5 Best Survival Watch when Bugging Out in 2023 2

5 Best Survival Watch when Bugging Out in 2023

Are you looking for the best survival watch? A SHTF watch can be extremely useful especially in bugging out scenario due to the features it provides. Most survival watches come with a built-in compass and is water resistant but the question lies in selecting the right watch according to your needs and situation.

Let’s take a quick look at the top 5 survival watch comparison below.  

Top 5 Tactical Watch Comparison

5 Best Survival Watch when Bugging Out in 2023 3Casio Men's GW-9400-1CR Solar WatchClick for latest price3.2 ouncesSolar Powered4.7 / 5.0$$$Durable CASIO watch
that is made to
5 Best Survival Watch when Bugging Out in 2023 4Casio G-Shock Rangeman Master Of G Series WatchClick for latest price3.2 ouncesSolar Powered4.4 / 5.0$$$Solar-powered
watch with a
5 Best Survival Watch when Bugging Out in 2023 5Casio Men's GG-1000-1A3CR Mudmaster WatchClick for latest price3.2 ouncesSilver Oxide4.3 / 5.0$$$Made to
withstand muddy
situations by
keeping mud out
5 Best Survival Watch when Bugging Out in 2023 6SUUNTO Core Outdoor Sports WatchClick for latest price2.26 ouncesLithium Battery3.8 / 5.0$$Made for outdoor
exploration and
everyday carry
5 Best Survival Watch when Bugging Out in 2023 7Casio Men's Pathfinder PAG240-1CR WatchClick for latest price2.20 ouncesLithium Battery4.5 / 5.0$$$Watch with
sunrise sunset
data and it shows
48-city world

The Best Survival Watch Review

1) Casio GW9400 Rangeman G-Shock Survival Watch

Best Survival Watch: Casio Men's GW-9400-1CR Master of G Stainless Steel Solar Watch

Background – CASIO G-Shock watches are durable and trusted by many military personnel and outdoor enthusiast. These G-shock watches are designed to resist centrifugal and impact forces as well as high water pressure.

Weight – Like all G-Shock watches, it is lightweight (3.2 ounces)

Altimeter – You would need to calibrate the altimeter according to your actual elevation before using it. To check for precision in real time, each 30 ft that you climb would result in a drop of 1 hPa, the G-shock Solar Atomic is accurate but could be affected by the weather.   

Barometer – In order for your barometer to read close to the local weather rating, you would need to calibrate the thermometer and altimeter as well in the watch. The barometer graph works well for hiking when there is gradual change in height. When the barometer shows a quick and huge drop in pressure, it signifies that a storm will arrive within few hours.   

Compass –  Its digital compass does its job as it is required to. You can easily navigate your directions if you ever get lost.


  • Plastic resin
  • Mineral crystal dial window
  • Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Case diameter: 55 mm

Power & Display:

  • Rechargeable solar-powered with lithium metal battery
  • Quartz movement with analog display


  • Featured ABC Technology (Altimeter, Barometer, Compass)
  • Thermometer
  • Sunrise and sunset date
  • Md6 atomic keeping
  • Water resistant rating: 200 m (suitable for recreational scuba diving)

What is the watch suitable for – Survival watch, Bugging out, Hiking, Camping out, Everyday carry (EDC) watch

Things to look out for –
The sunrise sunset time may be off up to half an hour depending on your actual location.  

My take – The GW9400 Rangeman G-Shock Solar Atomic has an intuitive LED watch display. The solar powered battery is what makes this watch so special! With these tools inside your watch, you would not have to worry about running out of battery at the worst times and you can count on it to perform every day.

2) Casio G-Shock Rangeman Master Of G Series Survival Watch

Casio G-Shock Rangeman Master Of G Series Stylish Watch

Background – Similar to the first watch, this Casio G-Shock Master of G-series has an equal amount of functions as the previous and also has solar-powered battery. The only difference is the colour of the watch. If you prefer rugged and military appearance style of watch, this could be your choice of survival watch.


  • Resin
  • Mineral crystal dial window
  • Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Case diameter: 54 mm

Power & Display:

  • Rechargeable solar-powered battery
  • Quartz movement with analog display


  • Featured ABC Technology (Altimeter, Barometer, digital Compass)
  • Thermometer (ranging from 14 to 140 degrees F)
  • Shock resistant
  • Multi-Band Atomic Timekeeping
  • Water resistant rating: 200 m (suitable for recreational scuba diving)

Things to look out for – Few people have raised concern about the watch’s negative display which can be at times hard to read. It can be easily read under daylight condition but harder to read when there is less lighting. You could use the backlight to easily overcome this problem.

