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Reliable altimeter watch
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David Poston
(dgposton) - F

Locale: Texas / Colorado
Reliable altimeter watch on 04/08/2014 18:51:12 MDT Print View

My old altimeter watch (Tech4O, is the brand/model I think), circa 2007 has been acting up as of late. Any suggestions for an affordable/reliable replacement? Or should I consider a multi-function weather device? I don't have an exact budget, but I would say that anything more than $200 is too expensive.

I don't carry a GPS (nor cellphone), and an altimeter is important to me to track elevation changes. Also nice for measuring temperature to check overnight lows and daytime highs.

BTW, will REI replace/fix it? Not sure how their 100% guarantee has changed over the last 7 years.

Kiel Senninger
(Kiel.S.) - F

Locale: San Diego
altimeter watch on 04/08/2014 19:58:34 MDT Print View

I recently purchased a Casio Pro Trek 5213. It has an altimeter, barometer, thermometer, and compass. It's solar powered. I picked it up on sale through Amazon for $170-ish. I've only been out to the mountains and used the altimeter with it about 4 times, but from what I've experienced it's been pretty reliable. It suggests that you "set" the altimeter periodically based on known altitudes from your map. So far I've only set it at the start of my trip and it's been accurate within 10ft from marked altitudes like peaks, benchmarks, etc. You have to take the watch off for a while for the thermometer to work accurately.

kristen buckland
(buckie06) - F

Locale: Colorado
Casio PAW1300 on 04/08/2014 22:15:41 MDT Print View

I just bought the Casio PAW 1300 Pathfinder and am loving it. Altimeter/Barometer/Compass/etc. And it is solar powered! I highly recommend going for a solar powered watch, no need to worry about changing batteries. I've used the watch while climbing a few peaks in colorado and find it pretty accurate as long as you calibrate it at the trailhead.

We haven't had a storm yet so I can't speak of the barometer but it does have a tiny graph that'll show if the weather changes.

And it does this really cool thing where if you tilt your wrist the light with turn on, pretty neat!

the watch size is pretty good, but being a women it is too large to actually fit properly on my wrist. I've been putting it outside my jacket, but I'll have to figure something out for summertime

Derek M.
(dmusashe) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Casio PAW1300 on 04/09/2014 03:55:07 MDT Print View

+1 for the Casio PAW1300. They can be had brand new for about $170.

They are basically maintenance free (time can be set via signals from a handful of atomic clocks all over the world) and they never need batteries.

I also like that they are relatively slim compared to many other Altimeter/Barometer/Compass watches.

It should be reiterated here that nearly all altimeters on watches are based off of the barometer of the watch and are therefore subject to being somewhat inaccurate unless set regularly to a known altitude benchmark. This isn't usually a big deal, but I think this fact is underappreciated in general.

If you haven't set the altitude of one of these watches in weeks, then you can't take for granted that the reading will be accurate.

Edited by dmusashe on 04/09/2014 04:01:21 MDT.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: Reliable altimeter watch on 04/09/2014 06:17:58 MDT Print View

I use a Casio Prw 1500 which I find relatively accurate, I mainly
got it due to the Solar charging.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

PAW1300 on 04/09/2014 06:52:54 MDT Print View

I've been happy with my Casio PAW1300 for 3-4 years now of daily wear. I got it on eBay new for $140. The solar power is great and the altimeter has always been awesome. I find the digital compass needs regular calibration or its wonky, but I don't use it anyways. The alarm could be a bit louder.

Eli Zabielski
(ezabielski) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
Suunto Core on 04/09/2014 08:40:17 MDT Print View

I've been using the Suunto Core for a year and a half, hiking and running in Colorado.

On a segment of the CDT last summer I was massively impressed by how accurate the altimeter would be while backpacking. On the second day I remember walking up to a water source and my watch showed exactly the elevation given in the Colorado Trail Databook for the water source.

However, I am sort of puzzled by the altimeter when there is a lot of elevation change (3,000'+) between where you calibrated it. I would calibrate it exactly at the TH for 14ers, and then at the top it would be 200' short.

I like the activities feature to keep track of split times. And then a lot of the minor features are nice: 5 min countdown timer to time Aquamira mixing and sunrise/sunset times.

Matt Dirksen
(NamelessWay) - MLife

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: Re: Casio PAW1300 on 04/09/2014 09:08:11 MDT Print View

+1 on the solar atomic Casio gizmatron (I don't remember model one I have.)

(Relatively) inexpensive, durable, & reliable. A great value for a lot of features. To get a accurate read, it's recommended to take the watch off so your wrist doesn't affect the sensors. And due to its extreme size and ugliness, one will only wear it when needed.

(One thing I did was change the wrist band, however. I found the original band uncomfortable.)

James Couch

Locale: Cascade Mountains
Re: PAW1300 on 04/09/2014 10:17:06 MDT Print View

It is important to hold the watch level and away from metal(actually can be difficult on your wrist) when taking a compass reading. This is true for most electronic compasses in watches and gps units including the PAW 1300.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: Casio PAW1300 on 04/09/2014 10:50:17 MDT Print View

Wholeheartedly agree with Derek. The Casio works fine as long as you calibrate the altimeter often. If I was going to rely on it for a trip, I would calibrate it every day based upon known objects/altitudes.