The 10 Best Survival Watches in 2018: How to Choose and Reviews

Benjamin Roussey

Introduction

When you spend time in the wilderness, you need to be able to track time, have a compass to navigate in the area you are in, use GPS, etc. Many of the survival watches available these days have these options and give you an awesome gadget to help you on your journey in the wilderness.

Whether you are just wandering around or lost (hopefully you are not lost on an island with some people you are calling the “others” who keep snatching up your friends one by one!), having the best survival watch may prove to be invaluable. Some of these watches are extremely useful simply because they do not need batteries, and yet, are able to keep track of time and days.

At a Glance: Our Choices for The 10 Best Survival Watches

Click on one of the links to go directly to our overview, opinion, and features of each watch.

How to Choose a Suitable Survival Watch

Buying a fabulous survival watch is no easy task and requires a lot of thought. This is a fine piece of machinery that should be able to stick with you even through the roughest conditions. Therefore, it is vital not to rush and make an impulse buy. Here are some of the features that the best survival watch should have:

  • Solid Construction and Shock Resistance: When you are out in the wilderness, everything you carry needs to be tough. This includes your survival watch. You can never predict any misfortune in the great wide open, so you need a watch that can withstand any mishap. This means that your survival watch should have a solid construction with shock resistance.
  • Fabulous Wrist Band: A fundamental aspect to look out for when picking a survival watch is the wristband. You will find them made with a variety of materials, but keep in mind that rubber is the best. It can withstand even the roughest and toughest conditions and situations.
  • Accuracy: When you are lost in the wilderness or any other type of environment, your perception of time is diminished. This means that you will not be able to keep track of how long you have been lost and the sun will probably be the only way to tell time – which is useless if you do not know how to read it. A stellar watch for survival needs to be accurate at its basic function – telling time. You should choose an analog watch as experts say that they tend to have more longevity.
  • Well-Designed: watches for outdoors and survival typically do not look as attractive as the usual watches, but this is usually because their design involves more features than a traditional watch. When you are checking out survival watches, you should look out for negative display watches. A negative display means that the dial of the watch has a black background and the text is in white. With these types of watches, you do not have to switch on the backlight or change your position when you are checking your watch.
    • Picking a watch ideal for survival that has luminescent hands and/or digits and an inverse LCD screen will be handy when you are out on your adventure. It is also a fantastic idea to pick one that is non-reflective so you can be as discreet as you want.
  • Excellent Battery Duration: To make sure that your survival watch does not die when you are in the wilderness, you should look at watches that have impressive battery duration. It is unlikely that you will have the opportunity to replace or recharge your batteries (there is no AMPM down the street!). You will find higher-end survival watches are kinetic, mechanical, or solar-powered so you do not have to worry about dead batteries. However, with mechanical ones, you need to make sure that you keep them wound up properly so that they do not die when you need them the most.
  • Water Resistance: When you are out in the wild, there is never any telling what will happen. You could be caught in a thunderstorm or fall into a river or pond. You need a survival watch that can withstand such mishaps and function properly. There are two types of survival watches – water-resistant and waterproof. While waterproof watches are designed to resist being submerged in water, water-resistant ones will only resist in situations where there is humidity but not in excess.

There are a few other features that you could look for in a survival watch depending on your needs, including:

  • Compass: A compass is undoubtedly an essential survival tool. While there are quite a few bushcraft methods to find direction, there is nothing quite like a high-quality compass for speed and accuracy.
  • Thermometer: If you are exploring places that have extreme temperatures, having a thermometer on your survival watch is certainly valuable. However, keep in mind that because the watch is attached to your wrist at all times, your body heat could have an effect on the thermometer’s accuracy.
  • Barometer: In a survival situation, two immediate threats that are the most dangerous are the lack of clean water and extreme exposure. But, with a barometer on your survival watch, you can be more aware of potential bad weather and protect yourself well before it arrives. You can also use the barometer on your watch to predict rain and prepare yourself for any situation that may arise.
  • Altimeter: If you are up in a mountainous region and not sure about your exact location, having an altimeter can be helpful. With an altimeter on your watch, you can always know your exact altitude. So it helps to narrow down your location when you check your topographical map. When you know where you are, it will make it a little easier to find your way back to camp or civilization.
  • Sunrise and Sunset Times: Did you know that when you are in higher altitude, the sun sets earlier than it normally does? Having a sunrise/sunset times feature on your survival watch gives you a way to know how much time you have before it gets dark (you do not want to have to figure that out using the Nautical Almanac – that is not so simple, even in a classroom!). This is something you should definitely consider when looking for a survival watch.
  • GPS: When you are an explorer or adventurer, having a GPS is extremely beneficial. If you find yourself lost in the wilderness, your GPS will help you with the coordinates of your location so that you can find your way back to your camp.

