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Adventure Main | E-Mail the Editors | Adventure Customer Service | Subscribe November/December 2001

  Gear Guide
Breakthrough Designs: Navigation
Our picks for the gear of the year—just in time for the holidays
• 1. Altimeter-barometer watch: Timex Helix ABT
• 2. Two-way radio: Motorola Talkabout T6320
• 3. Multitool: Schrade i-Quip
• 4. Handheld GPS system: Garmin eTrex Vista

All prices in U.S. dollars

Click to Enlarge.1. Altimeter-barometer watch: Timex Helix ABT
Price: $130
Maximum depth: 160 feet (49 meters)
Telephone: 800 367 8463 (U.S. and Canada only)
Web: www.timex.com

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].

Click to Enlarge.2. Two-way radio: Motorola Talkabout T6320
Price: $130
Range: 2 miles (3 kilometers)
Available channels: 532
Weight: 7 ounces (200 grams) per radio
Telephone: 800 353 2729 (U.S. and Canada only)
Web: www.motorola.com

The first two-way radio equipped with a digital compass, altimeter, and thermometer, the Motorola Talkabout T6320 has an optional voice-activated mode—so 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.

Click to Enlarge.3. Multitool: Schrade i-Quip
Price: $250
Telephone: 800 272 4723 (U.S. and Canada only)
Web: www.schradeknives.com

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.

Click to Enlarge.4. Handheld GPS system: Garmin eTrex Vista
Price: $375
Weight: 5.3 ounces (150 grams)
Accuracy: to within 10 feet (3 meters)
Storage: 24 megabytes
Telephone: 800 800 1020 (U.S. and Canada only)
Web: www.garmin.com

The Garmin eTrex Vista is the most memory-rich handheld GPS system on the market. Its 24 megabytes of storage—which already hold a built-in map of North and South America—can 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.

—Paul Hochman

Photographs by Spencer Jones

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November/December 2001:
In the Magazine | Excerpts | 10 Ski Trips | ANWR | Dry Tortugas | Lost at Sea | Papua New Guinea | Forum | Junger | Camera Picks | GPS Tools | Mountain Hardware | Ghana Guide

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