In the past, we have reviewed some of the best wristwatches for hiking under $200 on this blog. However, you might be looking for something simpler than the picks on that list – either for yourself, a kid, or as a gift to someone else. That is why we have gone back to the drawing board to review picks of the best hiking watch under $100 also.
Now, these won’t come with all the bells and whistles. There is also a chance that some of them won’t have sensors as accurate as what you would get on the higher-priced models. However, one thing is sure – and that is how these watches will get the job done.
In short, we have reviewed these watches with a value for money mindset at heart.
Before we get into what makes each of the wristwatches on this list a unique tactical gear, we will also lay out what you need to know about your hiking watches. That way, you can always pick the best one for your needs – no matter the price point.
What to Look for in a Hiking Watch
Some watches will have all of these features, while others will just mix and match. Note that the more features come with a watch, the more expensive it tends to be.
This is why we do not recommend going for deals that sound too good to be true since they will let you down in one way or the other. In other words, if you are going for something more advanced, be ready to shell out the money for it. Otherwise, you might just end up with a copycat watch that doesn’t do half of the things on its spec sheet well enough.
That said, here are the things you want to look out for:
A good hiking watch should be rugged enough to be worn in different terrains without fear of damage. You should not be bothered about getting the face of the watch scratched, wall face breakage, or flimsy damages to other parts of the watch.
Now, this is not an invitation to abuse the watch at any chance you get. However, you want to be confident enough in the watch that if it does come up against an abusive situation, it would handle itself just right.
In line with this, it makes sense to choose a waterproof hiking watch. Say you end up in the rain, or end up doing something that involves water, you should not be concerned about getting water damage to the watch.
Some hiking watches come with in-built navigation and a GPS. Depending on the brand and engineering, this could feature in several ways.
Nav systems could help you to track how far you’ve gone, and in what direction. This gives you a better understanding of the terrain too – especially for those who can read such data.
Choices from manufactures like Garmin have their navigation systems improved to the extent where they can help you track your steps back to where you started. This comes in handy for hikers or groups that are not too familiar with the terrain so that they can ensure they are never lost in their hike.
Did you know that there is an ABC to hiking watches?
That stands for:
- A – altimeter
- B – barometer and
- C – compass
The altimeter measures the distance of the object (the watch, and by extension, the wearer) to the sea level. That gives you an accurate depiction of how far out you are vertically.
The barometer does a god job of estimating the surrounding pressure. This is very important when hiking in areas that are filled with undulating land, slopes, and such irregular landscapes. The pressure level is a great indicator of air/ oxygen level too, helping to keep everyone at a reasonable height for proper, unaided respiration.
Barometers can also be used to detect incoming storms which could have caught you out otherwise.
The compass is self-explanatory in that it helps to chart a course and find directions. Make sure it is properly calibrated for better accuracy and functionality. Below, we have embedded a video guide to caliberating your wristwatch yourself.
It is not a good hiking watch if it doesn’t have a lasting battery to it.
No matter the price point, this is something that you do not want to compromise on.
What would it be like if you were out on a hike and your watch’s battery suddenly run out? There would be no way to check the time, track sunset and sunrise times, etc. The worst part is that you lose all the additional benefits of having that watch on your wrists.
Left to us, we only pick hiking watches that can last about as long as conventional watches. Our list of the top hiking watches under 200 dollars features some picks that pack a lot more features than ordinary watches, so they might not last as long. Still, though, they should be able to last more than 3 days in between charges.
Heart Rate Monitor
The heart rate monitor is there to help you keep track of your exertion and stress levels.
You might feel fine on the outside while your body system needs rest already. You might miss the subtle signs of that if you do not have a reliable heart rate sensor on your hands. That could also lead to more health complications, which is something we do not want. Hiking has to be fun after all.
There are minimal choices under $100 that will track your heart rate effectively, but we have some for you anyways.