3) Casio Men’s GG-1000-1A3CR Mudmaster

Casio Men's GG-1000-1A3CR Mudmaster

Background – The Casio Men Mudmaster is constructed to withstand muddy situation because the watch contains multiple gaskets on the pipes to guide the buttons, effectively keeping the mud out.

Weight – Like all G-Shock watches, it is lightweight (3.2 ounces)


  • Black resin
  • Mineral glass
  • Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Case diameter: 48 mm

Power & Display:

  • 2 x sr927w silver oxide battery
  • Quartz movement, Analog 3 hands display


  • Digital Compass
  • Thermometer (ranging from 14 to 140 degrees F)
  • Neobrite for illumination in the dark
  • Shock and Mud resistant
  • Water resistant rating: 200 m (suitable for professional marine activity)

What is the watch suitable for – Sports watch, Survival watch, Scuba diving watch

Things to look out for –
The watch is bigger than your average G-shock watches so you might feel its bulky on your wrist. Overall, it should still feel comfortable. Since this wach is powered by silver oxide batteries, you might need to change the batteries every 5 to 10 years depending on usage.

My take – The GG-1000-1A3 Mudmaster has beautiful colourways with green straps which makes it very appealing. The watch does not have an altimeter or barometer which is a minus point to use it as a survival watch but it does make a great outdoor watch due to its mud resistant feature and beautifully designed face.

4) Suunto Core All Black Military Survival Watch

SUUNTO Core All Black Military Men's Outdoor Sports Watch

Background – The Suunto Core is designed for exploration and outdoor enthusiast in mind. It combines the altimeter, barometer and compass in an intuitive display with additional features such as weather forecast.


  • Black resin
  • Weight: 2.26 ounces
  • Case diameter: 49 mm (1.93 inches)

Power & Display:

  • 1 x 2532 lithium battery
  • Quartz movement


  • Altimeter, Barometer and Digital Compass (ABC tech)
  • Thermometer ( -5 to 140 degrees F)
  • Sunset and Sunrise time
  • Storm alarm
  • Water-resistant rating: 30 m or 100 feet (splash resistant)

What is the watch suitable for – Everyday carry (EDC) watch, Outdoor and Hiking watch

Things to look out for – The watch is not an atomic watch, so you will have to set the time yourself and calibrate the altimeter, barometer and thermometer inside the watch. Negative comments about Sunnto core’s strap band which appears to be flimsy and fragile. Suunto does charge their customers for straps replacement for about 60 dollars. To overcome this, you can easily make a strap band from a 550 paracord for your watch if you do not want a new band from Suunto.

My take – The Suunto Core is famous for its vast amount of features fit inside one watch. However, the battery life might be a concern and it requires a battery change every one to three years which is pretty short. With that said, the Suunto Core would still make a great outdoor watch especially for hiking, skiing, and mountaineering activities because it keeps you informed of your altitude, any sudden weather changes and helps you navigate your way.

5) Casio Pathfinder PAG240-1CR Solar Powered Survival Watch

Casio Men's Pathfinder PAG240-1CR Solar Powered Triple Sensor Sport Watch

Background – The Pathfinder (PAG240-1CR) has all the triple sensor functions you would find in the G-Shock Rangeman. In addition, it has a more functional exterior case design compared to the Rangeman with extra features such as the sunrise sunset data and 48-city world time.

Weight – Lightest of them all, the Pathfinder PAG240 Triple Sensor watch only weighs about 2.2 ounces. Due to its weight and size, you could probably wear this watch the whole day without noticing it.

Altimeter – Without GPS function, you will also need to calibrate the altimeter before using. This will give you a good relative measurement on the altitude changes. Altimeter data can also be stored automatically every 2 minutes with storage capacity up to 1 day.

Compass – The watch compass can be calibrated northerly and adjusted for magnetic declination with 1 degree of resolution. The angle can also be recorded in the watch memory.


  • Resin band
  • Mineral dial window
  • Weight: 2.2 ounces
  • Case diameter: 51 mm

Power & Display:

  • 1 x lithium metal battery
  • Solar powered
  • 6 months of battery life on full charge (without further exposure to light)
  • Quartz movement with digital display


  • Altimeter, Barometer, Digital Compass
  • Thermometer
  • Sunrise and Sunset data
  • Low-temperature resistant: 14 degrees F
  • Additional power saving function (10 pm – 6 am)
  • Water resistant rating: 100 m (suitable for swimming and snorkelling, but not scuba diving)

Things to look out for – The timer function can only be set for hours or minutes but not seconds. The Pathfinder alarm is soft because it uses a higher pitch frequency instead but this should not be an issue.

