If you’re in a rush and want to find out what the best survival watch is, we recommend the COROS VERTIX 2 watch.
Whether you’re in a survival situation by choice or by circumstance, some data is going to be invaluable in your effort to stay safe and alive. Among these are locational data, as well as information about barometric pressure and temperature to help predict weather changes.
How are you supposed to get this information off-grid, you may ask? This is where the best survival watch comes in, providing all of this data and more, keeping you informed so you can make accurate decisions that have a significant impact on your wellbeing.
In this article, we’ll be reviewing the following best survival watches:
- Casio BioMass PRW-6611 Watch – Best Affordable Survival Watch
- Garmin epix Sapphire GPS Watch – Most Versatile Survival Watch
- COROS VERTIX 2 – Best Overall
- Casio G-Shock Carbon Mudmaster GWG2000 Watch – Most Durable Watch
- Garmin fenix 7 Multisport GPS Watch – Best Survival Watch with Touchscreen
- Suunto 9 Baro – Best Watch with Large Display
- Suunto 9 Peak Pro – Best Watch with Thin Display
- Garmin Forerunner 945 LTE – Best Training Watch
- COROS APEX 2 Pro – Best Bang for Your Buck
- Garmin Enduro 2 – Editor’s Choice
Best Survival Watches – Reviewed
With a 2 inch watch face, the Casio BioMass is one of the largest watches in this review, holding its own with the Suunto Baro. As an analog watch, it doesn’t have a touchscreen, and you can’t use the settings the same way as the Garmin Epix. With the Epix, you can pull up a full map with GPS coordinates on the screen, but with the BioMass, you’re limited to simple information.
Still, this one by Casio isn’t lacking when it comes to the ABCs. You still get a fully functional altimeter, barometer, and compass, which are the components that really matter in a survival situation. It’s also waterproof down to 100 meters, which makes it suitable for snorkelers and some divers.
Despite being fairly basic, the BioMass is one of my favorites because of how durable it is. Broadly speaking, it’s waterproof and pretty shock resistant as well. And since it’s an analog watch, there aren’t quite as many electronics on the inside that you have to worry about malfunctioning.
You don’t have to worry about the battery running out either. It’s a solar powered watch, so as long as you expose it to adequate sunlight, you’ll always be able to charge it. It’s a useful feature for survival situations, since you might not know when you’ll get a chance to connect to a power source again!
– Very durable
– Solar powered
– Big display
– Analog can be useful
– Lacking some advanced features
Most Versatile Survival Watch
It’s a little expensive, but the Garmin Epix is a stylish survival watch that can do it all, providing accurate navigation and biofeedback data at the touch of a finger.
Encompassing almost everything that you could ever hope to find in a watch (survival or otherwise), the Garmin Epix is a beautiful sapphire and titanium timepiece. Since it’s made from such durable materials, you can expect a lot out of its performance. Even after a lot of abuse, I’d be surprised if you noticed any internal or cosmetic damage, as it’s highly resistant to scuffs and scratches.
But, design aside, you have to wonder how the watch will perform under pressure. I’ve seen a lot of watches that sport dim displays that are hard to read when you’re inside, let alone when you’re trying to squint through the bright afternoon sun. If you’re in a snowy environment, it will be even worse, since you’ll have to deal with the sun’s reflection off the snow as well.
Considering the price on the Epix, it’s no surprise that it comes with a bright, AMOLED display that’s easy to read in any condition. I also like how detailed the navigation system is, providing highly accurate GPS information in a format that’s easy to read and understand.
Since this is the Sapphire edition, you’ll receive predownloaded topo maps on the device, in addition to 42,000 golf course downloads. As you can expect from almost all Garmin watches, the Epix also tracks and records your biodata, which can easily be reviewed in the user-friendly phone app.
– Bright display
– Predownloaded maps
– Accurate GPS
– Attractive design
– Mediocre battery life
A highly durable watch with a stellar battery life, the COROS VERTIX 2 is able to connect to all major satellite systems, keeping you navigationally aware, regardless of where you are in the world.
In a survival situation, navigation and durability are two features that you want to have in a watch. The Vertix 2 excels in these departments, and as you can probably tell from the name, it’s the second generation of watch with this name.
