The 10 Best Backpacking Watches For 2024

Jonathan Wilson By, Jonathan Wilson
Best Backpacking Watches
Best Backpacking Watches

The Rundown

1. Best Overall: Garmin Instinct Watch

"The Garmin Instinct Watch is a rugged GPS timepiece designed to thrive in the harshest environments. With military-grade durability and an array of advanced features, it's not just a watch; it's a testament to endurance and exploration." Read Review

2. Best For The Price: Apple Watch SE

"With the Apple Watch SE, the tech giant delivers a compelling blend of innovation, style, and functionality. Designed to empower users with essential features and seamless connectivity, it's a lifestyle companion for the modern age." Read Review

3. Best Versatile: Suunto Classic Watch

"This watch, which combines modern technology with Scandinavian style, is necessary for surviving in the wilderness. For those who dare to venture beyond the usual road, the Classic Watch is the ideal companion thanks to its sturdy construction, clever functions, and classic style." Read Review

4. Best Durable: Amazfit T-Rex Pro Watch

"The Amazfit T-Rex Pro Watch is a tough companion for travelers seeking endurance without losing functionality. It is made to survive the roughest circumstances. It's a trustworthy companion for your outdoor adventures with a plethora of functions and adjustable settings." Read Review

5. Best Connectivity: Garmin Forerunner 245 Smartwatch

"The Garmin Forerunner 245 Smartwatch is a feature-packed device designed to help you reach your fitness goals and enhance your running performance. It will elevate your training with advanced training metrics, personalized insights, and smart connectivity." Read Review

As technology advances, so do the capabilities of backpacking watches. No longer confined to simply telling time, these wrist-bound companions now boast altimeters to track elevation, GPS navigation to guide your path, and robust durability to withstand the rigours of the trail. Whether summiting peaks, trekking through dense forests, or crossing vast deserts, the right backpacking watch can be your ultimate adventure ally.

At Kris Van Assche, we're committed to exploring the latest outdoor gear, including backpacking watches. After rigorously testing numerous models, we've curated a list of the best backpacking watches for 2024, designed to enhance your wilderness experience and ensure you never miss a moment of your journey. Join us as we unveil our top picks and guide you through choosing the perfect companion for your next expedition.

After nearly 19 hours of research, We think the best backpacking watches is Garmin Instinct Watch. With GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo satellite network capability, you can confidently navigate even in the most challenging terrains. Or you can check the Apple Watch SE as the other great option, even if the first option didn't meet all of your requirements.


TOP Choice #1 Garmin Instinct Watch
Our Score:

The Garmin Instinct Watch is your steadfast guide when venturing off the beaten path. Built to U.S. Military standard 810G, it's a beacon of reliability in thermal, shock, and water resistance, making it a trusty companion for any outdoor enthusiast. With GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo satellite network capability, you can confidently navigate even in the most challenging terrains. The built-in 3-axis compass and barometric altimeter enhance your outdoor experience, providing accurate bearings and elevation data.

Monitoring your health and activity is seamless with the Instinct. From estimating your heart rate and stress levels to offering preloaded activity profiles for various sports, it ensures you stay informed and motivated throughout your adventures. With its durable silicone strap and impressive battery life of up to 14 days in smartwatch mode, the Instinct is a worthy companion for extended expeditions. However, it doesn't have a touch screen.

If you're an outdoor enthusiast who values durability and reliability in your gear, the Garmin Instinct Watch is tailor-made for you. Whether trekking through rugged landscapes or embarking on epic journeys, this watch is designed to keep pace with your adventures. 

TOP Choice #2 Apple Watch SE
Our Score:

The Apple Watch SE is a testament to Apple's commitment to innovation and accessibility. From its carbon-neutral design to its array of health and safety features, it's a watch for enhancing everyday life. With features like Fall Detection, Emergency SOS, and advanced workout metrics, it's a powerful ally for staying active and connected.

The minor drawback is that it doesn't come with Always-On Display. Despite this, the SE integrates with Apple's ecosystem, seamlessly syncing with your iPhone and other Apple devices. You can personalize your SE to suit your style and mood with customizable watch bands and fully customizable watch faces.

If you're looking for a versatile smartwatch that combines style, functionality, and seamless integration with your Apple devices, the Apple Watch SE is an excellent choice. Its combination of features and design makes it a worthwhile investment for those who demand the best.

