As hunters, we know that it’s easy to get lost in the moment. For many of us, part of the appeal of hunting is to get out in nature and forget about having to be anywhere on time.
Anyone who has stood in a tree stand for hours waiting for a buck to appear or sat in a duck blind at dawn knows how the day can go by and how easy it is to lose track of time. But it’s also relatively common to actually get physically lost in the woods, which is why GPS watches are becoming more popular among active outdoorsmen including fisherman, hikers and backcountry skiers.
While it may be tempting to leave your watch at home and rely on your basic instinct and the angle of the sun to guess the time, modern watches do have a lot of features that go above and beyond just telling time. These options are not only convenient but could also help keep you safe.
Apart from the time, watch data can now give you current temp and other weather conditions, exact GPS location and path-tracking with detailed topo maps (the Garmin Fenix 5X Plus is the best we’ve seen so far when it comes to map display) and sunrise/sunset data.
The most advanced watch we’ve seen to date (the Suunto Traverse Alpha) actually detects gunshots to track the time and location of your shots.
Apart from the special features, all of these watches we’ve reviewed are ruggedly built and designed for outdoor conditions. Other features we took into consideration were solar batteries (to avoid your watch ever going dead out in the woods), water-resistance, and vibration settings (to avoid making noise while out in the bush).
Fall 2020 Update: If you’re looking for the latest and greatest Garmin watches -check out the new Garmin Solar edition watches, including the new fēnix® 6 – Pro Solar Edition and the tactix® Delta – Solar Edition with Applied Ballistics Calculator for precise long-range elevation and windage solutions. The solar watches give you 21 days of battery life – making them a reliable companion when you’re in the woods.
With all the options on the market today, hunting for your next watch can take a lot of time and effort. Hopefully, this article will make it easier for you to hunt down the best watches to wear in the wild.
Below you’ll find our list of recommended watches for hunting.
Top 10 Hunting Watches For 2020
Suunto Traverse Alpha: Our Top Pick
Made with glass fiber reinforced composite for the case; stainless steel knurled bezel and pushers; scratch-resistant sapphire crystal; water-resistant nylon textile strap; and water resistance of 100 meters, the ruggedly constructed Suunto Traverse Alpha really belongs to the great outdoors. It even meets the MIL-STD-810G military standard.
But the best thing about this Android and iOS compatible smartwatch is that it has all the functions a hunter will need for hunting. This watch was actually designed for fishing and hunting. But we’re going to focus more on the features perfect for hunting.
The “Automatic Shot Detection” actually keeps track of when and where you shoot! This cutting-edge technology uses the watch’s accelerometer to analyze your movement patterns and the gun recoil movement. The feature is most accurate when worn on your trigger hand (which could be a slight problem since most people pull the trigger with the dominant hand but wear their watch on their non-dominant) but it still can be worn on either wrist.
Other features include:
- ABC: Altimeter, Barometer & Compass
- Sunrise and Sunset times and alerts
- GPS/GLONASS route navigation
- Route preview and route altitude profile
- Breadcrumb view for path tracking
- Hunting point of interest
- Night vision goggle compatible.
And as timing is also a very important factor in hunting, its vibrating alarm will have you up before dawn for an early morning start.
In addition, with this watch, you can have access to Suunto Movescount app, where you to keep a diary of your hunting trips, as well as discover new routes with heatmaps and plan your routes with topographic maps. Apart from hunting, it has great features for any outdoorsman.
If you want a closer look, here is a hands-on review by the Team Backcountry
GoHunt and other online hunting forums also agree this is the ultimate hunting watch that every hunter must have with all those aforementioned features and more.
LBJ Outdoor Compass Watch: Affordable Budget Pick
If you are an outdoorsman on a budget, the LBJ Outdoor Compass Watch is one of the most affordable compass watches in the market that could satisfy the frugal hunter.
If you just want a simple watch at a reasonable price that also comes with useful features for hunting this is definitely worth a closer look.
Its PU silicone strap, Hardlex dial window, and plastic case along with its water-resistance of 50 meters make this digital watch durable enough.
Its barometer, thermometer, compass, and altimeter would be helpful in hunting. Its alarm would also come in handy, too, for making it on time for an early AM start.
It’s affordable yet very useful with its hunting-specific features and more.