My take – The Pathfinder makes a great alternative to the G-Shock Rangman due to its functional watch display with all the necessary tools (ABC technology) to make a great survival watch. Beautiful display with rotating bezel which rotates smoothly. You can immerse the watch into water countless time, drop or abuse it and still have the watch performing perfectly. Since the watch is black in colour, it is probably hard to notice scratches from your daily abuse on the watch. Lastly, It is also worth mentioning that the watch is pretty lightweight (only 2.12 ounces) and you could wear it without noticing it is on your wrist.

Best Survival Watch Features

There are top 6 features you need to look out for when selecting your tactical watch:

1. Durability

Yes, durability is first on the list. If a watch cannot stand a certain amount of abuse, it is probably not suited for a survival scenario in the first place. You can look for military specification to ensure the toughness of your watch. In a survival scenario, you would want a watch which can withstand shock, scratches and water resistance. Your tactical watch should be low temperature resistant as well so it can still function at 0 degrees. The main word here is reliable because ultimately, a SHTF watch should function during emergency times otherwise it defeats the purpose of getting one. The ideal watch would be one that requires minimal maintenance and is still robust

Cases for the watch can be made of plastic which is lightweight and corrosion resistant. Watches are typically made with metal cases with stainless steel backing as it is stronger and more durable than plastic. Of course, there is a higher end material for a watch that is Titanium. Titanium is 5x harder than stainless steel and 40% lighter. With such superior performance, comes a hefty price. Usually, picking a watch with stainless steel case would suffice in our case to use it as a tactical watch. 

Speaking of water resistance, each watch has different water resistance rating and the choice is totally up to you. I would recommend getting a tactical watch with a minimum 10 atm or 100 M water resistance rating so you can dip your watch into water without any worries of it going bust. It is unlikely that you need a dive watch which can withstand high atmospheric pressure without cracking unless you are into underwater diving. If you are, the dive watch should have a counter clock bezel to tell how long you have been underwater. 

Water resistance rating for survival watch

Watch Water Resistance Rating Guide:

Here is a quick beginner’s guide to selecting the right water resistance rating:

3 atm or 30 m = splash or rain resistant
5 atm or 50 m = suitable for swimming, water rafting and fishing
10 atm or 100 m = Suitable for water sports, sailing, snorkelling
20 atm or 200 m = professional marine activity, skin diving
Diver’s 100 m = ISO 6425 for scuba diving at depths not suitable for saturation diving

2. Power

There are multiple ways a watch can be powered. There is the classic lithium battery watch, manual wind watch, automatic winding watch which uses a weight inside to pull the spring, and solar power watch. In a SHTF scenario, you definitely would not want to find your watch running out of power and requires a battery replacement. Unless you have extra batteries in your bug out bag, you will need to buy it off the shelf.

For preppers, I would recommend either getting lithium battery or solar powered watch. Buying watch which uses a lithium battery would require a replacement after 10 years while the solar watches typically last forever as long as the sun still exist!

In fact, solar powered watches do not derive the power from the sun only. You can also charge your solar powered watch with artificial lighting. An interesting test conducted by Citizen has shown that the Citizen Eo-Drive solar powered watch can retain 80% of the secondary battery’s storage capacity even after 20 years. According to manufacturers, the rechargeable battery will deteriorate after repeated charges and discharges depending on the user’s environment. They recommend consumers to replace their lithium-ion battery after 10 years. Even so, the most important factor that affects the useful life of the battery is the power drain which is dependent on the users.

3. ABC Technology

What does ABC stand for? It stands for Altimeter, Barometer and Compass. A tactical watch should have the triple senor technology because it can drastically improve your chances for survival.

Watch with compass and altimeter


An altimeter shows your current altitude and elevation changes. In case you got lost in mountainous area, this function would be useful for finding your way down the mountain.


A barometer gives you the atmospheric pressure reading. Why would you need this? The atmospheric pressure reading would help you predict the weather because if the pressure drops rapidly, it signifies a greater chance of raining. The larger the change in air pressure, the greater the change in weather. With this tool, you would be able to prepare in advance for extreme weather condition by looking for a shelter. Another useful function of this tool is for rain water harvesting as the pressure drop would signal you the time to set up a simple water collection system.


The compass is needless to say the most vital component for your survival in the wilderness. A compass would prevent you from hiking in the wrong direction and ultimately, arrive at your safe location.

Another feature to consider is the Atomic or GPS function. An atomic watch receives radio signal from Fort Collins, Colorado. These watches receive the 60 KHz signal from Collins clock to maintain the watch’s accuracy. For GPS watch, it uses satellite wave to capture position data and time signal from the satellites orbiting in space to adjust the time and date on your watch. With these features, you would always have the correct time.

