Time. Even on a lazy summer hike through the park, it’s still important to keep track of. You could go all Dual Survival and build your own sun clock to keep track of time, but carrying a watch is just so much simpler.
A wristwatch is the most obvious option, but not everyone wants to weigh his wrist down with a hot, sweaty, bulging machine. These watches deliver what you want—time, and in some cases, other readings—and they do it in packages that are more versatile than the average wristwatch. Give the timeless gift of time this holiday season.
Wenger Traveler Pocket Watch
Wristwatches are convenient in the summer when you can just twist the wrist and get the time, but in the winter, they’re tucked below gloves, tight jacket cuffs, sweaters, etc. They can be downright difficult to get to throughout the season that time matters the most (what with the sun setting early).
The Wenger Traveler Pocket Watch slides into your pocket or even hangs from a jacket with the included carabiner, making it easy to access no matter what you’re wearing. It features a rubber casing and a retractable stand that lets it serve as your bedside alarm clock on trips. $250
Sometimes all you really need is a low-profile accessory that gives you the time. The Dogtime is basically a digital dog tag that offers digital quartz movement packed in a silicon package. Pull it out when you need the time and tuck it back under your shirt to keep it out of the way. $18.50
Dakota Knifeclip Watch
Any watch can give you an altimeter or compass, but how many watches give you a full-blown multi-tool? The Dakota Knifeclip is a biner-style stainless steel watch with a blade and pair of scissors. It also has a compass and small LED light. Unlike most biner watches I've seen, this one gives you the refinement of an analog watch face. $65
Tech40 Data Center II
Why stop at time, when you can pack all the other digital readings into one package? The Data Center II gives you altimeter, barometer, digital compass, thermometer, alarm and other functions, along with time/date. It includes a lanyard for easy carrying. $100
Moving a step beyond the average ABC, the Brunton Atmospheric Data Center includes weather measurements like wind speed, wind chill and 12-hour forecasts. Other functions include ski run counter, altimeter with alarm, and infrared data communication (when paired to the $38 USB device). $154
One of the smallest, cheapest watches you'll find anywhere, the Hogwild Pocket Watch 'biners to your key chain, giving you a digital clock and LED flashlight strung from 4mm climbing cord. If you want the time with as little weight as possible, this is your go-to. $10 The Hogwild also comes in a zipper-pull version.
GSI Two-Way Wrist Watch Radios
Okay, okay, I know I said no wristwatches, but these are just so multifunctional, I had to include them. More a matter of packaging a two-way radio into a watch, these GSIs give you two-way communications good for skiing, hiking or just hanging out at your "No Girls Allowed" backyard fort. They also deliver the time in an LCD readout. $100