Unusually, I purchased almost on the spur of the moment a Kestrel 4000 Weather Tracker that is selling on sale at www.backcountry-equipment.com for US$199, a pretty good deal compared to other on-line retailers.
I was thinking how intriguing and useful it might be to know details about humidity and dew point and wind speed, particularly to learn about the performance of various shelters in varied conditions on regular routes that I backpack.
But then I look at the size of the unit (like a larger cell phone) and its weight (4 ounces), and I'm thinking, am I really going to take this neat instrument packing with me?
Has anybody used these? For what purpose?
Okay, now here comes the background that makes this into a long post about watches and weather intsruments. If you have the patience to wade through this, I thank you for your patience.
A Suunto Vector that a friend gave to me since those things first came to market yeas ago died on me last year...I've found that the compass and temperature functions are fairly useless on a watch (I always carry an analogue compass for navigation anyway), and I never much cared to spend time with the log book functions, so that left just the altimeter function as useful *for me*. I tried to replace the Vector with a Nike Oregon series altimeter watch that was on closeout while I was in the States, but found there were problems with that watch, too.
Through this process, I've decided that I just don't like the bulkiness of the "wrist-top computer" style watches. But I do like the handy altimeter function. So I decided to replace it with a Momentum (St. Moritz) Topograph analogue altimeter watch (covered in an Outdoor Retailer blurb on this site) in its sapphire crystal incarnation at MEC. I've always worn cheap watches, so this is a departure in style--and price--for me. I'd be happy to let others know more about it when I get it.
I was thinking I would augment the Topograph watch with the Kestrel's weather instrument abilities. But the Kestrel's "cool, neat-o" factor is matched by a relatively bulky package by UL standards. So, I'm wondering, is it really worth it? Will I really use it?