The Best Survival Watches: In-Depth Buying Guide

Choosing the best survival watch can be really challenging.

This is because a watch for survival is largely designed for survival situations and you could say that your life depends on it.

So, it is very important that you consider each and every aspect of the survival watch that you will purchase.

But, I am not here to frighten you or make you feel a little intimidated because of the fact that you need to be very picky. In fact, I have here with me the tool that can help you with your search!

Recently, I purchased my third survival watch. And I find it quite difficult to choose the perfect one because of the many variations that I see in the market. Hence, I had to do lots of background checking and researching. And because of all the information that I got, I thought of making a guide for beginners and first-time buyers.

So, if you are planning to buy your very own outdoor watch, this review covering all the best survival watches may help you!

Top 8 Watches for Survival On the Market Today

The survival watches on this list are the top ones that I could find in the market. Although each best survival watch has their own respective unique features and functionalities, keep in mind that there are drawbacks to these products as well.

But even so, you don’t need to worry because I have included these kinds of details as well. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy as you read this review!

Casio Men’s Pro Trek PRW-3000-1ACR​: A Choice for Outdoor Travelers

This Pro Trek Solar-Powered from Casio brand is one of today’s best survival watches. Aside from the fact that the brand is quite popular, this survival watch is very functional and easy to use.

On Sale
Casio Men's Pro Trek Quartz Watch with Silicone Strap, Black, 30.5 (Model: PRG-600Y-1CR)
190 Customer Reviews
Casio Men's Pro Trek Quartz Watch with Silicone Strap, Black, 30.5 (Model: PRG-600Y-1CR)
  • Double LED light. For the face and backlight: full auto LED light, Solar poweredLow-temperature resistant (-10C/14F)The auto hand home position correctionDigital compass
  • Selectable illumination duration, afterglow
  • Quartz Movement. Case Diameter: 52mm

Apparently, this watch offers numerous features that are very beneficial to users and travelers. Along with the technology used and features given above, it also features a digital compass, world time, 1/10-second stopwatch, five daily alarms, and a countdown timer.

This can be the best survival watch for you too, especially if you are looking for a battery that can last up to 7 months after charging it. But, make sure that you don’t expose it too much in light since it can highly affect the battery. Nevertheless, it is still a solar-powered type, so a little sunlight would not hurt.

As for its durability, I can say that it is pretty durable and solid. And this is all because of its 46-mm stainless steel core and well-constructed bezel. In addition, it has water resistance for up to 100 meters or 330 feet. Moreover, the structure uses a resin-band which is pretty much a factor to the overall durability of this survival watch.

You can have this for an amount that falls below $200. Furthermore, this one comes with a full 2-year warranty.

PROS
CONS
  • It is a fully-featured watch for survival
  • Very durable
  • The warranty terms are great
  • Water resistance up to 100 meters
  • Casio’s repair facility is not very accessible
  • The time needs updating every now and then
  • There is an apparent issue with the date and time

Timex Men’s Expedition For Entry Level Users: The Under $100 Survival Tool

If cost is the biggest factor you consider before making a purchase, then the Timex Men’s Expedition Gallatin might be the best survival watch for tough situations!

Timex Men's TW4B03500 Expedition Gallatin Black/Blue Nylon Slip-Thru Strap Watch
944 Customer Reviews
Timex Men's TW4B03500 Expedition Gallatin Black/Blue Nylon Slip-Thru Strap Watch
  • Adjustable black 22 millimeter nylon double-layer strap fits up to 8-inch wrist circumference
  • Black dial with date window at 3 o'clock; Full Arabic numerals
  • Black 44 millimeter resin case with acrylic lens

The materials used in its construction are mainly rugged resin and double layer nylon. Personally, I find this survival watch quite durable but not really meant for heavy-duty purposes. And in terms of its appearance, Timex is offering four variations of colors. So, you are free to choose from the black, green, black and blue, and green and blue editions.

As for the features, the survival watch mainly markets its water resistance applications. Apparently, many people who love indulging into several bodies of waters utilize this watch. Also, it is an analog watch, so it can be pretty accurate when it comes to time and date provisions.

However, other than these features, there are no other sets of inclusions. And this is only fitting since the cost is quite far down below $100.

PROS
CONS
  • Perfect for entry-level users
  • Very cheap
  • Durable
  • It can fit large wrist
  • It's missing some basic features
  • Its resistance to water is only applicable up to 50 meters or 165 feet
  • Too basic for an advanced level user

Casio Men’s GG-1000-1A3CR G-Shock Casual Watch: The All-Arounder

Are you looking for the best survival watch that you can use every day? If you are, then this Men’s GG-1000-1A3CR Mudmaster G-Shock Quartz Casual from Casio brand might be the one you are looking for.

On Sale
Casio Men's GG-1000-1A3CR Mudmaster G-SHOCK Quartz Casual Watch, Green
583 Customer Reviews
Casio Men's GG-1000-1A3CR Mudmaster G-SHOCK Quartz Casual Watch, Green
  • Shock Resistant
  • ISO 764 Class Magnetic Resistance
  • Interchangeable bands

Apparently, this one is very easy and convenient to use. Also, the appearance is quite simple and casual allowing every user to use it on a daily basis.

If you ask me, this timepiece is very durable! It is equipped with a shock-resistant feature, a mud-resistant application, and a water-resistant function that is applicable up to 200 meters or 660 feet of depth. In fact, most professional water sports athletes use this model even during their training sessions and competitions.

I’ve seen it a couple of times and I am really impressed with all the features and functionalities that I was able to review. Aside from the features that I have listed above, Casio G-Shock also provides a lot of smart features that anyone could find very beneficial and useful.

These features include a digital display compass, hourly time signal, world time, button operation tone, and the Japanese quartz movement. In addition, the battery can last up to 2 years!

For a cost that falls below $200, you might already end up with the best survival watch of this day.

PROS
CONS
  • Fully-functional and all-inclusive
  • Easy to use
  • Japanese Quartz Movement
  • Long battery lifespan
  • Very durable
  • Expensive
  • The manual instruction is hard to understand
  • It has apparent issues with its thermometer

Suunto Core Wrist Top Computer Watch: The Wrist Watch for Survival

The Suunto Core Wrist is one of the most expensive models. The price of this one falls below $350 which is pretty high in comparison to most high-end types. Nevertheless, you will get what you will pay for when you buy this survival watch.

SUUNTO Core All Black Military Men's Outdoor Sports Watch - SS014279010
4,714 Customer Reviews
SUUNTO Core All Black Military Men's Outdoor Sports Watch - SS014279010
  • An altimeter tracks your vertical movement, a barometer tells the Trend in air pressure, and a compass points the way
  • Suunto core tracks both the weather and the sun for you; Operating temperature: 20° C to +60° C / 5° F to +140° F; Storage temperature: 30° C to +60° C / 22° F to +140° F
  • A weather Trend graph and storm alarm along with preset sunrise/sunset times for over 400 locations help you stay safe and plan your activities

Personally, I am not a fan of Suunto watches but I find this model really impressive. The watch features alone are exactly the ones that you will need when you look for the overall embodiment of a survival watch.

Aside from the features listed above, you will also get to experience these features: altimeter, barometer, calendar clock, weather memory, sea-level pressure reader, bearing tracker, cardinal directions, log graph, guided calibration, GPS and multi-language translator. From the features alone, you will see that this is an all-inclusive watch.

As for the durability, the survival watch is largely designed for heavy-duty purposes. In fact, this model is marketed as a real outdoor accessory.

However, the biggest drawback of this one is its battery capacity. As per the brand, it can last for 6 months, maximum. But, as per actual users, it can only last for 1 to 2 months.

But even so, it could still be the best survival watch for you as the company has fixed these issues in the recent years. Also, the battery replacements are made very affordable.

