If you are a hunter, then you probably know that it is common to get lost from the track while on a hunt. For most of the hunters, getting lost in nature is the real appeal of hunting.
So what’s the solution?
Obviously, GPS watches but not all of them are great for hunters, after researching a lot, finally, we have compiled a list of some of the best GPS watches for hunting.
GPS watches are becoming more and more popular because they are the easiest way to navigate your way through the forest.
We also recommend GPS smartwatches, especially to a hunter or any outdoor adventurer. Why?
Because when a hunter is sitting under the shade of a tree waiting for a deer to appear, it might take him hours to get the perfect moment and will lose track of time and, more importantly, his path.
So it’s crucial to have at least one GPS smartwatch for hunting or any outdoor activities to make your journey safe.
Let’s jump into the list.
Best GPS Watches For Hunting in 2020
If you are in a hurry, check out the table below for a quick glance and if you want just one single recommendation, then our top choice of best GPS watch for hunting right now is the Suunto Traverse Alpha.
|Product||Battery Life||Water Resistance|
|Suunto Traverse Alpha||Time mode: 14 days |
Training mode with GPS: 10, 15, 100 h
|Garmin Instinct||Smartwatch mode: Up to 14 days|
GPS mode: Up to 16 hours
UltraTrac™ mode: Up to 40 hours
|Garmin Fenix 3 HR||Smartwatch mode: Up to 2 weeks|
GPS mode: Up to 16 hours
UltraTrac™ mode: Up to 40 hours
|Garmin Tactix Bravo||Smartwatch mode: Up to 2 weeks|
GPS mode: Up to 20 hours
UltraTrac™ mode: Up to 50 hours
|Garmin Fenix 5X||Smartwatch mode: Up to 12 days|
GPS/HR mode: Up to 20 hours
UltraTrac™ mode: Up to 35 hours
|Casio Pro Trek WSD-F20||Normal use (color display): 1 day, roughly||50 meters|
To dig even deeper, check out the review for each product individually and the buyer’s guide at the end to help you select the best watch for hunting.
1. Suunto Traverse Alpha Foliage – Built For Hunters & Anglers
Suunto Traverse Alpha Foliage is built especially for hunters and anglers, comes with a rugged design, premium sapphire, knurled stainless steel bezel, water resistance, a nylon strap, and much more.
It has a sapphire which is mostly used in premium watches, and the benefit of it is that it’s a very hard material and doesn’t get scratched easily.
The watch is Finland made and was tested according to military standard, and durability is not a thing that anyone should worry about.
It supports vibration alerts, and there is also a backlight in this watch.
Backlight For Night Time Use
Besides all the features, one cool feature is the addition of a red backlight which can be a lifesaver when you accidentally forgot the flashlight with you.
You can use the watch to navigate through the dark forest on a hunt.
Automatic Shot Detection
What’s makes this watch even more unique is the automatic shot detection which is an entirely new way to record your hunt utilizing the built-in accelerometer to detect a point of interest when a shot is fired.
It will automatically create a point of interest (POI) based on that location, allowing hunters to accurately track shot distance and elevation.
It has a connectivity of a Bluetooth connection and can be hooked up to your mobile.
You can use the Suunto Movescount App (iOS and Android) to get all of your notifications on your watch.
Plan Your Day with Sunrise And Sunset Alerts
The watch has a special functionality specific to hunting and fishing, the sunrise alerts feature enables you to know about sunrise and sunset, a moon phase calendar and point of interest markets as well.
It helps you in determining the best time to do fishing or hunting so you can plan your day effectively.
GPS/GLONASS Route Navigation
The Glonass and GPS technology allows you to track your journey so that even if you get lost, you can easily find your way out.
The watch breadcrumb trail will track your path to help find the way you came from.
It’s a digital compass and a built-in-altimeter helps you to get out of the unknown areas.