Having a reliable survival watch is critical when you are out in the wilderness. There are a lot of choices out there and it can get confusing. But if you have a sagacious idea of what you need in a watch, there is no doubt that you will find the perfect one for you.

The Top 10 Survival Watches

 #1

Casio PAG240-1CR Pathfinder

Casio PAG240-1CR Pathfinder
Our Rating: (5/5)
Type: Digital
Waterproof: 330ft
Extra Features: digital compass, altimeter, barometer, thermometer, low temperature resistance and more

Pros:
(+) Simple to set up and operate
(+) Easy to read
(+) Multifunctional

Cons:
(-) Display hard to read at extreme angles
(-) Plastic case gets scratched too easely

Overview

The Casio PAG240-1CR Pathfinder is a black solar-powered sport packed with multiple features including a compass, thermometer, barometer, altimeter, EL backlight, low temperature resistance, 1/100-second stopwatch, world time, city code display, 5 daily alarms, full auto calendar (pre-programmed until 2099), battery power indicator, countdown timer and power-saving function.

It features a 55-mm stainless steel case with mineral dial window and a quartz movement with digital display. It has a quality resin band with buckle closure. This watch can be submerged to 100 meters or 330 feet, so while it is fantastic for swimming and snorkeling, you should not consider scuba diving with it. You do not have to worry about a fish asking you what time it is anyhow!

Conclusion

The Casio Men’s PAG240-1CR Pathfinder is definitely one of the top watches out there right now. It is well designed and built with some wonderful materials.

Although some of its features may not be as accurate as you expect, it is still a pretty cool watch. You have to keep in mind that this watch is made for non-professional use.

Its multiple features are what make the Casio PAG240-1CR Pathfinder a great watch for survival. It has practically everything you need for your outdoor adventures. The only thing you have to remember is that it is not meant for water activities like scuba diving, etc. Aquaman may not want to wear this!

We think that this watch is tough and durable and sure to last many years.

To the ladies, if you are looking for a gift that your partner will love you even more for, we definitely recommend the Casio PAG240-1CR Pathfinder! It beats two tickets to the opera (well, not if there is a barbecue dinner beforehand)!

 #2

Timex Expedition Shock Digital Compass Watch

Timex Expedition Shock Digital Compass Watch
Our Rating: (4.9/5)
Type: Digital
Waterproof: 660ft
Extra Features: digital compass,  day/date/month calendar functions, 24 hour count, three time zones settings and more

Pros:
(+) Perfect size
(+) Rugged and heavy duty
(+) Durable

Cons:
(-) Quality of the band needs to be improved
(-) A tad heavy for some users

Overview

The Timex Expedition Shock is a watch that features a digital compass and day/date/month calendar functions. It has a 48.5-mm lightweight and durable resin case with an acrylic dial window and quartz movement with digital display. The resin band is high quality and comes with a buckle closure.

This watch is water resistant to 200 meters, or 660 feet – which is impressive. It is also shock resistant to ISO standards. It includes an Indiglo nightlight so you can easily read it in the dark. Comfortable and reliable, this is a spectacular pick for any outdoorsman looking for a remarkable survival watch.

Conclusion

Although it could do with a few tweaks here and there, the Timex Expedition Shock Digital Compass Watch is a salient pick.

It features an excellent digital compass that every adventurer or explorer needs when they are out in the great wide open.

It has excellent shock resistance. This does not mean you can play basketball with it! We found that it works fine, even after going through rain, salt water, being submerged in water and going on a 10K mud run! That is pretty impressive performance.

If there is anything disappointing about the Timex Expedition Shock, we think it would be the quality of the band. It needs to be improved as it breaks off pretty quickly.

But all in all, this is a solid watch ideal for survival – definitely one you should consider if you are looking for a watch to take on your adventures.

