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Long-term Review: Suunto M-3G Global Compass || Fast, adjustable & ultralight

By Andrew Skurka / November 28, 2016 / 17 Comments

If I only occasionally needed to “find north” to roughly orient a map or to follow a short bearing, a basic magnetic compass like the Silva Starter would be sufficient. But I rely more heavily on my compass than that, since I often backpack in low-use areas where signage is unreliable and trails can be intermittent, as…

GPS sport watch settings & displays for backpacking

By Andrew Skurka / August 2, 2016 / 42 Comments

Most backpackers wear a simple watch, an altimeter watch like the Suunto Core, or no watch at all. My pick, however, is a GPS sport watch. In this post, I will explain how I customize the watch’s settings and displays for backpacking trips. The case for a GPS sport watch I used a simple watch…

Notes for next time: Gear, logistics, & snow travel || Glacier Divide Route

By Andrew Skurka / July 31, 2016 / 10 Comments

For my next trip on the Glacier Divide Route, what should I remember from this past one? Logistics The drive to Glacier National Park from Colorado is intimidating — about 15 hours, depending on the final destination. But it wasn’t terrible, and it’s eye-opening to know that I can reach Glacier in 1.5 days even if I’m…

Map & Compass: Adjust for declination & orient the map

By Andrew Skurka / July 16, 2016 / 14 Comments

Backcountry navigation is an art. The basics can be learned quickly, like dead reckoning, reading a map, and using an altimeter watch. But extensive practice is necessary to seamlessly and flawlessly apply these skills in the field, especially when under duress or in challenging situations, like off-trail in a heavily forested area with rolling hills.…

Long-term review: Suunto Ambit2 GPS watch || Training + navigating revolution

By Andrew Skurka / July 9, 2016 / 17 Comments

It’s rare that a product radically changes my outdoor experience or gear systems. I include the Therm-a-rest NeoAir, SPOT Satellite Messenger (long-term review), and Trail Designs Sidewinder (gear list) on this list, as well as the the Suunto Ambit GPS watch, which is the subject of this long-term review. In short, the Ambit helped take my…

Family tree: Key differences among Suunto GPS watch generations and models

By Andrew Skurka / July 7, 2016 / 27 Comments

Last updated: March 2018 Suunto has released twelve distinct GPS sport watches, beginning with the original Ambit in 2012. This number does not include additional bezel, glass, and color configurations. Because older watches are still being sold, and because new watches will likely be introduced, I thought it would be useful to explain in a…

Make your GPS watch last longer: Five techniques

By Andrew Skurka / November 8, 2015 / 24 Comments

Here is the situation: 1. The battery life of my GPS sport watch is, say, X hours. 2. The duration of my run, ride, or hike is expected to be greater than X. This is unlikely to be the case for the longest of long training efforts, since even entry-level GPS watches last 8-10 hours. But…

Battery life comparison: GPS sport watches

By Andrew Skurka / November 3, 2015 / 40 Comments

What are the most important considerations when deciding which GPS sport watch to buy? Features, fit, and price — most definitely. But don’t overlook battery life, especially if your workouts, competitions, or adventures often exceed the duration of a long workday, as is the case with ultra marathons, Ironmans, expedition adventure races, 24-hour mountain bike…

DeLorme inReach Explorer vs SE: Two reasons to buy the Explorer

By Andrew Skurka / August 1, 2015 / 52 Comments

After my first post about the DeLorme inReach Explorer and SE, in which I recommended the SE over the Explorer, I was contacted by a DeLorme Product Manager who wanted to share additional information about the devices. While I stand by my SE recommendation, I would like to add nuance to the conversation: hardware differences, plus…

Which one: Delorme inReach SE or Explorer? Key Differences + My Recommendation

By Andrew Skurka / July 2, 2015 / 107 Comments

[highlight]Update, January 2017. Garmin, which bought DeLorme about a year ago, just released two new inReach devices, the SE+ and Explorer+.[/highlight] [highlight]For a preview, read this post.[/highlight] [highlight]For all posts related to the new units, go here.[/highlight] In advance of my thru-hike later this month of the Kings Canyon High Basin Route, I purchased a…