Women's gear, up first
I looking for a watch with an altimeter on it. But so far they all look like men's watches, big and masculine. Can you recommend a smaller, feminine watch? Lois DeRaadt Fort Collins, Colorado
Look no further. Highgear's Axio Mini ($125; highgear.com) is a superlight, superfeminine altimeter designed specifically to fit a woman's slender wrist, and its brand new this year.
The Axio Mini goes into my "no-frills" gear category, meaning that it has everything you need in the backcountrythermometer, barometer, altimeter, 100-hour chronograph, and multiple alarms to track hydration, altitude, and restand nothing you don't need. With a mineral-glass lens, water resistance up to 50 meters, and a user-replaceable battery, the Axio, which comes in black, white, blue, and yellow, can handle any expedition you can dream up.
A year ago Finnish watch designer Suunto came out with the Lumi (from $329; suunto.com), which is chic enough to wear to the opera, but durable enough to trek the Annapurna Circuit. This baby is also ultra-functional: The altimeter is accurate to 30,000 feet, displaying current elevation and total ascent and descent; the barometer measures and records air pressure and temperature; the alarm has snooze, the battery is user-replaceable, and the compass keeps you on track. New this year: Features that track the daily sunrise and sunset anywhere in the world and a countdown device to special events. Best of all, the watch comes in a rainbow of band colors and materials or can be fitted into a protective carabiner jacket. Or dangle it from a chain and wear it as a pendant.