7 Best ABC / Altimeter Watch Reviews (Top Picks of 2018!)

Altimeter & ABC watches can be a great way to reduce the number of items you bring with you when camping, hiking, etc. Hikers should not carry any more than 20% of their total body weight when backpacking or hiking. This is because the extra weight weighs you down, and prevents you from continuing on for longer.

Because of this, many hikers might want to find a way to lower the amount of stuff they carry with them. This includes a compass, a map, shelter, tools, etc. Any way that you can reduce the amount of stuff that you drag along with you, the better.

This is why an ABC watch (Altimeter, Barometer, Compass watch) is a great replacement for potentially tons of stuff. This will allow you to better prepare for your upcoming grizzly bear fight.

Best Altimeter Watch Comparison

The below links will bring you to Amazon:

Top Features:



This is exactly what it sounds like: An Altitude Meter. It helps to find out what elevation you are currently at. This can help with hiking, mountain climbing, or even simply because you’re a numbers nerd and like that information.

Watches are generally able to determine this either by air pressure, GPS, or both. The further up you go, the less pressure the air exerts on you, allowing sensors on your watch to react accordingly, and thus estimating (accurately enough) your height.


Barometers are used to show Barometric Pressure, which is a great way to track weather patterns. This can help you to prepare for a storm that is coming. It also helps you to determine if a storm is going to fade soon. It works better than just sitting under a makeshift tent and not knowing when it is going to stop raining.



This is a great way to ensure that you don’t get lost. This is a great thing to have if you are in the middle of a forest or snowfield, and you forgot which way you were heading. It also helps to determine your altitude and works well with air pressure to do that.


The main part of having a watch is to tell time, right? Well, the clock features can also change, depending on if it is an atomic clock, a GPS clock, or a clock with manual settings.


Many altimeter watches come with a compass, which helps you to determine your current location as well as the way that you are heading. Some watches have a manual compass, while other’s have a digital compass. A digital compass can be more beneficial as it can tell you your direction regardless of where your wrist is pointing.


Air Temperature

While not too many watches have this function, it is a good feature to have. The Garmin Fenix 5X has this feature, and while it can help with people who can’t hike over certain temperatures, there are some issues. For instance, it does not take the heat of your wrist into account.

While this can be irritating, it can be avoided. Just take off the watch, and wear it around your neck for a bit, and a more accurate temperature will be read.

Battery Life

Battery Life is vital to your watch, as nothing is more useless than a dead watch. However, batteries come in a variety of types. Traditional, Solar, and USB charged. When you are out hiking, solar will probably be your best bet. The Casio PRW-6000Y is a good example of a watch that has this capability.


Since the watch needs little electricity to power it, it does not need to be charged for too long. As little as 6 hours in the sun will suffice. However, solar powered watches can be a bit pricey, so it is great to determine your budget before you take out a second mortgage to buy one.

The Garmin Fenix 5, Suunto Ambit3 Peak, and the Suunto Core Traverse all have a USB charging feature.

Button Size

While it may seem like a silly and trivial thing, a watch with larger buttons can actually be beneficial in many ways. For instance, if you ware wearing gloves, having a watch that you can still adjust while wearing them is definitely a plus. Larger buttons are just better anyway, as even without gloves, it makes it less of a shore to change the settings.

Glass Type

Some of the glass that is on watches are better than others. The best type of glass that you should look for is a mineral glass. This type of glass is less prone to scratches and other kinds of dings. The last thing that you should want is a several hundred dollar watches that easily scratches.


Having a watch that breaks soon after you buy it is simply a waste of money. For instance, finding a watch that has rubber straps on it will help you to keep your watch for a long as possible. They are also more comfortable and fits around clothing more easily.

Heart Rate Monitor


Like many of the others, this is not that important, but it is a nifty feature to keep an eye out for. The Garmin Fenix 5, for example, comes with this feature. It can help you to know your personal physical performance, in case you are interested in that sort of thing.

Types of Altimeter Watches

When it comes to Altimeter watches, there are generally two kinds. There are Traditional watches that come with the basic necessities, and then there are GPS watches, that have a lot more functions. Both of them can be useful, but it is good to find a watch that fits your lifestyle, so you do not pay more than you have to.


Credit Casio.com, Suunto.com


Traditional ABC watches have the basic necessities. It generally comes with just an altimeter, a barometer, and a compass. Very little else is there, but it is generally a much cheaper watch as a result. For some hikers, this can be plenty. But for many others, you could probably use more functions.


While this is not seen with every GPS watch, and every watch is different, these watches generally have these features. They can show your altitude, which can help when you are hiking or climbing. Fitness features, such as a heart rate monitor can be seen with some models.

Weather functions are available as well, so you get a more accurate representation of the coming weather. Many allow you to upload programs and games as well, although this is a minor feature, and probably should not be used on long distance travels.