 #3

Casio GA100SD-8A G-Shock Military Watch

Casio GA100SD-8A G-Shock Military Watch
Our Rating: (4.9/5)
Type: Digital and Analog
Waterproof: 660ft
Extra Features: world time, 4 daily alarms, 1/1000-second stopwatch, speed indicator, 24-hour countdown timer, and 24-hour formats

Pros:
(+) Lightweight and excellent size
(+) Easy to read
(+) Functions well

Cons:
(-) Color not as advertised

Overview

When it comes to survival watches, the Casio Men’s GA100SD-8A Watch is a great choice to consider. This military-inspired watch comes packed with quite a few poignant features including auto LED light, 1/1000-second stopwatch, world time (48 cities plus UTC), speed indicator, 4 daily alarms, 1 snooze, and a 24-hour format.

It is shock resistant and can be submerged to 200 meters, or 660 feet. The watch is well designed with the logo on the bezel, Japanese quartz movement with analog display, multiple displays and protective mineral crystal dial window. The Casio G-Shock Military Watch looks good and functions well, making it one of the best choices on the market.

Conclusion

When it comes to brands for watches, Casio is definitely on top of most people’s list. And the Casio Men’s GA100SD-8A Military Watch does not disappoint much.

This watch has some great features and is water resistant to 660 feet, which means, unlike the first Casio we reviewed, you can actually take this one for some recreational scuba diving. If you are scuba diving below 660 feet, you should be worried!

The watch is easy to use, lightweight, and very functional. These are critical aspects when buying a great watch for adventurers.

The only complaint many people seem to have is the color – no one can decide if it is tan or grey. But if the color does not matter all that much to you, the Casio G-Shock Military Watch is an excellent buy.

 #4

Casio G9300-1 Mudman G-Shock Multi-Function Watch

4.-casio-g9300-1-mudman-g-shock
Our Rating: (4.7/5)
Type: Digital
Waterproof: 660ft
Extra Features: Tough Solar, Digital Compass, Thermometer, Moon Graph

Pros:
(+) Solidly built and durable
(+) Best G-Shock watch
(+) Excellent quality

Cons:
(-) Inaccurate temperature readings
(-) Backlight does not stay on when switching through modes

Overview

This is a tough solar-powered watch from one of the top watchmakers in the world. The Casio Mudman watch includes a compass, thermometer, chronograph, world time, dual-time display, stopwatch, and moon graph (if you are not headed to the moon, do not worry, this is still a stellar buy) to help you on your many adventures in the wilderness.

It features a clear digital display with a resin case and mineral dial window. This is a great-looking watch that is functional, durable, and robust – definitely, an excellent choice if you do mind if some of its features are not as accurate as you expect.

Conclusion

While it does have a couple of flaws, the Casio Men’s G9300-1 Mudman G-Shock Shock Resistant Multi-Function Sport Watch is a cool watch.

Slightly larger than some of the watches out there, the Casio Mudman G-Shock is comfortable and has a few awesome features that make it a tremendous accessory to carry on your wilderness trips. A solid watch – water and mud resistant – this is an excellent choice for adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts.

One of its most serious flaws is its inability to maintain temperature/bearing readings. You have a couple of seconds to view it and it goes blank. If the maker fixed this issue, we think that it would be a near-perfect watch to have in a survival situation.

Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead though would take this watch and there are not too many people as tough as him.

 #5

Suunto Core

Suunto Core
Our Rating: (4.6/5)
Type: Digital
Waterproof: 98ft
Extra Features: Altimeter, barometer, compass, weather trend graph, storm alarm.

Pros:
(+) Well designed and constructed
(+) Comes with superb features
(+) Tough and durable

Cons:
(-) Dark display
(-) Needs better battery

Overview

The Suunto Core All Black Military Men’s Outdoor Sports Watch is probably one of the best-looking outdoor watches out there. It features a compass, barometer, altimeter, a weather trend graph, preset sunrise/sunset times for more than 400 locations, storm alarm and more.

The Suunto Core has just about everything you need to help you stay safe and plan your activities when you are in the wilderness. It is water resistant to 100 feet and comes with low battery warning, backlight option, daily alarms, calendar clock, dual time, and other handy features (no, it cannot make banana cream pie for you!). The strap is a tad small for some and sadly, breaks off after a while, but the rest of the Suunto Core is pretty much near perfect.

Conclusion

The Suunto Core All Black Military Men’s Outdoor Sports Watch looks awesome and functions well, but like everything else in life, it is not perfect.

