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Hangfire
03-02-2015, 22:59
Something that a lot of people don't consider is having a time piece other than a cell phone. I brought my old Timex iron man watch with me last year, not sure exactly why, I usually only wear it when I'm out on the water but figured why not bring it. This was definitely one of those surprise high value items that you normally wouldn't think about. I suppose this probably goes back to my distance running days, but it is always nice to have the ability to quickly figure out the time, check your pace, when to stop for breaks, and also keeping track of what day it is. Anyways just a thought for those of you trying to figure out all those little things that may help you on your journey.

soilman
03-02-2015, 23:07
I didn't wear a watch on my thru and never missed it. On a couple of occasions when I needed to know the time I dug out my phone. I stopped for a break when I was tired or hungry. Didn't need a watch to tell me that. Didn't care what day it was and how fast I was walking. Those were some of the reasons I was hiking.

Mags
03-02-2015, 23:29
A watch is useful for dead reckoning and first aid (pulse and resp. rate, taking note of time vital signs were taken)

RangerZ
03-02-2015, 23:36
+1 to Mags. Its an old habit to have my watch on my left pack strap. I'm (and it) wound tight enough to figure my pace.

July
03-02-2015, 23:50
yes, a phone (tablet)is on the gearlist. -however- Very much love my wrist-top device. Multi function and can track options with the flick of the wrist, ie...watch an compass and altitude. Am still waiting on varmit locator app..

Siarl
03-03-2015, 03:57
I, in my numerous gear searches (geek gear that is) came across a watch that was recommended as one of the best watches for outdoors ever. Surprisingly, it is just about ten dollars and sold at Walmart. It's a very cheap watch, green velcro strap, and I don't even recall the name of it since it has long ago been wiped off the watch surface. But I purchased two of them just in case one gave out. I've had it now for 7 years and it's still running. I think it might be by Casio but I'm not sure.

horsefarm
03-03-2015, 06:44
I would never leave for a hike without my $10 Casio. Funny that 'time' is too much technology to be carrying for some folks, but they'll have no problem with carrying the latest hi-tech materials by way of tent, pack, etc.

daddytwosticks
03-03-2015, 08:13
Caribeiner watch attached to my pack strap. I never hike without it. You would be amazed at how many hikers I meet on the trail and ask me what time it is. :)

Coffee
03-03-2015, 08:36
My phone is off 99% of the time on trail. It is inefficient to use it as a watch when my $15 timex does the job and the battery lasts a few years.

Traveler
03-03-2015, 09:00
Never thought of a watch in terms of first aid response, though it would be a basic tool. I have always found a watch to be a corner of the necessary triangle to navigation, along with a compass and map. I won't travel far without one.

Kerosene
03-03-2015, 09:15
I've been using an old Timex digital wristwatch with a fabric strap for the last 15+ years, mostly for dead reckoning and pacing.

zepphead80
03-03-2015, 09:27
Timex Expedition with a velcro strap that I bought off Amazon for $8. Never leaves my wrist except when I shower. When I hike sometimes I'll strap it to my pack strap. It even has the date and a backlight for the dark...hi-tech!

Coffee
03-03-2015, 10:18
I don't get the super expensive watches when so many are so cheap. The Apple watch is going to be a huge hit but useless for backpacking.

peakbagger
03-03-2015, 11:22
I do pick up altimeter watches on sale at Campmor. They are very handy for navigation especially when you are on trail, just find the contour line that lines up with the elevation. Also handy to watch the barometer trend overnight. If the campsite sinks overnight, high pressure (sun but usually cooler) is coming in, if rises, low pressure is coming in (rain). My current watch even has an icon on it to predict the weather by the trend overnight.

jimmyjam
03-03-2015, 12:14
I have a cheap watch that I removed the band and drilled a hole in the casing and attach it to my pack or pants with a minibiner

Busky2
03-03-2015, 12:18
I tend to not drink enough while hiking and this can be a big issue for me. So I set the hourly chime to remind myself to drink something every hour while on the march.

Mags
03-03-2015, 12:19
Never thought of a watch in terms of first aid response, though it would be a basic tool. I have always found a watch to be a corner of the necessary triangle to navigation, along with a compass and map. I won't travel far without one.

On the first day of my WFA class, the instructor had to remind people to have a watch for vital signs and taking reports. Cell phones don't cut it esp for vital signs. The only under-30 person with a watch happened to be a nurse.