However, with all of these functions come a price. Not only are the more expensive, but they also use a lot more battery life than the more traditional watches. This is especially true if you are using the GPS function on your GPS watch. The watch life can be 8-50 hours, depending on many factors, such as power settings. So be aware of this.

Onto the ABC Watch Reviews of our favorite bands:

Onto what we all have been waiting for…

Casio Men’s Pro Trek Review

Casio Men's 'PRO TREK' Quartz Resin Sport Watch, Color:Black (Model: PRW2500-1A)

Check Amazon Reviews/Prices

Notable Features:

  • It has a water resistance of up to 200 meters
  • It keeps track of time with atomic timekeeping
  • Is solar powered
  • Has a duplex display
  • It comes with moon data
  • Altitude measurements
  • Barometer for accurate weather measurements
  • Temperature Display
  • Has a full backlight
  • Shows time all around the world
  • Power saver function

What makes it a good choice?

When it comes to the best features of this watch, the shining star (Pun unintended, maybe) would be the solar charged battery. This battery is a godsend to anyone who goes hiking, or pretty much any outdoor activities. Since you don’t have to worry about battery packs or charge times, you no longer have to fear a dead watch in the middle of a forest.

It also has a power save option, which helps to increase the potential battery life. This can increase your power option by many hours. However, with the solar-powered battery, you may not need to use this feature often.

What are the drawbacks

No GPS function available. This can be a bit of a let down if you are trying to find a watch that will tell you where exactly you are. The temperature function is often off as well, but that is because your body heat messes with the readings.

Another issue would be the automatic lighting feature. It turns on when it faces you, but if you press a button, it immediately turns off. This can be irritating if you want to adjust your watch in the dark.

Suunto Ambit3 Peak Review

SUUNTO Ambit3 Peak HR Monitor Running GPS Unit, Black

Check Amazon Reviews/Prices

Notable Features

  • Route Navigation with the ability to track your path.
  • Altimeter
  • Barometer
  • Compass
  • Information about the weather
  • Shows your heart rate, even while swimming
  • Shows speed, distance, and pace when walking or running
  • You can get more features by downloaded Suunto apps, such as heat maps.
  • Best for skiing**

What makes it a good choice

The fitness features make this watch a great twofer, making it good for hiking, as well as simply tracking steps, speed, distance, etc. This is great for anyone who likes to calculate and utilize numbers.

It is also good for anyone who wants the ability to add other features to their watch at will. The Suunto store has a variety of apps to choose from, which makes having a watch like this interesting.

What are the drawbacks

The battery is lithium ion, meaning that once it dies, you will have to purchase a whole new battery. Sadly, it does not have the rechargeable features that watches like the Casio Men’s Pro Trek has. The battery does not last that long either, making it a pain when outdoors.

Garmin Fenix 5x Review

Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire (Slate Gray with Black Band) Bundle with Screen Protector, PlayBetter Portable Charger & Protective Hard Case | Multi-Sport GPS, TOPO Maps/Navigation & On-Wrist Heart Rate

Check Amazon Reviews/Prices

Notable Features

  • Tempered glass screen protector
  • Comes with a portable charger that gives up to 2 full charges
  • Has a protective case to keep it safe when not in use
  • USB charging cable
  • GPS
  • Altimeter
  • Barometer
  • Compass
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Battery generally lasts a week or more

What makes it a good choice

This watch comes with many cool and unique features, such as coming complete with a protective case, as well as a portable charger. With USB watches, power, while you are out and about, can become a serious issue. By having this portable charger with you, you can mitigate that issue by using simply recharging, even if you are hiking, or otherwise not home.

The tempered glass protector is also a great feature, as it prevents the watch from becoming damaged. Just place on the front of your watch, and reap the benefits. You can also pop off the band and add a new one, which is also nifty.

What are the drawbacks?

The screen protector might not actually fit on your watchphone. This can be annoying, but it is not a necessary part of the watch.

Suunto Traverse Review

Suunto Traverse Graphite

Check Amazon Reviews/Prices

Notable Features

  • Has GPS
  • Real-time view of your route
  • Can track speed and distance traveled
  • Water resistant up to 100m
  • Weather trends, including a storm alarm
  • Times for sunrise-sunset
  • Has a flashlight mode and a backlight
  • Time updated via GPS
  • Alarm goes off via vibration
  • Tracks steps and even calories burned daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly.
  • Notifications can be accessed via mobile
  • Altimeter
  • Barometer
  • Compass

What makes it a good choice?

This watch is great as it can double up as a fitness watch. With the ability to track calories burned, steps are taken, and speed, distance, etc, it can work as more than one device. This can give you more bang for your buck.

It also shows weather patterns beyond a simple barometer. The Suunto Traverse can even alert you to incoming weather patterns, and inform you when it is time to find shelter before a storm.

What are the drawbacks?