Predict Upcoming Weather
Besides the sunrise and sunset alarm, it has a storm alarm as well which lets you know about the upcoming weather.
With this functionality, you can predict the weather changes so that you can make your decision whether you have to go hunting or not.
Has Incredible Battery Life
You heard it right, it has incredible battery life, you can use the watch without worrying for the next 14 days in time mode.
In training mode with GPS, you could expect 10 hours on the “Best” GPS accuracy setting, 15 hours on “Good” GPS accuracy setting and 100 hours on “OK” GPS accuracy setting.
One thing we recommend is to keep the watch on the “Locked” mode so you don’t accidentally press other buttons.
Our Verdict About Suunto Traverse Alpha Foliage
2. Garmin Instinct – The Absolute Best Outdoor Watch Ever
Garmin is a reputable name in outdoor watches built especially for the outdoorsman.
Let’s figure out why it’s the best watch for outdoor activities whether it’s a hiking, hunting or any other.
The Rugged Design
The Instinct watch has a rugged design that is made solely for the people involved in outdoor activities.
The Garmin Instinct consists of a strong design to hold up in worse conditions that the hunter can face in a forest, and constructed under the US Military Standards for a shock, thermal, and water resistance that is rated for up to 100 meters.
This is the kind of ruggedness that a hunter needs in a watch and survives in all the harsh conditions and works properly.
Navigation that keeps you on the trail
Since the Garmin Instinct is an outdoor watch, so it’s not surprising the watch excels at GPS tracking and navigation. The Instinct supports GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo and connects quickly to these satellite systems
The watch also comes with Glonass and Galileo support, which connects quickly to the satellite systems.
It has a built-in 3-axis compass, which is a really important tool for a hunter, so they can navigate their way through the forest or anywhere when the environments is more challenging than GPS alone.
Heart Rate, Activity, and Stress
Another great thing about Garmin Instinct is that it has some fitness features like heart rate monitoring and stress level indication.
These features are really necessary because a hunter needs to keep an eye on his heart rate all the time.
Also, the stress levels will help in knowing the current condition of his health and whether he should continue the hunt or not.
You can connect the watch with your smartphone and it is a really simple process.
Aside, this watch will automatically store your data and upload it to its community. You will also get all of your notifications on your watch and don’t need to take out your smartphone.
Navigate the same route (Tracback)
There is a feature in this watch called Tracback, which will be most useful for hunters.
In case you don’t know about tracback, it basically tracks your whole way and shows you the exact route from where you came which is really helpful if you get lost in the forest while on a hunt.
You will be easily able to get out of the forest.
It’s not limited to GPS only but you can track your outdoorsy side sports with over 25 different including the common ones running, biking, and swimming with high accuracy.
Impressive Battery Life
The battery life is really impressive, this watch has the battery life of 2 weeks when on the smartwatch mode while in the GPS mode, you can expect a battery life of 16 hours and up to 2 days on the battery saver mode.
The battery life of this watch is sufficient for any hunter but one thing we don’t like and that is you can only see the battery bar, not a percentage.
Our Verdict About Garmin Instinct
3. Garmin Fenix 3 HR – The Best All-Round Value for Money
Garmin is yet again in the market with another one of their outdoor watches, but this time, they have taken a different approach.
Instead of the rugged materials, they have gone with a soft silicon band which has its own pros and cons.
The brighter the light, the clearer the display
When it comes to outdoor watches, the screen of the watch must be bright and clear and Garmin did a great job of that.
Like many other Garmin watches, Fenix 3 comes with a 1.2” chroma display with LED backlight which is one of the main highlights of this watch.
The chroma display makes it easier to interact with the watch. The display quality is also really good. In case you don’t know about the chroma display screen and general screen, take a look at the picture to know the difference.
Image Credit: Garmin
The brighter the light, the clearer the display, so you will not face any glaring issues.
Also, the glass of the watch is made of sapphire, which is the strongest material after diamond.
Sometimes we have to wash our hands or do swimming, so no worries because it comes with a water resistance of up to 100 meters which is enough.
Navigate Your Way
Talking about the navigation features of this watch, it has GPS, Altimeter, Barometer, and TracBack® feature so you can easily use the maps to find your way when lost and navigates you back to your starting point.
You might be thinking about compass whether this watch has or not, so it has the electronic 3-axis compass to keeps your bearing whether you’re moving or not.
Wrist-Based Heart Rate Monitoring
The fēnix 3 HR includes elevating wrist heart rate technology allowing you to monitor your heart rate without wearing a chest strap.
Tracking your heartbeats is a good practice to keep tracking your fitness activities when on the hunt because your health is the first priority.
Not only that, but it also provides information about accurate calories burned and quantifies the intensity of your fitness activities as well.
The Battery Life Is Unbelievable
The best hunting watch is useless without a great battery life, right?
Most of the Garmin products have an amazing battery life, one of them is fēnix 3 HR which has a battery life up to 2 weeks but it depends on settings.
If you use the watch in GPS mode then you can expect a battery life up to 16 hours, however, in UltraTrac™ battery saver mode you can expect up to 40 hours.
There is also wireless connectivity in this watch which means you can use Wi-Fi to sync this watch with Garmin servers.
The Good & Bad of Garmin Fenix 3 HR
The pros being lightweight and comfortable wear of the watch. Cons being that when presented under harsh conditions, the durability of the watch will suffer.
Some hunters might prefer the soft feel of this watch and might even prefer it over the regular rugged watches.
Our Verdict About Fenix 3
4. Garmin Tactix Bravo – Best Outdoor Watch with Tactical Functionality
The main reason you might consider buying this watch is that it looks a bit cooler than the Fenix 3 HR, plus some additional features that most of you probably won’t be able to use which we’re going to discuss right now.
Tactix Bravo & Fenix 3 Common Features Highlights
Since we already discussed all the features of Fenix 3 HR so now I’ll just highlight the Tactix Bravo.
- Water-resistance rated up to 100 meters.
- GPS/GLONASS and TracBack feature.
- Wireless Connectivity
- 1.2-inch high-resolution, Garmin Chroma Display.
- Sapphire lens.
- Omni-directional stainless steel EXO antenna.
- Smart notifications.
These are some of the common features, now it’s time to talk about the difference between both products.
Tactix Bravo vs Fenix 3: What’s The Difference?
Goggle friendly night vision: Some of the hunters choose Night Vision Goggles in the dark, and this watch contains a mode that allows the backlight to minimize so that it won’t interfere with the night vision goggles.
Slight different bezel/case design: It has a black diamond-like carbon (DLC) knurled bezel which is slightly wider than the Fenix 3.
Sapphire glass: We know you’re thinking that Fenix 3 also has sapphire glass but not all of Fenix 3 units have that.
Nylon strap: The watch by default comes with interchangeable 3-ring nylon straps, including black and olive drab similar to NATO-style but slightly different size specifications.
Battery life: In smartwatch mode, both watches have a battery life up to 2 weeks but the Tactix Bravo battery life is a little bit longer up to 20h in GPS mode instead of 16h or up to 50h in UltraTrac™ battery saver mode instead of 40h.
‘Jumpmaster’ Mode: This mode helps when you’re jumping out of a plane and you want to navigate to a specific coordinate spot.
‘Tactical’ Mode: It allows you to display two sets of coordinates on a single screen like the pace you’re going, elevation, a timer, specific coordinates, projected waypoints and more.
Other than that no big differences, all the features are the same as Fenix 3.
Our Verdict About Garmin Tactix Bravo
5. Garmin Fenix 5X – The Best All-Rounder Watch
Many people who have the Fenix 5X is going to agree when we say that the build quality of this watch is insane and durable.