Frye
03-03-2015, 12:33
I just don't feel right without a watch. It's that simple. I don't wear one because I might have to take vitals. It's just I was wearing one before cell phones became affordable and I'm accustomed to em. I'd get annoyed if I had to pull my cell out every time I wanted to check the time. Perhaps that wouldn't be an issue for most people younger than myself, but it is for me.

I don't wear my typical watch though, I just grab a cheap lightweight joint from Walmart and use it for my trips. (Which is kind of funny as I normally wear a suunto, a watch you'd think would be appropriate for the backcountry.)

CarlZ993
03-03-2015, 12:37
I got an altimeter watch for backpacking. I've found that to be useful in the backcountry (although it has to be recalibrated at known elevation points). While hiking, I like to drink something every 15 min. If I don't do this routine, I'm likely to wait until I'm thirsty... then I'm dehydrated.

Watch wearers are becoming a dying bread. Hardly any of my Scouts wear them. When we go to Philmont Scout Ranch, we tell the boys in advance that they should wear a cheap watch. There are time sensitive events that they attend. No watch = they don't know what time it is. When asked, the adults refuse to tell them what time it is.

Odd Man Out
03-03-2015, 12:42
I basically use a watch to know where I am (navigation). The time it takes to get to the next water source, shelter, road crossing, viewpoint, etc... is more relevant than the distance. The guide book gives distance, which I convert to time, then with my watch I know when I will get to where I am going.

In the past I've owned a Timex Indiglow watch which would light up when you push the button. This was quite nice for camping as it works as a little flashlight on your wrist if you need to find something in the dark. They use an electroluminescent display, which uses very little electricity.

Mags
03-03-2015, 12:50
In fairness, I've only used a watch for vital signs once out of a classroom setting.

I do use a watch for dead reckoning and related fairly frequently, however.

My watch of choice is also a Timex Indiglo. I wrote a mock-serious review of it. (http://www.pmags.com/gear-review-timex-indiglo-watch):)

NY HIKER 50
03-03-2015, 13:33
I have used watches but I do have a problem. When they're on my wrist they are easily damaged due to hitting a rock or tree. Mine don't last long. I'll have to consider putting it on my pack strap. any suggestions?

Coffee
03-03-2015, 13:37
I also have a Timex Indiglo. The bezel on mine fell off and it looks pretty bad but still functional. I agree with others who use it for navigation although I've never thought about it that way. I do get a very good sense of where I am on the trail based on the passage of time and I also try to drink at least every 15-30 minutes. I refer to the watch all the time for those purposes. But I've never really thought about it before.

NY HIKER 50
03-03-2015, 13:53
I'll bet I could even damage a Rolex. That could get expensive. I'm not sure, but it may be better to put it somewhere where it won't get damaged. I'm still open to suggestions. I've broken Swiss army knives, stoves, and even tough flashlights. I sometimes feel like a tester instead of a consumer.

Coffee
03-03-2015, 14:04
Just buy a $10-15 watch from Wal-Mart. I paid under $20 for my Timex. If you break it, not a huge loss. And chances are it will last a while even with abuse.

FlyFishNut
03-03-2015, 14:05
I think many folks love the fact of not knowing what time it is and view a watch as a tether to the 9-5 world.

A watch is a vital tool to me and I haven't been without one on my wrist since I was 17 years old. Usually a dive watch since most of my pursuits are water related and timing tides and plotting courses are time dependent and crucial.

Regarding hiking and mountaineering I have a GPS Garmin Fenix that tracks barometric pressure (and trends), as well as altitude, compass, etc is helpful. I still carry map and compass b/c electronics fail.

To each his/her own: but I like having a time piece as well as the GPS, etc above mentioned functions. It's cool to download the track into Google maps to see where I was and sort of armchair reminisce after the trip.

However - I do not find myself a slave to my watch, nervously checking it (that would really suck). If that were the case I would keep it turned off and only use it when really needed.

fastfoxengineering
03-03-2015, 14:12
I wear a timex atlantis while hiking.

I prefer a silicone/rubber strap and an indiglo feature. An alarm is usefull too.

I prefer analog watches but digitals are much more useful when hiking.

I "use" my watch alot on the trail determining my speed, calculating arrival times, etc. However, I could leave it at home. I've just been wearing one my whole life. Never use my phone for time. Always check my watch.

After a few weeks on the trail, I use my watch less and less. Up with sun, down with the moon. Who cares what time it is?

On my thru-hike, my day to day plans are going to be so much less stringent. I'm just going to hike however far I feel like that day.

In conclusion, I like having a watch, but always have, hiking or not.

