Showing posts with label Fitness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fitness. Show all posts

Outside Shares the Best Advice the Magazine Has Ever Given

In 2017, Outside magazine is celebrating its 40th anniversary. To commemorate that event, the adventure mag is posting a series of special articles that look back on its long and storied history. The latest of those stories is available online and it shares the best advice that the editors, writers, and contributors of the periodical have ever given. As you can imagine, there is a wealth of wisdom to be had here.

For experienced climbers, backpackers, and travelers, some of the advice probably seems like common sense. But, in some cases, Outside was providing these insights years before the mainstream crowd caught up with their way of thinking. For instance, the magazine offered ideas on how to ditch your car for a bike nearly a decade ago, but bike commuting has become all the rage in recent years. The pages of Outside have also been filled with nutritional advice too, telling us what to eat, when to eat it, and how to maintain proper calories while out on the trail. You'll find a few pieces of info about that in this article too.

As usual, the "best advice" covers a wide range of topics. The magazine reminds us to "Keep it Simple" for instance, and goes on to explain how to maintain focus on fitness and recovery. You'll also find advice on finding the best adventure partner, cherishing your favorite piece of gear, how to wanter without getting lost, and so much more.

Many of these items have been collected from issues dating back as far as 1978, but the wisdom is just as useful today as it was back then. There is a lot to take in here, but it is a great read and an excellent reminder for those of us who already knew all of this stuff, but may have forgotten it along the way.

Read the entire story here. It may be a major eye-opener for you.

Longest Running Streak in History Ends After 52 Years

Like me, I know a lot of Adventure Blog readers are regular runners. Not only is it a great way to stay in shape, it helps me to unwind and let go of some stress, while also being an excuse to get outside for an hour or so everyday. On average, I run six days a week, usually taking Sundays off for a rest. Probably the longest I've ever gone without a break is 35 days or so, as part of a fitness challenge. That's not a bad streak for an amateur. It also isn't anywhere close to the record set by Ron Hill, a former Olympic athlete from the U.K. who just saw his string of uninterrupted running days end this past weekend.

On Sunday, Hill took his first day off from running in 52 years, 39 days. The streak began back on Dec. 21, 1964 and continued through January 28, 2017. That's 19,032 days for those keeping track at home. Hill said that he went out for his usual run on Saturday, but after just 400 meters his heart began to hurt, and that he final 800 meters of his 1 mile jog, the situation got worse. So, he decided to hang up his running to determine what went wrong, saying "There was no other option but to stop. I owed that to my wife, family and friends, plus myself.”

Over the course of his very impressive streak – which is a world record by the way – Hill ran at least one mile each and every day. For more than 52 years, no matter how he was feeling, what the weather was like, or what other events were going on in his life, Ron went out for a run. It must have felt incredibly strong for him to not do that on Sunday.

Streak runners are quite proud of their impressive string of days that they run at least one mile, and American Mark Washburne tries to keep tabs on the longer streaks that are underway in various parts of the globe. Now that Hill's has come to an end, he says that the next longest streak belongs to Jon Sutherland, a 66 year old who lives in West Hills, California. His current streak sits at 17,417 days, which is about 47.5 years. He still has a long way to go to catch Hill, but at his age it could be done, provided he stays healthy and determined. Perhaps even more amazing, is that Washburne has averaged 11.2 miles per day over the course of those years.

I'll be thinking of both of these men when I set out on my run later today. Both are definitely impressive. I know that after my 30+ day streaks that my body was fatigued and ready for a break. I can't imagine going years without taking a rest day.

Gear Closet: Casio WSD-F10 Smart Outdoor Watch

As an Apple Watch owner I've come to rely on my smartwatch more than I ever thought possible. Not only does it give me the date and time, but it also provides access to my calendar of events, quick viewing of texts and alerts, the ability to control the music on my iPhone right from my wrist. It also tracks my workouts, provides weather updates, and gives me scores of my favorite college and NFL football teams. Heck, it even holds my boarding passes when I'm traveling, providing a very convenient way to whisk through the airport.

