Forum
Buying gear? Please use these links to help 14ers.com:

More info...

Other ways to help...

Ultramarathon GPS watches?

Info on gear, conditioning, and preparation for hiking/climbing. Gear Classifieds
User avatar
Posts: 493
Joined: Sun Jul 09, 2006 7:36 pm
Location: Lakewood, Co

Ultramarathon GPS watches?

Postby dehrlich101 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:42 am

Happy Monday 14ers.com -

I am looking at buying a GPS watch that will be good for ultras, mountaineering, long hiking/backpacking trips, and everything else in-between. I'd definitely like the battery to last over 24 hours while in GPS mode, elevation, direction, mile times, and the other bells and whistles.

Here are a few I've been looking at.. Has anyone used these? Pros and Cons? Any other suggestions for good watches?

http://www.rei.com/product/833399/suunto-ambit-multifunction-watch

http://www.rei.com/product/846716/garmin-fenix-gps-abc-watch

Thanks!
I am glad I shall never be young without wild country to be young in - Aldo Leopold

Support Colorado Search and Rescue - CORSAR Card

LOJ

User avatar
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:59 am
Location: Conifer, CO

Re: Ultramarathon GPS watches?

Postby siop » Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:16 am

I haven't used either of these specifically, I use the Garmin Forerunner 305 and love it. I've also used the 910, which I really like. The battery has lasted me about 14 hr (even after I've had it for 5 yrs). In terms of ultras it works great for 50s, but not longer than that. I do also have a small battery pack that charges it. So for longer races I can hook it up and put it in my handheld or hydration pack while it charges, would also work well for backpacking trips to get a little more battery life. Sorry no recommendation on either of these specific models, but I've been so pleased with my Garmin, when it eventually dies I will likely stick with another Garmin.
"because in the end, you won't remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing the lawn. climb that goddamn mountain" -jack kerouac

"here is your chance to find your own way. go on your own. be adventuresome. don't forever seek the easiest way. go the way you find. don't demand trail signs and sturdy bridges. don't demand we show you the mountains. see them and find them yourself. here's your chance to get lost, fall in the creek, find a beautiful place." -randy morgenson

User avatar
Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:13 pm
Location: Olathe, KS

Re: Ultramarathon GPS watches?

Postby twotyerfryer » Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:39 pm

The Fenix is a big watch, in more ways than one. Physically big partially because they placed the GPS receiver in the watch instead of the wristband. This allows you to change out the wrist band whereas on the Ambit you cannot because the receiver in in the band next to the watch. The Fenix also offers functions that I don't think the Ambit, or any other GPS watch offers. You can adjust the GPS sampling rate so the battery life can indeed be up to 50 hours. You can also change the mapping rate which saves memory. Here is another post where I addressed this viewtopic.php?f=4&t=36778&p=469992#p469992

I know that Garmin built the Fenix to stomp the Suunto watches both with function and price. I'm curious as to what revisions they will come up with.
-Steve

User avatar
Posts: 322
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:07 am
Location: OKC, OK

Re: Ultramarathon GPS watches?

Postby ThuChad » Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:05 pm

After a shaky start with my Fenix I would recommend it now. You can get around 15 hours out of it in continuous track mode and at least double that in Ultratrac mode. Ultratrac gives you one track per minute which is fine if you're going the standard 1-2 mph hiking. Not ideal for running but would probably work.

User avatar
Posts: 51
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 3:48 pm
Location: Lakewood

Re: Ultramarathon GPS watches?

Postby Stevo » Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:25 am

I just got the Fenix and would agree with ThuChad, it's a bit tough at the beginning but after a couple of uses, you'll really find it extremely useful. I had the Garmin 305 which lasted 5-6 years for me. The only problem I had with it was after about 4 years it wouldn't turn on for me one day. After some research on the internet I was able to find out how to take it apart, fix the battery connections, and glue it back together. After a good experience with the 305, it was really hard for me to entertain purchasing anything other than a Garmin. The reason I went with the Fenix was for battery life. I was wanting something that would be good for multi day treks and ultra running.

I will post more as I discover cool features or anything I find negative. Perhaps anyone else could do the same!

User avatar
Posts: 274
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 2:27 pm
Location: Louisville, Co

Re: Ultramarathon GPS watches?

Postby Jeff Valliere » Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:57 am

Stevo wrote:I had the Garmin 305 which lasted 5-6 years for me. The only problem I had with it was after about 4 years it wouldn't turn on for me one day. After some research on the internet I was able to find out how to take it apart, fix the battery connections, and glue it back together.


Sorry for the drift, but do you happen to remember where you found the instructions to potentially fix this problem with the 305? I might give it a try, as I had the same issue with my first 305.

Thanks.

User avatar
Posts: 51
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 3:48 pm
Location: Lakewood

Re: Ultramarathon GPS watches?

Postby Stevo » Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:38 pm

Jeff-

I don't remember where I got it from but I remember how I did it:

1) Split 305 at seam. I used a small flathead screw diver to help. It actually comes apart rather easily.
2) You'll see 3 or 4 small copper tabs protruding down from the top half (the part with the screen). Bend these tabs down so that they will make better contact with the battery, which is attached to the other half.
3) Push unit back together. I verified that it worked before I glued it.

It worked for me and didn't take more than 5 minutes to do. Hope this helps and your 305 starts working again. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Posts: 367
Joined: Sat Jun 10, 2006 12:29 pm

Re: Ultramarathon GPS watches?

Postby pbakwin » Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:07 pm

I've had good experience with the Garmin Foretrex 401. Very inexpensive, rugged, accuate. Bigger profile, but still wrist mount. Goes 17+ hrs on 2 AAA batteries, then you just change the batteries & keep going (you can use rechargeable batteries). 2 sets of batteries will get you through almost any ultra. For backpacking I only switch it on when I need it for navigation. This thing has saved me a good deal of grief on several occasions.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests