Among many other gear, a mountaineer in unchartered territories needs a good mountaineering watch. Besides keeping track of time, mountaineering watches provide information on altitude, location, GPS, etc. to guide you before you take your next step.
There are many brands offering mountaineering watches, and all the brands are competing with each other to come up with new and innovative features.
Companies behind the manufacturing of mountaineering watches are combining amazing designs with useful technology. A mountaineering watch has multiple features, and the major ones include an altimeter, barometer, compass, GPS and waterproof functions.
We have compiled a list of 10 best mountaineering watches for you, and at least one of these watches will definitely suit your requirements.
If you are a hiker/mountaineer and you rely on wrist-watch, then you must have heard of Garmin Fenix 3 which was hugely popular back in 2017. Fast forward two years, the once-popular Garmin Fenix 3 is replaced by Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire with unparalleled features that will see you through harsh outdoor conditions.
1.9 x 1.9 x 0.6 inches
Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire is available in three different sizes – Fenix 5S 42mm/1.7 in, Fenix 5 47mm/1.9in and Fenix 5X 51mm/2.0 in. It is designed as a premium model for a multisport GPS watch.
This watch includes advanced fitness features with smartphone compatibility for both iPhone and Android. Interchangeable bands are an added attraction.
This watch’s High-resolution full-color Garmin Chroma Display with LED backlighting assures readability in all ambient conditions. It is also readable under intense sunlight.
This mountaineering watch resists water up to 100 meters. If the river or lake in front of you is too tempting, you can enjoy your swim without worrying about damaging your watch. It is safe unless you plan to go deep-water swimming.
Unexpected heavy rainfall and moist weather will not affect your watch.
Built with stainless steel, this watch is abrasion-resistant. This watch also has a scratch-proof sapphire lens.
The battery life of this watch is 2 weeks in Smartwatch mode, 24 hours in GPS mode or 60 hours in UltraTrac battery Saver mode!
It features stainless steel bezel, buttons and case back. It also flaunts a stylish look that you can wear in business meetings!
Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire comes with a built-in 3-axis compass, altimeter and barometer. One of the best reasons to own this watch is the accuracy in measurement made possible through automated GPS.
Other than mountaineering, you will find this watch quite handy for running, swimming, skiing, for weather forecast and for receiving texts/alerts/emails.
What do you call a watch that you can use with gloves on and is equipped with GPS, altimeter, barometer, thermometer and a compass? The Suunto 9 Baro!
This mountaineering watch has amazing applications that has made it popular enough to be widely used in 80+ sports and multisports events.
2 x 2 x 0.7 inches
It is quite difficult to navigate your way through terrains where getting lost is very likely. But with the help of the Suunto 9 Baro, weighing just 0.58 pounds, you can easily track your route using the Heatmap feature that shows major routes in any given area.
You can also import existing routes from other users to your watch for better navigation comfort.
The watch can operate in temperatures ranging from -20 degrees Celsius to 55 degrees Celsius (-5 degrees Fahrenheit to +130 degrees Fahrenheit).
Built with sapphire glass and having water resistance up to 100 meters, The Suunto 9 Baro will see through the heavy rainfall and allows you to dive in through lakes and rivers with ease. The unpredictability of weather during your mountaineering will be less of your problem with this watch on your possession.
The Suunto 9 Baro watch is made of stainless-steel bezel and has a color touchscreen. It is equipped with Sapphire glass for abrasion resistance.
It features a durable multisport GPS with extended battery life. The watch is renowned for its accuracy during ultra-long runs. Its strap is made of silicone which is durable and also comfortable to wear.
The Suunto 9 Baro tracks the starting point of your route. You can connect your watch to your smartphone via Bluetooth and receive notifications. It also supports GLONASS.
It’s intelligent battery modes and reminders give you cue to charge your watch in advance and also helps with battery optimization while you are hiking or climbing.
Suunto Ambit 3 Peak watch is specially designed for hikers and mountaineers. Made in Finland, this is one of the most sought after watches in the mountaineering market. It is also a pioneer when it comes to altimeter watches.
This mountaineering watch’s sensors interact with your body and environment. It also comes with great battery life and amazing water resistance ability.
1.97 x 1.97 x 0.71 inches
Weighing just 4.56 ounces, Suunto Ambit 3 Peak watches have Sapphire glass lenses. It’s stylish and modern design makes it stand out among other watches with its multi-functional use.
You can connect Ambit 3 Peak to your smartphone. You can also have fun with your watch by adding photos of your adventure and sharing with your friends when you are on the go!
One of the major challenges mountaineers face is protecting their gears from rain. Like most of the mountaineering watches, Suunto Ambit 3 Peak can resist water pressure up to 100 meters. So no need to worry about rain!
