In 2020, you won’t need to bring as many tools on your hikes anymore. One watch on your wrist can be your GPS, your weather report, your step & calorie counter, and even your notification center. You won’t have to take your phone out of your backpack as much, and you may not even have to stop moving.
Some hiking watches can cost hundreds and might seem a bit ridiculous (especially if you don’t get to hike very often). It may not be necessary to spend that much. We found ten great hiking watches under $100 on Amazon that can fill all your needs!
Top Ten Hiking Watches Under $100
1. Ezon Hiking Watch
This Ezon hiking watch is probably the most versatile we’ve seen, and it’s a steal at less than $100 (and free shipping on Amazon). Like many on this list, it’s an ABC watch (altimeter, barometer, compass).
The barometer feature can test pressure, temperature, and weather forecast. The Swiss altitude sensor and compass can help you safely plan your hikes. The watch and buckle are made of stainless steel. The watch is waterproof up to 50m and is durable for swimming, hiking, running, hunting, etc.
Other features include a clock with world time for 48 cities, stopwatch, countdown, alarm, hourly chime, and calendar. Ezon also offers a 30-day full refund and 12 months of free maintenance.
2. Garmin Forerunner 35
Garmin is a leader in the sports watch industry, but most of their watches are well over $100. The Garmin Forerunner 35 is sometimes on sale for under $100, and you can get free shipping with Prime!
The Forerunner 35 has a built-in GPS as well as a heart monitor. Uniquely, you can set vibration alerts to notify you when you’ve completed a milestone! This watch is also compatible with both iPhones and Androids so you can connect your favorite fitness apps. You can also control your music through your watch.
It comes in black, white, Frost Blue, and Limelight and is quite light and slim compared to other sports watch models. The display is .93”x.93”.
Amazon reviews for this product are mostly positive. Buyers find this watch to be a great value and have said that it held up well in wet conditions.
3. G-Shock Waterproof Sports Watch
G-Shock watches tend to be on the pricier side as well.
This is one of the more heavy-duty watches on our list. It’s shock-resistant and water-resistant up to 200 meters. It’s not exactly designed for scuba diving, but you won’t have to worry about dropping it in a puddle or hiking through the rain.
Tech features include an automatic light switch, a countdown timer, a daylight savings setting, world time, an hourly time signal, up to five daily alarms, a low battery warning, and an LED backlight.
Amazon reviews for this watch often compliment the display and durability.
4. Garmin Forerunner 25
We couldn’t resist putting another Garmin hiking watch on this list once we saw the price tag. The Garmin Forerunner 25 is much cheaper than some of the smartwatches out there but has many of the same features. Using the Garmin Connect mobile app, you can track your hiking progress and even share it on social media!
The GPS feature allows you to track distance, speed, and location as you go. The activity tracker monitors steps, calories, and distance – and the “inactivity indicator” can give you a nudge if you’ve been resting for too long.
This watch has about ten hours of battery life when in “training” mode, but can last up to ten weeks in “watch/activity tracking mode.”
On Amazon, this model comes in black and blue, black and purple, black and red, and white and pink.
5. RUNDOING Smart Watch
This lesser-known Rundoing brand smart watch is a comfortable, lower-cost option for hikers and runners. It includes similar features to some of the more expensive models, such as a heart rate monitor, sleep monitor, blood pressure monitor, pedometer, calorie counter, distance tracker, alarm clock, and sedentary alert.
This hiking watch can connect to iPhones and Androids and can give you remote camera and music control as well as text and call reminders and other notifications from your phone (through a Bluetooth connection).
It comes with a silicone band, which can be quite comfortable for long hikes, but the band is interchangeable. The battery can last up to eight days, making it ideal for long hiking trips.
Amazon reviews call this hiking product a great, cheap alternative to Apple watches.
6. Letsfit Smart Watch
The Letsfit smart watch is another great budget-friendly option for hikers. This model portrays your heart rate and calories right on the watch, so you don’t have to check an app.
Some of the more unique features for this price range include a breathing guide, sedentary reminder, menstrual cycle tracking, alarm clock, stop watch, timing function, and the ability to control your music, see messages, and reject calls right from the watch.
All of this is available even without data; you can store the information on your watch and then synch with your phone when you have a stronger connection.
This watch is also designed to resist water, sweat, rain, and dust. It can be fully charged in less than three hours and can last as long as ten days.
7. Beeasy Waterproof Watch
At a price this low, you won’t find as many features as in this range, but this watch is a good deal for a hobbyist hiker looking for a cheap option.
The Beeasy waterproof watch can show both 24-hour military time and a regular 12-hour time, as well as the day of the week. It does include a pedometer, calorie counter, stopwatch, and distance detector. It can connect to your phone to notify you of calls, texts, and some social media messages.
While this watch is waterproof enough to withstand rain and sweat, it should not be submerged. The Amazon description advises against seawater and hot water as well as pressing buttons while underwater.
If you’re not sure about this watch, know that not only is it cheap, but it also comes with a 30-day refund policy and a lifetime guarantee.
8. J-SPYFIT GPS Sports Watch
The J-SPYFIT GPS watch could be a great starter watch for new hikers. It includes a GPS, pedometer, heart rate monitor, calorie counter, distance tracker, sleep analyzer, and sedentary reminder. Plus, like many other more expensive models, it can connect with your phone, allowing you to remotely control your music and camera and to see notifications.