First off, the display is a little too dark. You actually have to be in total darkness to be able to see the light. Next is the battery – there have been a couple of complaints that the battery died after just a few months. It is not solar powered, which would have made it so much better. Obviously, this is an issue that should be addressed.

Then comes the strap, which seems to be something that many digital watches have in common – they are flimsy and break off easily. This is about as disappointing as having your order messed up at a fast food restaurant. I said extra onions please!

However, you cannot ignore the fact that the Suunto Core comes with many excellent features that are handy when you are in the wilderness and they function very well. There is no doubt that this survival watch is one of the best picks that are out there.

 #6

Casio G-Shock Mudmaster GWG-1000-1AJF

Casio G-Shock Mudmaster GWG-1000-1AJF
Our Rating: (4.6/5)
Type: Analog
Waterproof: 660ft
Extra Features: Radio Wave Reception, Compass, Barometer, Altimeter, Thermometer, Countdown timer, Solar powered

Pros:
(+) Designed and built to last
(+) Has superb features
(+) Easy to use and highly functional

Cons:
(-) A little large for some
(-) A tad pricey

Overview

The Casio Mudmaster is a mud-resistant watch that can withstand the harshest environments you expose it to, making in a salient choice for survival. Its Triple G Resist reinforced construction makes it shock and vibration resistant and it is also water resistant to 200 meters. This watch features a digital compass, barometer, altimeter, world time (29 countries), 1/100-second stopwatch, battery level indicator, full auto double LED backlight with afterglow and more.

It offers practical readability and is easy to use. While you may find it a tad difficult to set up in the beginning, once you get it done, you will find that this is a cool survival watch that will provide you with everything you need to survive in harsh environments.

Conclusion

Although the Casio G-Shock Mudmaster is a little tough to set up (it is still much easier than trying to ascertain the tax code!), it is very functional and easy to use, not to mention accurate.

We think that the LED night light could be made better by adding another LED light at the top so you can get a better view of the entire face.

The watch is seriously large, but then it comes packed with awesome features – they need to fit in to be as functional as they are. The overall design is superb and we especially like the tough solar function.

If you are okay with spending a little more than you wanted to on a watch, the Casio Mudmaster is definitely a golden buy. Just do not get it for your mother in law; she could be the wrong recipient for this type of watch!

 #7

Timex Expedition Gallatin

Timex Expedition Gallatin
Our Rating: (4.5/5)
Type: Analog
Waterproof: 165ft
Extra Features: Quick date

Pros:
(+) Rugged and comfortable
(+) Easy to read and functions well
(+) Indiglo light works well

Cons:
(-) Velcro strap wears quickly
(-) Made of plastic

Overview

The Timex Expedition Gallatin watch has a rugged, solid construction, making it superb for survival, adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts. It comes with a lightweight, durable resin case and fast-wrap Velcro strap.

It is suitable for use to a depth of 50 meters, or 165 feet. You can swim with it, but snorkeling, diving, etc. are not recommended. With its Indiglo light-up dial, you can read the watch even in the dark. The Timex Expedition Gallatin has an analog display with an acrylic dial window. The Velcro band will wear out eventually but all in all, this is a good watch for survival.

Conclusion

The Timex Expedition Gallatin is a nice, lightweight watch that functions well and great for outdoor trips as well as everyday wear.

It is made of plastic, which might put some people off, but it is light and very easy to use. The strap makes it a little disappointing – being Velcro, it wears quite fast. But the good thing is that it can be easily replaced.

This survival watch can withstand quite a lot of rough handling and remains reliable whenever you need it.

Overall, we found very few problems with the Timex Expedition Gallatin and think it is certainly one of the top survival watches out there.

 #8

Casio PRG-270 Pro Trek

Casio PRG-270 Pro Trek
Our Rating: (4.4/5)
Type: Digital
Waterproof: 330ft
Extra Features: Altimeter, compass, barometer, thermometer, countdown timer

Pros:
(+) Features work well
(+) Lightweight
(+) Affordable

Cons:
(-) Altimeter is not as accurate as you would like

Overview

This is a tough solar-powered survival watch that comes with a number of handy features including a compass, barometer, altimeter, thermometer, world time, 5 daily alarms, sunrise/sunset data, power saving function and much more. Its full-auto LED backlight with afterglow allows you to read it easily in the dark.

The Casio Men’s PRG-270 Pro Trek has all the features and functions that you need when you are in the wilderness or in an emergency situation. The altimeter is a little tricky as it does not show accurate data and sometimes goes off for no reason. It may not be a quality G-Shock like other Casio outdoor watches, but it is reliable and all its critical features work well.