Now, the sensors on them might not be as accurate as their more expensive counterparts, but they will give you an approximate measurement to work with.
We couldn’t help but also consider how good these watches looked – after taking consideration of all the points above.
Good wristwatches should be able to function for more than one purpose. Thus, you will find out that some of the watches on this list could even become your everyday watch.
Let’s not ruin all the fun. How about we get right to it?
The Best Hiking Watch Under $100 for Men
Garmin Forerunner 35
Garmin watches are known for their combination of ruggedness and functionality, both of which is not lost on this unit also.
The best thing about this watch is the connectivity to mobile devices at this price point, which is more than we can say for other watches on this list. The watch also features an in-built GPS for hiking and running, among other things.
Speaking of other things, there are a heart rate monitor, activity trackers (to monitor your steps), and calorie trackers too.
- Features heart rate sensor, calorie tracker, activity tracker, etc.
- Built-in GPS to track location
- Connects with smartphones
- Comes with a slew of connected features
- Trackers/ sensors are sometimes off
- Not stylish enough for everyday use
Timex Expedition Shock XL Watch
Timex is another brand that has almost become a household name in the watch market. With this entry into their Expedition series, they have grabbed our attention for when we want to go hiking.
The first and most important thing to mention is the big, informative screen on the watch. A single glance at the screen gives you information about the time, day, and date, among other things.
Furthermore, a system of chronographs makes it easier to track small feats and laps as you progress on your hike. Should it start to get late, Timex has branded an Indiglo backlight technology that allows you to see the time and other details just fine.
Completed with a rugged exterior to support the outdoors, this Timex is a great partner for any hiking journey.
- The design allows for use as an everyday watch
- Rugged exterior for outdoor, daily use
- Legible screen readout
- Water resistance for the first 30 meters
- Lacking in the A-B-C sensor category
Casio Men’s SGW-1000-1ACR Watch
Does the name sound like a mouthful? We prefer to call this the Casio Men’s Digital Watch instead.
At first look, the Casio trademark of ruggedness and beauty in the same body does not elude this watch too. Casio built on that to create something with a highly readable screen in different conditions. The backlight could be better, but low light situations are better because of it.
On the main screen are readouts for time and date. Better than that, we have the combination of an altimeter, barometer, and compass on this watch. Awesome, right? Wait till you see that it also comes with a thermometer somewhere under the hood.
Lest we forget, the watch is water-resistant up till the first 100 meters. With five daily alarms, daylight savings, and stopwatch/ countdown timer features, this remains one of the most feature-packed watches for this spending frame.
- Features an altimeter, barometer, and compass
- Backlight technology for visibility in low light
- Rugged and suitable for everyday usage
- Large LCD screen with legible readouts
- Battery drain issues common with select picks
Timex Expedition Grid Shock Watch
Yet another pick from Timex, this watch is best suited for those that want a dedicated hiking watch costing under $100. Although it can be used as an everyday watch, it does not look like something you would want to wear on a dress.
So, what makes it worth this list? Besides the fact that it doesn’t cross the hundred-dollar mark, that is.
For starters, a combo of high readability with ruggedness earns it a spot here. The initial glance readout provides almost all the information that you need. A vibrating alarm feature also allows you to get your alerts without disturbing others.
Overall, this watch looks better built for a price that is less than $100. Wear it for some time and you might not even remember that you paid so little for this highly practical piece on your wrist.
- Good readability
- Impressive backlight
- Vibrating alarm feature
- Rugged enough for everyday usage
- Hydration alerts to prevent water damage
- Watch scratches easily without protection
- Missing the A-B-C set.
Casio Men’s G7900-1 G-Shock
Casio makes its second bow on this list with an equally impressive entry.
This watch checks all the right initial boxes: design, ruggedness, durability, and style. It does one better in the readability department, offering the best of time and date in the same glance. The backlight won’t light up a room, but it should be enough to get you seeing the details on the watch face even in low light.
