New Outdoors Gear: 3 Items Reviewed

Are you looking for some of this year's hottest outdoors gear? Check out these three items from Suunto, Hillsound and SPOT — reviewed!

Are you looking for some of this year’s hottest outdoors gear? Check out these three items from Suunto, Hillsound and SPOT — reviewed!

Suunto AmBit2 — $550

The fully-waterproof Suunto Ambit2 takes fitness-tracking into the stratosphere via a wrist-mounted GPS with altimeter, barometer, thermometer, compass and timepiece as well as highly detailed, sport-specific data tracking. Along with route-mapping functions, the Ambit2 breaks-down your workout into by-the-second details of heart-rate, distance, speed, energy consumption, ascent/descent, respiration rate, effort and more — even adding a recommended recovery time (some data is via its wireless chest-strap heart-rate monitor). All of this is tailored to your specific activity (running, cycling, trekking, triathlon, mountaineering, skiing, indoor training and indoor/outdoor swimming) and personal body metrics for pro-level accuracy. Includes simple software to track and log your data; recharges quickly via a handy alligator-clip USB cable. Suunto

Hillsound Trail Crampon — $60

Perfect for trekking through slush, snow and ice, and even for moderate glacier travel, Hillsound’s Trail Crampons are a must for late-season alpine hikes. Weighing between 448 and 525 grams (size dependent), these easy-on, non-technical crampons strap to any boots in seconds and their carbon-steel spikes make short work of the slippery stuff. They’re even suitable for trail running, thanks to their ergonomic plate-system, which enhances stability by keeping the spikes secure on your foot. When not in use, dangle them from your pack as a makeshift bear-bell. Available in five sizes (men’s and women’s); be sure to match the correct size to your boot before buying. Hillsound

Spot Global Phone — $499

In the past few years, the SPOT Personal Locator Beacon has sought to make being “lost in the wilderness” a relic of history. This year, the SPOT Global Phone takes things up a notch beyond simple emergency location. About the same size as a late-1990s cellphone (plus folding/telescopic antenna, which must be used), this unit is capable of sending/receiving phone calls, receiving text messages and accessing voicemail essentially worldwide. Features are simple: phone book, text-message centre and call log (data package is available); battery life is a claimed four hours talk time/36 hours standby; unit weighs less than half-a-pound. Plans start at $25 per month, but pricier plans offer lower per-minute rates — as low as $0.25 — plus there’s a $50 activation fee. SPOT