PROS
CONS
  • A fully-functional outdoor watch
  • Special features like barometer, altimeter, pressure reader, GPS, etc.
  • It has a 2-year warranty
  • Sleek and elegant appearance
  • Easy to Read
  • Expensive
  • It has issues with the batteries
  • Poor customer service

Fanmis S-Shock Multi Function Electronic Watch: ​A Stylish Choice

If you want a survival watch that can really match your style and appearance, then you may want to check Fanmis S-Shock Multi Function Digital LED Quartz Watch.

Fanmis Mens Military Multifunction Digital LED Watch Electronic Waterproof Alarm Quartz Sports Watch...
2,885 Customer Reviews
Fanmis Mens Military Multifunction Digital LED Watch Electronic Waterproof Alarm Quartz Sports Watch...
  • MULTI-FUNCTIONAL: Calendar Month / Day / Date, Alarm, Water Resistant, LED Display, Back Light, Shock Resistant, Stop Watch. What you waiting for? This a great value watch you don't want to miss.
  • Solid stainless steel back cover. Water resistant. Battery: CR2025 Battery Life: 3 Years
  • 7 COLOR LED BACKLIGHT with COMFORT BAND STRAP. 7 color bright LED back lights (long press top left button to change) makes time reading super easy and fun, soft imported PU watch band bring...

Apparently, this features 8 backlight colors ranging from black, white, green, and all the way to the vibrant colors of pink, yellow, and purple. Also, buyers are free to choose from the color variations of the core. There are actually 6 different colors and I recommend the one that comes in golden tones.

Aside from its stylish appearance, the thing that I like about this one is its functionality considering the overall price of the package. You can purchase this survival watch for a price that falls below $25! And because of this, you can really consider this as a steal. Moreover, it uses a black stainless steel in its core and structure.

The features that you may experience in this watch, aside from the ones listed above, include the shock resistance and water resistance functions that are applicable up to 50 meters or 164 feet.

But while it may lack the ones that are usually found in an average outdoors watch, the equipped features in this are quite impressive because they are pretty accurate. And considering the pricing of it, you can say it's cheap!

PROS
CONS
  • Very inexpensive
  • It has a few basic features of an outdoors watch
  • Sleek and stylish appearance
  • Easy to read in the dark
  • It is not a compass watch
  • Short battery lifespan
  • The sizes are too big

KXAITO Men’s Military Multifunction Waterproof Sports Watch: The Analog-Digital Choice

If you are looking for an analog-digital watch, then the Kxaito Men’s Military Analog Display Multifunctional Sports Watch might be one of the best survival watches for you.

On Sale
KXAITO Men's Watches Sports Outdoor Waterproof Military Watch Date Multi Function Tactics LED Alarm...
379 Customer Reviews
KXAITO Men's Watches Sports Outdoor Waterproof Military Watch Date Multi Function Tactics LED Alarm...
  • ❤Military Sport Design: Fashionable sporty dial design, military style outlook. Large Dial (acrylic crystal glass window,case diamete High quality watch band,Reinforced resin band design is more...
  • ❤Multifunction: 1. Analog and digital dual dial support two different timezone 2. Alarm 3. LED Back Light(show time clear in the dark ) 4. Date 5. Stop Watch 6. 12/24H format option 7. Shock...
  • ❤Imported Japan quartz movement, keep precise time. Comfort with fashion: soft and durable PU watch band with the large dual dial design make it comfortable to wear and lead you to edge sport...

Similar to the Fanmis watches, the KXAITO models are very inexpensive as well. For a price that falls below $25, you can already have a pretty decent watch. Also, you are free to choose from the color variations of the watch.

As for the features and functionality, the ones that you will get to experience with this watch are quite the basic types. But while it lacks the features that a watch must have for survival, the equipped functions in this watch are quite functional and accurate.

Hence, it's reliable whenever you use it for outdoors. However, if you are looking for a watch that can support your survival skills and needs, this may not be a great choice for you.

But even so, it is still designed for providing enough stability. In fact, it is also equipped with waterproofing and shock-proofing applications.