The round sport watch features large buttons that are better spaced out for improved reach. On the back of that, we have waterproof support up to 200 meters.
The flash alert for alarms and timers is impressive, but nowhere near the tide graph and moon data on this unit. Promising an average battery life of 2 years, the longevity of service is surely not a problem with this watch.
- Amazing design on a rugged base
- The stylish watch can be worn every day
- Features tide graph and moon data
- Easy readability
- Waterproof up to 200 meters
- Backlight for better use in low light
- Should not be bought as a tide watch
- Requires time adjustments after long use
The Best Hiking Watches Under $100 for Women
Casio Ladies G-Shock GMA-B800-1A
The men don’t get to have all the fun with Casio’s line of G-shock watches.
This watch makes a beauty statement quite alright but it packs much more than superficial traits. Beneath all that beautiful ruggedness and detailing is a combination of a stopwatch, daily alarms, and double LED illumination systems too.
That is not even the best thing here – seeing as the watch can be connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth.
The analog-digital unit also logs your step count, keeps track of your calorie intake, and multiple timer combinations. The connectivity allows you to make settings on your smartphone which are relayed and executed in the watch.
Did we mention the great readability already?
- Stylishly designed to be worn every day
- Can connect to smartphones via Bluetooth
- Connectivity improves watch functionality
- Regular timekeeping: updates via Bluetooth
- Feminine yet durable
- Might be too big for smaller wrists
Garmin Forerunner 35
Need we say more?
If you would like to have this watch for your next hike, we have discussed it in the men’s section above.
Quick Recap: it offers device connectivity and packs some of the important sensors that you might like to have on your hiking watch. Check out which ones above, and see if it fits into your lifestyle.
The watch design might not be conventional, but we believe it can also serve as an everyday watch.
Gandley GPS Smartwatch
It is not every day that you find smartwatches with decent sensors selling at this price point. Well then, this might just be a lucky day for you.
The Gandley product runs out of the box with an altimeter, compass, and barometer. It throws a heart rate monitor and fitness tracker in there for good measure. To finish up the combination are a stylish design that is as waterproof as they come. As far as the IP67 rating provides, at least.
The watch still has a built-in GPS for running and hiking to improve location tracking. The data from the GPS can equally be exported after your hike. Finally, the traditional watch design means you can strap on this watch as an everyday timepiece.
- Features connectivity to iOS and Android devices
- Packs compass, altimeter and barometer sensors
- Makes notification receipts easier
- Stylish and impressive design
- Passes as an everyday watch too
- Impressive with features at this price point
- Requires constant network connection to work
- Sensors are not very accurate
Tinwoo Digital Smartwatch
Yet another sub-$100 smartwatch is this pick from Tinwoo.
Like any other smartwatch, it offers mobile connectivity. Here, you get to link the watch up to both your Android and iOS devices. Our only objection to this watch is the choice of OS on it which could limit the functionality of the overall watch itself.
A heart rate monitor is paired with all-day activity tracking and a waterproof design. It might not be as rugged as we want, but this is not a fickle watch either.
More than a dozen clock faces allow you to enjoy the watch differently on diverse days of the week. That supports the fact that this watch functions as everyday wear also.
- Connectivity means added functionality
- All-day activity tracking
- Multiple watch faces
- Heart rate and sleep tracking
- Waterproof and slightly rugged
- Doesn’t have US metrics
- Shows partial notifications
Women’s Baby-G Black Whale Digital Watch
The quest for a simple, rugged watch that doesn’t set off any bells and whistles rests on this watch.
If we have not said it before, the Casio name is synonymous with the longevity and durability of the units that they make. Legibility is another strong point for this one with a display carrying multiple readouts at first glance.
Most women with small wrists will also enjoy adding this watch to their library of timepieces. Rounding off with water resistance, accuracy, and improved comfort levels, there is no going wrong with this timepiece.
