IT’S NOT THAT WE NEED OUR WATCHES AND OTHER TECHNOLOGIES to be trail specific—like with special dirt-repelling coatings or cougar sirens added to them— but there are certain things we off-road runners favor. While roadies are more interested in the distance covered, number of steps per minute and overall pace, we’re more focused on the accumulated ascent, time logged and not getting lost. And, since our outings are often longer and riskier than those on paved surfaces, battery life, weather protection, locational accuracy and other safety factors are premium considerations.
SUUNTO 9 BARO TITANIUM $600
With trail running as one of the 80 preprogrammed activity modes, the 9 Baro Titanium was made with trail runners in mind. Features of the sleek yet rugged, sapphire-glass-faced and titanium beveled, wrist-mounted computer include between 25 and 120 hours of GPS tracking, depending on what mode you put it in, a weather function that can warn of impending storms, touchscreen, navigation, and heartrate, stress and recovery monitoring.
The 9 Baro’s secret to long battery life is also an accuracy enhancer. FusedTrack is an algorithm that combines GPS and motion-sensor data to improve tracking and distance accuracy while also serving to extend battery life by lowering the GPS power suck. Similarly, FusedAlti uses the built-in pressure sensor to measure ambient air pressure, producing barometric altitude measurements to give more accurate altitude information and ascent/ descent values by combining GPS data with barometric altitude information. Allowing for this combined tracking makes for dependable metrics and also saves the battery—kind of a two-fer.
LIFEKEY SMART STRAPS $29
Simple and battery-less, these light and comfortable elastic-band digital IDs are wearable devices that contain your vital data and are able to connect you with friends and family. Synching up with an easy-to-use app that allows you to enter relevant encrypted medical information and emergency contacts, the data can then be accessed by pairing the band with an enabled smartphone. After you are entered into the system, you just “tap” with the band via a camera-recognition function on your smartphone when you want to inform your contacts that you are beginning and ending your trail run or other activities.
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Forget about the sound of the recording.
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