Every so often, I’ll post on some of the gear that gets me through my hikes. A standout piece of equipment from my current hikes is the Suunto Core Wrist-top Computer (User Guide). The Core is an all-in-one altimeter, barometer, and compass (“ABC”) that provides solid navigational capabilities in a slick package.
I’ve used a Suunto compass on prior hikes, although of the manual base plate variety. I’d rarely hiked with an altimeter before my current adventures and never with a barometer. Given that my 7Trails itinerary has me hiking solo in unfamiliar mountains with more unpredictable weather than my native Sierra Nevadas in California, I wanted the additional navigational and safety capabilities offered by an ABC tool. Based on my research, the Core made it to the top of the list.
I had my first real chance to test out the Core on my treks on the Alpamayo Circuit and the Huayhuash Circuit. Now that I’ve also used in on the John Muir Trail in California, the Tour de Mont Blanc in Europe, and the Three Passes and Annapurna Treks in Nepal, I can say that I’m impressed. The compass is quite accurate and responsive. The altimeter has also faired well and gave readings that matched the topo maps to within a few meters, even on those occasions when I went a couple days without setting a reference altitude.
I can’t say that I’ve fully worked out the barometer functionality because I’ve had abnormally good weather throughout my treks so far. However, the Core’s pair of three-hour barometric indicators has provided welcome confidence that there were no surprises lurking over the horizon. And it is nice to know the storm alarm is there if I need it.
The only legitimate drawback is that the Core is a bit bulkier than more expensive systems, including others offered by Suunto. But it wears well and delivers massive capabilities for an eminently reasonable price in the mid-$200’s. You can’t really ask for more. All in all, the Core is a great piece of kit that’s going to remain a staple of the 7Trails gear list.