- Suitable for small wrists
- Rugged, durable and waterproof
- Watch face is highly legible
- Good value for money on digital watches
- Stylish design and accents
- Alarm is low-sounding
- Check out for defective straps
Best Hiking Watches Under $100 for Kids
Timex Time Machine Digital Watch
This award-winning watch does more than just serve as a nice wrist companion for kids when going hiking. The beautiful timepiece, which can also be worn as an everyday unit, aims to teach your kid the time better also.
When it is not busy doing that, the digital watch has a basic readout for time and date on the main screen. The watch is fitted with fun graphics to ensure your kid never wants to take it off either, The Indiglo watch dial means that they will not have any problems seeing the proper time in low light situation.
Kids can be sloppy sometimes, so you will appreciate the water resistance (up to the first 30 meters) on this watch better.
- Award-winning watch for kids from Timex
- Fun, easy to read digital watch for kids
- Features a free mobile app
- Low light visibility is impressive
- High value for money
- Elastic band for easy wear and removal
- Some units develop condensation buildup problems
- The durability isn’t top-notch
- The strap could use more work for comfort
Casio G-Shock Quartz Watch
It is never too early to introduce the kids to the amazing nature of a G-shock watch from Casio – and this seems like the right pick to make that happen.
As it is with most Casio watches, this one has a legible readout built into a rugged frame too. It also features protection against shock and water damages up to the first 200 meters of submersion. We would not recommend taking the watch that far into the water, though.
Design is not an issue on this rugged piece so we know your kid will love it. You might have to adjust the strap to fit their wrists, but that is just about it.
The watch also packs alarm functions, an hourly time signal, and a timer. All of these sound like a good way to introduce your kid to watches.
- The promise of the Casio quality
- Waterproof up to 200 meters
- Battery life is impressive
- Highly easy to read
- Enjoys stellar reviews for ruggedness and durability
- The band might be too small for much older kids
- ‘Adjust’ button is recessed into the body
Armitron Sport Digital Chronograph Watch
Armitron is no stranger to making fine watches. This pick stands out to us for coming in multiple colors and detailing designs – giving your kid a wide range of options to pick from.
The rather inexpensive watch features a large, clear digital readout equipped with a backlight for low light situations.
The watch is advertised as being water-resistant, but we would not advise going diving with this one. Your kid doesn’t have to take it off when they want to play with/ around water or are in the rain though. As long as the watch is not below 100 meters underwater, it should be fine.
Users have lauded the dual time zone settings on the watch as well as its comfortable band too. While we would have loved this pick with a bigger band option (for adults, maybe?) though, it is only designed for kids.
- Legible digital readout
- Water-resistance is great
- Inexpensive yet functional
- Durable watch for multiple outdoor events
- Highly practical and simple watch
- Ideal fit for small to medium wrists
- Watch strap is small for bigger wrists
- Battery change can be a chore
- Not suitable for extended stress, wear-and-tear
Freestyle Shark Classic Unisex Watch
Save for the bright Velcro straps, there is nothing else that makes this watch unsuitable for kids.
We love the colorful nature of the watch in a fun way. We appreciate the fact that it is packed chockfull of features: from alarm and countdown timer night vision mode. Its simplistic design makes it cool to wear and will get you a lot of compliments too.
This watch is not exactly built for abuse, but that does not mean it won’t take care of itself against scratches and drops either. As long as it doesn’t suffer heavy blows, the Shark Classic should be fine.
- Colorful, stylish and functional watch
- Comes with a ton of standard features
- Easy to read watch face
- Water resistance up to 300 feet
- Comfortable to wear
- Colorful straps get stained fast
- Choice of material could hold sweat (and smell) after long hikes
Which is Right for You?
After all said and done, which of these hiking watches is the best bet for you?
No matter what you are looking for in the budget category, we believe that you will find it up there. For those who have a more customized taste, let us know what you would like to get in the comments section and we will try our best to look for that for you.