As for the battery, it can only last for months or a year. And this is apparently one of the drawbacks of the KXAITO Men’s Military digital and analog watch. Nevertheless, it is still perfect to use outdoors.

PROS
CONS
  • Inexpensive
  • Japanese Quartz movement
  • It has a lot of color choices
  • Perfect for adventure lovers
  • Waterproof
  • Short battery lifespan
  • The instruction manual has misleading information
  • Not durable

Timex Men’s Expedition Classic Digital Chrono Alarm Timer Watch: A Casual Outdoor Watch

The Timex Men’s Expedition Classic Digital Chrono Alarm Timer Watch is most of the time the go-to watch of every active people today. Aside from its affordability, it has basic survival watch features that anyone can use when traveling outdoors.

On Sale
Timex Men's T49949 Expedition Digital CAT Black Fast Wrap Watch
2,846 Customer Reviews
Timex Men's T49949 Expedition Digital CAT Black Fast Wrap Watch
  • Adjustable black 20mm nylon Fast Wrap strap with hook & look closure fits up to 8-inch wrist circumference
  • 100-hour chronograph with lap & split times; 24-hour countdown timer; month, day & date calendar
  • 3 daily, weekday or weekend alarms with 5-minute backup; 24-hour military time mode; 2 time zones

Aside from the basic features that are listed above, this one also comes with a mini compass in its resin band. This function is largely the reason why I included it in this list. Accordingly, I find the mini compass of this timepiece very accurate and keeps you on the right track on your destination.

For a price that falls below $50, this is already a pretty decent deal. Also, the appearance of this watch is pretty casual and yet it is sleek and elegant as well. Its digital dial shows the time large enough, making it easy to read. I don’t actually have enough knowledge as to how Timex can do this in their watches. And for that, I really commend this watch for its overall looks.

PROS
CONS
  • It has a mini compass
  • Perfect for basic outdoor uses
  • Inexpensive
  • Digits are easy to read
  • Short battery lifespan
  • Not very durable
  • It is marketed as a waterproof but it cannot really hold any liquid

Casio Men’s Pro Trek PRW-3500T-7CR Solar Tough Triple Sensor Watch: A Watch With No Battery

The Men’s Pro Trek PRW-3500T-7CR Solar Tough Triple Sensor Digital Sports Watch from Casio might be the best choice of gear for you if you want a survival watch that requires no battery at all.

Casio Men's Pro Trek PRW-3500T-7CR Tough Solar Triple Sensor Digital Sport Watch
291 Customer Reviews
Casio Men's Pro Trek PRW-3500T-7CR Tough Solar Triple Sensor Digital Sport Watch
  • Solar-powered sport watch with stainless steel rotating bezel featuring digital dial with day/date display and backlight , Thermometer Display range - -10 to 60 C , Display unit - 0.1 C
  • Features triple sensor, atomic timekeeping, low-temperature resistance, digital compass with bearing memory, altimeter, barometer, thermometer, sunrise and sunset data, world time, four daily alarms...
  • Titanium band with fold-over-push-button-clasp-with-safety closure

Apparently, this survival watch is largely solar powered just like the Casio G-Shock Rangeman series. Also, the solar panels that are equipped in this timepiece are very efficient and reliable in absorbing solar waves. So, you can really rely on this gear, anytime and anywhere in terms of its power.

As for the survival watch features, this is actually one of the most fully-functional types if you compare it to G-Shock Rangeman. Aside from the ones listed above, it also features a world time teller, a mineral dial window, for daily alarm modes, power saving functions, low-temperature resistance, and an effective water resistance application that is applicable up to 200 meters or 660 ft.

PROS
CONS
  • Very functional
  • Very durable
  • Stainless steel rotating bezel
  • It features a defense mechanism against power surges and triple sensors
  • Very expensive
  • Poor customer service
  • The size is too thick and huge

Factors to Consider

Your survival watch will be one of the most useful tools that you can utilize in case you got lost in a forest or you are in a survival situation. Hence, it is only fitting that you choose one that will work great for you to survive.

survival watch

But since the variation of this kind of military watches for men is quite wide today, it can get a little challenging, and possibly daunting for some. Also, keep in mind that there can be a lot of factors that will play in the scene as you choose the most appropriate one for you.