Unlike the first generation, the Vertix 2 can communicate with all major satellite system to provide accurate navigational data anywhere in the world. That means you can connect to GPS, Glonass, Galileo, Beidou, and QZSS. When one of these signals gets lost, you can be sure that the others will pick up the slack, making sure you never get lost in tall buildings, dense trees, or mountain valleys.
The battery life is pretty impressive as well, lasting a solid 140 hours in full GPS mode. However, if you’re trying to conserve as much battery as possible, you can last 60 days on a full charge with normal use, which is practically unheard of among survival watches.
On the whole, the Vertix shares a lot of features with Garmin watches, though you’ll get it for a smaller price tag. It even has a number of customization options, such as the ability to set it as right hand or left hand, which my wife really appreciates as a lefty. Still, despite being so feature rich, it’s a little lacking compared to some Garmin products. As long as you’re satisfied with what it provides, though, I’d take the cheaper price any day for a watch with this battery life and durability.
– Highly accurate navigation
– Can be set as either right or left handed
– Good size
– Very customizable
– Stellar battery life
– Map feature not integrated into all workouts
Most Durable Watch
Despite sporting a fairly simple design, the Casio G-Shock Mudmaster is one of the most durable survival watches out there, resisting water, mud, shock, and much more.
It’s certainly not the cheapest watch in this review, but the Casio G-Shock Mudmaster is arguably the most durable. I also don’t find it to be the most aesthetically pleasing, and it certainly doesn’t have all the features that you’ll find on a Garmin or a Suunto. However, it’s not like you really need stealth mode or a kill switch anyway. And when it comes to the basics and essentials, few watches do it as well as the Mudmaster.
With a straightforward design, the Mudmaster is a no-nonsense sort of watch, where what you see is what you get. A number of buttons can be found around the edge of the bezel, which can be used to change the setting on the watch. Conveniently, the buttons of the right side are used to check the altimeter and the compass, allowing you to view these important details without using too much brainpower to find them.
On top of the basic ABCs, you’ll find a clock (obviously), a timer, a stopwatch, and a temperature reader. Beyond that, there isn’t very much to the Mudmaster, which makes it somewhat limited in its capabilities. At the same time, you won’t have a steep learning curve either, like you might find with a Suunto.
Overall, it’s not a very feature-rich survival watch, but I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. What you lack in versatility, you more than make up for in water, mud, and shock resistance, and it still covers all of the basics with flying colors.
– Shock and water resistant
– User friendly
– Very durable
– Accurate altitude and GPS
– Tide/moon monitoring
– Not as stylish
– Lacking many advanced features and tracking
Best Survival Watch with Touchscreen
A great multisport watch, the Fenix 7 has many of the features you’d hope to find in a survival watch, including a phenomenal battery life and highly accurate GPS.
It’s the seventh generation of Garmin Fenix, so you’d better hope that this watch would be a cut above the rest. Let me just start by saying that, if you own an older generation of Fenix and you’ve been on the fence about upgrading, this is me telling you to go for it. It’s definitely worth it.
Compared to the Fenix 6, this timepiece is sharper, cleaner, and faster, especially when it comes to the GPS. The touchscreen is a nice bonus, making it easier to flip through the extensive catalog of features. If you’ve never owned a Garmin before (and even if you have), it may take you a few days to become familiar with all of the screens, widgets, and apps.
The battery life is where the Fenix really shines, though. You can easily go weeks between charges, which is exactly what you want to see in the best survival watch. This particular version doesn’t have any solar charging capabilities, but you can upgrade to the Sapphire edition for that feature. Still, even without the solar charging, the Fenix 7 doesn’t take very long to go from empty to full when plugged into a wall outlet or power bank.
It doesn’t do quite as well in water, especially when compared with the Mudmaster, and there have been reports of malfunctions from people who swim with the Fenix on. However, if you don’t plan on submerging it for long periods of time, the Fenix shouldn’t have any trouble surviving rain showers or river crossings.
– Decent price
– Great battery life
– Fast and easy to use interface
– Accurate GPS
– Doesn’t do as well submerged
Best Watch with Large Display
Stylish with a highly accurate barometer, the Suunto Baro might not be my first pick for intense survival situations, but as a versatile option that can work on and off the grid, it’ll be hard to find something better.
