What’s the best survival watch … and who cares? The best survival watch is a matter of opinion and like everyone’s famous orifice, everybody has one. I’m not here to give a sales pitch … only to present the facts as I know them … and to offer my opinion. (no pun intended) As far as who cares … You better. Whether a “professional” survivalist, hiker, camper, hunter, fisherman or a regular Joe who stumbles into a wilderness situation never expected, a survival watch can help save your life.
It can happen to anybody. You’ve wounded a deer and are determined to track it down, not only for the meat, but for humanitarian reasons. After an hour of searching and fruitlessly combing the area trying to re-pickup the vanished blood signs, you disgustingly give up and head back to camp. Suddenly you realize you have been so intent scouring the area in front and to sides, you have no idea what the return trail should look like. You are lost. Would you like to have the best survival watch available on your wrist?
Not a hunter? How about a hiker on a day of off trail adventure, or a gatherer hunting berries or mushrooms. Safe enough activities. However, spotting one group of mushrooms, then another, then another, you are too excited to notice where these different groups led you and it’s not until you’ve picked your limit that you notice you have no idea where you are. Best survival watch time? Meanwhile, the hiker has come across a bear in the distance and has quickly zigzagged his way away from potential danger. Now he hasn’t a clue which way home is and worse yet … which direction the bear is. Best survival watch time?
Point is … anyone can get lost at anytime. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, but something that needs to be rectified … quickly.
Basic Forms: A survival watch will normally come in one of two basic intended forms.
The watch will be intended to act like a mini survival tin attached to your wrist. These types of survival watches will include the ability to tell time, contain a fire-starter, compass, whistle and para-cord for a wristband.
The watch will be intended to act as a mini survival computer. Features will include, telling time, compass, GPS, barometer, altimeter, thermometer and sunrise/sunset times.
Here’s my first opinion. Don’t waste your money on a survival watch that’s intended to act as a survival tin. There may be, but I haven’t found a good quality watch of this type. The fire-starter is small and rather easy to break, the compass is unreliable or at least not real accurate, a whistle and para-cord can be bought separately and worn on the other wrist.
Can a Best Survival Watch be totally dependent on technology?
I’m old school and as such have an inherent fear or concern about relying on new fang dangled technology to protect me. I scream about the more technical things become, the more the chances of something breaking down. Meanwhile, we have progressed to self driving cars, rockets that come back from space and lightly touch down ready to go again. In reality old timers are afraid of modern technology because we have a hard time understanding how to implement it.
However, fear (ignorance) is not all bad as it can temper the extreme. For example, if I want to cut a large tree down give me a chainsaw, the bigger the better. It’s easier, faster and in reality safer. However, I didn’t throw my ax away. For all the Pros associated with the chainsaw, chains break, they run out of gas and can become cranky and just not start. I still have my primitive ax to fall back upon to cut that tree down if I must.
Point is … technology is the way to go, but we can’t forget or ignore our basic survival training. Carry an old fashion compass and map in case your GPS goes down. Know how to locate the North Star and navigate by it. Know the signs and how to read the clouds in order to predict coming weather. Choose technology, but don’t become totally dependent on it. It may not be there.
Features of a Best Survival Watch
Naturally a survival watch must keep impeccable time, track the date and either have an excellent battery source or better yet, be solar powered. It must be waterproof and tougher than woodpecker lips, being nearly indestructible. From those basics you venture into what I call the Military Zone where capabilities become fascinating.
Global Positioning System (GPS) – In a SHTF scenario the body enters the “fight or flight” emotional state. No matter how prepared you think you are the sudden impact of the situation is a shock to the mind and body. Your pulse will race, breathing will become labored, you may become disoriented without realizing it. Similar terrain can be mistaken for familiar terrain. Camp’s just over the hill … then its not. Panic is quick to set in and that only compounds the problems. However, if you have a GPS on your watch and know your camp’s coordinates, returning home is no problem.
