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General Gear Discussion The General Gear Discussion forum is for the discussion of traditional and lightweight (ultralight) backpacking gear that is not covered in other Practical Backpacking™ forums. [Please post about Backpacks, Shelters, Sleeping Gear, Backcountry Kitchen (Food, Stoves) in those respective forum areas.]


View Poll Results: Do you carry a watch on your backpacking trips?
Yes, always 46 77.97%
Yes, sometimes 9 15.25%
No, never 4 6.78%
Voters: 59. You may not vote on this poll

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  #11  
Old 02-18-2013, 09:49 PM
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Balzaccom Balzaccom is offline
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I have a casio with altimeter and all sorts of other things that I don't use so much. But absolutely I like to know the time, so I can measure our speed as we are hiking. And the altimeter is useful when we have to contour something off trail.

Plus, it's solar powered, so never needs a battery or winding.
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  #12  
Old 02-19-2013, 05:32 PM
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richwads richwads is offline
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I used to not, then carried for a while, then stopped again - it depends on what challenges I'm prepared to accept. I have liked not knowing what time it is for a spell. OTOH, it can help with estimating progress along an unfamiliar trail.
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  #13  
Old 02-20-2013, 12:08 PM
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EagleRiverDee EagleRiverDee is offline
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Occasionally. I've got a Timex Ironman with indiglo that I wear sometimes or attach to my shoulder strap on my pack, but I've found that since I carry my phone as a piece of multi-use gear that I often leave the watch and just check my phone for the time.
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  #14  
Old 02-20-2013, 04:25 PM
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Forttom Forttom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EagleRiverDee
Occasionally. I've got a Timex Ironman with indiglo that I wear sometimes or attach to my shoulder strap on my pack, but I've found that since I carry my phone as a piece of multi-use gear that I often leave the watch and just check my phone for the time.
ERD, I respect your opinion to do what ever you think is right for you, but if you don't mind me proffering an idea, given my military (ret) and civilian experience, I'd trust that timex, in magnatudes of order, over a cell phone.
That Timex probably will "keep on ticking" as they used to advertise, when on the other hand you don't know what rain, muck, mud, a fall, or a fall into the aforementioned rain/mud/ etc.. etc...you might come across. One of the most simple navigational tools I've ever come across, short of a stick, the sun and some string, will guarantee you'll be in the ballpark. When that cell phone can't find a tower, or decides that lifes no longer worth living, then, according to how deep into the "bush" you are, you're screwed.

I might get a lot of flak for this, but here is my 30 years worth of experience, which may or may not mean anything to anyone, is this.

A. A map and a compass. And know how to use both.
B. You can safely use a GPS as your "primary" navigational tool. But when I say "primary" I mean what you use normally. Your primary should be a compass and map. Wait until you get in a place where your GPS is useles.
A friend of mine tried to talk me into being a partner in a desert survival school. I took a pass, because I retired from the military and was tired...that simple. But we did talk a lot and one thing we decided on was one of the most dangerous things happening today, is what we call "Death by GPS". Especially Cell Phones.

I am not trying to sound condencending. I'm sure that maybe you, and countless members on this forum, may know orders of magnitude more than I about navigating, but I do know that there are pitfalls, and the number one, outside of well established trails that you could never lose your way on, is getting into heavy stuff, and not getting a cell signal, and even with the best GPS not getting signals, in certain situations.

So, if you can use a watch, a map, and daylight, you can get pretty close to home. That is, considering all other things fail.

I'm not taking a "holier than thou attitude" and please, I hope you don't take it that way.

I'll say one more thing, and shut up. When I was stationed at one of the most excellent desert warfare areas in the U.S. and other countries, the watch and compass was our best "non-electric" chances of navigating anywhere.

I don't think or expect backpackers to agree with me, we were pretty anal about things, that's for sure, but on the other hand, I feel we could help the casual or experienced backpacker learn another skill.

I seem to get a bad feeling, that with new technolgy, many backpackers are under a "false sense of security" with their modern gizmo's. And I think more will suffer, under that false sense. But, I know when the Sheriffs Dept called us, (military) it was always as trackers for a "recovery", and rarely a rescue.

