Analogue Backpackers...

7:05 a.m. on March 4, 2011 (EST)
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I know it's crazy but I often stay away from digital devices for mostly aesthetic reasons, sometimes for practical ones.

But if one were to purchase an analogue altimeter, would one have to spend a lot of money to get decent results?

And I have just seen that there are hand-held analogue anemometers still manufactured, which look super-fun.

Any thoughts, please? 

1:36 p.m. on March 4, 2011 (EST)
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The Thommens altimeters have been the dependable, go-to pocket altimeter for close to a century - Swiss, hand-made, rugged, used on many major expeditions. Thommens does make digital altimeters as well. They are far from cheap, however - $400-$500 these days. I have two of the Everest models, one a 29,000 foot, the other an 9000 meter. I got the "foot" version about 30 years ago for a much lower price (that's inflation for you, or maybe the continuing devaluation of the dollar relative to the Swiss franc). The metric version was given to me by a friend who no longer needed it and was clearing out his closet. And, NO! I will not part with either one at any price.

One of my favorite shops, Forestry Suppliers in Jackson, Mississippi, used to carry the Thommens (I lived there for 10 years and still order from them). I got the 29,000 foot one from them. But I don't see any of the Thommens in their catalog at present, probably because most people in the forestry business use GPS receivers these days to get a more accurate altitude than you can get with an analog altimeter (even the Thommens).

The Altimeter Store carries several cheap analogue altimeters. But my experience with a couple of the brands they carry has been pretty poor.

Walkhigh in the UK carries the full line of Thommen altimeters

3:39 p.m. on March 4, 2011 (EST)
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Thanks Bill. I see that the cheapest (80GBP) Thommen has the same accuracy as a Silva analogue (40 GBP), so perhaps the latter outsource the mechanism. Walkhigh are the only Thommen supplier in the UK apparently and they are a bit unreliable lately, so I'll wait and see, whatever the choice.

Searching for analogue anemometers, I found this:


windkid.jpg

6:26 p.m. on March 4, 2011 (EST)
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Is the kid included to operate it?

 

9:56 p.m. on March 4, 2011 (EST)
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I own a Peet Bros. analog altimeter, I got it used for a very good price. I still want to get a Thommens when I can afford one, and while they still make one. Maybe I can find one used as well.

I am not sure why but I like analog stuff, I much prefer a wristwatch with real moving hands, I like gauges with real needles, and so on.

On some trips I carry a GPSR and my analog altimeter at the same time, the GPSR is just too easy, I feel like I'm cheating.  I enjoy fiddling with the analog altimeter because to me it represents old school craftsmanship I guess.

I'm not entirely sure why I feel this way, I just do. Maybe it's because I can relate to things of a mechanical nature, things that require skilled hands on assembly and precision.

I would also much rather have a hand carved wooden chess set than a perfect set spit out of a production CNC machine. I used to have one that was made in the Philipines, along with a hand carved shark. The hand carved chess pieces had slight imperfections that identified them as being done by human hand, and that is what made them perfect in my eyes.

You never know what the future holds, some day we might be back to riding horses, and making stuff out of leather, brass, and wood again. I think many of the old skills are worth preserving and learning.

I don't have any problems of course with the conveniences of modern technology, it's great, there's just something about analog or older stuff I enjoy too.

 

4:44 a.m. on March 5, 2011 (EST)
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Bill, I think the kid is extra and probably made in China.

Trouthunter, I am with you there. I would have a mechanical watch by now but I neither know what to buy secondhand or the good ones are too pricey new, such as the self-winding ones; so it is analogue quartz type. Chess sets, fountain pens, film cameras, phonographs (though it broke last year) and vinyl records, typewriters, map and compass, carburetors, FM radio...

They are often much cheaper than digital equivalents, far more reliable, can be eco-friendly being pre-owned, and they bring with them a real aesthetic that has to be experienced (though collecting can be a downfall!).

This year we had to start buying new copies of regional UK maps as they have stopped making them. How long before paper maps go the way of of Kodachrome? Probably never but it is a bit unsettling.

11:29 a.m. on March 5, 2011 (EST)
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Ah, fountain pens.  You do not know how I cherish the looks and the question "what is that?".  It is amazing how many of my 22 year old students have never seen a fountain pen.  Torture is using a ballpoint pen.

What pathloser omitted from the list is shaving brushes.  I can feel the soft badger hair against my face now:)

I guess if you were really old fashioned, you would judge wind speed by wetting a finger and sticking it into the air.  We don't need no stinking whirly toy.

12:05 a.m. on March 29, 2011 (EDT)
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I own a Peet Bros. analog altimeter, I got it used for a very good price. I still want to get a Thommens when I can afford one, and while they still make one. Maybe I can find one used as well.

I am not sure why but I like analog stuff, I much prefer a wristwatch with real moving hands, I like gauges with real needles, and so on.

On some trips I carry a GPSR and my analog altimeter at the same time, the GPSR is just too easy, I feel like I'm cheating.  I enjoy fiddling with the analog altimeter because to me it represents old school craftsmanship I guess.

I'm not entirely sure why I feel this way, I just do. Maybe it's because I can relate to things of a mechanical nature, things that require skilled hands on assembly and precision.

I would also much rather have a hand carved wooden chess set than a perfect set spit out of a production CNC machine. I used to have one that was made in the Philipines, along with a hand carved shark. The hand carved chess pieces had slight imperfections that identified them as being done by human hand, and that is what made them perfect in my eyes.

You never know what the future holds, some day we might be back to riding horses, and making stuff out of leather, brass, and wood again. I think many of the old skills are worth preserving and learning.

I don't have any problems of course with the conveniences of modern technology, it's great, there's just something about analog or older stuff I enjoy too.

 

 

I am ambivalent about this (analog vs. digital).   Some things, like music recording (I'm a musician) is a 'no-brainer'  (go analog).  I still prefer vinyl (33 1/3 rpm) LP's  to CD's.   Many audiophiles agree.

I occasionally whip-out my old slide-rule to do calculations.   If I don't stay with it, I'll forget how to use it.   A handheld digital calculator is infinitely more reliable and accurate ... not to mention, FAST !

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