I recommend Timex's for hiking. They can take a beating and you don't worry about em. I also prefer smaller, slim watches. My Timex Atlantis is just about perfect for me.

However, personally, I would appreciate an altimeter watch on a thru. Knowing my elevation would probably help me out than knowing what time it is.

Hangfire
03-03-2015, 14:35
I'll bet I could even damage a Rolex. That could get expensive. I'm not sure, but it may be better to put it somewhere where it won't get damaged. I'm still open to suggestions. I've broken Swiss army knives, stoves, and even tough flashlights. I sometimes feel like a tester instead of a consumer.

I can't remember who makes it, Timex, Casio? But back in the day someone came up with a G-shock watch that they used to advertize by hitting it with a sledge hammer. Pretty much the same as all other sports type digital watches but it had a beefy rubber housing...might be a match for you NY HIKER!

Astro
03-03-2015, 15:20
Just wear my $15 Casio like I do everyday. Can not imagine not having it.

NY HIKER 50
03-03-2015, 16:07
Regarding watches, it is a point of reference. You need it to arrive in town to pick up a drop at the PO on time. You need to to make train or bus scheds. it's also needed to figure out how much light you have on a cloudy day. I know the feeling of hiking without one myself. Unfortunately, you are held to the regular world at times.

"I can't remember who makes it, Timex, Casio? But back in the day someone came up with a G-shock watch that they used to advertize by hitting it with a sledge hammer. Pretty much the same as all other sports type digital watches but it had a beefy rubber housing...might be a match for you NY HIKER! "

We'll see about that! Rubber deteriorates quickly in the sun and weather.

ccartertn
03-03-2015, 17:10
I got an altimeter watch for backpacking. I've found that to be useful in the backcountry (although it has to be recalibrated at known elevation points).

May I ask what watch you use? I am looking at a Casio Pathfinder. I just returned another Casio (cheaper than the Pathfinder) that had Altimeter and Temperature only, no compass. The altimeter seemed way off and that is what I was wanting to work the most. I understand it works based on air pressure but it seemed off from day to day where there was no real change.

I also feel lost without a watch. I have always worn cheaper timex ironman watches because I used to run a lot. The problem - the more expensive the watch, the more likely I'll lose it!

FlyPaper
03-03-2015, 17:36
May I ask what watch you use? I am looking at a Casio Pathfinder. I just returned another Casio (cheaper than the Pathfinder) that had Altimeter and Temperature only, no compass. The altimeter seemed way off and that is what I was wanting to work the most. I understand it works based on air pressure but it seemed off from day to day where there was no real change.

I also feel lost without a watch. I have always worn cheaper timex ironman watches because I used to run a lot. The problem - the more expensive the watch, the more likely I'll lose it!

I have a Casio Pathfinder (PAW-500). It is perfect for the trail. It shows altitude, it automatically sets its time each night based on the atomic clock in Colorado, and is solar powered. The altimeter is more useful than most GPS based altimeter readings. And this model is not big like some hockey puck watches you might see. I wear it every day and it looks and acts like an ordinary watch. They don't make this model anymore, but there are similar newer models.

For me, I find that tracking both time and altitude lets me know exactly where I'm at. On flat ground, I can estimate distance by time. On inclines I can estimate distance (or at lest progress until the next peak or trough) based on altitude. Sometimes as the day wears on I may feel like taking a long break. But the time of day and distance to the next camp might dictate I move on immediately.

FlyPaper
03-03-2015, 17:40
May I ask what watch you use? I am looking at a Casio Pathfinder. I just returned another Casio (cheaper than the Pathfinder) that had Altimeter and Temperature only, no compass. The altimeter seemed way off and that is what I was wanting to work the most. I understand it works based on air pressure but it seemed off from day to day where there was no real change.

I also feel lost without a watch. I have always worn cheaper timex ironman watches because I used to run a lot. The problem - the more expensive the watch, the more likely I'll lose it!

One more thing about the altimeter. It is pressure based, so you need to calibrate it every morning at a known altitude. This may seem like a pain, and you can skip this. If you know you have a 1000' climb, just note the altitude at the start and add 1000. You can monitor the climb and know how far you are. If you calibrate it in the morning, I've found it stays pretty accurate for the whole day and usually if I am descending a hill into camp I can determine almost exactly how much further I've got to walk based on the altimeter I calibrated that morning.

For GPS altimeters, you don't have to calibrate them, but they are much more sporadic and you generally cannot rely on their altimeter number anyway.