Barometer- A barometer can address two of the more dangerous and immediate needs of trying to survive in the wilderness. Exposure to inclement weather can quickly lead to hypothermia, and being caught off guard in a rain storm, becoming soaking wet, is a sure fire way to a quick death. Knowing how to read a barometer will give you advance warning of approaching rain allowing you time to find shelter. Additionally, it will allow you time to prepare a method to capture potable rainwater.
Altimeter – allows you to know your exact altitude, which is extremely important in a mountainous environment. An altimeter coupled with a topographical map can allow you to pinpoint your specific location.
Compass – This is one of the most critical and important survival tools available. There’s a tendency to lean towards bush-craft methods to find direction. For instance natural bush-craft includes an understanding that thicker branches on trees often face towards the sun, indicating a Southern direction. However, there is nothing better than a high quality compass for avoiding navigational errors.
Sunrise and Sunset Times: There’s no debate about it, navigating or attempting to work, like carrying or cutting firewood for camp, in the dark is extremely dangerous. Anytime you are away from camp and must return, it’s imperative you return during daylight. In order to gauge that you must know how much time you have to transverse the distance before sunset arrives.
Thermometer – Needing to know the temperature may seem irrelevant, similar to Goldilocks, it’s too hot, too cold or just right. However, if you are working hard you will most likely be sweating and not paying any attention to the temperature, but when you stop working is when the danger presents itself. If it becomes evident it is much colder than you thought and you have no access to a heat source, by being wet you can quickly incur hypothermia and that can become deadly.
A similar danger can occur if the temperature is too hot. In a survival situation there is always just one more task to complete before quitting, and if you ignore the warning signs of excessive heat, you risk heat stroke. Periodically checking the temperature allows you time to re-hydrate and rest.
Samples of a Best Survival Watch
Casio G-shock Rangeman Triple Sensor Watch
Weight: 9.6 ounces
Dimensions: 4 x 2 x 2 inches
Power Type: battery and solar
Price: about $350
Special Features barometer, thermometer, altimeter, and a compass. Indicates exact sunrise and sunset times, tide indication, alarm, world time, and has a timer.
Description: All Casio survival watches are among the truly reliable ones.
It alerts you if there are pressure changes in the atmosphere. The thermometer’s temperature range detects a minimum of -10° to up to 60° C (14° to 140° F).
It automatically detects light and the lighting option changes according to your hand tilt, meaning, that if there is enough sunlight, the lighting won’t be turned on, and won’t use up the energy. The glass on the dial is made of inorganic material, which is great because it’s a poor heat conductor and extremely strong.
Casio Protrek (Pathfinder) Prw2500-1a
Dimensions: 6 x 6 x 7 inches
Power Type: solar
Price: about $190
Special Features: barometer and altimeter; atomic clock; shows temperature and has a timer, stopwatch, and world time.
Description: Casio is definitely a leader manufacturer in making watches for decades.
This Casio Protrek Pathfinder 2500-1a also has all the features and functions you may need in case you’re in an emergency situation or simply out in the wilderness. You will have access to information like moon phases, sunrise and sunset, including the necessary tidal phase.
There have been concerns with the altimeter that it doesn’t accurately display the data. It may show one altitude number, but the map may show another, which creates confusion as to which is right. In order to solve the issue, supposedly if you reset the altimeter during the night you will actually make it more accurate, since the pressure changes during the night and may upset the altimeter calculations.
As a whole, it’s an ideal watch and all its important features work nearly perfect. If you calibrate them properly, they will be extremely accurate.
This watch is ideal for any type of extreme survivalist, trekker, hiker or camper, and even for professional environmentalists who may spend weeks and months in remote areas, or may be completely isolated.
Casio Gw7900b-1 G-shock Black Solar Sport Watch
Weight: 8.8 ounces
Dimensions: 6 x 6 x 7 inches
Power Type: Japanese quartz movement with solar rechargeable batteries
Price: $100 – $150
Special Features: shock and water resistant; atomic clock
Best Use: can be used for professional marine activity and serious surface water sports but it is not recommended for scuba diving
Description: The Casio Gw7900b-1 G-shock Black Solar Sport Watch is as rugged as you may expect from a Casio survival watch and the batteries are powered by the sun and are rechargeable. The atomic clock is synced using radio waves.
