Out in the wilderness and in the middle of a hunt may not seem like the place where having a watch is a necessity, but that’s not true. With the many technologies now available to consumers, a watch is the perfect companion to have while hunting. Provided it’s the right watch.
Watches specifically meant for hunting are durable and provide many features that help the average outdoorsman both during a routine hunt and in cases of emergency. If you’re not familiar with taking a watch to a hunt you would be surprised by how useful a watch can be. However, it all comes down to the right watch. For a hunter, a watch needs to be not only tough and accurate but informative as well. If you’re considering buying a watch to take with you one hunts, or if you’re still on the fence, here are a few things a really good hunting watch can do for you.
Firstly, good watches are durable. Many good hunting watches are made out of resilient materials such as stainless steel and resin. These materials protect the sensitive machinery inside a watch and are also scratch and crack resistant to insure a clear and easy to read face or display. A good hunting watch can survive a fall down a thirty foot cliff without a scratch and still keep ticking the precise second. When you’re out there in the middle of a hunt, the last thing you want is for your watch to break and leave you without the time.
A hunting watch will also be either waterproof or water resistant. Keep in mind that there is a difference. Waterproof watches will keep working even if you place them underwater. Some waterproof watches can survive depths of 200 meters (660 feet). You can scuba dive with these watches. However, water resistant watches will usually resist water from rain or sweat and may survive when submerged underwater for a few minutes so long as it doesn’t reach depths of 10 meters or more.
Whether to get a water proof or water resistant watch will depend mostly on your needs. If you live in a place with only a few ponds or shallow lakes and little bit of rain then get the water resistant watch. If it rains more frequently where you hunt and live and there are many deep bodies of water around, then a water proof watch will be more suited to you.
A good hunting watch will also come with a variety of features like a digital compass. Though you should always bring an analog compass with you, it never hurts to have a spare. Digital compasses don’t rely on magnets or GPS to tell which way north is, this means that a digital compass can be more precise and durable.
Many watches also come with an altimeter to measure you altitude. This can be useful to make sure you climbed the right hill or mountain by allowing you to double check with your map. Hunting watches also have a barometer which keeps track of pressure in the atmosphere. A large drop or rise in pressure can mean a change in weather is coming, allowing you to prepare for the worst. A few high-tech watches also come with actual weather reports for the day and built in storm warning systems.
Along with these survival features, hunting watches also should have the usual timing features that most watches have. A lot of watches allow you to switch quickly between time zones which is a valuable tool for hunters that travel to far off places to catch their game. Other features of note include alarms, a countdown time, a stop watch, and a chronograph. Some watches even have calendar function to keep track of important times and dates.
While these features are great, they would be useless if you couldn’t see the screen. Luckily, almost every watch has a back lit feature that allows you to see the watch face in low visibility conditions. Further, these features have to be sure not to hinder you during a hunt. That’s why the back lighting on good hunting watches is kept low or fully adjustable.
With all these features it can be almost overwhelming to pick the right watch for you. However, its easier if you consider your needs and budget. Think about where you are most likely to hunt and see what features you might need because of it. If you’re hunting in a mountainous area like among the Ozarks, then an altimeter might be best to have.
Conversely, if your hunting fowl across a wide plain, then you probably don’t need an altimeter. The same logic applies to water resistance and barometric pressure measurement. Depending on your style of hunting and the location of the hunt, many of these features could be invaluable, and many can also be completely useless.
Once you assess which features you need, the final thing to consider is how the watch gets its power. There are many methods that manufacturers use to power a watch. Some use kinetic energy, others might use magnetic fields, but the most common sources of watch power are quarts, mechanical, and solar.
A quartz movement simply means that a watch requires a battery to function. Most of the time, batteries are perfectly fine as a source of power for watches. However, they do run out and need to be replaced. While it’s very rare that this will happen in the middle of your hunting trip (this this will largely depend on how often you go hunting and for how long your excursions last), the last thing you want is to have your watch die on you in the middle of your trip.
Mechanical watches, meanwhile, don’t need any batteries. They’re kept going by you manually winding them. Because of this you can be sure that they will never die on you during an inopportune moments. However, the time between windings depends on each individual watch, and if you forget to wind them they can be out of commission for quite a time. These watches are best for hunters with good memory.
