SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE GEAR REVIEW:

Gear Review: Suunto X10

For the most part, I never really thought that I needed a GPS watch for my snowshoe running workouts. I have used them in the past while running on roads and trails and found them useful to gauge the speed and distance of my runs. However, with snowshoe running, so much is different than road running that I didn’t see the point. That is, until I started thinking about safety factors and other possible features.

In the past, if I got turned around during a snowshoe run, I really wasn’t out there for that long so I could just turn back the way I came and easily find my way. Things have changed now since I am doing longer runs and training for ultramarathons. I am going for some very long runs and a storm can quickly come up and cover my tracks. This is where the Suunto X10 comes in very handy.

The first thing that I was surprised with was that the X10 was fairly comfortable to wear. For a watch that offers so many features, I was expecting to be strapping a unit the size of a refrigerator to my wrist. For those with smaller wrists, it may still be a little large, but certainly not overwhelming.

The Suunto X10 has a ton of bells and whistles for those who want them. I have always prided myself on being able to take a watch out of the box and figure it out almost instantly. That wasn’t the case with the X10, but that was due to the fact that there are so many features beyond a normal watch. It is a must to read the manual in order to fully appreciate this watch.

Compared with other wrist GPS units, I found that the X10 picked up satellites very quickly. I was also pleasantly surprised with the accuracy of the speed and distance options, even in areas with greater tree coverage. The navigation functions worked like a charm and helped me to find my way successfully back to my start point, while marking spots of interest along that way that I might like to return to in the future.

The altimeter, barometer, thermometer and compass functions also worked exceptionally well. It should be noted that the X10 altimeter measures elevation by air-pressure which is more accurate than measurement by GPS. The barometer has a nifty little weather alarm feature that checks barometric pressure constantly. A change of more than 4 hPa in 3 hours is commonly recognized as an indication of rapidly changing weather and a potential storm. This is a useful tool to have during the winter months or at higher elevations, when it may be wise to cut an outing short if bad weather is approaching.

Routes can be pre-planned on your PC and then uploaded to the X10. Once you return from your snowshoe outing, you can then easily upload your day for viewing on Google Earth. There is an abundance of memory capability with over 60 hours available at one second fixed intervals.

And if that’s not enough, let’s not forget that the X10 also has basic watch features including time of day, three alarms, 12/24 hour dual time display and a chronograph with a 29 lap split and 20 hours of memory.

Not only is the Suunto X10 great for snowshoeing and snowshoe running; but anyone looking for a watch that offers valuable information at any time of the year, whether in the mountains, or navigating through your favourite local hiking trails. Being able to relive your adventure time and time again after you return is one of the best things about this watch. And enough to keep you happy until you can return to the trails again next time.

For more information, please visit www.suunto.com . While you’re there, try the virtual hike which highlights many of the features of the Suunto X10.

To purchase a Suunto X10 from Backcountry.com, click here