In the last year or two, camper and expedition watches have become stylish to wear outside of the campsite. Paired with some shorts at a barbecue, these simple-faced watches with earth tone canvas bands create a casual, but sophisticated look.
Even J.Crew has one — albeit at $150, for a Timex watch with a canvas strap.
I love the style, but thought we can do better on the price.
In my searches, I found Survival Straps, a brand that offers a watch strap that isn't only better on the price, but completely functional.
By functional I mean, it could literally save your life one day.
Beyond merely holding your timepiece to your wrist, the Survival Strap watch strap is made of up to 13 feet of military spec paracord that can be unraveled in an emergency. And they're made right here in the USA, something we love to support here at Primer.
Paracord was developed for US Paratroopers in World War II. This nylon rope was used for the suspension lines of their parachutes. Once on the ground however, the soldiers found the rope to be very versatile for many other tasks. Used by astronauts and civilians alike ever since, this light-duty rope can be used to drag things, attach equipment to harnesses, secure a tent, or even be used as fishing line when dismantled.
Perfect for wearing when you're out hiking, camping, or performing commando raids for sure, but the Survival Straps watch strap looks great at the beach or your boss's barbecue just the same.
Perhaps even better than the strap's function is the Survival Strap guarantee: If you have to use your paracord, just send them a picture and the story, and $5 shipping, and they'll send you a new one for free. Now there's no guilt on whether to undo your watch strap when you're not sure if that bone sticking out of your arm needs a splint or not.
Each strap is made to order, so you'll have to measure your wrist size and the distance between the pins on the watch you'd like to use. For mine, I finally got to make use of a free watch I received when I subscribed to some magazine, but was unwearable because of its cheap rubber strap.
No watch to use? Check out a thrift store or Ebay. You'll be able to find a decent Timex or similar for nothing too damaging to your wallet.
While Survival Straps recommends not adding any size to your wrist because they'll accommodate for comfort, I found my strap to be just the right size. Any smaller and it would have been too small. So I recommend adding a quarter of an inch to your measurement. The strap comes with shrinking instructions, but if it's too small you're out of luck. (Mark in the comments notes when he sized up his was too big, though shrinking made it wearable. You'll have to use your judgment when ordering. Thanks Mark! – Andrew)
The clasp on the watch also has three size options. The watch closes by inserting a pin through the clasp and screwing it into the other side. The Survival Straps band comes with a breakaway pin, so if your watch gets caught on something while you're riding your motorcycle through the brush, it will snap, instead of ripping you from your ride. However if sacrificing your watch isn't an option, the strap also comes with a standard pin.
I found the strap to be light and comfortable. I've been wearing mine for a couple weeks, and really like it. You can choose from over 30 colors of paracord and can even have two different shades in the same strap. I chose the green OD to match the camper style look I was going for.
Pick one up at SurvivalStraps.com for $34.95.