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Breakthrough Designs: Navigation
All prices in U.S. dollars
Not only is the Timex Helix ABT one of the least expensive altimeter-barometer watches on the market, but it shames the competition with an interface that's actually user-friendly. You scroll through the date, alarm, stopwatch, chronometer, barometer, and thermometer modes by twisting the crown; to adjust the date or time, you pull the crown out, then turn.
The Helix checks barometric pressure every 15 seconds to track elevation and weather changes, and its sturdy stainless steel casing is waterproof to 160 feet [49 meters].
2. Two-way radio: Motorola Talkabout T6320
The first two-way radio equipped with a digital compass, altimeter, and thermometer, the Motorola Talkabout T6320 has an optional voice-activated modeso you can call your friends without fumbling around with your ski gloves.
The radio's 532 available channels ensure that you aren't stuck on the same frequency as everyone else on the hill, and its signal-strength indicator lets you know when you're about to head beyond the two-mile (three-kilometer) range.
True, the new Schrade i-Quip is bulkier, heavier, and clumsier than your average multitool. But that's because it's meant to be something more: an all-in-one survival kit.
Throw it in your pack on the way out the door and you have a knife, saw, LED flashlight, altimeter, digital compass, emergency whistle, signal mirror, and fire source. (There's a built-in slot for a lighter.) No longer must you rifle through boxes of gear to pull everything together, and the i-Quip's price is comparable to what you'd pay to acquire each of these components separately.
4. Handheld GPS system: Garmin eTrex Vista
The Garmin eTrex Vista is the most memory-rich handheld GPS system on the market. Its 24 megabytes of storagewhich already hold a built-in map of North and South Americacan fit multiple high-resolution topos, street maps of three major cities, 20 reversible hiking routes, and up to 500 labeled waypoints.
One of the few outdoor units with a WAAS GPS (accurate to within ten feet [three meters]), the palm-size, 5.3-ounce [150-gram] Vista also has an independent digital compass and altimeter: You don't need to switch on the GPS function, wasting batteries, just to get your bearing or elevation.
Photographs by Spencer Jones
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