The battery life of the watch is 22 hours when GPS is activated, and it lasts a month or more with the GPS function off. It’s something that not many products in the same class can match!
The casing is made up of polyamide and is quite durable.
Suunto Ambit 3 Peak provides the most accurate altitude and barometric pressure readings. It also comes with reliable GPS accuracy and useful features in data-capturing. It can sync with smartphones through Bluetooth and support apps.
It is a multi-function watch that comes in a stylish and modern design. This stylish gear is great not only for mountaineering but is also ideal for other sports like running, cycling and swimming.
The advanced features and attractive design of Suunto Traverse have made it a popular choice among mountaineers. Over the years, it’s compatibility with Smartphones and easy-to-use features have attracted a wide range of customers, especially recreational outdoorsmen.
This watch is widely compared with Suunto Ambit 3, although it lacks Bluetooth connection and does not support multisport mode.
1.97 x 1.97 x 0.65 inches
The Suunto Traverse appears less sporty but the design is quite elegant.
You can upload routes to your watch with the help of GPS and GLONASS Satellite navigation systems. It is also easy to keep track of the progress of your distance and altitude statistics.
The barometric trend helps you predict weather changes and informs you about daylight hours by calculating sunrise and sunset times. It weighs at 2.08 ounces.
Mountaineers need not worry about the rainfall or water damaging the Suunto Traverse watch. This watch can resist water up to 100 meters, making it quite a handy travel companion.
The battery life of the watch is 100 hours. The stainless steel bezel protects the recessed screen. The strap of the watch is made of silicone, or sometimes textiles. The lens is made of sapphire glass or mineral crystal.
It has vibration alerts, step counter, flashlight and GLONASS navigation which is not available in Suunto Ambit 3. Similar to the Suunto Ambit 3, it is equipped with an altimeter, barometer, thermometer and a digital compass.
It can connect to the Movescount app to figure out the summary of your workouts. You can connect it to both iOS and Android smartphones and manage the settings directly and receive notifications. The app also allows you to make your adventure into a Suunto Movie!
With numerous features and astounding battery life, Casio Pro Trek PRW-2500T-7 is ideal for mountaineers who are not bothered by the absence of GPS. The durability of this watch has attracted attentive buyers towards this product over a period of years.
2.2 x 2 x 0.6 inches
The watch features a digital compass, barometer, altimeter, altimeter memory and thermometer. The thermometer’s display range is from -10 degrees celsius to 60 degrees celsius. The compass supports magnetic declination and has a bearing memory. The barometer’s graph helps you predict the weather.
Weighing just 4 ounces, this watch is very handy for any trekker or climber. It has a duplex LC display, tide graph and moon data.
Casio Pro Trek PRW-2500T-7 resists water up to 200 meters. It is not affected by rainfalls. You can go swimming without the threat of damaging the watch in rivers or lakes.
Casio Pro Trek PRW-2500T-7 uses a solar-rechargeable battery. Its battery life is 5 months on a full charge and 23 months on a full charge with power-saving function (both without further exposure to light). It will be a surprise if you see your battery reach nil on this watch.
This watch is a non-GPS watch. However, it is very durable and comes with many features. It includes a stopwatch, countdown, calendar and alarms. Any hiker or climber who does not need a GPS watch will be completely satisfied with this watch.
Suunto Core Crush is another popular mountaineering watch that comes with amazing features. The only downside of this watch is that it lacks the GPS function. Otherwise, It is a great choice for anyone who is not bothered by the absence of the GPS feature.
1.93 x 1.93 x 0.57 inches
Suunto Core Crush weighs at 2.93 ounces. As mentioned earlier, this watch does not have GPS but comes with numerous hiking features. It has multiple date and time functions.
The watch processes information about atmospheric pressure by automatically switching between altimeter and barometer in accordance with the change in your altitude. It notifies you of any possible storm approaching with an alarm.
This watch is completely waterproof and is ideal for snorkeling or even scuba diving.
Like any normal watch, the battery of Suunto Core Crush lasts for one year, and the battery is replaceable.
You can find three versions of this watch with the same functions in the market. The difference is in the glass lens and strap. It comes in sapphire glass lens and mineral glass lens variants. Similarly, the strap is made of silicone or elastomer.
Bring out the explorer in you with the great features Suunto Core Crush offers with its combination of altimeter, barometer and a compass with weather information. You will also be informed about sunrise and sunset times.
Apart from sending notification of temperature and possible storms, this watch also offers depth meter for snorkeling.
Quite a new product in the mountaineering market, Garmin Instinct GPS was launched in late 2018. It has a sporty look and is gaining quite a good fan following among those who love hiking, trail running and other adventure sports.