Another power option, however, is the use of solar energy. Solar powered watches have come a long way since their predecessors came around decades ago. No longer do they require bulky designs in order to fit a solar cell, and they no longer turn off the second they’re not exposed to sunlight. Due to many advances in technology, solar watches can hide a solar cell beneath the watch face. Because of this, they can look like any other watch on the market today.
A solar watch is powered by the rays of the sun. A solar watch can harness the sun’s energy and store it inside a rechargeable battery or a storage capacitor. Many solar watches once fully charged can hold that charge without sunlight for up to six months. As well, so long as you give them enough light, they’ll always be charging up. Best of all, solar watches can now be powered not just by sunlight but by artificial light as well, though the charge time is usually greater. If it comes with a battery, the battery lasts the life of the watch which is something measured in years.
Many manufacturers now produce solar watches. Casio, Seiko, and Citizen are just a few well known watch brands that are known for their solar watches. These watches are convenient and long-lasting, but they can be a bit on the expensive side. However, when compared to other hunting watches with a myriad of features, the costs are actually quite similar. Either way, there are plenty of watches with many features that are in anyone’s budget.
Now that you understand the sorts of features you can get in a hunting, which features will be most valuable to you, and which method of power that you want in your watch, you can start narrowing down the watch that’s right for you. However, even with all this research there may still be a variety of watches that fit your specific needs. How are you going to narrow it down further?
Well, what follows are reviews of the three most popular hunting watches out there. These watches are made by trusted manufacturers that are known for creating a high quality product. These watches come with many features are built soundly for a very reliable and long-lasting watch. This list is by no means exhaustive, and there are dozens of other fine watches out there. But if you’re still unsure which one to get, start with these three as top contenders.
Casio G-Shock Rangeman
The Casio G-Shock series was first introduces almost 30 years ago. Since then, improvements in watch technologies have improved the quality of Casio watches. They are now stronger and better than ever. The G-Shock Rangeman is perhaps their best watch for the avid hunter.
This watch is powered by solar energy and only weighs about 10 ounces. The Rangeman comes with a barometer to measure barometric pressure and also has a thermometer, altimeter, and compass. Not only that, but this watch also has exact sunrise and sunset times, tells you the tides of the ocean, a silent alarm, a timer, and it allows you to switch to the time zone of many areas across the world.
The Casio G-Shock Rangeman is the perfect watch for hunters. It will alert you in extreme and sudden pressure changes which may precede a storm, and it can detect temperatures between 14 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
This watch automatically detects dim lighting condition and uses a back lit face to allow you to see the time and measurements clearly. The Rangeman is shock and scratch proof and incredibly durable. This watch is best suited for hunters that are prone to long hikes and camping excursions while on the lookout for the perfect game. You definitely won’t regret buying this watch.
Timex Expedition Trail Series
Casio makes a high quality watch, but they’re not the only ones. The Timex Expedition series of watches gives the Casio G-Shock a real run for its money. This watch has been a favorite of military personnel for years. Some started their careers in the military with this watch and still use it years later. With testimonials like that, it’s easy to see why this watch is so popular.
Needless to say, this is a tough watch that can handle a lot of punishment no matter who you are or where you go. This watch is also great for extreme hunters who hunt some of the biggest game out there. Even if you’re not, this watch still makes a great choice.
The casing and the hand band are made out of durable resin and the entire watch is water resistant up to 200 meters. For power, the Expedition relies on a quartz movement. Although missing the variety of features usually found in a hunting watch, the Expedition makes up for it through its sheer ruggedness. This is the exact opposite case of our next watch.
Suunto Core Wrist Top Computer Watch
The Suunto Core has it all. An altimeter, barometer, timer, time zone adjuster, compass, thermometer, and weather alarm. This watch can even track the sun for you. If you ever get lost, it will track the sunrise and sunset times, altitude, and compass reading. This watch not only keeps track of your altitude, but also tracks it, and a storm alarm warns you if the air pressure changes suddenly. This watch also has water resistance of up to 10 meters.
However, while this watch is durable, it’s not as durable as the Casio and Timex listed above. Many have reported scratches and dings. However, if you need a variety of features, then this watch is for you.
Once you have reviewed the three watches above, use them as jumping off points to explore brands and styles that feet your needs. Any one of these watches will make a great purchase and keep you safe while out in the wilderness by letting you know your location and direction at all times. So no matter what watch you choose to decide, you wi