Christoph
03-03-2015, 17:47
A long time ago I bought my wife a High-Gear (I think that's the brand) and it had all the altimeter stuff and temp on it. Awesome watch. But it seemed like you had to calibrate it all the time, like FlyPaper stated. So I now use the cheapo Walmart watch with just an alarm. I'm wondering tho about the plastic band vs. velcro band. I'm afraid the plastic one isn't tough enough (I'm not wasy on them for some reason) but the velcro/cloth type smell really bad after a while. Anyway, I don't want to have to pull my phone out every time I want to get some bearings so the cheapo is the way to go for me.

garlic08
03-03-2015, 17:49
I use my watch more often than my compass for navigation.

It's also handy when I use my Aquamira.

squeezebox
03-03-2015, 18:03
You've convinced me. What watch should I get?

squeezebox
03-03-2015, 18:06
I don't get the idea about using a watch for navigation, please explain.
Thanks!

4eyedbuzzard
03-03-2015, 18:27
I don't get the idea about using a watch for navigation, please explain.
Thanks!In the northern hemisphere, align the hour hand at the sun, south will be 1/2 way between the hour hand and 12:00 (1:00 if daylight saving time is in effect). Note that it is only realistically an approximation, is less accurate in the south and during the middle of summer due to solar inclination, and it will vary up to +/- 7.5 with how close you are to one edge of a time zone, but it's often close enough and generally only used as an approximation in practical purpose.

See these links for more detail.
http://www.learn-orienteering.org/old/nocompass1.html
https://possiblywrong.wordpress.com/2012/01/25/using-a-watch-as-a-compass/

Odd Man Out
03-03-2015, 18:48
I don't get the idea about using a watch for navigation, please explain.
Thanks!

My guide book says there is a trail junction in 3 miles from the road crossing where I am eating lunch. I don't want to miss this turn or I will get lost and/or have to backtrack. The trails is rather featureless so the map does not provide a lot of landmarks to let me know where I am. After walking a while I worry that I have missed that turn. Do I keep going? Do I turn back? I look at my watch and see I have only been hiking for an hour. I know I probably have been hiking at about 2 mph so I figure the trail junction is still about 1 mile away.

Just Bill
03-03-2015, 19:45
Squeezebox- look up dead reckoning.

Here's my watch. Fits me fine- nice small face and UL watch. The backlit part is nice for night hiking.
Alarm is acceptable- the trick is to put in in a metal cup or your cookpot to amplify the sound.
Be a man- wear more women's stuff.

http://www.rei.com/product/768898/timex-expedition-fast-wrap-digital-watch-womens#tab-specs

Sly
03-03-2015, 20:11
Near unanimous approval for watches on the trail. That must be some kind of record. :D

garlic08
03-03-2015, 20:52
I don't get the idea about using a watch for navigation, please explain.
Thanks!

For another slight variation on the theme, when I'm traveling off-trail I set the hourly chime on my cheap digital watch. Every hour I stop and mark my position on my map, with the time, as best as I can. Then I scale back to the last hourly mark and verify that it makes sense in distance and direction. If it's more than few miles or less than a mile, I've probably made a mistake and it hasn't been too long to correct easily.

I did that for days at a time on the CDT and it was helpful, maybe critical at times. That also helps you develop a sense of your true pace, which, as mentioned multiple times above, further helps in predicting where you should be at a certain time, which is a major factor in safe navigation.

NY HIKER 50
03-03-2015, 21:24
I don't get the idea about using a watch for navigation, please explain.
Thanks!

You need a watch that has hands. You cannot use a digital watch. Point the hour hand at the sun and halfway between the hour hand and the 12 will be south.

bgillomega
03-03-2015, 21:26
Considering most people keep their phones zipped up in their packs it is easier/better to have a watch for just the reasons you mention. I think I'd forget to eat on a regular enough schedule without one.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Just Bill
03-03-2015, 21:37
You need a watch that has hands. You cannot use a digital watch. Point the hour hand at the sun and halfway between the hour hand and the 12 will be south.

Or you need a hand with your imagination ;)
If you aren't good with visualization you can scratch or mark with a sharpie the rim on a digital watch.
As long as you got the time and can picture it you can use the trick without a hand.

This trick is good to know for sure- but I think you are better off with the timer and stopwatch features overall. Especially when you are like me and your mind tends to wander, or perhaps more accurately, after a few days in the woods things like dates and times tend to evaporate from my mind of their own free will :)

CarlZ993
03-04-2015, 00:20
May I ask what watch you use? I am looking at a Casio Pathfinder. I just returned another Casio (cheaper than the Pathfinder) that had Altimeter and Temperature only, no compass. The altimeter seemed way off and that is what I was wanting to work the most. I understand it works based on air pressure but it seemed off from day to day where there was no real change.

