best survival watch

Best Survival Watch: The Ultimate Buying Guide

Choosing a survival watch can be really challenging. This is because a watch for survival is largely designed for a survival situation and you could say that your life depends on it. So, it is very important that you consider each and every aspect of the 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 when you are to choose your survival watches. In fact, I have here with me the tool that can help you with your search!

Recently, I purchased my third watch. And I find it quite difficult to choose the best 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 of best survival watches.

So, if you are planning to buy your very own outdoor watch, this guide may help you!

Top-Picks for Survival Watches

Fanmis S-Shock

Best Budget Watch 

fanmis s-shock multi function digital led quartz watch
  • Has a few basic features of a survival watch 
  • Very inexpensive 
  • Has a sleek and stylish appearance 

Rated by Nicholas 

Suunt-Core

Best for Overall Functionality

suunto core wrist-top computer watch
  • A fully-functional survival watch
  • It has a 2-year warranty
  • Sleek and elegant appearance

Rated by Nicholas 

CasioMudmaster

Best in Battery Life

casio men’s gg-1000-1a3cr mudmaster g-shock quartz casual watch
  • A fully-functional and all-inclusive survival watch 
  • Long battery lifespan 
  • Very durable 

Rated by Nicholas 

The 8 Most Awesome Survival Watch Deals of 2018 - Guides and Reviews

Personally, these are the best ones that I could find in the market. Although each one of them 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 guide!

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

This Pro Trek Solar-Powered from Casio is one of today’s most rated watches. Aside from the fact that the brand is quite popular, this watch is very functional.

Summary of Feature Inclusions

  • Multi-Band Atomic Timekeeping
  • Altimeter
  • Barometer
  • Plus Octagon
    Thermometer with Backlight
  • Plus Octagon
    Sunrise - Sunset Data

Apparently, it offers numerous features that are very beneficial to users and travelers. Along with the 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 one of the best survival watches 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. In addition, it is water-resistant 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 the watch.

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

PROS

  • It is a fully-featured watch for survival
  • Very durable
  • The warranty terms are great

CONS

  • 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 and price are the biggest factors that you consider before making a purchase, then the Timex Men’s Expedition Gallatin Watch might be the perfect survival watch for you!

Summary of Feature Inclusions

  • Rugged Resin
  • Easy-Set Quick Date
  • Indiglo Light-Up Watch Dial

The materials used in its construction are mainly rugged resin and double layer nylon. Personally, I find it 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 of this watch, it 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 type, 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 its price is quite far down below $100. 

PROS

  • Perfect for entry-level users
  • Very cheap 
  • Durable

CONS

  • It does not have the basic features of an average survival-watch
  • 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-Around Watch For Survival

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

Summary of Feature Inclusions

  • Low-Battery Alert
  • Altimeter
  • Barometer
  • Thermometer with Backlight
  • Japanese quartz movement

Apparently, this watch 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 survival watch 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 watch 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. 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 price that falls below $200, you might already end up with the most excellent survival watch of today.

PROS

  • A fully-functional and all-inclusive survival watch
  • Long battery lifespan
  • Very durable

CONS

  • 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 watch packages of today. 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 watch.

Summary of Feature Inclusions

  • Logbook Recording and Filing
  • Altimeter
  • Barometer
  • Thermometer with Backlight
  • Sunrise and Sunset
  • North Indicator

Personally, I am not a fan of Suunto watches but I find this model really impressive. The 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: calendar clock, weather memory, sea-level pressure reader, bearing tracker, cardinal directions, log graph, guided calibration, and multi-language translator. From the features alone, you will see that this watch is an all-inclusive survival watch.

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

However, the biggest drawback of this watch 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 greatest survival watch for you as the company has fixed these issues in the recent years. Also, the battery replacements are made very affordable.

PROS

  • A fully-functional survival watch
  • It has a 2-year warranty
  • Sleek and elegant appearance

CONS

  • Expensive
  • It has issues with the batteries
  • Poor customer service

Fanmis S-Shock Multi Function Electronic Watch
A Stylish Survival Watch

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 Water Resistant Electronic Sports Survival Watch.

Summary of Feature Inclusions

  • Automatic Year, Month, and Date Settings
  • Stopwatch
  • Dual Time
  • Alarm Mode
  • Various backlight colors

Apparently, this watch 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 survival watch is its functionality considering the overall price of the package. You can purchase this 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 type of survival watch, the equipped features in this watch is quite impressive because they are pretty accurate. And considering the price, it is really cheap!

PROS

  • Very inexpensive
  • It has a few basic features of a survival watch
  • Sleek and stylish appearance

CONS

  • It is not a compass watch
  • Short battery lifespan
  • The sizes are too big

Tmore Men’s Military Multifunctional Sport Watch
The Mechanical Choice for A Survival Watch

If you are looking for a mechanical type of survival watch, then the Tmore Men’s Military Analog Display Multifunctional Sports Watch might be the top survival watch for you.