But for all of its strengths, the Apple Watch has plenty of faults too. For instance, its battery life is limited to about one full day of use, which makes it a challenge to keep charged while traveling. It is also designed to be more of a fashion accessory rather than something that is truly built for adventure travel or outdoor activities. In fact, it is rather on the fragile side, which is why I recently used the Apple Watch Case from Catalyst while traveling through Quebec. So, while I love the idea of wearing my smartwatch everywhere, it just isn't always practical to do so. That is, unless you happen to have the Smart Outdoor Watch from Casio, a timepiece built specifically with the outdoor enthusiast in mind.

Officially designed as the WSD-F10, this smartwatch was built from the ground up for adventure travelers and the active outdoors person. As such, it comes equipped with a host of sensors and features that will make our life in wild and remote places much easier. For instance, the watch has a built-in electronic compass, altimeter, and barometer. It also comes with a database of the current times for sunrise and sunset based on your current location, and it even has a tide chart to help you plot the movement of bodies of water. Casio's device even serves as a fitness tracker too, closely charting your movement and calories burned throughout the day.

Despite all of that functionality baked into the Smart Outdoor Watch, there is one feature that is glaringly missing – GPS. Most high-end outdoor watches today come with some GPS capabilities that allow their users to track their routes, follow trails, and keep track of speed, distance, and direction. The WSD-F10 does all of those things, but it uses the GPS chips on the smartphone that it is tethered to in order to accomplish those feats. That means you'll need to carry your smartphone with you everywhere you go, including the backcountry. Considering how many of us already do just that however, it seems like a small price to pay, even if you now have to keep two gadgets – your phone and your watch – charged.


Speaking of keeping a device charged, if Casio's smartwatch has an area that needs improvement, it is probably battery life. Don't get me wrong, in standard operating mode, it will easily outpace the Apple Watch, lasting for as many as three days between charges. But, turn on a host of features, interact with apps on a regular basis, and have it track your movement while out on a hike, and suddenly the battery life begins to drop significantly. In fact, it is possible that you might not even be able to make it through a full day of usage if you turn all of its features on and leave them functioning for an extended period of time. As with most smartwatches that are currently available, this one could use a bit more juice.

Those issues aside, the WSD-F10 is a great watch for use while traveling and in the outdoors. It is rugged and durable enough to take anywhere, including into the water. This watch is waterproof down to 50 meters (164 ft) and it is both dustproof and hardened against drops according to the MIL-SPEC 810G standards. That means that you can take this watch on a trail run, mountain biking, and paddling and never worry whether or not it's going to survive.

Casio has used a unique two-screen system on this watch that not only allows it to show the current time at all times, but it can do so without wiping out the battery. The first display is a simple monochrome option not unlike something you might find on a Kindle. This particular screen is used to give users the time and date at a quick glance, even in bright sunlight. This low-power display sips energy from the battery, which is what allows it to be on all of the time. The second display is a full-color screen that is used for interacting with apps, reading text messages and alerts, and providing other information to the user. It is bright and vivid and on par with pretty much every display that I've seen on a smartwatch to date. This two-screen approach works seamlessly to the person wearing the watch and brings some versatility to the WSD-F10 that isn't found in its competitors.

While Apple uses its own proprietary Watch OS to power its wearable, Casio has employed Android Wear to run its device. This lightweight operating system has been designed specifically to run on devices such as the WSD-F10 and as a result it is fairly snappy in its execution and provides a solid platform for creating unique apps that can run on the device. Android Wear doesn't have nearly as many apps for it as Watch OS, but most of the big names that you would expect are there, and can be used with the Smart Outdoor Watch too, provided you use an Android phone. The WSD-F10 will pair with an iPhone, but its functionality is severely limited due to the restrictions that Apple places on access to iOS functionality.

One of my favorite features of most smartwatches is the ability to customize the face of the watch to display exactly the information that you want to see. The WSD-F10 has this same functionality built-in as well, but with a nod to its particular audience. Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate that with a quick glance they can check their current altitude, direction they are moving, speed, route, and more. The sheer amount of customization that can be done is a bit surprising at first, but you'll soon discover that it is very nice to have that level of versatility right at your fingertips.