Other Options To Check Out
So we’ve already captured the idea in regards to what is the top hunting watch and what is the affordable budget hunting watch, as we hit straight to the point. But you may also take a look at the other watches we’re presenting here in this article if you have something else in mind.
Garmin Fenix 5X Plus
Designed specifically for the sporty and outdoorsy persons, the Garmin Fenix 5X Plus has a lot of convenient features hunters will surely like.
In a superficial sense, it’s certainly ruggedly constructed with its stainless steel or diamond-like carbon (DLC) titanium bezel; fiber-reinforced polymer case with a metal rear; scratch-resistant domed sapphire crystal lens; and silicone strap.
Along with rugged construction that will allow it to withstand tough hunting conditions are features that will aid in hunting, such as its:
- TOPO maps
- Check out full specs of the Fenix 5X on Garmin.com
Or click here to see the newer 6X Fenix Pro to see if you think it’s worth upgrading to the latest model.
One feature worth highlighting in this smartwatch is its Trendline popularity routing that can give you an idea which routes. Although it excels as an outdoor watch, overall this is a feature-packed smartwatch. If you’re a music lover, its storage of up to 500 songs is perfect for you. Either an Android 4.4 or later with Bluetooth 4.0 or later, or an iOS 10.0 or later would work well with this smartwatch.
Casio G-Shock Camo Sport Watch
For most hunters, camouflage clothing is their attire of choice in hunting to keep themselves hidden from their targets. If you’re one of those hunters who prefer sporting camouflage, perhaps, you may also want to add the Casio G-Shock Camo Sport Watch to your hunting gear.
As any G-Shock watch, this digital watch is packed with a lot of useful features, but specifically for hunting, it has some great features to offer. And it’s one of the more affordable watches in the market.
To add to its hunting-appropriate design is G-Shock’s signature shock resistance that makes it extra durable along with its rugged construction composed of a resin case, a mineral crystal dial window, a silicone strap, as well as a water-resistance of 200 meters.
And to wake up early to get an early head start in your hunting, it has an alarm that will help keep you on time.
Much like the G-Shock watch from Casio, the Casio Pathfinder comes with a lot of great features. But this one has more hunting-specific features in store.
This durable digital watch is guaranteed to last with its stainless steel case, mineral crystal dial window, titanium strap, water-resistance of 100 meters, and Tough Solar Power feature that allows it to generate power from any light source, not just sunlight.
Apart from the features that make it durable and long-lasting for hunting, it has other useful features that will actually aid in hunting.
A hunter can trust this watch with its alarm, altimeter, barometer, thermometer, compass, and sunrise and sunset time data.
Casio G-Shock Master Of G Rangeman
You can get your timekeeping, as well as your hunting on point with the Casio G-Shock Master of G Rangeman.
Apart from efficiently providing time with utmost accuracy through the time calibration radio signals it receives made possible by its multi-band 6 atomic timekeeping, this digital watch would also be effective in providing important information for hunting with its altimeter; barometer; thermometer; compass; and sunrise and sunset data.
Let’s not forget the resilience every G-Shock is known to have. This digital watch comes with a resin case and strap, as well as a mineral crystal dial window. Moreover, as we could expect from any G-Shock, it’s shock resistant. It has 200-meter water resistance and is also mud resistant.
In addition to its toughness that will sure make it last long is its feature that makes it capable of sourcing power from any light source, the Tough Solar feature.
And for that effective early morning catch, you can count on its alarm to wake up before dawn.
Luminox 3051.BO Navy Seal
If you want a simple yet durable analog watch, you might like the Luminox 3051 Navy Seal.
This 200-meter water-resistant watch is made with a PC carbon reinforced case, a mineral crystal dial window, and a rubber strap.
To add to that, this watch also comes with a polymer unidirectional rotating bezel, if you opt for a watch with that additional particular function. This 3051 is the original Navy Seal Watch, click here if you’re interested in seeing what other watches the SEALS wear.
While they are not designed for hunting, they are good all-around tactical watches and the rugged features are what many outdoorsmen are looking for that want a durable watch without all the modern apps and features. The Luminox 3051 B.O (Black Out) pictured here is a perfect choice for a hunter since the stealth all-black design fits in with camo, compared to some of the bright yellow or orange faces that Luminox offers.
