The Helix ($130, Campmor has them for $60; www.campmor.com) is an interesting case. It's much less bombastic-looking than the Triple Sensor, measures altitude in ten-foot increments, and seems to have a fairly straightforward user interface. It's also more water resistant than some altitude watches, and is rated to 50 meters (although it's not a diving watch and not meant for extended submersion). I'd get one of these before a Triple Sensor.
Suunto's Vector ($199; www.suunto.com) is a highly rated watch, with a compass in addition to altimeter and barometer functions. I haven't heard of any reliability problems, although as a sophisticated piece of electronic gear I'm sure it's susceptible to breakdowns. But then, "some guy" always has a story about every piece of gear on the market. What guy? What were the circumstances? What was this guy doing at the time? Sometimes these reports need to be qualified.
Myself, I remain a loyal user of the Avocet Vertech Alpin II ($170; www.avocet.com), now little changed for almost a decade. It's extremely accurate, easy to use, and has all the key features I need (no compass, but frankly I don't care about that). I suppose it too has some appearance faults, but that's because it was designed principally as an altimeter, with watch features given secondary importance. Other watches try to be a watch first, with other stuff grafted on. It's not terribly water resistant either, and getting a new battery installed is a pain (has to be shipped in), but otherwise I love it.
Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.Contribute to Outside →