TOP Choice #3 Suunto Classic Watch
Our Score:

Packed with intelligent features like a Storm Alarm, Altimeter, Barometer, and compass, this watch is a reliable companion for any outdoor adventure. The Storm Alarm provides warning of approaching storms, allowing you to seek shelter and stay safe. The Altimeter and Barometer provide accurate altitude and weather data, while the compass ensures you never lose your bearings, even in the most remote locations.

Additionally, the Classic Watch offers dual times, date display, alarm functions, and predicted times for sunrise and sunset, maximizing your daylight hours and optimizing your outdoor experience. Nevertheless, it's important to note that the display of the Classic Watch can be pretty dim, especially in low-light conditions. Despite this drawback, the watch's versatility and durability make it well-suited for various outdoor activities. 

If you're an outdoor enthusiast who values functionality, durability, and timeless design in your gear, the Suunto Classic Watch is the perfect companion for your adventures. Whether hiking through dense forests, biking along rugged trails, or camping under the stars, this watch has everything you need to stay informed and prepared for whatever nature throws your way.

4 Amazfit T-Rex Pro Watch
Our Score:

The Amazfit T-Rex Pro Watch is a formidable choice for outdoor enthusiasts and fitness aficionados alike. Built to military-grade standards, it withstands extreme temperatures, high humidity, and rugged terrain, making it the perfect companion for your most demanding adventures. The long-lasting 18-day battery ensures you stay connected and active without the hassle of frequent charging, providing ample time for running, hiking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Its customizable touchscreen offers 34 alternative watch faces, allowing you to personalize your device to match your style and preferences. The heart rate and VO2 monitoring features provide valuable insights into your fitness levels, helping you optimize your workouts and track your progress over time. Plus, with advanced GPS tracking and over 100 sports modes, you can accurately monitor your activities and performance in real time.

If you're an outdoor enthusiast or fitness fanatic who values durability and functionality in a smartwatch, the Amazfit T-Rex Pro Watch is tailor-made for you. One drawback is that the Amazfit T-Rex Pro Watch does not work with generic watch straps. However, with its durable construction and wealth of features, it's a small trade-off for the reliability and functionality it offers.

5 Garmin Forerunner 245 Smartwatch
Our Score:

The Garmin Forerunner 245 Smartwatch is a game-changer for runners seeking to optimize their training and performance. With personalized training and recovery insights, it provides valuable data to help you make smarter decisions and maximize your potential. From monitoring your VO2 max and training status to analyzing your running form, this watch offers a comprehensive suite of tools to elevate your workouts and track your progress.

Its compatibility with the Garmin Connect online fitness community opens up a world of possibilities, allowing you to create custom workouts, download training plans, and connect with expert coaches. Nonetheless, some users may find the Garmin Connect app's interface challenging to navigate, particularly when accessing customized watch faces. However, with a bit of patience and exploration, you can unlock the full potential of this powerful training tool.

If you're a dedicated runner looking to take your training to the next level, the Garmin Forerunner 245 Smartwatch is your ideal companion. Whether you're a seasoned athlete or just starting your fitness journey, its advanced features and intuitive design make it the perfect training partner for runners of all levels.

6 AOSLSI Watch
Our Score:

The AOSLSI Watch is a must-have companion for outdoor enthusiasts, offering many features to enhance your wilderness adventures. From its altimeter and barometer to its digital compass and thermometer, it provides essential information to help you confidently navigate and stay prepared for changing conditions.

In addition to its outdoor capabilities, this watch also functions as a comprehensive sports tracker, measuring steps, calories, distance, and more. With its durable construction and waterproof design, it's built to withstand the rigours of any activity, from hiking and camping to running and cycling. The only downside is that the temperature and barometer may require calibration for optimal accuracy, particularly in varying geographic locations. However, this minor inconvenience is easily addressed with its user-friendly interface and straightforward calibration process.

For outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers who demand precision and reliability in their gear, the AOSLSI Watch is an indispensable tool. Its rugged construction and advanced features make it the perfect companion for all your outdoor pursuits.

7 COROS PACE 3 Watch
Our Score:

Elevate your fitness journey with the COROS PACE 3 Sports GPS watch, a feather-light marvel designed to go the distance. Its super-light, sleek 11.7mm body and 30g weight ensure distraction-free comfort, making it a seamless wrist extension. The Always-on 1.2" transflective touchscreen display offers a seamless navigation experience. Though some users might find the display fonts a tad small, it's a minor trade-off for the wealth of features.