I also feel lost without a watch. I have always worn cheaper timex ironman watches because I used to run a lot. The problem - the more expensive the watch, the more likely I'll lose it!
Suunto watch. I don't know which model. The user guide states that it's either: Altimax, Vector, X-Lander, or S-Lander model. Same user guide for all 4 models. The barometric pressure changes will cause the altimeter to go screwy. If I'm relatively sure of my starting elevation for the day, I'll recalibrate it in the morning. When I have a big climb, I like knowing about how many more feet I've got to go (& how many feet I've already climbed).

I've been pretty hard on watches over the years. I lost quite a few in my career in law enforcement. I usually wore Casio or Timex running watches that weren't too expensive. The dept would reimburse a few bucks on watches broken in a scuffle. Rolex? You'd be screwed. :)

ccartertn
03-04-2015, 00:45
Just ordered a Casio Pathfinder PAG240-1CR.

Odd Man Out
03-04-2015, 11:40
...Be a man- wear more women's stuff.

+1 on this. I get so frustrated buying watches. Men's watches are so massive and butt-ugly. I am currently just using the dress watch I got from my employer for 25 years of service, but next time I shop for a hiking watch, I will definitely look at the woman's watches.

StubbleJumper
03-04-2015, 19:12
I wear a watch when I hike for many of the reasons enumerated above. One additional reason which has not been mentioned is that a watch helps you maximize your hiking day during the long nights of October and November. During that period you have about 10 or 11 hours of daylight and 13 or 14 hours of night. If you maximize your hiking time, you can still make 20 miles during the daylight, but you need to wake up while it's still dark to eat breakfast and break camp. Without a watch, you have no idea when to start your morning routine. Chances are you'll wake up at 5:30 or 6am because you probably went to bed around 6 or 7pm. But in reality, you only need to start moving about 45 minutes before sun-up.

egilbe
03-04-2015, 21:05
I haven't worn a watch since I broke my last one in 1988. They've always run fast when I'm wearing them so they are useless to me. Never missed it.

July
03-04-2015, 21:34
I wear a watch when I hike for many of the reasons enumerated above. One additional reason which has not been mentioned is that a watch helps you maximize your hiking day during the long nights of October and November. During that period you have about 10 or 11 hours of daylight and 13 or 14 hours of night. If you maximize your hiking time, you can still make 20 miles during the daylight, but you need to wake up while it's still dark to eat breakfast and break camp. Without a watch, you have no idea when to start your morning routine. Chances are you'll wake up at 5:30 or 6am because you probably went to bed around 6 or 7pm. But in reality, you only need to start moving about 45 minutes before sun-up.

I'm am also a fan of pre-sunrise starts, anytime when waking during the night first thing I check is the time.

Gray Bear
03-05-2015, 05:13
I'm am also a fan of pre-sunrise starts, anytime when waking during the night first thing I check is the time.

+2 for the pre dawn starts. Breakfast by headlamp and maybe even the first mile. Best time of the day. an altimeter is a real nice feature to have as previously mentioned. Its funny I've used my watch as mentioned above. I've always worn one and never gave it much thought. The cheaper G Shocks are pretty amazing. I've had one for I don't know how long that's beat to crap but still works great although it hard to read. The plastic face was no match for flying slag while using a cutting torch and stick welding.

MuddyWaters
03-05-2015, 05:44
It tells me how far ive gone, how far left to go, how long till dark, how long till light.

My little phone stays off, with battery out. Thats why the battery lasts weeks.

NY HIKER 50
03-05-2015, 12:26
A long time ago I bought my wife a High-Gear (I think that's the brand) and it had all the altimeter stuff and temp on it. Awesome watch. But it seemed like you had to calibrate it all the time, like FlyPaper stated. So I now use the cheapo Walmart watch with just an alarm. I'm wondering tho about the plastic band vs. velcro band. I'm afraid the plastic one isn't tough enough (I'm not wasy on them for some reason) but the velcro/cloth type smell really bad after a while. Anyway, I don't want to have to pull my phone out every time I want to get some bearings so the cheapo is the way to go for me.

Yes, that's true. You have to recalibrate using a map. It's due to the fact that the air pressure constantly changes. If you don't you'll be off as to where you actually are. One good thing about that is if your watch says 2500 ft. and you're at 3000, it's time to batton down the hatches since it's wither going to warm up or a storm is on the way!