Women's gear, up first
I'm looking for a good hiking watch. I've heard that Suunto is good and I'm willing to spend $100 to $150, but want to make sure it's a good watch. Any advice?
Mechanicville, New York
A few years ago, Suunto debuted the Lumi, an outdoor watch for women that was part timepiece, part piece of art. But Suunto is phasing out the Lumi in favor of a few equally well-designed timepieces that are geared more toward training. The digital T1c ($139; suunto.com) gives you real-time heart rate, average heart rate, real-time calories burned, at-a-glance zone-training, dual time, alarm, stopwatch, and workout totals for the past two months. Plus, Suunto offers a special goo called Polywatch Cleaning Paste ($8) that buffs away blemishes.
If you do a lot of wilderness hiking, don't mind spending a few extra dollars, and aren't swayed by the fact that this option isn't women-specific, I recommend the Wenger Nomad LED Digital Compass watch ($375; wengerna.com). With both analog and digital readings (time, date, day, and compass), the Nomad combines a classic Swiss Army look and excellent craftsmanship with ease of use. I tested this on a mountain hike in New Mexico and was thrilled by how easy it was to take a compass reading. Just point the watch in the direction you want to go, press the "Compass" button on the top right, and you'll get a digital bearing in degrees, accompanied by a red arrow. It's hard to get lost if you've got this gadget.