It has a rugged design with a stainless steel bezel, buttons, sapphire lens and more to make sure that the watch keeps up in harsh conditions. It also comes with reinforced housing, which gives it extra protection.
The durability of this watch is on another level and the watch is beautifully designed, very comfortable, and its size is about the same size as the Fenix 3.
One of the biggest advantages of the watch is that it has more detailed routable full-color TOPO U.S. maps, you can do many things with its maps.
Other than that, it comes with pre-loaded base maps, topographical maps, and a cycling map.
Round Trip Routes
It enables you to generate three different routes based on a specified distance and direction of navigation whether you’re going for running, cycling or other things, it’ll create a route for you based on your distance and the direction that you want to start.
Simply, you can start and then you can just follow that route and it’ll loop you back to where you started.
Navigating to a Point of Interest
With the help of this feature, you can search for food and drink shops, fuel services, lodging, entertainment within your device (Fenix 5X).
After searching, it will give a clear direction of all the available services near you.
Great Outdoor Navigation Features
It doesn’t make sense to include a watch that doesn’t have great navigation features but Fenix 5X has comprehensive navigation and tracking features.
The watch has built-in navigation sensors including GPS and Glonass, and it has an altimeter barometer and compass and also UltraTrac mode.
These features are crucial especially for hunter and hiker requires because with the help of these features you can get out of challenging situations.
Display & Readability Quality
The watch has Garmin chroma, bright full-color display and comes with backlighting which is useful in darkness.
The readability of this display is outstanding and can be easily read under any conditions.
Transflective technology makes it easier to read the watch faces easily. You also get the watch in a sapphire glass, which removes the chance of getting any scratches on the hunt.
Wireless Connectivity, Smart Notifications, Custom Apps and Watch Faces
It has wireless connectivity available in the form of Wi-Fi, you can easily connect your watch and upload your data online.
Most watches are either Bluetooth compatible or ANT+ compatible, however, this watch is both Bluetooth and ANT+ compatible which is great.
Besides, with the help of Connect IQ, you can customize your Fenix 5X whether you want to change your watch face, add data fields or get apps and widgets with free downloads.
It has smart notifications features that enable you to receive all your emails, texts, and alerts, so when you’re away from your smartphone you can get your the notifications right on your watch.
Monitor Your Heart Rate
Like many other Garmin watches, there is a wrist-based heart rate monitor present on the watch that measures your heart rate without wearing a chest strap.
Not only that, but it also provides calories burned information to let you know more about your fitness activities.
In smartwatch mode, the battery lasts longer up to 12 days, in GPS/HR mode you could expect up to 20 hours and in UltraTrac mode the battery lasts longer up to 35 hours without wrist heart rate.
Advanced Running & Sports Tracking
Since it’s a multisport GPS watch, so it has advanced running and sports tracking features.
A quick overview so it’s a full-blown multi-sport watch run cycle swim triathlons golf stand-up paddleboarding skiing trail running hiking,
Monitor & Track Your Performance
No doubt, this watch has the most advanced running dynamics, sports, and fitness tracking.
This watch is going to help you monitor your training and recovery to let you know effective is your current training plan.
Fenix 5X can measure advanced running metrics² for you to analyze your performance not only that but also help you in sports tracking such as swim training, golfing, paddle sports, skiing and a lot more.
Our Verdict About Fenix 5X
Casio Pro Trek WSD-F20 – Best Wear OS Outdoor Watch
Casio is famous for its durable watches, and the Pro Trek WSD-F20 doesn’t disappoint in this regard and has a rugged feel to it.
It has good outdoor features but from a sports and fitness tracking perspective, it’s not perfect.
Built Design and Water Resistant
As we said, the built quality of the watch is very durable with a rugged design. The rugged watch is the basic need of a hunter as they are usually in a forest where the weather conditions can change drastically.
The watch is also water-resistant and it can go up to 50m deep.
Well, this watch is durable and MIL-STD-810 certified but the design of the watch is bulky not fully circular which is the downside of WSD-F20.