It updates the sunrise and sunset, including tidal changes. The watch is black because it’s mostly suitable for military personnel, so that you don’t stand out in the dark or if you’re hiding. The display is also dark and the numbers and letters are color-lit to help you distinguish the time and data on the display, if you’re in the dark.
When it comes to the solar charging, you may be glad to know that if you fully charge the battery it can last for almost 9 months, until it’s fully discharged. If you expose the watch now and then to sunlight, the solar panels will pick up light and will top-off the watch every now and then. There can be no risk for a critically low battery, unless you stay in the dark for more than nine months.
Citizen Nighthawk Eco-drive Watch Bj7000-52e
Weight: 6.4 ounces
Dimensions: 5.9 x 5.9 x 5.9 inches
Power Type: Japanese quartz based movement
Price: $300 – $400
Best Use: military and other professions requiring accurate machines and survival situations
Description: Citizen’s wonderful high-quality watches are something anyone may want to use one day. Citizen Nighthawk Eco-drive Watch Bj7000-52e employs Japanese Quartz movement and has a traditional analog display.
The dial window is made of crystal mineral glass display to make it virtually unbreakable and also non-reflective (to stay low-profile in the wild). It’s ideal for diving because it remains water-resistant to 200 meters depth.
Not only that but the construction of this watch also makes it suitable for pilots or aviators, because it has a slide-rule bezel ring and a crown situated at the eight o’clock position. With the slide rule you have the options to calculate and track the fuel consumption (or any land or airborne vehicle). You can perform complex calculations or convert different measurements from one unit to another.
For those users who need to make even more complicated calculations (either nautical or involving aircraft) the slide rule can prove invaluable. However, the slide rule lacks back lighting in case you need to see the readings during the night or in the dark, and there is no stopwatch.
In the 1950s Timex advertised their watches as “They can take a licking … and keep on ticking.”
Timex T49612 Expedition Trail Series
Weight: 6.4 ounces
Dimensions: 4.7 x 3.5 x 2.9 inches
Power Type: quartz
Price: $50 – $100
Special Features: water- and shock-resistant; Indiglo lighting technique
Best Use: Military and emergency situations
Description: Although we’re not talking about the Casio high-quality watches, this
Timex T 49612 Expedition Trail Series can still be a worthy competitor to Casio’s.
Many military personnel went through training with Timex, and they still use it years later. This means that it’s still a durable and sturdy watch nonetheless.
The watch can withstand rough handling, relies on Quartz for the movement and has a reliable compass. The casing and the hand band are made of resin. The watch is suitable for use to a depth of maximum 200 meters (660 feet).
What may be considered unique for this watch is that the company uses a lighting technique called Indiglo, created entirely by Indiglo Corporation, which is owned by Timex. The back light employs different elector-luminescent lamps in order to provide different levels of lighting.
Only the numbers on the dial will be lit, although the screen is entirely LCD. While you may expect that the entire screen should be lit, the lighting effect on the numbers is achieved by a special film, which creates an inverted lighting on the LCD display.
Most of these customers are in the military and undergo heavy training, so you should expect that the Timex watch goes through some harsh conditions and handling. Overall, very few people find problems with Timex and one of the most common is that for some people the light is a bit dim. And yet, as a whole, this watch is among the best and most durable of all.
The above mentioned best survival watch reviews are solely for comparisons and in no way is an endorsement. The watches are excellent in quality and customer reviews, but there are dozens of equally good brands and types of watches that could easily be inserted into the best survival watch category. Perform your due diligence, try them on to experience the weight and feel of a particular watch, a picture is nice, but nothing like experiencing the real item. The bottom line is … if you venture into the outdoors .. you need one of the best survival watches strapped to your wrist. It could save your life.
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