Produced in partnership with G-SHOCK.
For many years, G-SHOCK watches have gained reward for his or her distinctive sturdiness, however the G-SHOCK GGB100 Mudmaster takes the model’s rugged legacy to a brand new stage. From high to backside, it’s designed for absolute toughness to resist exhausting work in essentially the most excessive environments. And for Southern California-based Hotshot firefighter Brian Anderson, exhausting work and excessive environments are simply a part of the job. For a lot of the yr, he and his crew head to the entrance traces to comprise fires in wilderness areas throughout the nation. It’s difficult work—and precisely what the GGB100 was constructed for.
Among wildland firefighters, Hotshots like Anderson are the very best of the very best—“the Navy SEALs of the wildland community,” as he places it—and it’s a popularity they earn by working in among the most brutal circumstances conceivable. Hotshots face unrelenting warmth, smoke, and steep terrain, all whereas carrying heavy gear and hustling to comprise one in every of nature’s strongest and unpredictable forces: wildfire. Even with 20 years of expertise underneath his belt, the very actual hazard of those fires retains Anderson on his toes each time he and his crew reply a name.
“It’s nothing but an adrenaline rush,” he tells Men’s Journal, “just really intense.”
We lately caught up with Anderson as he and his crew started coaching for this yr’s hearth season. It was the right alternative to be taught extra in regards to the unimaginable work they do, and in addition a good way to place the GGB100 to the check.
Hotshot coaching begins in May and lasts a number of weeks. During that point, Anderson leads his 20-person crew by courses to brush up on firefighting expertise and drills to construct their health and familiarity with gear. A typical day would possibly contain suiting up in full firefighting gear and occurring an extended hike by the mountains, clearing brush to make hearth breaks, or simulating a response to a medical emergency.
“It’s kind of the equivalent of what football players would call hell week,” says Anderson. “The physical demand is pretty strenuous.”
But it’s a cakewalk in comparison with battling an precise wildfire. First, Hotshots should traverse distant, mountainous terrain whereas carrying every little thing they want for a 16-hour shift—protecting gear, meals, water, instruments—on their backs.
Once they arrive on the scene, they place themselves proper on the fringe of the flames. Temps usually hit triple digits, thick smoke makes respiratory nearly unattainable, and so they work to halt the hearth by clearing brush and timber with nothing greater than hand instruments and chainsaws. It’s intense, backbreaking labor.
“You don’t quite have to be a bodybuilder, but you have to have the same mentality, and it has to be coupled with a marathon runner’s endurance,” explains Anderson. “It’s an extreme demand on the body in a multitude of ways.”
It additionally places an excessive demand on the Hotshots’ gear, together with what’s on their wrists. For Anderson, G-SHOCK is the one model of watch that makes the grade. He purchased his first G-SHOCK shortly after changing into a firefighter, and he was amazed by its efficiency on the job.
“It didn’t matter how bad I beat it up, it never stopped working,” he says. “Not even for a second.”
The GGB100 is the newest evolution of G-SHOCK’s dedication to ultra-durable timepieces. Put merely, everything about this watch is tough. The case is comprised of a high-rigidity carbon materials that gained’t deform even when uncovered to bumps and scrapes, and because of improvements like protecting metallic pipes across the buttons and an hermetic inner seal, the watch can undergo mud, mud, and water with out lacking a beat.
In addition, the GGB100 comes loaded with tech that can assist you hold your bearings within the wild. Its quad sensor permits it to show actual time compass headings, temperature, altitude, step rely, and barometric stress (particularly helpful for staying abreast of sudden climate adjustments). The G-SHOCK Connected app unlocks much more performance. There, you’ll be able to customise the watch’s settings and use the Mission Log operate to mix its altimeter knowledge along with your telephone’s GPS for an in depth have a look at your route.
For Anderson, all of those options mix to make a watch that’s extremely helpful when preventing wildfires. The digital and analog faces make it straightforward to learn, even in a haze of smoke. He particularly likes the altitude readout, which is right for coordinating with helicopters and air tankers in hilly terrain, and having temperature knowledge proper on his wrist helps him monitor climate circumstances that affect a hearth’s habits. After all, staying one step forward of the blaze is crucial for finishing the mission.
Of course, sturdiness is essential, too: Even whereas digging by brush or laying hose traces, the GGB100 can deal with the warmth, smoke, filth, and dust that include the job.
“Almost everything it has to offer, we can put into practical application where we are,” Anderson says.
In order to do their job efficiently, Hotshots like Anderson should have complete confidence of their gear, in one another, and in themselves. If you’re not ready for it, says Anderson, wildland firefighting can rapidly overwhelm you.
“We’re swinging tools all day long in some of the most extreme environments where the terrain is rugged, it’s steep, footing is uneven, and fire behavior is at its most extreme,” he says. “If you don’t have the ability mentally to push yourself further than you think you can go, then you won’t last.”
While Anderson receives many certified candidates every year, not everybody makes the minimize. Wildfires have a means of hunting down the much less devoted.
“Some of them have had to stand up and say, ‘I’m sorry but this is not for me. I can’t do this,’” he says.
By drilling, mountaineering by the backcountry, and studying the ins and outs of efficient firefighting, Anderson helps his crew construct the bodily and psychological energy they should face the total drive of a wildfire with out breaking down. In his view, there’s no substitute for real-world wildfire expertise, however the coaching has one other vital profit: It helps the crew work higher as a workforce. That’s the place their best energy lies.
“Little by little we become one really efficient and cohesive unit,” he says.
It’s exhausting to think about a greater embodiment of absolute toughness than Anderson and his crew. Most folks wouldn’t final 5 minutes of their boots, however their grit and expertise make them elite professionals at one of the difficult jobs on earth.
The GGB100 was designed to equally excessive requirements. Other watches would possibly accept ok, however this one’s constructed for individuals who put themselves and their gear to the check—every single day.
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