GPS and Maps
It also has GPS support in it and color maps as well and you can also download maps. Due to the inclusion of Android Wear, it has Google Map support.
With the help of GPS and Maps, a hunter can easily find his way out of any situation that he is faced with and can never get lost in a forest.
The main feature is that you can also download offline maps that can help you even when there is no connectivity.
While planning your hunt or other outdoor activities, you can download the map of that area in advance so that you don’t rely on the network connection.
Being colored, it is easy to locate something. You can also mark different points and locations that can be of use later on in the hunt.
Battery Life and Charger
The battery life of this watch is just average, not great, Casio doesn’t give out any official info about the battery life, however, the battery only lasts about a day or two, on “Battery Saver” mode.
Locate with Microphone
The feature which stands out this watch is that you can either can mark locations with voice memos via the watch’s built-in microphone or also with a wide variety of icons.
Built-In Sensors & Quick Smart Features
It comes with 3 built-in accurate sensors that allow you to track Altimeter, Digital Compass, and Barometer.
There are other smart features in this watch, like the moment setter, which allows you to set reminders that are quite beneficial on a long hunt.
You can also get info about Sunrise, Sunset that helps in aiding you out on the trails and Tide information as well which determines you the best time to fish or hunt so you don’t get stuck out in the dark.
Google Fit for General Activity (Wear OS)
The watch is Wear OS compatible, in case you don’t know about Wear OS so without going into detail, it is a version of Google’s Android designed for smartwatches.
It allows you to download apps such as Google Fit for fitness tracking and more apps as well, and it’s one of the main benefits of this watch.
Our Verdict About Casio Pro Trek WSD-F20
Best Hunting Watches: Buyer’s Guide
There are certain things that are important when you are in the market looking for a hunting watch. Those features are listed below:
- Build and Design
- Smart Features
Build and Design
This is one of the most important things and should be neglected when buying a hunting watch.
You should look for a watch that meets the Mil-Standards and is also water-resistant.
The build should be of stainless steel because it’s the best material to use in a watch. The durability of the front glass of the watch should be high because you don’t want your watch to crack in the middle of a hunt.
Most of the hunting watches come with sapphire glass, and it is the best glass material around. The watch should also be comfortable, and the weight of the watch shouldn’t be that much.
A lightweight watch is always preferred because it will not feel heavy on the hand.
A hunting watch needs to have all the latest smart features. It should have mobile connectivity so that you can get all of your mobile notifications on your watch.
There should also be navigation sensors on your watch. It should have Glonass, GPS, Altimeter, Barometer, and Heart Rate Monitor. These are necessary for a hunting watch.
It is probably the most important sensor in a hunting watch. Most people get lost while on a hunt because you forget the path while following a deer.
You are too invested in the hunt that you forget where you are. This is where GPS comes into play.
With the help of GPS, you can easily find your way out of difficult situations.
A good hunting watch is represented by long battery life. The battery life of the watch should be several days or weeks.
There are some watches that offer weeks of battery life.
They should be considered first because long battery life is always welcome. You don’t want your watch to run out of juice while on a hunt.
There are different hunting watches present on the market with varying prices. The watch that you should be looking for is the one that provides the most features at the most affordable price.
Hunting watches can be really expensive, and you shouldn’t just buy the most expensive one. Be smart about your decision.
Hunting watches are becoming popular as different companies are coming out with different products that have various pros and cons to them.
The best hunting watches are usually the ones that has long-lasting battery life, smart features like Maps, GPS, Wireless Connectivity, etc.
All of the watches in the list are some of the best GPS watches for hunting, or any outdoor activities to make your outdoor adventures safe.
We hope our comprehensive guide makes your decision easier to choose a decent value for money watch for your outdoor needs.
We’re constantly updating this list too, so if we missed any best hunting watch or have any suggestions, please let us know via the comment section.
See you soon!