Priced at $500, the Casio WSD-F10 Smart Outdoor Watch is about on par with similar products from both Suunto and Garmin. However, those watches all tend to come with GPS built-in and have longer battery lives, which will make them more appealing to many customers. But, they also lack most of the "smart" features that make Casio's device so intriguing. If you don't mind recharging your watch more often, and are already carrying a smartphone with GPS capabilities, the WSD-F10 may just be the more full-featured option.

Personally, I really like this watch. The fact that it is a smart wearable designed for those of us who venture out to remote locations on a regular basis makes it a great option for adventure travelers and outdoor lovers. I appreciate its high quality construction, excellent built-in features, and expanding app ecosystem. This is a watch I can wear on daily runs and bike rides, as well as trips to the far side of the planet. That alone gives it a leg up on my Apple Watch, and makes me wish Apple would crate something similar. That will never happen, but thankfully Casio is here to fill the void.

Buy the Casio WSD-F10 Smart Outdoor Watch at REI.





Gear Closet: The Suunto Ambit3 Vertical Should Be Your Next Adventure Watch

I'm the kind of person who wears a watch with them where ever they go. My watch is one of the first things I put on in the morning, and one of the last I take off at night. Like any person who is a fan of watches, I have several in my collection ranging from casual to more formal depending on the situation. I especially depend on a watch when workout and travel, which is when having more than just the time on my wrist is very important to me. In the past, my watch of choice in those situations has always been the Ambit series from Suunto, as I've always found them to be rugged, dependable, and with plenty of great functionality. So when I got the chance to test out the new Ambit3 Vertical – a watch specifically designed for use in adventure sports in the mountains – I couldn't wait to see how it performed.

The Ambit series has been around for a number of years now, and over that period we've seen lots of updates to these watches, some subtle in nature, while others are more dramatic. If you're already an Ambit3 owner, the new Vertical still offers some nice refinements, but if you're coming from one of the older versions of this watch, you'll see some major changes that are certainly welcome. In my case, I made the leap from the original Ambit to the Ambit3, and was impressed with how far these timepieces have come.

The first thing I noticed about the Ambit3 Vertical was that it was physically more streamlined than past models. It is a bit thinner, and the GPS satellite receiver that was so prominent in the past is gone. This makes it look a lot more like just about any other rugged sports watch you might find on the market, where some wearers will definitely appreciate.

The next thing that stood out when using the Vert was how much snappier the operating system was as compared to my old watch. Everything responded much more quickly, and it was easy to jump in and out of the menus to find the options you are looking for, such as setting time, adjusting settings, or starting a workout. If you've never used an Ambit watch before, you might be a little confused at first, but it all starts to fall in place the more you use it. If you're an old pro with its interface, it'll all seem like second nature to you.


The Vertical comes with some nice additions that haven't necessarily been seen on the Ambit before. For instance, it now has GLONASS GPS support for use in other parts of the world and it has a built-in barometric pressure sensor for registering altitude. That has been seen in some past models, but not all, and for a watch designed to measure changing elevations during your workouts or alpine pursuits, it is a must. Suunto even added vibration alerts that are subtle but noticeable too.

As I've already mentioned – and as the name indicates – the Ambit3 Vertical is all about tracking the performance of workouts on hills and mountains. The watch now has the ability to route elevation profiles more accurately, while also putting data about your ascent/descent details more front and center as well. It can even track your distances covered in 3D, taking into account elevation changes along the way. That is something that trail runners will certainly love, as in the past your distances up or down were not accurately tracked.

Just like on past Ambit models, the Vertical has preset workout routines backed right in. So, when you're ready to start your running, cycling, or skiing routine (amongst others), you simply pick it from the list, and set off. The new elevation tracking system does a great job of knowing whether you're moving up or down, and incorporates that data into your post-workout summary as well. The route charts that it displays are surprisingly accurate, and the inclusion of altitude change will make this watch a favorite amongst outdoor athletes.