Conclusion

The Casio Pro Trek is a nice watch that comes with features and functions that are very useful in the wilderness and survival situations. It is lightweight so it does not weigh your arm down while walking in the wild.

The altimeter is not as accurate as it should be, but you can solve the problem by resetting it at night. This is because pressure changes at night.

While it is not as great as a G-Shock model, the Casio Pro Trek is solid and rugged, allowing it to withstand rough conditions.

As a whole, this is an ideal survival watch and its important features work almost perfectly. All you have to do is calibrate them properly and they will be as accurate as you want them to be.

 #9

Luminox A.8831.KM Recon

Luminox A.8831.KM Recon
Our Rating: (4.3/5)
Type: Analog
Waterproof: 660ft
Extra Features: Second countdown zone, walking speed scale, dive timing unidirectional ratcheting bezel

Pros:
(+) Solid and tough
(+) Nice afterglow
(+) Clear and legible dial

Cons:
(-) Compass needs to be improved
(-) Markings a tad small for some users

Overview

This is a nice-looking well-built watch that comes with some salient features that make it ideal for survival. The Luminox Recon has a stainless steel case, anti-reflective sapphire dial window and analog display. It is water resistant to 200 meters, or 660 feet. It also features luminescent markers that allow you to read the watch in the dark.

Robust and tough, this watch can take a beating in the wilderness or any survival situation and still function well. The Luminox Men’s A.8831.KM Recon is an accurate watch – you should consider this one if you are looking for a decent survival watch.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a survival watch with Swiss quality, the Luminox Men’s A.8831.KM Recon is ideal for you.

Like other watches, it does have its flaws, but they do not overshadow the overall quality and function of the watch.

Its features work accurately and they are extremely helpful when you are out on a wilderness adventure or a survival situation.

We like the Luminox Recon because it is lightweight and deceptively tough. This is definitely a watch, you can take anywhere without worrying about damage.

It is a little on the expensive side, but we think that with its marvelous quality, design, and functionality and accurate features, it is worth every dollar and with Trump lowering taxes for everyone, you will have more dollars in your pocket by 2018.

 #10

Casio GW2310FB-1CR G-Shock

Casio GW2310FB-1CR G-Shock
Our Rating: (4.2/5)
Type: Digital
Waterproof: 660ft
Extra Features: 4 daily alarms, 41 world time zones, 1/100 sec stopwatch, atomic time keeping, solar charging batteries

Pros:
(+) Functional features
(+) Lightweight yet sturdy
(+) Excellent battery

Cons:
(-) Small display
(-) Auto illuminate function is sometimes a little off

Overview

This is a simple-looking survival watch, but it stands above many other watches due to its awesome design and features. The Casio Men’s GW2310FB-1CR is a solar-powered multifunction watch that features a compass, full auto EL backlight, 41 world time zones, 4 daily alarms, and much more.

The watch comes with a 46.4 mm resin case with a mineral dial window. It has Japanese quartz movement with digital display. It is water resistant up to 200 meters, or 660 feet. Despite its small size, this is a nice watch that will be useful whenever you go out on your wilderness trips.

Conclusion

Although it is a little small for some users, the Casio Men’s GW2310FB-1CR is a nice watch that has stellar features and ergonomics.

When it comes to its looks, this watch is simple yet sleek. If you are not into things that are too fancy, this is the ideal watch for survival or adventurers.

One of its flaws is the size, which makes it difficult for some people to read the display properly. Also, the strap could be better as it is a little flimsy.

However, all in all, its negatives do not outweigh the positives of the Casio Men’s GW2310FB-1CR G-Shock. This is an excellent watch for those who want a quality basic G-Shock watch. Jack Bauer would approve of this watch and no one kills terrorists like him! Jack Bauer kills terrorists before they even come close to any redline but this is another topic.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are some tremendous and outstanding survival watches on the market. You have a lot to choose from. Choosing the best survival watch depends on your needs and budget. They all come with their own flaws but you cannot expect a perfect survival watch.

You will find a few watches with negative reviews from customers but it usually involves their own experiences with the watch and has nothing to do with the product itself or the manufacturer. We hope that this article was helpful enough to make a good buying decision to pick the right survival watch for your needs.

No, your dog does not need one! Food, water, and some belly scratching and they will be good to go.

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