This watch is advertised with 10-15 days of battery life after one charge. It supports iOS 9 and higher and Android 4.4 and higher and is compatible with the DaFit app. The display is a 1.33” touch screen, making it easy to access on the go.
9. Mangcart Fitness Tracker
The Mangcart fitness tracker is one of the most highly-rated hiking watches at a very low budget. It can track your steps, distance, and calories burned and comes with several different modes (walking, running, hiking, rock climbing, soccer, etc.).
There’s also a feature that will cause the watch to vibrate if you’ve been sedentary for too long. It will also monitor your heart rate and sleep data. You’ll want to download the app “VeryFitPro” for fitness tracking.
You can connect this watch to your phone via bluetooth to get vibration notifications when you receive a call or message. It will support Android 4.4 and higher as well as iOS 8.0 and higher.
10. Casio Multi-Function Sports Watch
This is a great watch at a steal. It includes an altimeter, barometer, thermometer, world time (12 and 24hr options), five alarms, a 1/1000-second stopwatch, and a countdown timer. It’s water-resistant up to 100m. It may be suitable for swimming, but shouldn’t be submerged for long periods of time or taken into deep waters.
This watch has a more rugged look than many of the others on this list, and is reviewed as highly durable. However, it’s also unlike the others in that it does not have smartphone connectivity. This watch is for those looking for a more old-school approach at a reasonable price.
Best Hiking Watch Under $100: Buying Guide
The best hiking watch for you will depend on your preferences. Are you looking for something that connects to your phone, or do you only need a traditional watch? Are you looking for a simple step counter, or something more extensive, like a heart rate monitor?
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the options out there. Write down what you need before you start looking. Start by considering these hiking watch features:
Special time features: Many hiking watches come with options for military time, and some even include world time. Depending on where you’re hiking and how far you’re going, that could be a huge benefit. Additionally, some watches will come with a stopwatch feature and an alarm feature, while others won’t.
GPS/Compass: Having a compass built right into your watch can be extremely useful. Some of these high-tech smart watches come with more than just a compass. Some come with a full-on GPS system! You may be thinking that you don’t need this feature because of your phone, but your watch battery may last longer than your phone, and this way your GPS will be right on your wrist.
Health features: Even for less than $100, you can find a great smartwatch that includes health features such as: heart rate monitors, sleep quality monitors, burned calorie counters, and even alerts for when you’ve been sedentary for too long.
Weather & altitude: Many of these watches also come with thermometers, barometers, and altimeters. These features can be game changers for those long hikes.
WiFi/Bluetooth connectivity: You don’t necessarily have to buy a $300 watch to be able to connect it to your phone! For less than $100, you can find a great watch with WiFi and Bluetooth connectability. Many of them will even store your data when you don’t have a good connection, then upload it when the connection is restored.
Bluetooth connections also frequently allow you to get your phone notifications sent to your watch so you can quickly look without taking your phone out. Some also allow you to control your music and camera straight from your watch.
Battery life: You might have some long days out there; or maybe you’ll go a few days without having a place to charge up. You need a watch that can go without a charge for at least a week. Thankfully, most of the watches on our list have that capability!
Durability & water resistance: You never know what you might encounter: rain, mud, storms, falls, accidents…chances are your hiking watch won’t come back looking the way it did when you took it out of the box. If you’re only going on short hikes once in a while, maybe durability and water resistance isn’t too important to you.
However, when you’re deciding between a $30 watch and an $80 watch, durability is an important factor to consider.
Display & design: If you don’t plan on taking many breaks in your hikes, the display is extra important for you. You’re going to want to be able to look at your watch really quickly as you’re moving. Think about whether you need a larger or brighter display.
Frequently Asked Questions
How should you clean your hiking watch?
To start, you should always put your watch in its box when you’re not wearing it. Don’t throw it into your backpack without a case. However, it’s bound to get dirty when you’re out on the trail. Use a microfiber cloth to remove loose dirt and dust from the watch itself.
When you get home, you can use technology wipes. If you have a leather band, use a leather conditioner to clean that when you get home. Dawn dish soap works great for cleaning other bands.
Is a smartwatch necessary for hiking?
Whether or not you need a smartwatch depends on what kind of hiking you’re doing. Remember, people have been hiking without smartwatches for centuries – but they can make your hike easier! Gone are the days of having to carry separate tools for all your needs.
With a smartwatch, you’ll be able to keep your phone safely stored in your backpack. You’ll be able to access your notifications, the weather, your altitude, and more all from your wrist.
How much should you spend on a hiking watch?
Like most things, more expensive hiking watches are likely going to provide more value. However, we put together this list of top hiking watches under $100 because it is possible to get a great watch without breaking the bank. You can get many of the same features of a $300 watch in an $80 watch. Just remember that you always get what you pay for.
What is an ABC watch?
The “ABC” in ABC watch stands for altimeter, barometer, compass. Those are three of the most important tools you can have in a hiking watch. As you’re doing your shopping, you may see the term “ABC watch” tossed around.
Do I need a GPS watch for hiking?
A GPS watch can be extremely helpful for hiking because you won’t have to take out your phone or a map mid-hike. If you want to quickly glance down and make sure you’re on the right path, you can do that with a GPS hiking watch.