SkyWatch Xplorer 4 Review
I wanted an anemometer to see how strong the winds really were that were rocking my tent. I want to be able to relate the speeds given on the forecast to something i can see on the hill. So i wanted one of these. Their basic model, XPlorer 1, is just a wind speed meter and can be found for around £20 on Ebay. I went for their top of the range model as it had an altimeter, something that justified the cost of buying a tool as opposed to a toy. I still didn’t pay much more than £70 for it, less than I’d have expected to pay for just an altimeter.
I’ve used it a few times, and it is really simple to use. It’s only got one button, so even a Mac user should be ok 😉 This is probably the gadget’s main downside. When modifying settings on it, you click once for up, then again to get things moving down and that can be fiddly. I wouldn’t want to have to reset the altitude on a summit in the cold.
It’s remarkably small, and feels tough. I wouldn’t worry if i dropped it, it feels resilient. It even survives the mandatory “How strong can i blow” game that I’m sure all new owners play for the first few minutes*. Thankfully, especially as it has some sort of American connection, it allows for Metric (if it didn’t, I would simply not buy it); and for those of you who have yet to discover the joys of metric, it does allow for some other arcane measurements to be employed.
It gave me an idea when wild camping, what kind of speeds the tent was comfortable in. I found 30kph barely rattled the Laser. 80kph on top of Snowdon the other weekend was a bit more of a challenge!
The rundown: Barometer, Thermometer, Altimeter, Winspeed, Windchill, Barometric/Atmospheric pressure trends and a digital compass that’s only useful for wind direction i suspect?. I’m not able to test the accuracy, but the altimeter seemed pretty accurate on a couple of tests i did, and i’ve nothing to compare the wind speed measurements to, but they made sense. Decent piece of kit, if not entirely essential. Biggest downside? Should have more buttons and a clock/alarm to make it more useful when camping (although, battery life may be compromised).
*124kmph, by the way..
Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.
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