With extended battery life, including 41 hours of continuous GPS use and 17 days of daily use, it's a reliable companion for all-day adventures. The accurate GPS with dual frequency ensures precise tracking, even in high-rise cities, while the route planner and extensive activity modes cater to every fitness whim. Plus, its ability to connect to third-party apps like Strava and Nike Run Club adds versatility to your workout routine.

If you're an outdoor enthusiast or fitness aficionado seeking a reliable, feature-packed GPS watch that won't weigh you down, the COROS PACE 3 is your go-to companion. Its durability, extended battery life, and accurate GPS make it ideal for runners, cyclists, hikers, and adventurers of all kinds.

8 Ticwatch Pro 3 Watch
Our Score:

The Ticwatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS smartwatch is a high-quality product in the world of wearable tech. Boasting dual-layer display 2.0 technology, it offers up to 72 hours in Smart Mode and an impressive 45 days in Essential Mode, ensuring you're always connected, no matter the situation. While switching between the digital watch face and screen may experience a slight lag, it's a minor hiccup in an otherwise stellar performance.

Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 Platform and Mobvoi Dual Processor System, this watch delivers lightning-fast performance and connectivity. With 1G RAM and 8G ROM memory, NFC payment support, and a suite of health and fitness monitoring features, including blood oxygen saturation and stress monitoring, it's a true powerhouse on your wThee, the Ticwatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS is the ultimate com for the discerning consumer who demands the best in performance and stylepanion. Whether you're a fitness fanatic tracking your every move or a tech enthusiast navigating the digital landscape, this watch seamlessly blends style with substance.

9 Parsonver Smart Watch
Our Score:

Equipped with a built-in GPS and a comprehensive fitness activity tracker, this watch empowers you to achieve your fitness goals with unparalleled precision. Whether swimming laps in the pool or hitting the trails for a run, its 3ATM waterproof rating and advanced GPS chip ensure accurate tracking, allowing you to push your limits confidently.

Stay effortlessly connected to the world with built-in Alexa and real-time message notifications, allowing you to stay informed and organized with just a glance at your wrist. With 24-hour continuous real-time monitoring of heart rate, blood oxygen saturation, and sleep patterns, it offers invaluable insights into your health and well-being. The only issue is that it is a bit hard to set up initially, but you can get used to it after some use.

Whether you're a busy professional seeking seamless connectivity on the go or a fitness enthusiast committed to achieving your health goals, the Parsonver Smart Watch is the ultimate companion. Its versatile features, stylish design, and long-lasting battery make it the perfect accessory for those who demand the best from their wearable technology.

10 AiMoonsa Watch
Our Score:

The AiMoonsa smartwatch is tailored to cater to the needs of both fitness enthusiasts and tech-savvy individuals. At its core lies a built-in GPS chip, meticulously engineered to precisely track your workouts, whether it's a brisk morning run or an intense cycling session. This feature, coupled with real-time data display of pace, heart rate, distance, time, and calories burnt, ensures an immersive exercise experience. 

The Bluetooth calling and music control functionalities allow you to stay connected and entertained on the go. The inclusion of heart rate monitoring, blood oxygen measurement, and sleep tracking ensures holistic health monitoring, empowering you to take charge of your well-being. Additionally, the integration of Alexa voice assistant streamlines your interactions with the watch, offering hands-free control over various functions, from checking the weather to controlling smart home devices. However, there may be minor discrepancies in the sleep-tracking functionality.

If you're an avid fitness enthusiast or a tech-savvy individual seeking a versatile smartwatch that seamlessly integrates into your lifestyle, the AiMoonsa Watch is tailor-made. Its robust sports tracking capabilities, coupled with multifunctional features and personalized settings, make it an indispensable companion for those who prioritize fitness and connectivity.

What Are The Most Critical Factors Of best backpacking watches That You Should Consider?

To make a significant purchase, you are supposed to know the best backpacking watches. There are a number of other difficulties that need to be investigated and evaluated. Every product has its challenges. Thus, you might count on us to provide you with detailed advice and guidance.

