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Just released: CalTopo app for Android

By Andrew Skurka / December 22, 2018 / 13 Comments

The website CalTopo has been my go-to mapping platform for four over years. I primarily use it to make and print topographic maps, including for all of my guided trips and high route guides. It has come a long way since I began to use it, with regular improvements to the user-interface and imagery database.…

Long-term review: Suunto 9 Baro || Legit flagship watch, needs firmware fix

By Andrew Skurka / November 29, 2018 / 42 Comments

For five months I’ve been using the Suunto 9 Baro GPS Sport Watch on a near daily basis, mostly while trail and road running, and occasionally backpacking. With few exceptions, it has supplanted my trusted Suunto Ambit3 Peak (long-term review). It’s the nicest Suunto watch that I’ve used yet, but has one significant blemish that…

Garmin inReach deep dive: Default & downloadable maps & imagery

By Andrew Skurka / March 28, 2018 / 27 Comments

Overnight I received this question from reader Bob B.: This question — and just about any other that you can imagine — has been answered previously in my previous posts about the Garmin inReach SE+ and Explorer+: Preview: New Garmin inReach SE+ and Explorer+ 12 FAQ’s: inReach SE+ & Explorer+ || Incl, Will old devices…

Accuracy of Suunto Ambit3 Peak at Okay/60-second GPS pings (200-hr)

By Andrew Skurka / February 24, 2018 / 36 Comments

Following my long-term review of the Suunto Ambit3 Peak, friend and fellow guide Alan Dixon sent me an email with the title, “Suunto 200 hr mode not cutting it,” and shared that on a recent 8.2-mile hike his Ambit3 shortchanged him by 1.5 miles (18 percent). He had set the GPS accuracy of the Ambit at “Okay”…

Long-term review: Suunto Ambit3 Peak || Unmatched performance for the price

By Andrew Skurka / February 13, 2018 / 80 Comments

Last August I upgraded to the Suunto Ambit3 Peak, after using for four years the previous iteration, the Suunto Ambit2 (read my long-term review). Since I train regularly based on heart rate, I bought the HR package, which includes the Smart Sensor Belt. To date I have worn the Suunto Ambit3 Peak for more than 150 runs or…

Suunto Ambit3 vs. Garmin Fenix 5 || Core differences + ideal uses

By Andrew Skurka / January 24, 2018 / 46 Comments

For a week I have been wearing a borrowed Garmin Fenix 5X, which is Garmin’s flagship multi-sport GPS sport watch. I’m a longtime user of the Suunto Ambit3 Peak (and, before that, the Ambit2), and this first-hand experience with a competing brand and product has been informative. I’ve always been curious how the Ambit3 compares to the…

Preview: New Garmin inReach SE+ and Explorer+

By Andrew Skurka / January 15, 2017 / 204 Comments

Garmin announced two new inReach devices shortly after the New Year, immediately prior to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES): inReach SE+ inReach Explorer+ Last week I was able to inspect them first-hand and discuss them with representatives at Outdoor Retailer (OR). The original manufacturer of the inReach, DeLorme, was purchased by Garmin a year ago. So the inReach+…

Preview: Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR, plus Ambit development plans

By Andrew Skurka / January 13, 2017 / 15 Comments

Suunto had one major product release, the Spartan Sport Wrist HR. And I learned of future development plans (or, more accurately, non-plans) for the Ambit collection. Spartan Sport Wrist HR The first GPS sport watch with a wrist-based heart rate monitor was the Garmin Fenix 3 HR, which was announced 12 months ago. But according…

Preview: Garmin Fenix 5, 5S, and 5X (with maps!) GPS sport watches

By Andrew Skurka / January 12, 2017 / 72 Comments

The fourth generation of Garmin’s Fenix GPS sport watch will replace the current Garmin Fenix 3 and Fenix 3 HR. Release date is March 2017. The three models vary in both size and features: Fenix 5S Fenix 5 Fenix 5X You might be asking, What happened to the Fenix 4? The rep did not go into details, but…

Altimeter watches: Made obsolete by the GPS sport watch?

By Andrew Skurka / December 3, 2016 / 26 Comments

For over a decade I wore daily an altimeter watch like the Suunto Core, also known as an ABC watch because most models feature a barometer and compass, too. My favorite was the now-discontinued Highgear Summit, which had the three basic functions, plus a stopwatch with 100-lap memory, easily navigable screens, oversized type, and quick-glance…