As the weather slowly cools and the season for sweaters begins, it’s the perfect time to unplug and head outside to go leaf-peeping – and load up on that glorious vitamin D.
Before heading out the door you may need to pack a few things like food and water, that are essential to survival – a pre-requisite to enjoying all things watches. If you aren’t already a seasoned camper, it’s a good idea to read up on what to pack before spending a few days in the wild. We also have some seasonal packing recommendations from the Shop that will help you choose the right watch and accessories, so you can get the most out of your time camping, hiking, biking, and exploring the great outdoors.
What To Pack
The first step in getting your watch ready is choosing the right strap. Leather is strong but not something you want to get wet and muddy. Nylon straps can be cleaned but take a bit of time by the campfire to dry fully after a good soaking. Metal bracelets can do it all if you don’t mind adding some memories in the form of scratches. The real all-in-one strap is made of high-quality rubber, a material that can take a beating, doesn’t absorb sweat or rain, and is light enough to be comfortable on the wrist. Our pick is the Zealande Rubber watch strap for this one simple fact: It won’t let you down.
If you’re going to change your own strap, be sure to use a proper strap tool. Fortunately, for anyone out exploring we have a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife, with a strap tool already conveniently attached.
Light Up The Night
Something you might not typically find in the HODINKEE Shop is an electric torch, also known as a flashlight, but we can certainly get behind good craftsmanship, especially when it comes to useful tools for the great outdoors. For the price of a few fancy lattes, you can buy a watch that does the job of telling time, and the same goes for finding a basic electric torch. But when you really want something that is built well, looks good, and holds up against years of outdoor adventures, then spending a little more can get you something that fits the bill. Muyshondt Aeon is a powerful compact electric torch made from a full-metal case that is double sealed to weather the elements. With powerful gold-plated electronics, it uses anti-reflective sapphire crystal to shine the light through. Solid, durable and good-looking, this is not your typical dollar-store flashlight.
What Watch To Bring
Now that the accessories are packed, it’s time to move on to the most important part – what watch to take. If you are on the eccentric side, any watch can work, but most people will prefer to leave something like the A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwork at home. As beautiful as that watch is, something a bit less complicated is probably a better choice. Grab a watch that is clearly legible, has a fair bit of water resistance just in case, and has the complications of the outdoors in mind – like the mile-long list of complications in the Richard Mille RM 25-01 Adventure. For a watch with all these features but at a more accessible price point, look no further than the Seiko Prospex Alpinist SPB209. A watch that is built tough, with 200m of water resistance, and a compass bezel for easy orientation – it may not be as fancy as the Richard Mille, but it doesn’t cost a million dollars either.
How a compass bezel works is a simple concept: If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, point the hour hand towards the sun, then twist the compass crown to align the south marker on the bezel with the halfway point between the hour hand and the twelve marker, and as long as the hour hand points towards the sun, you can orient yourself knowing which direction is south. If you are in the Southern Hemisphere, the point between the hour hand and the twelve marker will be north. For an in-depth look into why this works, check out this article.
If navigating by the sun is a bit too old-school for you, there’s always the Garmin Fenix 7. Pre-equipped with a rubber strap, 100m of water resistance, and a battery life that can last a couple of weeks between charges, it’s a solid option for the great outdoors. Track your location and elevation, all while monitoring your vitals – and if that isn’t enough, it also has a built-in flashlight. This is the watch version of glamping. It may take away some of the romance of venturing out into Mother Nature with no electronics, but sometimes not getting lost is more important.
If The Backyard Is More Your Idea Of The Great Outdoors
If all this packing for adventure sounds exhausting and is in no way appealing to you, then I say grab a good book, lay down in a backyard hammock, and relax the day away. If you need a book suggestion, check out Depth Charge by our old HODINKEE colleague Jason Heaton and read about an adventure with a watch without having to worry about finding your way home…or bears.
For the rest of the Great Outdoors collection check out the HODINKEE Shop.