Here is my selection of the best outdoor watches for hiking and backpacking for 2018 which I would consider to take with me on my next outdoor adventure. They might be also useful if you are into running.
At the moment I am wearing a Suunto Traverse which has a monochrome display and I am quite satisfied with it.
However, I would be interested to get an outdoor watch which features a color display.
Probably one disadvantage of watches having a color display and a GPS is their short battery life.
|Apple Watch Sport 42mm||34.2g|
|Motorola Moto 360 Sport||45g|
|Suunto Spartan Ultra||73g|
|Garmin Fenix 5X||98g|
Apple Watch Series 2 Sport 42mm
Weight: 34.2 grams Battery Life: 18 hours (not in training mode) Operating System: watchOS 3 Water Resistance: Water resistance rating of 50 meters under ISO standard 22810:2010 Display: 312x319 Touchscreen: Force Touch Wi-Fi: yes Bluetooth: 4.0 Heart Rate Monitor: wrist-based Wireless charging: yes
The Apple watch SERIES 2 42 mm is for those folks who like to have their iPhone with them. The new Apple Watch Series 2 also features a built-in GPS and is an excellent choice if you exercise 1-2 hours a day.
However, if you are more into multi-sport or longer cycling or hiking trips I would rather buy the new Suunto Spartan which can be used much longer in training mode than the Apple Watch Series 2.
Both watches - the Suunto Spartan and the Apple Watch Series 2 are suitable for swimmers. However, the Apple Watch Series 2 should not be used for diving.
Weight: 93 grams Battery Life: 1 day (only color LCD), 3.5 days (only monochrome LCD) Operating System: Android Wear Water Resistance: 50 meters Display: 320x300 pixels Touchscreen: yes Wi-Fi: yes Bluetooth: 4.1 Heart Rate Monitor: GPS: via Smartphone Wireless charging: no
The Casio WSD-F10 is the latest smart watch from Casio. It’s one of the few watches which have AndroidWear installed as an operating system.
If I would have an Android phone then this watch could be an interesting choice if would not need a built in GPS in my watch.
Apple users should probably look at an alternative watch as the the Casio WSD-F10 can only be connected to Android phones.
In general, I found that the Casio WSD-F10 looks quite nice. I like the displays and AndroidWear as an OS should probably offer nice upgrade functionalities in the future.
The only disadvantage I see with this watch is that I basically need to carry my smartphone with me as the watch does not have a built-in GPS.
For me as a runner and hiker I would prefer a watch with a dedicated GPS module on board.
Garmin Fenix 5X
Weight: 98 grams Battery Life: 50 hours (UltraTrac mode), 20 hours (GPS training mode) and 12 days in Smartwatch mode Operating System: Garmin Water Resistance: 100 meters (10ATM) Display: 240x240 pixels Touchscreen: no Wi-Fi: yes Bluetooth: 4.0 Heart Rate Monitor: yes (wrist-based) GPS: yes, including GLONASS Wireless charging: no
The Garmin Fenix 5X can be connected to Android and Apple phones and was one of the first proper sport watches which featured a graphic display and is going to be challenged by the new Suunto Spartan Ultra.
However, the map function on the Fenix 5X gives the Garmin an edge.
Motorola Moto 360 Sport
Weight: 54 grams Battery Life: 1 day Operating System: Android Wear Water Resistance: IP67 - not waterproof Display: 360x325 Touchscreen: no Wi-Fi: yes Bluetooth: 4.0 Heart Rate Monitor: Optical heart rate monitor (PPG)
Another interesting Outdoor watch is the Motorola Moto 360 Sport which is targeted towards Android users as it has the AndroidWear operating system on board.
It also features an optical hear rate monitor directly on the watch which can only be found on the Apple watch so far.
No need to wear a heart rate monitor around your chest. One highlight of the Moto 360 Sport is probably it’s high resolution / display.
Suunto Spartan Ultra
Weight: 73 grams Battery Life: 18 hours (training mode) Operating System: 100 meters Water Resistance: ? Display: 300x300 pixels Touchscreen: yes Wi-Fi: no Heart Rate Monitor: yes GPS: yes (incl. GLONASS) Wireless charging: no
The Suunto Spartan Ultra is the latest smartwatch addition in the Suunto range.
Unfortunately, there are no specifications about the Suunto Spartan available yet beside that it’s going to be the first Suunto watch which features a color display.
As Suunto watches can be connected to Moveslink - the Suunto Online Sport Community - it is possible to use the Suunto Spartan either with your Android phone or with your iPhone.
From the currently released outdoor watches with color display I would probably pick the Garmin Fenix 5X.
I found the map function quite interesting which is missing on the Suunto Spartan Ultra.
If you prefer to have a Suunto you might also wait for a while until the Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR will be available this spring.
If I would not need the longer training mode (GPS) of the Suunto Spartan then I would probably buy the Apple Watch Series 2 Sport as I have an iPhone.
I would also pick the 42 mm Apple Sport version as I prefer a bigger screen.
Comment on this post on our Facebook page or on Twitter. Visit us on Instagram or watch us packrafting on YouTube. Here you can find some of our favorite gear.