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My new Suunto Core, plus how I use my watch while backpacking

By Andrew Skurka / June 4, 2013 / 32 Comments

It was time to replace my Highgear Summit watch after many years of reliable service. Its face was scratched up; its buttons have become loose and its water-resistance has become questionable; and, aesthetically, I was looking for an improvement, maybe even worthy enough to wear on the altar in August. I settled on the Suunto…

GPS watch settings & displays for an ultra marathon

By Andrew Skurka / September 29, 2015 / 32 Comments

Prior to Run Rabbit Run 100, I wanted to tweak the recording settings and display fields on my Suunto Ambit GPS Watch + Heart Rate Monitor to be more optimized for an ultra marathon race. I found few recommendations online, so to fill that void I will share my decisions here. Other GPS watches like the…

Optimal pacing for an ultra marathon | Q&A w/Bob Shebest

By Andrew Skurka / October 7, 2015 / 9 Comments

  What is the optimal pacing strategy for an ultra marathon, especially for a mountainous trail course? Since Run Rabbit Run 100 last month, this question has been of great interest to me: by being more conscious of it than other elites, I think I finished better than I should have given my talent, fitness,…

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…

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…

Long-term Review: Suunto Dual Comfort Belt

By Andrew Skurka / March 7, 2016 / 8 Comments

About six months after I began using my Suunto Ambit GPS watch, I bought the paired Dual Comfort Belt so that I could train based on effort, as measured by heart rate. After 18 months of nearly daily use, and now on my second strap and third battery, I feel confident in offering a long-term…

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…

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…

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…

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…