One main issue with the watch that it can be fairly bulky, so bulky that it apparently uses a CR2 battery. They can also be incredibly pricey. At the time of writing this, they can cot as much as 450$ for a single watch. Granted, the watch is very high tech and comes with a ton of good features, but it can be out of reach for someone’s price point.

Like with other watches, using any of the functions can quickly drain the battery life. Given that this watch is not rechargeable, that can become pricey in other ways.

Casio PRW-6000y Review

Casio Men's Pro Trek PRW-6000Y-1ACR Solar Powered Black Analog-Digital Sport Watch

Check Amazon Reviews/Prices

Notable Features

  • Water-resistant to 99 feet
  • Solar powered
  • Altimeter
  • Barometer
  • Thermometer
  • Compass
  • Slim
  • Digital

What makes it a good choice?

Like the Casio Men’s Pro Trek, this watch is solar powered, meaning that it does not need to have its battery changed or charged via a cable. This is very convenient and helps a lot when you are outside hiking or mountaineering.

It is also fairly slim, which gives it not only less weight, but not be as bulky. When you are hiking in the woods or mountain climbing, the less weight you can have on your body is best.

What are the drawbacks?

The main criticisms surround the watch’s glow in the dark feature. These are so small that many people have a problem even seeing them.

Another issue is the price. As of writing this, the watch costs over 330 dollars, which can easily be far outside of anyone’s price point. However, if you are out and about often, that may be an investment worth having.

Casio Pathfinder Review

Casio Men's Pathfinder PAG240-1CR Solar Powered Triple Sensor Sport Watch

Check Amazon Reviews/Prices

Notable Features

  • Altimeter
  • Barometer
  • Thermometer
  • Compass
  • Sunrise/Sunset time display
  • LCD screen
  • Solar powered
  • Auto backlight
  • Resistant to low temperatures
  • Water-resistant to 100m
  • Watch can work for up to 6 months, even in complete darkness
  • Great for skiers

What makes it a good choice?

It is the only watch on this list that I read to be resistant o low temperatures. This means that it would be great for skiers. Given that, as well as the watches solar powered recharge, it should make an awesome skier or snowboarding watch.

As I have mentioned with the other Casio watches, the solar-powered feature is a huge plus. The fact that you don’t have to plug it in, or change the battery when you are out hiking or mountaineering could sell this watch on its own.

What are the drawbacks?

The compass feature can easily get dirt in it, which can cause it to stop working altogether. This can be rather irritating when you are lost and trying to find your way.

The alarm function has also been known to be almost inaudible. Kinda pointless feature an alarm is if you can’t hear it.

Suunto Core Review

SUUNTO Core Regular Black Digital Display Quartz Watch, Black Elastomer Band, Round 49.1mm Case

Check Amazon Reviews/Prices

Notable Features

  • Altimeter
  • Barometer
  • Compass
  • Sunrise/sunset times
  • Digital display
  • Weather information display
  • Battery Display

What makes it a good choice?

The display can be negative (black and white numbers, not emo or gothic) which makes it far easier to read in the dark. This can be beneficial because the backlight is awful. However, it is fairly cheap, so we can’t expect perfection.

It is also very simple. No need to worry about a million different features when you only need a few. That can keep you from accidentally pressing on functions you don’t need.

What are the drawbacks?

It uses a regular battery, meaning that there is no recharging it when the battery finally dies. Although the battery itself does seem to last for up to 12 months… if you don’t use any of the other features. This can generally be costly over the long term, as using any of the functions will obviously drain the battery much quicker than if you used it simply for timekeeping.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to things you should watch for, many questions may come to mind.

  • Why should I get one? If you want to consolidate your gear to include fewer items on your trip, than this type of watch is for you. It also takes the guesswork out of many things, such as weather forecasting, helping you in the long run.
  • Who should get one? Pretty much anyone from hikers to skiers will benefit from having an Altimeter watch in some way shape or form. Some even have fitness features, to help you train, even when you are not on a hike. Pretty much anything from Garmin can be useful on that front.
  • What can I afford? These watches can become pretty expensive, getting up to, if not over, 500 dollars for a single watch. The cheaper ones, however, can be under 200$. So make sure that you know your budget going into this, and see if you want to make an investment or go for the cheaper one.
  • How often do you hike/climb/etc? One with fewer features would be best if you don’t go out often. These watches generally are designed to make life easier for people to hike or climb often.
  • Am I going to use this short term or long term? This can help to determine not only your price but your features as well. If you are going to use it for long periods of time, and for awhile, Solar batteries are the best bet to save on the cost of batteries long term.

The best kind of watch that you should look out for is anything that is solar powered. Most Casio watches tend to be this way. This is because you don’t have to worry about the battery dying on you, as it is in a constant state of charge.

Getting a watch that matches your budget, as well as the features that you need can be complicated at times, but it seems as if Casio and Suunto are good brands to look at when you are keeping an eye out for a good altimeter watch.

I hope that you found this article helpful, and if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us.


Scott Moey

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: