiko Prospex Alpinist SPB121 comes with features that would make it perfect as a hiking watch. The watch markers and hands have been applied with bright luminescence for an easy time-reading in dark conditions. A compass certainly would be essential gear for hikers. Here the watch is equipped with an internal rotating bezel where a compass lies on it. The watch’s proportion measured 39mm in diameter makes this watch versatile and comfortable for hiking activities. The dial is also protected with an extremely durable sapphire crystal making it resistant to scratch and bump. To top it off, you couldn’t deny how its green dial somehow resembles the nature in it.

Damasko DK32 Ocean

A German watchmaking brand that flaunts its timepieces with over-built specifications. Some simply say that their watches are built like a tank. Not just a pretty watch with an appealing blue dial but the Damasko DK32 Ocean is also a reliable watch for outdoor activities – one of the best hiking watches. Damasko ensures this one is a timepiece built with a high level of durability, scratch, and corrosion resistance. So, scream out to be less worried wearing it on your hiking adventure. Comfortability is also a key point in this watch, a tasteful diameter of 39mm, a case thickness of 9.95mm, and a pleasing curved lugs design, making the watch rests comfortably on the wrist. 

Damasko DK32 Ocean
Damasko DK32 Ocean

Marathon GSAR NGM Diver Automatic Arctic Edition – Rubber Ref. WW194006-WD

Marathon is well-known as the hidden gem of military watches. As such, the strength and durability of the watches are not to be questioned anymore. The GSAR NGM Diver Automatic Arctic Edition is one piece that would be best-fitted as your hiking watches’ buddy. It has Tritium gas tubes and Maraglo™ allowing the watch dial to illuminate without the need of the charge from a light source. Offering a sturdy watch design, the watch is protected with a flat piece of sapphire crystal for incredible resistance to scratches. The watch is driven by the Marathon M2 self-winding movement equipped with a Novodiac shock absorber to ensure durability. 

Marathon GSAR NGM Diver Automatic Arctic Edition - Rubber Ref. WW194006-WD
Marathon GSAR NGM Diver Automatic Arctic Edition – Rubber Ref. WW194006-WD

Squale 50 ATMOS Fumoso – Special Edition

Squale 50 ATMOS Fumoso - Special Edition
Squale 50 ATMOS Fumoso – Special Edition

A special edition from Squale that highlights a unique case design. Squale 50 ATMOS Fumoso is a special edition with few upgrades in its construction. Topping it off, the watch features an anti-reflective coating to give toughness and clarity for better readability. The choice of dark blue as its dial background makes the watch appear almost black under different lighting conditions. Thanks to its tonality effect that allows the dial to darken as the wearer goes from the apex towards the edge of the dial. Further, the markers and handsets are designed with contrasting colors to ensure legibility. The feature of water resistance up to 500m is also the highlight of the watch. 

Final Thought

Hiking watches are indeed dozens when it comes to options. There are a plethora of choices to have the one that picks your heartstring and accompanies your hiking trail. Yet, the most important thing to buy watches for hiking is ensuring that it compromises basic features to fit your hiking needs.

Gnomon Watches first opened her doors for business online in early 2002, founded by bona fide horology suitors who share a profound passion for watchmaking and fine craftsmanship.

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