The Vertical comes with the ability to connect to variety of other devices, including a heart rate monitor that came with my test unit. Connecting the watch and the monitor was a simple affair, providing me with even more feedback about performance on my daily runs. You can even connect it to your smartphone via Suunto's Movescount app, which is a very nice companion to the Ambit3, giving you a new way to visual your workout data.

As a travel watch, the Ambit3 Vertical has some nice features too, not the least of which is its rugged construction. This is the kind of timepiece you can wear anywhere and not worry about it surviving. It also features dual timezones, alarms, and automatic time adjust based on timezone. It's ability to track your distances covered and routes can come in handy for navigation too.

I'm sure you can tell that I'm highly impressed with this new watch from Suunto. It offers some great refinements that make it a step up over most of the other watches in the Ambit3 line. But, that said, it is missing a few features that mountaineers might miss, including storm tracking and warnings, barometric pressure trends, a built-in thermometer, and sea level air pressure. If hose are important features for you, you'll have to upgrade to the Ambit3 Peak.

Additionally, battery life on the Vert has been reduced as well. Suunto says that it is capable of running for 14 days in watch mode alone, which is about half what you'll get out of the Peak. That run time will be reduced further when using the GPS functions during a workout. The watch will last about 15 hours when tracking a run for instance, which pings the satellite ever second. That number climbs to 100 hours while trekking though, which extends the tracking to one minute instead. Official numbers aside, I've actually found the battery life to be a bit longer than Suunto says, so while this may be a step backwards in terms of performance, it might not be as bad as you would expect.

Those minor quibbles aside, the Suunto Ambit3 Vertical is a fantastic watch for outdoor athletes. Not only does it look nicer than any Ambit that has come before it, its ability to track movement in 3D is a real revelation for those of us who run, bike, ski, or do just about any other outdoor activity. This feature brings improved accuracy as well, which a lot of people will appreciate.

Priced at $469 ($519 with the heart rate monitor), the Vert is no small investment. But considering everything it is capable of doing, it is definitely worth it for those of us who are serious about their workouts, tracking performance, and improving their conditioning. This is a watch built for adventure, and I would recommend it over just about anything else other than perhaps the Ambit3 Peak, depending on your personal needs.

The Ambit3 Vertical is available now. Visit Suunto.com for more info.

Adventure Tech: Three New Fitness Watches From Garmin

This week, the annual Consumer Electronics Show will kick-off in Las Vegas, where hundreds of tech companies will show off their latest gadgets and devices. This year, the hottest trend seems to be wearables, with smartwatches, fitness trackers, and a variety of other gear taking center stage. Over the next few days, there will be hundreds of press releases sent out announcing all kinds of interesting and exciting innovations in technology, and not to be left out, Garmin has already announced three new fitness-oriented smart watches as well.

Perhaps the most exciting of these new products is the Fēnix 3, the latest update to one of Garmin's flagship products. The Fēnix has been an outstanding product for outdoor athletes and mountaineers for the past couple of years, but the latest version adds elements that have become common in fitness trackers such as the Fitbit. For instance, the Fēnix 3 now tracks your steps throughout the day, alerts you when it is time to be more active, and estimates the number of calories burned too. It can also track your VO2 max, recovery times post-workout, and can even count the strokes of swimmers too. The new model features faster GPS tracking, an improved display, and the ability to connect with friends to share workout and performance data. Garmin went back to the drawing board with the Fēnix 3 to give it a more refined look as well. As a result, the watch now resembles something you could wear all day long, as opposed to something designed specifically for working out. The Fēnix 3 will have an MSRP that starts at $499, and will begin shipping in the first quarter of 2015.

Garmin has also revealed a new GPS watch called the Epix which features 1.4-inch color touch screen that is capable of displaying maps used for navigation. The device comes with a world-wide base map, and has 8GB of storage to add more detailed maps for specific regions as well. It includes a digital compass, altimeter, barometer, and is water resistant down to 50 meters. It fill start at $549 when it begins shipping this quarter.