Accordingly, I have also included in this review the things that may affect your overall buying decisions. And if you really want to get the greatest among all the good survival watch models of today, you will want to regard these factors.

1. Types

By and large, there are actually three kinds of best survival watches. And learning these types will help you know and understand how these function and work.

Navigation Watches

A navigation watch is the most common type of all. Any modern and basic survival watch will have navigational features in its overall functionality and built. But, a compass watch focus mainly on, well, navigation. Even so, there are still other brands who offer navigation types that can provide additional features and functions.

survival watch features

Some of the common features of a navigation watch include a thermometer, barometer, and altimeter. Also, you could see features like date teller, moon phasing, sunset times, tide graph, time equation, and a GMT indicator.

So, if you are choosing a timepiece mainly to navigate, you must consider these features.

G-Shock Watches

As we all know, G-Shock series is actually a product line of Casio. And this range is mainly designed for outdoor activites.

So, what makes a Casio G-Shock series different from another average timepiece is that aside from giving you accurate time,  it provides additional and yet effective features. Moreover, they appear more rugged which can really go side by side with your survival skills.

Hence, you could pretty much say that it's similar to a normal navigation watch. But, it comes with a lot more helpful and beneficial features.

Today, many people are considering this brand the finest due to is versatility and functionality. Also, G-Shock watches have unique appearances, like the G-Shock Rangeman products.

Survival Kit Watches

The survival kit watch is also known as the paracord watch. Apparently, the main feature of this watch is the inclusion of the parachute cord in its resin-band. Essentially, a paracord is a very useful tool for various tasks. And this has become one of the general-purpose utility cord of this day.

paracord watch

Aside from the cord, this kind of survival watch offers a mini survival kit. And this kit normally include tools like analog compass, a whistle, and a fire starter. Accordingly, you may find this one as a very functional watch.

It is true but it is also found that a survival kit watch has many downsides. And these drawbacks are the things that you would not want in a survival situation. But even so, there are still a few brands who offer this kind of watch that has resolved these apparent issues.

2. Durability and Structure

Some of the most critical factors that you need to consider is the durability and quality of the best survival watches. And in this specific factor, it would largely include the overall built and structure of it.

Keep in mind that an outdoor watch is mainly intended to help you survive in the wilderness. Accordingly, your chosen watch must provide you with the finest quality of materials and most durable systems. For that specific area, you may want to check one that uses stainless steel in its core.

Even so, your survival watch must help you withstand any mishap along the way on your journey.

In addition to the materials being used, you must consider as well the features that can improve the overall durability. Personally, I would include the water resistant and shock resistant applications of good survival watches in my considerations.

GPS

The GPS will help you find your location. This is very useful if in case you got lost in the middle of somewhere and nowhere. So, the best survival watch for you is the one that can provide the most accurate coordinates of your location. You can find more GPS watches in our triathlon GPS watch review.

Compass

It must possess a quality kind of compass. Whether it is a digital compass or not, it’s basically up to you. But even so, a compass is one of the essentials.

Thermometer

A thermometer is also important, especially if you are the kind of traveler or outdoor enthusiast who goes to places with extreme temperatures. This will help you measure the temperature in your surroundings.

However, it is important for you to note that the thermometer is very close to your body when the wristwatch is worn. So, this may affect the temperature ratings in totality.

Altimeter

An altimeter is very helpful when you are traveling in mountains and high areas. And this is because it measures your altitude in a certain place. And if you are in a location where the altitude is needed when finding your way back, your chosen piece that features an altimeter is quite beneficial.

Barometer

The same is true for the barometer. But, this largely measures the factors that affect the wind and weather. Hence, it is safe to say that when you are traveling outdoors, a feature like a barometer can be very helpful.