Hope you don''t take this wrong, I may be way out of line for bringing it up, and if so, you have my deepest apologies, in advance.

Happy trails,
FT
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  #15  
Old 02-20-2013, 06:30 PM
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EagleRiverDee EagleRiverDee is offline
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Forttom-

I don't disagree with you. Time isn't that important to me when I'm backpacking, so the watch isn't that important to me. I recall reading a story once that an Alaskan Guide used to make his clients leave their watches at home and they would reply "How will I know when it's bed time? How will I know when it's dinner time?" and he would reply, "You go to bed when it gets sleepy out. You eat when it gets hungry out." Our 24 hour daylight in the summer can either screw you up, or free you. I like to think it frees me. Time only matters to me if I have a ride scheduled to pick me up.

Navigation, on the other hand, is VERY important to me. Living in Alaska, my cell phone acts in many functions (e-reader, watch, music player, games...) but I never use it for navigation. Half the time we can't even get a phone signal so I tend to doubt it would be accurate for navigation. For navigation, I carry a map and compass, and a Delorme PN-60 GPS.
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  #16  
Old 02-28-2013, 12:46 AM
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Dilatadegi Dilatadegi is offline
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Suunto Advizor, and before my NEXT 5-day, I'll remember to re-calibrate the compass and altimeter after the pre-trip battery change! (Senior moment, ya' understand!)
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  #17  
Old 02-28-2013, 12:52 PM
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Grandpa Grandpa is offline
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You mean I'm not the only senior that's had that moment?
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  #18  
Old 02-28-2013, 03:21 PM
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dsuursoo dsuursoo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandpa
You mean I'm not the only senior that's had that moment?

you mean i have to be a senior to have those moments?



Quote:
Originally Posted by EagleRiverDee
Forttom-

I don't disagree with you. Time isn't that important to me when I'm backpacking, so the watch isn't that important to me. I recall reading a story once that an Alaskan Guide used to make his clients leave their watches at home and they would reply "How will I know when it's bed time? How will I know when it's dinner time?" and he would reply, "You go to bed when it gets sleepy out. You eat when it gets hungry out." Our 24 hour daylight in the summer can either screw you up, or free you. I like to think it frees me. Time only matters to me if I have a ride scheduled to pick me up.

Navigation, on the other hand, is VERY important to me. Living in Alaska, my cell phone acts in many functions (e-reader, watch, music player, games...) but I never use it for navigation. Half the time we can't even get a phone signal so I tend to doubt it would be accurate for navigation. For navigation, I carry a map and compass, and a Delorme PN-60 GPS.

i remember fishing once while up in alaska. we were having a great time, till we realized it was 4 AM and we needed to get back to the ship before morning muster...

those long days are amazing.

'when it's hungry out' and 'sleepy out' are how my grandad lived, tho not in alaska. he certainly seemed to enjoy it a great deal.

Last edited by dsuursoo : 02-28-2013 at 03:23 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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  #19  
Old 03-02-2013, 03:29 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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I've indicated "sometimes" in the poll.

For quite some time, I haven't been taking a watch with me. This is primarily due to the fact that I didn't have anywhere to be other than camp before dark (which was apparent by the fading light). And I'm very familiar with my pace, so the watch wouldn't do me any better in this respect.

That said, I certainly understand the good reasons others have shared in this thread for taking a watch. I do carry one on occasion; and, if I get another watch that adds more features/value, I may carry it more often.

Reality
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  #20  
Old 03-02-2013, 05:44 PM
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djtrekker djtrekker is offline
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I carry a Casio out of habit, but for a couple reasons. Downside is I seem to have to relearn how to operate it every time I go out. Bought too much watch I think.....
Anyway, I like having the alarm on hikes when it's important I get up....I don't have an auto body alarm that will wake me at sunrise or a little before, so that's useful. Secondly, thanks to need for working life, I often need to get back by a certain time for any number of reasons, so a watch helps.
As mentioned above, though, I find that I am able to determine time pretty accurately just due to experience - looking at sun position and being entrenched in my own routines and pace.
So - it really is a matter of habit. If I forgot it I wouldn't miss it.
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