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Bill_Gates

Altimeter watches

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I did not see a subject for these in the past few pages. Does anyone have recommendations for me? I would like to purchase one that gives accurate readings and is a good value.

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I still think the Thommen analog altimeter/barometers are the best, but they are VERY VERY VERY pricey.

 

I could not afford a Thommen, so I ended up getting a Suunto Vector on sale at REI. I haven't heard anything really bad about them. I believe the Suunto even won the AAI Guides Choice award.

 

The biggest problem with altimeters is that many people do not know how to use them. People will set them once (if at all) then days later wonder why the readings are so off. It is very important to set your altitude before you set off and then periodically reset it at know points during your trip - especially when there is a significant change in barometric pressure (a storm, low/high pressure front).

 

[ 10-30-2002, 08:40 PM: Message edited by: bellemontagne ]

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Bill, you should be able to afford the $18,000 Rolex so who cares!

 

Really though, the suunto is ugly and way too bulky. Amazingly enough, my Casio (still working after 10 years)is extremely accurate and works as a depth gauge when diving too. The only limitation is it only goes up to 12,000 ft. That's fine with me though cause it works on all but 2 Cascade peaks and if I ever go somewhere else I figure my partner will have one.

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Got my ugly, bulky Vector on eBay for $120. Think I'll keep it, since all it takes is one trip to one of those over-12,000 peaks to wish you had one. [big Grin]

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I have the Sports Instruments Alta, low priced one targeted at skiers. Has the standard features, and is mostly accurate if you recalibrate a lot. It has stopped working twice - first time fixed for free by SI, second time replaced (and I bought it used, he he).

 

Also, the new Backcountry magazine has a review of all the better models.

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I have one of the older Avocet altimeters. Although this particular model had plenty of issues, my watch has always been very accurate (usually within 10') the only somewhat bogus function is the temp reading. If you wear it like a watch, it's gonna read your body temp, so I keep it cliped to my pack, but it still seems to read on the warm side.

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It reads on the hot side because you're moving so damn fast all the time, sketchfest! I heard some watch company in Seattle services the Avocet watches. They can plop a new replacement seal in when the battery is changed.

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I've had excellent luck with my Casio as well. Had it probably six years, nothing but battery changes until this summer when the watch guy had to spend five minutes cleaning the alti sensor.

 

Very accurate and reliable.

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quote:

Originally posted by RobBob:

Got my ugly, bulky Vector on eBay for $120. Think I'll keep it, since all it takes is one trip to one of those over-12,000 peaks to wish you had one.
[big Grin]

I'd go with the Suunto Altimax over the Vector - the Compass on my Vector wasn't worth shit IMHO - and the Altimax is also cheaper.

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I too have the bulky Vector. I've found it to be fairly accurate as long as I calibrate it before trips, i.e. at the trail head. This, I'd think, would be the case for most altimeters. Other than that I really like it.

 

My one complaint (which I have for all watches in general) is the alarm only works if you wake up to the drop of a feather [Mad] . Why can't they make a watch alarm that can wake up the dead, or at least the non-morning person like myself, [Wazzup] wit dat!

 

Craig

 

[ 10-31-2002, 05:37 PM: Message edited by: CraigA ]

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I have a casio Pathfinder that I bought at Costco. It is also bulky and ugly but less so that the Suuntos. I prefer it because it shows the 24hr barometric pressure trend as a bar graph. [geek] I took it to pretty high altitude and the altimeter seemed to get more inaccurate the higher I went (reading too low).

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I have a vector, seems pretty accurate. The compass seemed to work fine as well, although when left uncalibrated it has drifted nearly 180 degrees off.

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quote:

Originally posted by ILuvAliens:

I have a vector, seems pretty accurate. The compass seemed to work fine as well, although when left uncalibrated it has drifted nearly 180 degrees off.

My problem wasn't that the compass didn't workin the mechanical sense - it seemed to be reasonably accurate. Using it to actually navigate with was a pain in the ass though, and I wouldn't want to be stuck somewhere trying to navigate with it.

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i have a vector, it is good to me. i find it usefull even on off trail hikes and finding my way home from the bars when i've had too many lap dances.

 

don't use the compass or the alarm, they are both booty. my keen alpine senses awaken me at the proper time without alarms

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ALL alti watches need to be calibrated, preferably once a day. Ya gotta remember that they determine altitude from the barometric pressure, and as it changes, the calibration can get thrown off.

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Bill, the Suunto sets the standard for altimeter watches.Easiest to program, most intuitive to use/ battery replacement. Some consumers may not like as large of a watch (they are a bit big) can try one of the Casios (which are a solid reliable watch, but many come with an auto-tilt light mechanism that may drain too much use in an activity driven sport. Avocet's are easier to use with gloves on but definetly aren't as durable as the afor mentioned ones. Stay away from Swiss army brand, too much engineering... as for the other, new ones just hitting the market I don't know...come on in and talk to me at Marmot if you want some more info about altimeter watches.Bill, I know watches from old job,have helped Seth

 

[ 10-31-2002, 11:26 PM: Message edited by: Beck ]

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Yepper, those flux gate compasses on the Vector and other similar watches are nearly worthless - you should still bring along and use your Silva. Buying the Altimax (sans compass) isn't a bad idea!

 

The people with the Casio watches must be lucky. I had (2) different Casio altimeter/barometer models (the lower priced ones) when I was younger and both failed over a fairly short period of time (a few years). Plus friends had problems with their Casio's too.

 

Rather than wearing my Vector with its watch band, I set it up as a neck lanyard so I can wear it around my neck or clip it to my jacket or pack and keep it in a pocket. This works very well for me.

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quote:

Originally posted by b-rock:

I have the Sports Instruments Alta, low priced one targeted at skiers. Has the standard features, and is mostly accurate if you recalibrate a lot. It has stopped working twice - first time fixed for free by SI, second time replaced (and I bought it used, he he).

 

Also, the new Backcountry magazine has a review of all the better models.

I have one of these guys too, it's as accurate as any, no frills and cheap. I haven't had any problem or seen any downside to mine, but, I haven't compared it to any other brands.

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quote:

Originally posted by allison:

I've had excellent luck with my Casio as well. Had it probably six years, nothing but battery changes until this summer when the watch guy had to spend five minutes cleaning the alti sensor.

 

Very accurate and reliable.

Do you use it when you measure the altitude of the twinkie stand at 7-11 after you rob it? If you never gain any altitude how do you know it works?

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quote:

Originally posted by RopeGunHooker:

quote:

Originally posted by allison:

I've had excellent luck with my Casio as well. Had it probably six years, nothing but battery changes until this summer when the watch guy had to spend five minutes cleaning the alti sensor.

 

Very accurate and reliable.

Do you use it when you measure the altitude of the twinkie stand at 7-11 after you rob it? If you never gain any altitude how do you know it works?

[laf][laf][laf]

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the only altimeter this good ol' boy needs is a good ol ear poppin. every hour on teh hour give the ol ears a pop and with time you can tell how much altitude you have gained in that hour...works like a charm [big Grin]

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