Altimeter Recommendations?

10:50 p.m. on March 27, 2002 (EST)
(Guest)

I'm looking to spend less than $200. Some of the watches have been gettign good reviews, but I'm wondering about the simple ones. Anybody got any recommendations? Thanks!

7:51 a.m. on March 28, 2002 (EST)
(Guest)

a.k.a. Don M, Don Morris, Don P. Morris

Quote:

I'm looking to spend less than $200. Some of the watches have been gettign good reviews, but I'm wondering about the simple ones. Anybody got any recommendations? Thanks!

I have been really happy with the altimeter function on my eTrex (plain vanilla model - $115). It has never been more than twenty feet off when I have checked it against known elevations. On one benchmark, it was three feet high, but then I realized that I was holding it at waist level.. It is a lot more accurate than watch altimeters I have used in the past. I am sure there are other models from Magellan, etc. which are comparably accurate.

Check the archives, you will find some good discussion on this subject.

10:53 p.m. on March 28, 2002 (EST)
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What means "simple ones"???

I would guess you mean mechanical altimeters. You have to spend a couple hundred to get a decent mechanical altimeter. If you want a mechanical one (and I highly recommend it if you are going to be serious about using one), then the Thommens line is by far the best available for backcountry use.

However, there are several electronic ("watch") altimeters that will probably fit your requirements. The $200 limit eliminates the Suuntos, and your "simple" criterion probably eliminates them as well. The Avocet II is currently on sale at Redwood Trading Post for $130 (they have a couple of the Suunto models on sale as well, for even greater percentage off). The regular price of the Avocet is well within your range. I have had my Avocet original for something like 6 or 7 years and find it to be very user-friendly, and most important, quite accurate for a pressure-based altimeter. I get something like 18-24 months on a battery. I think a couple of the Casio models are within your price range as well.

Avoid the "automobile altimeters" like the plague. They are hard to read, hard to calibrate, inaccurate, and prone to early deaths.

7:48 a.m. on March 29, 2002 (EST)
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Bill

Aren't the mechanical altimeters also 'pressure based' ? :-)

9:37 a.m. on March 29, 2002 (EST)
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I have a wristwatch type Nike ACG "zerodrift" that was really inexpensive, about $100. Very low profile, I wear it 24/7. Not too many buttons, easy to use with gloves on, has altimeter that is quite accurate, barometer, alarm, etc. Can't imagine why you would want a simple barometer.

9:26 p.m. on March 31, 2002 (EST)
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Yes

I still don't know what he meant by "simple." My assumption was that he wanted an altimeter that only showed altitude, and had none of the extra goodies, like accumulated climb/descent, rate of climb/descent, graphs, etc, etc, etc. So probably he meant one of the mechanical altimeters, as opposed to the electronic ones with all the extra functions (and mostly user-UNfriendly interface).

And yes indeed, mechanical altimeters are pressure-based, just like the electronic ones. The only altitude displays that aren't pressure-based are the GPSR displays (calculated from your 3-dimensional position in space and a stored representation of the earth's shape) and radar altimeters used in aircraft (and those are height above terrain, not MSL). I suppose balloons with a long rope with markings or a very long tape measure, or even theodolite readings would count as non-pressure based, as well. {8>D

July 31, 2014
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