There are times in the backcountry when a personal weather station would really come in handy. Bluetooth has made a relatively low-cost setup possible with the $459 Kestrel 4000 portable weather meter and your cell phone. The Kestrel talks to Android phones, and lets you choose among several weather apps to slice and dice current trends in wind speed, barometric pressure, and temps. Kestrel tailors these gadgets to organizers of sporting events by building in features like a wind chill and heat stress index.
The 3.6-ounce, Pennsylvania-made Kestrel is easy to use and still packs a lot of features. If you want to turn it into a semi-permanent wind sensor, connect it to the $69 weather vane mount. To help judge weather trends, it collects barometric pressure, graphing it on its own little screen or letting you stream the data to your cell phone to graph. To get an accurate snow temp, use the side-mounted temperature sensor and stick the unit directly into the snow pack. Just in case you want to take it on your next mountaineering adventure, it’s waterproof and it floats.