Based on what people and technical innovation have co-operated to analyze and build the following qualities, it’s helpful to look into the following criterial before selecting best backpacking watches:

Heart Rate Monitor

Nearly every watch includes a heart rate monitor that continuously tracks your heart rate. This information can be utilized to measure how hard you are working. A heightened heart rate indicates increased effort. Certain hikers monitor their heart rate closely in order to maintain a low level of exertion while walking. This heart rate data enables them to walk at a slower pace for a longer period of time, rather than overexerting themselves early on in a hike. Additionally, heart rate is indicative of your general health - a sudden increase could be a signal that you are beginning to feel unwell.

Battery Life

Traditional watches are typically powered by a replaceable watch battery, kinetic energy, or solar charging. On the other hand, smartwatches require a significant amount of energy to support various advanced features like GPS tracking, music storage, and fitness tracking, so they are usually equipped with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. If you intend to use a smartwatch for activities like long hikes that require continuous GPS tracking, it is important to choose one with a long battery life and GPS battery life.


A GPS-enabled watch contains a receiver that can connect to multiple satellite systems, ensuring a strong signal even in challenging conditions. Accuracy of GPS is within 3 meters when a strong signal is obtained, but obstacles like dense forest cover or deep ravines can hinder connection. It is ideal to have an unobstructed view of the sky for optimal signal strength. A strong GPS signal is crucial for real-time tracking and orienteering while hiking, allowing you to know your location and navigate effectively. GPS can also record position data for the entire hike, including distance, time taken, and elevation change, which can be saved and analyzed later.


The altimeter in a watch is utilized to track altitude while ascending, aiding in determining one's location on a map. Some watches come equipped with a barometric altimeter that gauges atmospheric pressure, with lower pressure indicating higher elevation. These barometers can measure altitudes ranging from -2,000 to 30,000 feet and are typically accurate within +/- 50 feet.

For watches lacking a barometric altimeter, altitude can be estimated using GPS data. However, the measurements from the altimeter sensor are generally more precise than those derived from GPS coordinates. GPS accuracy is contingent upon signal strength, and any interference with the signal can also impact the barometer's readings.


The main purpose of a barometer on a watch is to track changes in air pressure, which can help determine elevation and predict approaching storms. Simple barometers display atmospheric readings, while more advanced watches show a visual representation of pressure changes. Some watches also have a storm alarm to warn of significant pressure drops. When pressure falls quickly, it's a good idea to seek shelter or prepare for severe weather.


Most GPS watches now come equipped with a digital compass that can assist you in determining your general direction. Some have a 2D compass that needs to be held horizontally, while others have a 3D compass that functions in any position. While a watch-based compass can aid in walking in a specific direction, it is not as precise or compatible with maps as a baseplate compass.


What features should I look for in a backpacking watch?

When choosing a backpacking watch, consider features such as GPS, altimeter, barometer, compass, water resistance, durability, battery life, and weight.

Can I use a backpacking watch for tracking my route and navigation?

Yes, many backpacking watches come equipped with GPS and navigation features to help you track your route and navigate in the wilderness.

How durable are backpacking watches?

Backpacking watches are designed to be durable and able to withstand the rigors of outdoor activities. Look for watches that are shockproof, water-resistant, and scratch-resistant.

How long does the battery last on a backpacking watch?

The battery life of a backpacking watch can vary depending on the model and features. Some watches have a battery life of up to 20 hours in GPS mode, while others can last up to a week in standard watch mode.

Can I wear a backpacking watch while swimming or diving?

Many backpacking watches are water-resistant and can be worn while swimming, snorkeling, or diving. However, it's important to check the water resistance rating of the watch before submerging it in water.

Are backpacking watches comfortable to wear for long periods of time?

Backpacking watches are designed to be lightweight and comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Look for watches with adjustable straps and ergonomic designs for maximum comfort.

0 ratings

About Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan Wilson is a former pro football player and tech reporter who now serves as the editor of Kris Van Assche's website. He is a dedicated fitness enthusiast who splits his workout time between strength and conditioning training, martial arts and running.

Jonathan's athletic career began in college, where he was a star running back. He went on to play professionally for several years before injuries forced him to retire. Afterward, Jonathan transitioned into a career in tech reporting, where he quickly made a name for himself as a knowledgeable and insightful commentator on the industry.

In addition to his work with our website, Jonathan remains active in the world of sports. He regularly competes in martial arts tournaments and running events, and he is always looking for new ways to challenge himself physically. Jonathan is an inspiration to many people, and he is proof that it is never too late to pursue your passions.

Read Jonathan's full bio