Finally, Garmin has also introduced the Vivoactive, a more scaled back an affordable fitness watch, that will meet the needs of those more focused on their workouts, and less on exploring the backcountry. It'll track pace, distance, and duration of your workouts, and comes with a color touch screen and a more subdued design. The Vivoactive will start at $249, and will be available soon as well.

This is just a taste of the new wearable devices that will be shown off at CES this week. Other companies are also rushing to get their latest gadgets out to the public as well, so expect to see a deluge of similar products. The difference is that Garmin has been making fitness and GPS watches for some time, and they bring a solid heritage to these new products as well.

Gear Closet: Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless Earbuds

Now that Christmas is over, it is time to start looking ahead to the New Year, a time when many people make resolutions to workout more and to get into better shape. Over the past few years, there have been a number of great new wearable technology products that have hit the market that can help us achieve those goals, including numerous activity monitors and smart apps. One of the more innovative of these products is the new Jabra Sport Pulse wireless earbuds, a device that combines a pair of Bluetooth earphones with a built-in heart rate monitor.

If you're a serious outdoor athlete, you have probably worn a heart rate monitor at some point. Traditionally, these somewhat bulky devices are strapped across the chest in order to keep track of your heart rate while on a workout. This can help track performance over time, and give you an indication of how efficient you are as runner, cyclist, or even swimmer. But wearing that chest strap can be uncomfortable and distracting for many athletes, which is why they aren't used as much as they could be.

The Jabra Sport Pulse does away with the bulky chest strap altogether, and puts the heart rate monitor into the headphones themselves. These earbuds are a bit larger than most others you'll find on the market, but once you get them properly fitted (using the included EarGels and EarWings), and have used them a time or two,  you'll soon forget that you are even wearing them at all.

The Sport Pulse earbuds pair wirelessly with a smartphone or Bluetooth enabled mp3 player, allowing the wearer to listen to their favorite music or podcasts while they workout without having an annoying cable running from their ears to their device. This same connection shares heart rate information with the Jabra Sport Life app (available for iPhone and Android), which tracks progress over time, and suggests workouts for improving performance as well. With the app installed on your smartphone, you can check historical data for your workouts, and see how your fitness levels change.


Throughout your workout, the Sport Pulse earbuds will also provide audio feedback to let you know how well you're doing. At ten minute intervals, a voice inside your ear will let you know how far you've run, how fast you're moving, what your current heart rate is, and what "fitness zone" you are operating in. Those zones can include "fat burning," "cardio training," and "intense cardio training" – amongst others – depending on how hard you are working out at any given time. This audio updates make it easier to know how well you are performing on any given workout, and can motivate you to go a bit harder and faster when you feel the need.

As someone who runs nearly every day, it is incredibly liberating to not have to deal with any kind of cable running from my earbuds to my music player. This may seem like an insignificant thing, but if you've ever found that cable to be annoying while you run or ride, you'll understand how nice it can be to do away with it altogether. Throw in the ability to do away with the heart rate monitor strapped to your chest, and you start to see how convenient these headphones truly are. If you routinely run with a heart rate monitor now, you owe it to yourself to try these earbuds out. You may just discover how nice it can be to workout with a single wearable device that can function as your earphones too.

Jabra has included a number of other nice features on the Sport Pulse earbuds as well. The addition of an in-line remote comes in very handy for starting and stopping your music, while another button on the left earbud allows you to begin, end, and pause your workout too. An integrated microphone lets the user take phone calls while wearing the headphones, and it is even possible to interact with Siri on the iPhone (and Google Now on Android) while working out too. While I generally try to run to get away from phone calls and text messages for a little while, it is nice to have the ability to take them if the need arises.

These earbuds have also been built with the outdoor athlete in mind. They are surprisingly durable, and have been designed to resist rain, dust, and the shock that comes with being dropped. Jabra knew that they had to make the Sport Pulse earbuds tough and dependable, and it shows in how well they are constructed.