Suunto is a Finnish company that makes outdoor gear, most notably compasses and watches. It’s hard to find fault with their design process, and as far as survival watches go, I have to say that Suunto makes the most aesthetically pleasing items on the market. In particular, the Baro 9 is a good-looking timepiece with a large screen, providing data that’s easy to read.
In addition to the 2 inch display, the Baro comes with a bright screen, making it easy to read in direct sunlight and at night. Despite the stylish design, it also sports a surprisingly durable titanium bezel, so you can play rough with it without too much concern. In my opinion, the battery life is also slightly better than average, though you will find a number of watches in this review that do it better.
Unfortunately, most Suuntos have a terrible user interface. It has a steep learning curve, and even after a breaking in period, it still feels more complicated than necessary. That being said, I was surprised to find that the Baro was relatively straightforward and easy to use. You should have too much difficulty navigating the features on the watch, and the Suunto app is pretty user-friendly as well, though I do have a preference for the Garmin app.
With a name like “Baro,” you’d expect this survival watch to have an amazing barometer, which unsurprisingly, it does. It’s a shame this accuracy didn’t transfer to the GPS itself, but for the most part, it does a good enough job for most people’s needs.
– Attractive design
– Large watch face
– Accurate barometer
– Simple interface
– Tracks biodata well
– GPS isn’t as accurate as some other watches
Best Watch with Thin Display
A stylish watch with a thin face and plenty of features, the Suunto 9 Peak Pro is great for survivalists who want a good-looking timepiece to show off at their next family get-together or friendsgiving.
Surprisingly easy to setup (Suunto isn’t really known for its user friendliness), the 9 Peak Pro is one of the newer watch models created by Suunto. Right off the bat, I have to admit that this watch is one of the most aesthetically pleasing products in this review. I’m a big fan of the sleek black design, the simplicity, and the reasonable price tag. It’s somewhat difficult to find a watch of this caliber for such a “low” cost.
Even so, the Peak Pro isn’t without its flaws. The interface is a little laggy, and the magnetic charger doesn’t like to stay attached and it doesn’t power the watch very well. The screen itself also feels a little dark unless you have the backlight running on max power, but that’s a relatively minor complaint.
When all is said and done, I do appreciate the effort that Suunto put into the GPS system. This is one of those features that really counts in a survival watch, so I’m glad the Peak Pro has it, even if it doesn’t come in the form of an actual map – like you might find in most Garmins.
When fully charged, the battery lasts for a good long while. The watch itself is also quite comfortable, and the display is thin and unobtrusive. If you’re tired of your watch catching on sleeves and backpack straps, it might be time to look at a Suunto, instead of the comparatively bulkier Garmin watches.
– Sleek design
– Good navigational system
– Decent price
– Thin watch face
– Comfortable fit
– Battery is slow to charge
Best Training Watch
Despite being designed for running sports, the Forerunner is still an effective survival watch, featuring an extensive array of metric tracking, positional data, and an easy to use interface.
Technically speaking, the Garmin Forerunner was designed for running and triathlons. However, given the features built into it, this watch is more than suitable for survival situations as well.
Like any good survival watch, the Forerunner has all of the ABCs built in, along with a highly accurate GPS system. In case you find yourself in an area where GPS doesn’t work, the Forerunner also has GLONASS and Galileo to provide additional navigational support.
The customizability of the Forerunner is also something to be admired, along with the decently sized display. It sports a touchscreen, which I know some of you will find attractive, though I prefer the old-fashioned way of using the buttons along the bezel. Still, I can’t deny that the touchscreen is pretty handy for maneuvering through the various training tools, music selections, and navigation. As far as I can tell, all of the metrics (both positional and biological) seem to be pretty spot on, providing an accuracy you can depend on.
I will say that the battery life is a little lacking, especially when compared to other watches in this review. However, this version of the Forerunner does have a better battery life than its predecessors, and you do have the ability to charge it by using the sun. That being the case, you could easily survive for a couple of weeks in the wild without needing to plug your watch into a portable power bank or something similar.
