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Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam

- Maha Upanishad


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Adventure Travel

Mar 22, 2017

The TomTom Adventurer: A Watch That Saved My Life

Good gear can keep you alive in the mountains.

WRITTEN BY

Trivik Verma

I always carry a probe, a shovel, and an avalanche transceiver, but what brought me down to safety was a watch I had never heard of. Adventurer is TomTom’s latest addition to the world of navigation.

I met a group of skiers and boarders who were queueing up at the chairlift despite considerable avalanche danger warnings by the Gulmarg Ski Patrol. The top of Mt. Apharwat—4,200 m (13,780 ft) above sea level—was drifting in and out of sight, hiding behind massive whiteout conditions. I checked my backpack for all the essential life-saving equipment (probe, shovel and a transceiver) including some food and water, and followed the skiers.

TomTom Adventurer's lift detection makes it easier to study past runs
4 days of stormy weather didn’t allow for any warnings. Himraj Soin bent his ski poles on the chairlift when the ground wasn’t visible at all. The Adventurer has a lift detection feature that allows one to see the stats for the last run. Photo: Trivik Verma

I don’t usually go against my better judgement. When Luke Smithwick, Snow Safety Officer at the Gulmarg Avalanche Advisory, explained the snowpack the day before and issued the warning, he also mentioned that it was safe (similar safety norms are practised in the US and EU ski resorts) to be in the confines of the resort.

Following his advice, my analysis, and all of my excitement to be here, I was on my way to Mary’s Shoulder; an exit of the chairlift just below the top of Mt. Apharwat. The group of skiers disappeared just before I took the exit and the visibility reduced to barely a meter. Adding to my rising heart rate, the chairlift stopped. Nobody was on their way up.  

I have never been one to wear a watch. But there I was, standing atop a mountain, lost and scared, wearing the watch that literally saved my life. I boarded down through knee-deep powder but ended up in a bowl full of the previous day’s avalanche debris.  

TomTom Adventurer Data Analytics
A screenshot of the data analytics on the website of TomTom. A drop in the highest speed is where I flipped on my rear edge and ended up in an avalanche debris bowl.

The Adventurer has a trail exploration setting that pointed me straight down to the start of the chairlift. Half my worries were alleviated just knowing which way I had to tumble down to safety. The automatic lift detection feature showed me how much gradient I was looking to snowboard over and the 3D distance that remained between me and my home (as the watch called it). It did give me a boost to see all this, but the danger was real and I didn’t yet realise the elevation I had to descend to get back.

Sitting flat on my butt end, hoping to not hear any resounding noise (that usually only means one thing in such bad weather – an avalanche), I was flicking through the screens of the watch. There is an incredible feature called ‘altitude delta’. I was lost at 3351 meters, and the delta showed that I had started at 3080 meters at Kongdoori, the base of the chairlift. Great, about 200 meters to go.

TomTom's Adventurer has a great GPS system
Checking the compass just before making a descent through the stormy day to assess the location of the bottom of the chairlift. The Adventurer points directly to the starting location marked as home on the dial.

The Adventurer is a new entrant into a market dominated by other giants. It is simple, and frankly, I don’t feel terrible wearing a watch. There is no hassle of wearing a chest strap to get your heartbeat. Mine was translating from my pulse directly into the watch through an inbuilt sensor under the strap.

The watch is not as expensive as the other Garmin or Suunto counterparts and has packed in a new tool called the QuickGPSfix – something you bet a GPS giant like TomTom would have got right. The watch downloads the projected orbit of the satellites for the next 7 days, so it gives a more accurate reading on the GPS even if the signal is weak.

Pros

The TomTom Adventurer tracks all sports activities including skiing and snowboarding using QuickGPSfix. It has got a solid battery life that doesn’t die on you for about 18-20 days of monitoring sleep cycles, counting steps or calories. Unless you are using the GPS; then it is 9-10 hours. Hiking allows for a full day of GPS tracking because the watch sensors slow down to walking pace. The watch is water-resistant. My phone got buried with it in the snow, and only one of those survived. The data can be exported as a generic file that can be used across all sorts of apps that are meant for fitness and tracking. What I love about it is there is no more than 1 button. I keep my gloves on if it’s cold and move the tracker to get things done.