If these watches are made for special ops, they should be good enough for a weekend in the woods.
Smartwatches For Smarter Hunting
Since the time smartwatches first came into the market, it has been continuously evolving with more and more features being added, as they are being developed to cater to different kinds of people and to suit different kinds of activities apart from timekeeping. There are also now hybrid smartwatches that blend the analog watch with modern features of a smartwatch.
Usually, smartwatches also come with cellular functions that allow you to keep in touch with important people in your life while keeping up an active life.
So here, we will present the smartwatches that you can rely on their important functions for your hunting needs along with the details of their required operating systems.
With its fiber-reinforced polymer bezel and case; chemically-strengthened, scratch-resistant display; and silicone strap, the Garmin Instinct is one tough smartwatch. Not only that, it’s constructed to U. S. Military standard 810G for thermal; shock; and water resistance (rated to 100 meters).
Without a doubt, this is definitely tough hunting conditions-ready. It can also prepare you to be ready for some early morning hunting with its alarm that will have you woken up before dawn.
Apart from the aforementioned rugged construction and trusty alarm it has, it has several other useful features. But focusing more on hunting, its other relevant features include:
- 3-axis compass
- Barometric altimeter
- TracBack feature
- High-contrast display for readability under sunlight
- Check out full specs of the Instinct on Garmin.com
In addition, with this smartwatch, you can access the Garmin Explore for planning your trips in advance.
This smartwatch is compatible with both Android and iOS.
Garmin Tactix Bravo
Once again, another Garmin smartwatch made it on our list, with the Garmin Tactix Bravo.
With even more useful and even better features. It’s the ruggedly constructed, hunter-friendly, Android and iOS compatible
How durable is it exactly? It comes with a knurled stainless steel bezel with diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating, PVD-coated stainless steel buttons, a fiber-reinforced polymer case, a scratch-resistant domed sapphire crystal lens, and a ballistic nylon strap. It also comes with 100-meter water resistance.
You can count on its durability amidst the tough hunting conditions. Another thing you can count on this smartwatch is getting you up before dawn to be prepared for the perfect morning hunt.
And for further evaluation on how well this watch will work in hunting, let us delve more into its hunting-specific features. These are the other features it has in store for hunting:
- 3-axis compass
- Omni-directional stainless steel EXO antenna
- Real-time breadcrumb trail
- TrackBack feature
- Night vision goggle compatible
- Garmin’s trademark Garmin Chroma Display for sunlight-readability
- Check out full specs of the Tactix Bravo on Garmin.com
The package includes an olive drab-colored nylon strap that you can interchange with the black one.
Casio Pro Trek WSD-F20-RGBAU
Complying to the Military standard MIL-STD-810G along with its case and strap made of resin; dial window made of mineral crystal; and water resistance of 50 meters, the Casio Pro Trek WSD-F20-RGBAU is a remarkably durable smartwatch that can take tough hunting conditions for sure.
Apart from its durability, it has more features perfect for hunting. Like its:
- Full-color map display & Location Memory
This smartwatch is compatible with Android versions 4.3 and later. It is also compatible with iPhones 5 and beyond with iOS 8.2 or above but with limited functionality.
What we considered when selecting these watches:
- To assure that the watches are, indeed, the best in regards to quality and functionality, we’ve carefully analyzed and picked the watches suitable for hunting.
- For predicting weather and determining weather conditions to hunt or evade bad weather, a built-in barometer would do the trick.
- A compass and an altimeter would help you be aware of your way in the woods. Even more advanced navigation can be provided by a GPS feature, and even more so if with GLONASS and Galileo added to it.
- Water resistance and rugged construction would make a watch durable enough to withstand the tough hunting conditions.
- Sunrise and sunset time data would also aid in hunting, as it will help a hunter to know the optimal time to start hunting, as well as to maximize his time for hunting.
- An alarm would come handy for a hunter for him to wake up before dawn to have an early start on his hunt. Most of the watches mentioned here in this article have an alarm. But better and more preferred by others, would be an alarm that vibrates.
- Solar-powered is another desirable feature for hunting, for, with it, a hunter won’t ever have to worry about his watch running out of battery while he’s out in the woods.
That’s why we have concluded with the Suunto Traverse Alpha as our top pick and the LBJ Outdoor Compass Watch as our affordable budget pick.