It is hard not to be impressed with all of the technology that is crammed inside the Sport Pulse headphones, but they do come with a few flaws. For instance, I was less than impressed with the sound quality that they delivered. Jabra has a great reputation for delivering very good sound, but the Sport Pulse sound just "okay." They aren't particularly bad, but there is also nothing to get all that excited about either. I would have liked to have heard a little more punch – for lack of a better word – out of my music, but instead the sound quality left me feeling a bit detached from what I was listening to. That said, the music and vocals sounded clear, there just wasn't anything exciting about it in any way.

Since these are wireless earbuds with a heart rate monitor attached, they also have a built-in rechargeable battery. That battery is good for about four hours of life before it needs to be recharged. That means you'll have to remember to plug in and charge yet another device if you want to use these regularly. For me, I can get about three normal workouts from these earbuds before I need to juice them up again. Optimally, I'd love to see the battery life at least doubled, but considering how small these headphones are there will need to be some significant breakthroughs in battery technology to make that happen anytime soon. For now, you'll have to recharge these headphones often, and keep your standard pair of wired earbuds close by just in case. Fortunately, the Sport Life app provides information about the current level of charge on the batteries, which is a good reminder of when it is time to plug them in.

Jabra sells the Sport Pulse wireless earbuds for $199.95, which sounds a bit expensive if you're just comparing them to other Bluetooth earphones. But when you factor in the built-in heart rate monitor, they actually become quite a bargain. The fact that you can do away with entangling wires running to your audio player, and get rid of the bulky chest strap at the same time, makes this product completely worth the money for many outdoor athletes. If you set your expectations accordingly for the sound quality that these headphones produce, and make it part of your routine to recharge them regularly, you'll find that Jabra has created an excellent product for those who are serious about their fitness.

Adventure Tech: Introducing the Apple Watch

Yesterday was a big day in the world of tech gadgets. Not only did Apple unveil its new iPhone, it also showed off a new payment system that uses NFC technology to purchase things both online, and in brick and mortar stores. But perhaps most importantly of all, the company also took the wraps off a new product called the Apple Watch, which could hold a lot of potential for outdoor athletes.

If you recall, a month ago I mentioned how wearable technology was a hot item at the latest Outdoor Retailer show. A number of the companies that produce fitness watches were on hand, and showing off some innovative new options for athletes. These watches and fitness trackers were thinner, lighter, more comfortable, provided more functionality, and now have the ability to connect to your smartphone to share data. It was clear that there was a concerted focus on creating devices that were easier to use, and offered innovation that had been lacking in previous models.

Apple's watch will be competing directly against those devices in the fitness space, but it also hopes to do so much more that those devices as well. It tethers to an iPhone to provide data, and can pretty much do just about anything you'd expect from a smartphone, but with functionality shrunk down to fit on your wrist. You can use it to control your music for instance. It can display texts, emails, and other alert messages. It will provide walking directions to a destination, and it can display weather updates or give you your schedule for the day. Oh yeah, and it can also tells time.

Of course, most of that stuff already exists in smartwatches available from other companies as well. But Apple has wrapped it all up in an intriguing new operating system that looks easy and fun to use. This will help set their watch apart from its competitors in many ways, as it appears to have Apple's trade mark was of use, allowing anyone to quickly find the functionality that they want, and dial it in for their needs.

But Apple is banking on this device to be more than just a smartwatch, at least as we've come to know them thus far. It is hoping to put the Watch at the center of our workout routines, serving as coach, motivator, and activity tracker. With the launch of iOS 8, the operating system that runs the iPhone and iPad, Apple has introduced a new product called HealthKit. This set of system API's allows app creators to track and store fitness data in a central location, allowing us to chart our progress over time. It will also allow us set goals, and keep track of everything we do throughout the day, whether thats running five miles, riding the bike for an hour, or simply strolling around the block. HealthKit is at the center of a big push to create a healthy lifestyle, and the Apple Watch will have a major role in that as well. 