If your watch does not have the Atomic or GPS function, its accuracy is depended on the type of watch you get. In terms of accuracy, Manual and Automatic winding watch is accurate up to plus minus 15 seconds a day. For Kinetic and Quartz watch, it is accurate up to plus minus 15 seconds a month. The champion? Ultra-high frequency quartz watches are accurate up to plus minus 15 seconds a year.    

4. Watch Brand

This might be another critical factor when selecting your SHTF watch, only buy watches from reputable brands. Brands without track record might cause additional problems when you require services or warranty claim from them. Top brands for watches include Casio, Seiko, Timex and Citizen watches. Responsible manufacturers would be transparent about the cost of getting a replacement part for your timepiece so you would not be surprised by the price. You can check the top brands out at this Amazon bestseller page here.

5. Watch Size

Watches case size is measured as the diameter perpendicular to the watch lugs, not counting the crown. For people with small to medium size wrist (6 to 7 inches), the watch case diameter should be around 36 mm to 44 mm (1.4 inches to 1.7 inches). This is a rough guide so I would suggest that you print out a watch sizing guide to check how does it really look like on your wrist. Make sure the watch is lightweight and does not obstruct you from your daily routines.

6. Watch Display

This is optional because it really depends on your personal taste. You can choose watches with simple faces or filled with sophisticated dials, digital or analog, and different back light options. In short, a good tactical watch is visible in both sunny and low light conditions where the screen can be easily read with a glance.

Survival Watch – Buying Guide and Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a Survival Watch?

A Survival Watch is a kind of gear which you will wear everyday without fail. The term ‘Survival’ here is significant because it signifies that you should bring this watch around wherever you go.

Q: What is the best military watch?

A military watch should have important features and functions such as world time and home city display, anti-magnetic and shock-resistant.

If you are running on a budget, the best military watch that covers all the above features is the Casio G-Shock GA110-1B. This watch would give you all the functions and durability that is required in a military watch but it runs on lithium batteries that can last for about 2 years.

Another option is to get a Casio GW9400 Rangeman Solar Atomic watch that has all the features above with solar charging capacity.

Q: Is the G Shock Rangeman worth it?

For its price, the G Shock Rangeman offers an amazing feat of features compared to its peers. The atomic timekeeping would update every evening giving you an accurate sunrise or sunset time. This feature would be particularly useful when planning your hunting schedule.

With other functions such as ABC (Altimeter, Barometer, Compass) and water-resistant rating of 200m jam-packed into one device, it is arguably the most sophisticated survival watch for its series.

In fact, you can opt for a Rangeman GPR-B1000-1 if you want to have GPS navigation and sync function with your smartphone. The G Shock phone app allows users to plot their route via a 3D map display in your phone. The watch also automatically logs and tracks your position, altitude and temperature data.

Q: What is triple sensor in watch?

Triple sensor in watch is also known as ABC which stands for Altimeter, Barometer and Compass.

An altimeter displays your elevation or altitude changes. This is particularly useful when you want to find your way down a mountainous area.

Barometer senses the atmospheric pressure around you. This sensor is used to measure any pressure change because a large drop in pressure would signify a high chance of a downpour.

Compass allows you to determine the direction or bearing you are currently facing. Knowing which direction you are moving towards is critical for survival to arrive at your desired destination.

Q: Who should get a Survival Watch?

A survival watch is suitable for anyone who needs to brave the outdoors, hunting activities and is particularly useful for a SHTF or emergency situations. Besides providing you with the time and stopwatch, the survival watch should give you accurate surroundings data and tracking function so that your chances of survival would improve significantly.

Q: How do you care for a Survival Watch?

Basic care for a survival watch includes removing water deposits on the watchband and regular cleaning of the watch dial window using a microfibre cloth and spray.

Personally, I would be picky when selecting my survival watch material such as resin band, ceramic watch case and sapphire coated mineral glass dial window. Even though these materials may cost more for the watch upfront, it will be more worthwhile in the long run due to its durability and minimal maintenance required.


The top pick for the best survival watch in this review is the Casio Men’s GW9400 Rangeman G-Shock Solar Atomic Watch due to its vast range of functionality and long-lasting battery life (basically forever!) as well as its cool looking watch surface. Selecting a watch requires you to define your purpose of buying the watch so you could determine which criteria of the watch matters most to you.

If you are looking for something slight lower priced than the Rangeman, I would recommend getting the Casio Men’s Pathfinder PAG240-1CR Solar Powered Triple Sensor Sport Watch instead. With this watch, you would still get all the features offered from a reputable brand seller.

2 thoughts on “5 Best Survival Watch when Bugging Out in 2023”

  1. Why is it so hard to find an analog only survival watch with compass, shock, and scratch resistance? I don’t want anything to connect wirelessly.

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