Cons

None except the app is still coming up to par with what other devices offer.

Price: $349.99 (INR 25,999)
There is a limited offer at RunningHub.in – Use promo code: TTOJ5, get up to 20% off! Click here to know more.

The Outdoor Journal + TomTom

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Adventurers & Explorers

Jun 29, 2018

Nixon Regulus: Timekeeping on the Engagés Greenland Expedition

During May of 2018, The Outdoor Journal reported on five French entrepreneurs who were traversing Greenland’s toughest terrain.

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WRITTEN BY

Maxime Lainé

Their goal was to complete 700km in 30 days. In the face of much adversity, the expedition finally made it home to Paris, having being trapped at the finish line without food, and unable to extract themselves due to bad weather.

You can read about those final few days here, and how Maxime Lainé reflected on the journey here.

Before leaving, Max and the Engagés team had to make key decisions regarding the kit that they would carry. One of those choices regarded timekeeping, and Max shares his experience of using a Nixon Regulus watch below.

The is the most impactful experience of my life… for now.

I crossed Greenland, from west to east, along the Polar Circle with 4 other entrepreneurs. It took 31 days to cross more than 550 kilometres of ice by foot, experiencing the harshest environment we had never faced. For this reason, we invested 6 months of preparation, mentally, physically, and planning our equipment. We tested and choose every piece of our equipment very carefully because eventually, our lives could depend on it.

We are very touched that some companies supported us in this crazy adventure, all in their own way. This was the case for Nixon, the watch brand. Via my role as co-founder of Weesurf, I have already had the chance to work with them.

I was very impressed by their will to take risk, and to give a chance to a young startup. That’s what I liked. As such, I decided to knock to their door again, this time with the opportunity to share with them another, but a very different adventure.

Juliette, Angélique and Louis from Nixon, provided each member of the Engagés team with the Nixon Regulus 46MM.

This watch was with us throughout our adventure, it faced the same extreme conditions that we faced, and today I’m still wearing it in one piece as I write this article (which isn’t the case for my toes). For this reason, I want to share with you some key points about this watch, and what makes it’s different.

Resistance

This is the most resistant watch I have ever had. As a surfer, I used to have a lot of them, but no other had ever convinced me that it is truly resistant. We were consistently facing extreme temperatures reaching up to -40°C, and still I never had any battery or display problems.

Weight

At first glance, it might look quite heavy, but is actually surprisingly light. For obvious reasons, this was a key point for us, we needed to carry as little weight as possible. The Regulus passed the test.

Features

The Regulus has what you need: a clock, stopwatch, alarm and timer. However, there is one feature that I particularly appreciate, much like the world clock on our phone, you can set two different times. It was very helpful for us to know what time it was in France, when we wanted and needed to think about our friends and family. When we were thinking about what they were doing at that very moment while we were on our side of the world facing the harsh environment. It helped us keep moving forwards, no matter what. It helped us overcome those daily challenges, and make it to the other side of Greenland.

Bracelet

Throughout the whole expedition, I didn’t take it off, when were setting up the camp, when we were walking, when we were sleeping, when we were cooking, when we were fixing stuff… it never broke. There is an extra element that keeps the bracelet well locked, as if it was made from just one piece, so it fits perfectly to your wrist.

Design

The watch might look quite big off the wrist, but the buttons are smoothly incorporated into the watch, so clothes did not stuck when we had to remove or put them on quickly. More than anything, the buttons are easy to tap, even when wearing gloves. This is a huge advantage because that last thing that you want to do is remove our several pairs of gloves when it was -40C.

Style

Robust and modest. It just rocks.

If you would like to find out more about the Nixon Regulus, then you can do so here.

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