1.8 x 0.6 x 1.8 inches
Garmin Instinct GPS weighs at 1.83 ounces. Its chemically strengthened and scratch-resistant display features high-contrast, which makes it readable even in the brightest sunlight.
The removable bands are made of fully vented silicone that ensures a comfortable fit on your wrist.
You can use the TracBack feature to navigate your starting point of the trek and plan your further trips accordingly by connecting to the Garmin Explore website and app.
This watch is water-resistant up to a depth of 100 meters.
The battery of Garmin Instinct GPS lasts 14 days in smartwatch mode. Similarly, it runs up to 16 hours in GPS mode, and 40 hours in UtraTrac battery saver mode.
Its fiber-reinforced polymer case adds strength and durability to the watch.
It has a display size of 1.2 inches.
It is good news for environment-friendly people as some of the components used in manufacturing this watch comes from recycled materials.
The Garmin Instinct GPS watch has a simplified sports mode. The in-built compass, barometric altimeter and multiple global navigation satellite systems like GPS and GLONASS help to predict the challenges your surrounding environment poses.
You can receive notifications by getting connected with your Smartphone via Garmin Connect and upload data automatically.
You can also monitor your activity level, stress and estimated heart rate.
8. Garmin Epix
Garmin Epix is a multisport watch with a handheld GPS system. Its compact size and basic square shape provide it with a distinct look.
With this watch wrapped around your wrist, you can gain access to diverse and detailed maps that include built-in worldwide shaded relief basemaps.
2.0 x 2.1 x 0.7 inches
The touchscreen available on this watch helps to navigate your journey with ease. Weighing only 3.04 ounces, it provides impressively detailed mapping on the 1.4-inch color screen.
The watch’s inclusion of a highly accurate 3-axis compass and downloadable maps with 8 GB internal storage makes this product instantly likable.
It is equipped with auto-calibrating altimeter, barometer and compass sensors and feeds you with real-time information. You will receive accurately monitored ascents and descents, along with weather change predictions.
Garmin Epix has EXO antenna made of stainless steel with GPS and GLONASS reception function.
Garmin Epix is waterproof up to a depth of 50 meters. It is sure to see through the roughest of weather you encounter during your mountaineering.
This watch features a rugged design with mineral glass lens and rugged PVD coated surfaces.
Because of its impressive internal memory and extensive mapping support, you can add and/or interact with other compatible maps like TOPO 24K, BirdsEye Satellite Imagery and City Navigator.
Garmin Epix allows you to automatically upload data to Garmin Connect and Social Media via your Smartphone.
You can also receive notifications, emails, texts, alerts, etc. directly on your watch. The Chroma touchscreen display is visible even under bright sunlight.
This watch is probably the best value for money among those provided in this list. The Casio Pathfinder PAG240-1 is powered by solar energy. After constantly improving the well-known PRO TREK series, Casio has brought this upgraded version to the PAG40.
It is a welcoming product for those who are not bothered by the absence of GPS function in their mountaineering watch.
2.25 x 2.0 x 0.6 inches
Among the watches on this list, this watch is slightly bulkier. The other downside of this watch is that it is not very stylish.
Having said that, the altimeter, barometer and compass functions in this watch are easy to use.
The resin band with buckle closure makes it easy to wear and comfortable on the wrist; therefore it erases the threat of losing it while in the wilderness.
Casio Pathfinder PAG240-1 weighs at 2.3 ounces.
Casio Pathfinder PAG240-1 is water-resistant up to 100 meters. It is suitable for snorkeling and swimming, but it is not recommended for scuba diving.
This Casio Pathfinder PAG240-1 can run for 6 months without sunlight. Its performance on any expedition, no matter the conditions, is good enough to attract many buyers. The battery can be recharged by the solar panel built into the face of the watch.
The watch is tough enough to handle the rough and difficult terrains you pass during your mountaineering. It can resist temperatures as low as -10 degrees celsius.
It has an amazing 31-time zone function for 48 cities. Also included is multiple alarms function.
This solar-powered watch senses the altitude and the moisture in the air. In addition, it’s full backlight with afterglow allows you to move out at night.
The trust people have shown towards Casio watches are reciprocated well by Casio G-Shock Rangeman GPR-B1000. This is the first-ever solar-assisted GPS watch with multifunction digital watch benefits.
This watch comes as a part of the ‘Master of G’ series of watches which is designed to be used in the most extreme conditions.
Although this watch is heavier compared to its competitors, its toughness along with many features makes it stand-out.
2.37 x 2.27 x 0.8 inches
Casio G-Shock Rangeman GPR-B1000 allows around 33 hours of GPS navigation on a wireless charge of 5 hours. Similarly, a solar charge of 4 hours allows 1 hour of GPS time.