Summary of Feature Inclusions

  • Dual Time
  • Dual Face
  • Stopwatch
  • Daily Alarm
  • Automatic Calendar

Similar to the Fanmis watches, the Tmore watches 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. And there are actually 11 colors.

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

Hence, you could rely on this 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 the best pick 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 of this watch, it can only last for months. And this is apparently one of the drawbacks of the Tmore Men’s Military Analog Display Multifunctional Sports Watch. Nevertheless, it is still perfect for outdoor uses.

PROS

  • Inexpensive
  • It has a lot of color choices
  • Perfect for outdoor lovers

CONS

  • Short battery lifespan
  • The instruction manual has misleading information
  • Not durable

Timex Men’s Expedition Classic Digital Chrono Alarm Timer Watch
A Casual Survival 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 features that anyone can use when traveling outdoors.

Summary of Feature Inclusions

  • Indiglo Light-Up Watch Dial
  • Countdown Timer
  • Stopwatch
  • Alarm Mode

Aside from the basic features that are listed above, this watch also comes with a mini compass in its resin band. This feature is largely the reason why I included it in this list. Accordingly, I find the mini compass of this watch very accurate and beneficial to the users.

For a price that falls below $50, this is already a pretty decent survival watch. Also, the appearance of this watch is pretty casual and yet it is sleek and elegant as well. 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

  • It has a mini compass
  • Perfect for basic outdoor uses
  • Inexpensive

CONS

  • Short battery lifespan
  • Not very durable
  • It is marketed as a waterproof watch but it cannot really hold any liquid

Casio Men’s Pro Trek PRW-3500T-7CR Solar Tough Triple Sensor Watch
A Survival 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 for you if you want a watch that requires no battery at all.

Summary of Feature Inclusions

  • Triple Sensor
  • Altimeter
  • Barometer
  • Thermometer with Backlight
  • Plus Octagon
    Sunrise and Sunset Data
  • Plus Octagon
    Digital Compass with Bearing Memory

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

As for the features, this watch is actually one of the most fully-functional types. 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 feet.

PROS

  • Very functional
  • Very durable
  • It features a defense mechanism against power surges

CONS

  • 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 best for you.

outdoor watch on wrist

But since the variation of this kind of watches 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 watch for you.

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

1. Types

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

Navigation Survival Watch

A navigation watch is the most common type of all. Any modern and basic survival watch will have navigation features in its overall functionality and built. But, a navigation watch or 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 watches 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 watch for navigation, you must consider these features.

G-Shock Survival Watch

As we all know, G-Shock is actually a product line of Casio. And this watch is mainly designed as a survival watch. It is apparently considered as a type of survival watch due to its efficiency and effectiveness.

So, what makes a G-Shock different from another average watch is that 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 type as their best survival watch due to is versatility and functionality. Also, G-Shock has the most unique appearances.

Survival Kit Watch

The survival kit watch is also known as the paracord watch. Apparently, the main feature of this type of 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 today.

paracord watch

Aside from the cord, this type of watch offers a mini survival kit. And this kit normally includes an analog compass, a whistle, and a fire starter tool. Accordingly, you may find this type 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 situation wherein you need to survive. But even so, there are still a few brands who offer this kind of survival watch that has resolved these apparent issues.

2. Durability and Structure

When looking for the best survival watch of today, some of the most important factors that you need to consider is the durability of the watch. And in this specific factor, it would largely include the overall built and structure of it.

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

Even so, you 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 a watch in my considerations.

3. Features and Functionality

If you are to check and analyze each feature and functionality of a survival watch, it would take you a long time. And this is because these watches have numerous features which are only fitting because you don’t know what you will face it times of emergency.

But to summarize it all, these are usually the features that you must check when considering a certain survival watch:

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 watches for you are the ones that can provide the accurate coordinates of your location.

Compass

A survival watch 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 type 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 watch 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 survival watches 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 timepiece 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 type of survival watch 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 timepiece is the battery life. It is important for you to note that all of the features and functionalities of your pick would only work if the battery is still charged.

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

6. Cost

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

Apparently, the range of costs and prices for these 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 product, the phrase - “you get what you pay for” largely applies. Most of the time, expensive watches provide much more efficient and effective features. However, it does not necessarily mean the cheap 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.

The Best Among All The Best

The 8 survival watch kits 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 watch that really stands out from the rest is the Suunto-Core Wrist-Top Computer Watch.

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

suunto-core wrist-top computer watch

Primarily, the features that are equipped in this survival watch 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. The overall structure and build of this watch 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 Watch is quite expensive, I find the price just fitting considering the overall functionality of the watch.

Now, I hope this guide 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 survival watch that is on your list.