The 4 Best Camping Watches – Reviews 2021

best camping watch

Photo by Philip Milne / CC BY

When you’re going to be camping or hiking out in the wilderness, there are certain items that you simply have to have with you, such as a GPS and compass for navigation, and a clock for telling the time. Camping watches, also known as survival watches, come with each of these items and more. They’re also built to high standards and designed to outlast whatever the wilderness throws at them … and some even without requiring batteries to operate.

While watches may be one of the most ubiquitous items in our society today, you may find that the camping or survival watch is the most valuable item you have when you’re out in the wilderness. In this article, we’ll cover four of the most versatile and best camping watches on the market today and then go over the different qualities to look for in a camping watch.

Casio G-Shock Rangeman Triple Sensor Watch

You know you’re buying quality when you buy from Casio. The G-Shock Rangeman comes with a number of different features that make it a suitable survival/camping watch, such as a barometer that will alert you to the smallest of pressure changes going on in the atmosphere.

The Rangeman (see full specs) also comes equipped with a thermometer, a compass, alarm, tide indication, timer, and an altimeter. It relies on solar power in order to charge, so you will not be reliant on batteries. The glass over the dial of the watch is very durable and is water and scratch resistant.


Timex Expedition Camper

Digital watches are a dime a dozen and while nice, and very handy, they can’t beat a mechanical watch when it comes to style. The Timex Expedition Camper is a simple dial watch that is designed for the hiker, hunter, camper, and beyond. It features both time and date markers, with the time being in both a 12- and 24-hour clock. It’s a moderate sized watch face that is light and comfortable to wear.

Personally, I appreciate smaller watches when committing to activities. They tend to be lighter and less likely to interrupt my hand and wrist while moving. The Expedition Camper has luminous dials and numbers that glow gently and are tick silently. The simple canvas strap is light and weather resistant. The watch itself can be submerged down to 50 meters and keep on ticking; however, it is not a dive watch. It’s simple, stylish, and delightfully old school. Hands down, this is one of the best camping watches period.

Timex Expedition Camper Watch - Nylon Strap (For Men)

Suunto Core Wrist Top Computer Watch

The Core Wrist Top Computer Watch from Suunto comes packed with all of the features that you could ask for in a camping watch, including world time, a timer, altimeter ,barometer, compass, and thermometer. It is capable of measuring temperatures up to a hundred and forty degrees Fahrenheit and altitudes up to almost thirty thousand feet. This means that mountaineers, survivalists, and hikers alike will all find use out of the Suunto. Of course, the Suunto is also water resistant and shockproof.

Suunto Core HD Version

Citizen Men’s BJ7000-52E Nighthawk Stainless Steel Eco-Drive Watch

The Citizen Men’s Nighthawk Stainless Steel Eco-Drive is a virtually indestructible camping watch due to its Japanese quartz movement and crystal mineral glass construction over the dial. This material is also non-reflective, to give yourself a very low profile when out in the woods. The watch (see full specs) is also capable of resisting water up to depths of two hundred meters.

A slide rule bezel ring and crown are set on the 8 o’clock Position on the watch in order to make it a viable watch for pilots as well (this give you the ability to track consumption of fuel on a moving vehicle and to convert measurements).

Citizen EcoDrive Nighthawk Video Review

Qualities to Look for in the Best Camping Watch

Let’s talk about the qualities that you need to look for in your camping watch. The first quality, and hopefully the most obvious one, is its accuracy. Not only should the watch be accurate in telling time, but it should be accurate in all of the other features that the watch sports as well, such as the barometer or altimeter. And this accuracy needs to be consistent; you shouldn’t be having to reset your watch every few weeks, for example.

Another important quality to look for is for the watch, or at least for the digits on the dial, to light up when it’s dark outside. This will especially prove critical for when you’re on the move during the night. Knowing the time of night is just as important as knowing the time of day.

In addition, a dial that glows will also make it easier to tell the time while you’re in the middle of a physical activity, such as hunting, driving, hiking, climbing, skiing, swimming, or whatever. Since these are camping watches built for wilderness and/or survival use, the watches as a whole need to be very durable with the lenses being scratch resistant.

Keep in mind that you’re going to be using this watch for years, and during those years it’s going to have to absorb numerous impacts, scratches, and force that come with fun outside activities. Through it all, you want your lenses to be scratch free. If not, not only will it be harder to tell the time, but it’s a sign that the overall watch as a whole is possibly deteriorating.

Finally, look for a watch that has a robust build to it, and this doesn’t necessarily mean the weight has to be heavy (especially since a lot of modern watches are digital in nature). You obviously don’t want your watch to be too heavy to the point that it weighs down your arm, but it can’t be flimsy or light as a feather either. Buying a watch with a solid build quality and maybe a bit of heft (in contrast to a super-lightweight watch) means you’re buying a real watch, not a simple toy.

In short, any of the four products that we have recommended could qualify as the best camping watch. Regardless of whether you choose one of those watches or another one on the market, look for a watch that is accurate, has a lighted dial to tell the time in dark conditions, and has a durable build that will easily sustain years of abuse.  They will serve you well next time you’re camping or whatever other activity you choose to partake in.  Good luck!

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