The solar charging function helps to keep the time display powered at all times regardless of GPS function status. It also offers the luxury of charging wirelessly.
The Bluetooth connectivity range of the watch is about 2 meters. This watch weighs 5 ounces.
Casio G-Shock Rangeman GPR-B1000 is waterproof up to 200 meters.
This watch can withstand harsh conditions. The 2 millimeters thick ceramic base makes the watch shock-resistant. It has a mud-resistant feature along with dust and dirt-proof construction. It comes with a carbon fiber insert band.
The shock-resistant triple sensor makes it easier to read altitude, barometric pressure, temperature and direction.
It uses GPS satellites to collect location data in order to display the current location on a particular route on a real-time basis. The tracks and point data saved in the watch memory are displayed as a timeline or a 3D map.
It can withstand temperatures as low as -20 degrees celsius. It is a multi-sport wear that has pressure-based altimeter measurements.
The track and point data including longitude, latitude, altitude and temperature is saved via the GPS navigation system.
The time calibration uses communication between the connected smartphone to update the watch.
10 Best Mountaineering Watches Comparison Table
|Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|The Suunto 9 Baro||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Suunto Ambit 3 Peak||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Casio Pro Trek PRW-2500T-7||Yes||No||Yes|
|Suunto Core Crush||Yes||No||Yes|
|Garmin Instinct GPS||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Casio Pathfinder PAG240-1||Yes||No||Yes|
|Casio G-Shock Rangeman GPR-B1000||Yes||Yes||Yes|
(Note: ABC stands for Altimeter, Barometer and Compass)
Things to Remember Before Buying a Mountaineering Watch
Are you excited to go for your mountaineering adventure with a new watch on your wrist? We have a little bit of advice for you before you buy a watch. Apart from the 10 watches we have listed above, there are hundreds of different brands in the market ready to be adopted by the new owners.
However, there are a few factors you need to consider before making a decision. Some watches have amazing features than the others but you may not need all of those functions. Or maybe the price of the features you like is lesser for another brand with the same features.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Mountaineering Watch
Always know the features you want in your mountaineering watch before your expedition. Some of the major features that you must have are Altimeter, Barometer and Compass. These watches have the function of automatically updating the data in your watch memory for future use.
Altimeters measure air pressure so that you know the height you are in and can calculate the air density for you to do activities like camping in different locations.
Barometer assists you by measuring atmospheric pressure, which quickly helps you to be alert of any incoming storms. For example, you will know it will rain if the pressure drops.
Compass is very critical in mountaineering. The mountaineering watches offer 2D and 3D compasses. Make sure what you need before choosing your mountaineering watch.
Since mountaineering is mostly carried out in different time zone than you live, it is recommended that your watch has multiple time zones. It is easy for traveling, flipping between different time zones and keeps you away from fully resetting every time you travel.
Another major factor to consider is GPS which helps to track your location, the distance you have walked and the distance you need to cover before mountaineering.
Thermometer helps to know the temperature of the location and predict the weather in advance. Apart from that, don’t you want to brag to your friends how hot or cold the place you visited was?
Almost all mountaineering watches are waterproof. The only trick question here is – how deep can this watch dive before failing to resist water? Most will answer – 100 meters. Few mountaineering watches can dive deeper. Again the question is – what is your preference?
You will need a durable watch while mountaineering. Here, durability not only means a watch that has a long lifespan, but it should be able to resist shock, abrasion, scratches, water, and extreme temperatures.
Battery life is very important in mountaineering watches. Check how long the battery lasts after each charge.
Make sure that your watch is not too heavy. No one wants to be distracted by an uncomfortable watch while mountaineering. Check if the functions available are easy to operate. Look for the materials used in the band.
Before buying any mountaineering watch, make sure you will be using most of the features of the watch, if not all. You need to figure out what you need and what you will not.
Choose something with advanced technology so that you do not have to buy a new watch again when you go for mountaineering next year!
Cheers to your adventure!
Table of Content
- 1. Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire
- 2. The Suunto 9 Baro
- 3. Suunto Ambit 3 Peak
- 4. Suunto Traverse
- 5. Casio Pro Trek PRW-2500T-7
- 6. Suunto Core Crush
- 7. Garmin Instinct GPS
- 8. Garmin Epix
- 9. Casio Pathfinder PAG240-1
- 10. Casio G-Shock Rangeman GPR-B1000
- 10 Best Mountaineering Watches Comparison Table
- Things to Remember Before Buying a Mountaineering Watch
- Things to Consider Before Buying a Mountaineering Watch
- In Conclusion