At the rate technology is evolving nowadays, it is no wonder that simple items we use every day are also changing to keep up with the times. Think back to a time when you were excited because you received your first digital watch as a birthday gift. The backlight, alarm, and stopwatch were the kind of features you bragged about to your friends. Fast forward back to today and those features are basic standard features on any watch. If you want bragging rights now you need a watch with a compass and thermometer, and yes a GPS. Who would have thought?
Some of the best tactical and military watches are fully equipped with GPS and any other grand feature you could imagine. One thing you should remember with GPS watches is that if you are looking for a watch to use when deployed, you may need to clear it with your superiors first as GPS tracking could give your position away and prove to be dangerous. If you are a soldier looking for a watch to use in active duty read my article on The best tactical watches for military personnel.
If you are an outdoor fanatic, fisherman, cyclist, runner or hunter to name but a few, then a tactical and military GPS watch is for you. These GPS watches have the ability to save your routes, favorite fishing spot, track your distance, and share your route maps with friends and family. The possibilities are endless with a GPS watch. Let’s have a look at my favorites.
#1 - Suunto Traverse Alpha
The Traverse Alpha is made with hunters and fisherman in mind with unique features added specifically for them. Suunto puts all their products through rigorous testing so you can be assured of the toughness and durability. This feature packed GPS watch boasts hiking, fishing, and hunting modes with different points of interest types for each style.
· Moon rise/set times and phases
· Sunrise/Sunset times
· GPS timekeeping
· GPS and GLONASS
· Mobile notifications
· Speed, distance and altitude tracker
· Rechargeable battery with 14 days battery life
· No built in heart rate monitor
The Suunto Traverse Alpha can connect to a third party heart rate monitor but would have been nice to have a built-in monitor. However, I can live without it considering everything it does have. For the hunter, it has automatic shot detection, and for the Angler it has weather trend indicator, storm alert, and sea level pressure graph. For everyone else it can measure distance travelled, speed, plan your route, breadcrumb trail so you don’t get lost and you can share routes and maps with friends and family using the Suunto Movescount App.
The pinnacle of performance and tactical functionality the Tactix Bravo is tough and stylish at the same time. The reinforced housing, protective stainless steel bezel, and domed sapphire lens mean that you never have to doubt the durability and toughness of this GPS watch. The domed lens prevents reflection making it easy to read.
· Altimeter, Compass, and Barometer
· Smart notification
· GPS navigation
· Measures distance, steps taken, stairs climbed and calories burned
· Sleep monitor
· Display is sunlight readable with day and night vision modes
· Water resistant up to 100m
Only because I couldn’t find anything that I don’t like about this GPS watch. You can download the Garmin Connect app and sync all your routes, maps and map points as well as your activity tracker data and follow your progress on your phone or iPad. It has a built in rechargeable battery, live tracking and social media sharing capabilities. Especially for the Golfers, it can calculate the yardage of your shots from anywhere on the course.
Garmin has outdone themselves with the Fenix 5 and created a multisport watch with GPS and elevate heart rate monitor technology. The wrist-based heart monitor allows the watch to monitor your heart rate without a chest strap. The Fenix 5 has advanced running dynamics as well as individual features for swimming, golf, paddle sports, skiing, and rowing.
· Custom apps and watch faces
· GPS and GLONASS
· Electronic compass
· Accelerator and virtual pacer
· Step counter, auto goal, and sleep monitor
· Hunting and fishing calendar
· Garmin Connect compatible
· 64mb built-in memory
The Fenix 5 isn’t available yet, so I haven’t found anything to not like about it, what I do see is that it is going to be hugely popular so you should pre-order now. There are simply just too many features to mention. The Fenix 5 series will be available in different sizes ensuring that there is one to fit every outdoor enthusiast regardless of age, size or gender. Interchangeable straps allow you to be comfortable whether at the gym, at work or outdoors. No matter what your outdoor activity or sport this is one you should definitely consider.
The Garmin Foretrex 401 is a bit different to your average tactical or GPS watch; it is a slim wrist mounted GPS navigator with an extremely sensitive GPS receiver. It allows you to plan and store your routes and includes a trip computer.
· Sunset and sunrise times
· Hunting and fishing information
· Path Tracker
· Electronic compass and barometric altimeter
· Compatible with Grmin Connect
· A bit bulky
The Foretrex 401 may seem a bit cumbersome to some. However, some might appreciate and enjoy the simplicity of it. The Trackback feature allows you to track back to your starting point, so you wont get lost when going off the beaten track. The water resistant GPS receiver makes this an ideal option for skiers, campers, and hikers.
As with most types of tactical and military watches, it is evident to see that there are some fantastic GPS watches to choose from. They all have the same basic features, and some have more added features than others. One thing is sure, though, all of them are great choices, and at least one of them will suit your every need.