– Great for training purposes
– Accurate GPS
– Decent battery life
– Solar charging
– Connect to music streaming
– Good size, easy to use, and lightweight
– Some users receive a rash from the watch band
Best Bang for Your Buck
Giving you the best bang for your buck, the Coros Apex 2 Pro is a fairly affordable survival watch that rivals Garmin and Suunto in terms of functionality and battery life.
Overall, the Coros Apex 2 Pro does a phenomenal job. It’s highly durable, and comes with a variety of features that any survivalist would want to have in their arsenal. Aside from the basic ABCs, it comes with a decent GPS, a solid titanium bezel, and sapphire glass that won’t scratch or break unless you roll your truck over it.
Where the Apex really shines, though, is in its battery life. With normal use, you could easily get a month out of a full charge – even if you had it running at max capacity, you could still get just over 3 days of life out it. For most of you, this is enough time to see you through whatever survival situation you find yourself in.
The Apex comes with advanced navigation that connects to all five satellite systems, presenting data on an easy-to-read map. It’s one of the more accurate mapping features that I’ve seen on a survival watch, which automatically makes it one of my favorites. Knobs on the side of the bezel are large, making it easy to adjust settings, even when you’re wearing thick gloves.
Once in awhile, you may notice that the heartrate monitor gives false data, especially when you’re out on a long run. However, for the most part, I find that the biodata is pretty accurate, providing sufficient information to help you with your training regimen.
– Advanced navigation
– Excellent battery life
– Great for fitness training
– Simple to use
– Heartrate monitor is occasionally inaccurate
Though expensive, you do get what you pay for with the Garmin Enduro. With a sleek design and superior mapping functionality, the Enduro is highly accurate and a worthy addition to anyone’s arsenal.
Another great product by Garmin, you might have noticed a trend in the products listed in this review. What can I say, I’m a Garmin user and lover, but my favoritism is far from baseless. For the most part, it’s one of the most intuitive, durable, accurate options out there, great for beginners and veterans alike.
The Enduro is one of the more expensive survival watches out there, but it’s a classic case of getting what you pay for. The bezel is made from scratch resistant titanium, making the Enduro durable and light – perfect for long expeditions in the wilderness, hiking, rock climbing, and other sports where you’ll find yourself rubbing the watch against sharp objects. It also has a sapphire lens with a built-in solar charger, so you can refill the battery anywhere there’s sunlight.
Though it’s technically a watch designed for running sports (like the Forerunner mentioned above), the Enduro can track a lot more than just running data. The ABCs go without saying, and you get VO2 max, blood oxygen, water intake, and navigation data, among plenty of others. I find that the Enduro 2, mentioned here, also has a more sensitive heart rate monitor than the original version, which is a bonus.
Stylish and well-proportioned, the Enduro is one of those watches that you can wear in the backcountry for a week before immediately taking it to a fancy dinner party. The versatility is almost second to none, making it well worth the somewhat hefty price tag.
– Durable bezel
– Holds a charge well
– Sporty design
– Great for all types of sports
– Health data
– Watch band wouldn’t be my first choice
Best Survival Watch – Buyer’s Guide
Survival watches differ from your average timepiece in that they need to provide accurate data about your surroundings. Knowing where you are, where you’re going, and different weather changes allow you to create the most ideal scenario for survival. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
As you’re learning about the best survival watches, you’ll need to become familiar with your ABCs again. Don’t worry, we’re not going back to grade school with this one – instead, we’ll keep this session limited to those three letters.
An altimeter, barometer, and compass are going to be some of your most valuable tools in a survival situation. The altimeter will provide information about your altitude, usually by harnessing the power of a built-in GPS, a barometer or both.
A barometer measures air pressure, which is why it’s useful for giving an altimeter accurate data, since atmospheric pressure drops the higher your altitude. But measuring barometric pressure is a great way to predict weather changes as well. If you notice a steady decline in pressure, that means there’s a strong likelihood that storms are on their way. Increasing pressure means that weather will be improving, and if it’s not changing at all, it means that the current weather will be persisting awhile longer.
The compass is pretty self-explanatory, indicating what direction you’re traveling. When used with a map, it’s an invaluable tool for navigating through the wild.