Sunrise & Sunset Times

It is very common for a survival watch to have a sunrise and sunset time features. And this is quite helpful, especially if you travel to places with high altitude. Keep in mind that the sunset period is much earlier if you are in a much higher ground.

Accordingly, if you know the sunset periods of that certain day, you will get to prevent the darkness of the evening in your journey.

4. Accuracy

When you get stuck in a situation where you need to survive and last long, certainly, you will need a survival tool that can give accurate measurements and information. In this case, your chosen survival watch must possess enough accuracy that will help you in your journey.

Apparently, this specific characteristic must be applied to most of the features of it. These features largely include the time, GPS, compass, sunset and sunrise times, and the tools for measurements.

It is believed by many experts and enthusiasts in the industry that an analog display provides much more accuracy (in comparison to digital display types) in terms of measurements and location settings.

5. Battery Life

Another factor that you have to consider when looking for a survival watch is the battery life. It is important for you to note that all of the best features and functionalities of your pick would only work if the battery is still charged.

Hence, the watch can be pretty pointless and useless for survival situations if the battery life is quite short. But while the life of the battery is important, there are actually sets that do not require batteries to work. Normally, these are the tough solar powered types of watches or mechanical watches under 500.

6. Cost

And the last factor that I find very much important as well, but not certainly the least, is the cost of the survival watch.

Apparently, the range of costs and prices for survival watches is quite wide too. And this is because there are brands today that offer a budget-friendly model. But even so, it is always wise for you to set a budget before making a purchase.

Moreover, keep in mind that for this specific timepiece, the phrase - “you get what you pay for” largely applies. Most of the time, expensive survival watches provide much more efficient and effective features. However, it does not necessarily mean the cheap survival watches cannot be considered.

Yes, it is quite tricky, especially that we are talking about cost and money here. So, it is really wise that you take these matters seriously in order for you to get the most out of your purchase.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Your questions about the best survival watches answered.

What is the Best Survival Watch for Outdoorsmen?

The best survival watch for outdoorsmen when we talk about quality, features and best value for money is the Casio Men’s GG-1000-1A3CR G-Shock Watch. G-Shock is well-known for its amazing durability and this watch is just one of their masterpieces. It is fully functional as an outdoor watch, has a long battery life, shock resistant and water resistant up to 660 ft.

Do G-Shock Watches Have a Compass?

G-Shock Watches have a compass but only on specific models. Currently, 8 G-Shock models have a compass sensor in them. These are the G-9300 Mudman, G-Shock GA-1000 Aviation Series, G-Shock GA-1100, Casio G-Shock Rangeman, etc.

Are G-Shock Scratch Resistant?

G-Shocks are technically scratch resistant not because of the mineral crystal used to cover the dial, but because of how the bezel is designed. As you might have observed, the bezel is slightly raised which in turn, protects the glass material from sustaining accidental scratches from day-to-day use.

The Best Among All The Best

The 8 best survival watches that I have included here are the ones that I find great and fitting for anyone who is looking for a functional watch. But the one that really stands out from the rest is the Suunto-Core Wrist-Top Computer Watch.

And personally, this is the best survival watch for my needs and wants.

suunto core wrist-top computer watch

Primarily, the features that are equipped in this outdoor timepiece are very accurate and on point. Also, these features are exactly the things that I may need in times of emergency and survival.

Secondly, it is very durable and fits snugly on your wrist. The overall structure and build of this piece of art are largely designed for heavy-duty purposes which I find very appropriate for a survival watch.

And thirdly, it has efficient warranty terms along with the company’s effective customer service support. And these aspects are very essential to me because I would want a product and service that I can really rely on even after purchasing the product.

Although the Suunto Core Wrist-Top Computer Survival Watch is quite expensive, I find the price just fitting considering the overall functionality of the watch.

Now, I hope this review would help you in your search. Also, keep in mind that you don’t actually need to rush in making your buying decisions. But if you really need to make a decision now, I highly suggest that you keep on researching and inspecting every watch that is on your list.

Links, prices and images pulled from Amazon Product Advertising API. Last update on 2020-06-02.

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