Any watch designed for outdoor use had better be durable, otherwise it’s not going to survive for very long. As a rock climber and mountaineer, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve scraped my watch against sharp rock and scuffed it up on all manner of objects. And after a handful of years, it definitely looks well loved, but you know what? Aside from some scratches, it still looks pretty good, and most importantly, it does what it needs to do as flawlessly as when I bought it.
That’s what you want to look for in the best survival watch. If it’s not durable enough to keep itself alive, how can you expect it to keep you alive? Most of the products mentioned in this review do pretty good in the durability department, though there are some that are more specialized than others. I’d be inclined to depend on the toughness of the Casio Mudmaster over something like the Suunto Baro, though both are going to be suitable for most of your needs.
In a survival setting, you likely won’t have the luxury of power outlets to provide a way to recharge your watch. As such, a solar option is going to be your best bet, allowing you to keep your watch alive indefinitely.
Still, not all watches have this functionality. That being the case, if your favorite option isn’t solar powered, it’s important to make sure that the battery will survive for as long as you need to. Depending on how intensely you’re using it, most survival watches can last at least a month on a full charge, which should be enough time to last you until you can find a power source again.
My wife hates bulky watches, whereas I find the larger size and weight to be comforting. The display size of your watch is ultimately personal preference, as some of you will like it to be bigger and others of you will like it to be smaller.
Generally speaking, a watch face will land between 1-2 inches in diameter. It might not sound like much, but the size difference is quite noticeable on your wrist, both in terms of weight and how easy it is to read the display.
It’s always nice to have a watch that you can comfortably use outside of survival situations as well. A stylish timepiece that can be worn to social gatherings is definitely a bonus, and if it comes with fitness tracking, even better.
Most of the survival watches mentioned in this review look pretty good, and they can measure and track biodata for a variety of sports. VO2 max, heartrate, blood oxygen… You name it, almost all of these watches can track and record it.
Garmin tends to be my watch brand of choice, and it’s my personal opinion that they do it best when it comes to additional features. At the same time, I can’t deny that Suunto is the king at designing watches that look absolutely amazing.
It’s easy to find a Timex watch for $60, but if you actually want a decent option that will help you survive in the wild, you’ll need to get comfortable spending a little more. Even looking beyond the scope of products mentioned in this article, you’ll still be paying a minimum of $300-$400 for a decent watch. But if you want a product that will cover all of your needs, you may need to spend two or three times that much.
I’m not saying you (necessarily) have to spend over $1,000 if you want the best survival watch. However, the age-old adage “you get what you pay for” certainly applies to these tools as well.
Why Trust US?
At Untamed Space, we’re passionate about helping you have the best camping experience possible. Our team of experts have experience camping and backpacking all over the world, allowing them to provide insightful and relevant content to guide you in your outdoor pursuits.
All of our reviews are based on a combination of firsthand experience, extensive research, and an analysis of customer feedback. We are an independent website and do not receive payments or incentives from manufacturers to promote their products, and we continuously update our content to provide new information based on product availability. Wherever you are in your journey, whatever gear you’re searching for, you can be sure to find unbiased and up-to-date reviews for all of your needs.
How Does a Survival Watch Differ from a Regular Watch?
A survival watch is specifically designed for outdoor use, and they include features like a compass, GPS, barometer, altimeter, and sometimes a thermometer to help you navigate in the wilderness. These watches are typically more durable and water resistant than a regular watch, and they can withstand pretty harsh conditions.
What Should I Look for in a Survival Watch?
When choosing a survival watch, you should consider features like durability, water resistance, accuracy, battery life, and ease of use. I’d recommend looking for a watch with a tough construction and a high water resistance rating, as well as features like GPS, compass, and altimeter for navigation.
Are Survival Watches Expensive?
Survival watches can be more expensive than regular watches due to their specialized features and durable construction. However, there are options available at a range of price points, with some basic models starting around $80 and high-end models costing several hundred dollars or more.
Some of us enter survival situations because we enjoy the challenge, while others of us are thrust into them because of circumstances outside of our control. Whatever the reason, there are few things more important than being equipped with the proper gear. And within the scope of this article, that means arming yourself with the best survival watch.
Aspects like durability, navigation, and the ABCs are important to consider, but so is the price of the watch itself. Considering all of these things, we believe the COROS VERTIX 2 watch is the best overall for survival situations.