Apple has packed a lot of technology into the Watch, including a number of sensors for tracking movement, speed, and calories burned. It also has a built-in heart rate monitor that can accurately track just how hard you are working at any given time. This does away with the bulky chest straps that we've all used in the past, which is reason enough to be interested in the device alone. Those sensors are said to be highly sensitive, allowing the device to know when you're working hard, and when you're slacking off.  

But Apple says those sensors will be active at all times, tracking what you do not only during your workout, but also throughout the rest of the day too. If you elect to climb the stairs, rather than take the elevator, the watch will know it, and add the extra exercise to your records. Over time, it will learn about your routine, and help set new goals designed to help you improve performance. In a sense, it will become a virtual coach, giving you incentives to strive to improve. Apple has big plans for HealthKit, and this is probably where the Watch is most likely to appeal to outdoor athletes. Additionally, the HealthKit system is open to all app developers to use, which means we'll probably see apps like Strava and Map My Ride integrating into it as well. This holds a lot of promise for helping us improve how we run, bike, climb, or do just about any of our other favorite activities. Just don't plan on taking it swimming, as the Apple Watch is water resistant, not water proof.

There are a lot of unknowns about the Apple Watch at the moment, and hopefully those things will be made clear prior to launch. For instance, battery life remains a big concern with Apple CEO Tim Cook mentioning multiple times throughout the keynote how the Watch would be able to function "all day." That doesn't bode well for those of us who aren't use to charging a watch on a daily basis the way we do a cell phone. My Suunto Ambit can usually go ten days or more between charges, even with daily runs using GPS. That said, even that took me some time to get use to. While we don't know just yet what to exactly expect out of the Apple Watch's battery, I'd be willing to venture a guess that this thing will be charging alongside your iPhone every night. 

Exact pricing remains a mystery as well. We know that it will "start at" $349, but that will no doubt be fore the base model. A Sports Edition will be offered as well, which will include a specially designed band for working out, and the watch itself will be a bit more ruggedized as well. Apple hasn't said what the price of that version will be, and it likely won't be revealed until we get closer to the release date, currently set for "early 2015."

It is important to keep in mind that the Apple Watch will offer a lot of functionality specifically designed for fitness, but it is a lifestyle gadget that will go well beyond that as well. The fact that it can do so many things, while also being at the center of your workouts, is very intriguing. This could be the watch you wear all day, and not just the one you use when you go for a run. With that in mind, the designers at Apple have even cleverly constructed a wide variety of bands that can be quickly, and easily switched out, giving the watch a unique look with each one. That extends the versatility of the watch even further, as you can snap on the sports band for a run, then switch to a more casual band for a night out on the town. All the while, the Apple Watch continues to track your movements, provide status updates, and remind you to pick up milk on the way home. 

As I said, the potential for the Apple Watch is off the charts. Now, we'll have to wait to see if it delivers. 

Adventure Tech: Jabra Announces Bluetooth Earbuds with Built-In Heart Rate Monitor

In one of my post-Outdoor Retailer articles I mentioned that wearable technology was a popular item at the show this year, with a number of great looking fitness, running, and mountaineering watches in the works. At the end of that article, I even hinted that there was a product coming that would put a heart rate monitor in your earbuds, freeing us from the cumbersome and uncomfortable strap forever. When I wrote that, I wasn't able to share who was making the product, or when it was coming. But yesterday, Jabra took the wraps off of this gadget, announcing pricing and availability for their new Sports Pulse Wireless earbuds.

These new earphones are obviously designed with the runner in mind. Lightweight, durable, and built to take on your daily workouts, they offer excellent sound quality with wireless Bluetooth connectivity to your smartphone or mp3 player. Encased in carbon fiber, the Sport Pulse Wireless are sweat- and rain-proof, while remaining comfortable to wear, even on extended runs.

But what really sets these earbuds apart are the integrated heart rate monitor. Wearing these will allow runners to leave the bulky strap monitor and home, in favor of this incredibly lightweight solution. When paired with Jabra's app the provide feedback on performance throughout your run, and record improvements over time. They'll even allow you to set goals based on distance run, calories burned, and time out on the trail or road.

Having seen these earbuds in person, I can attest to how small they are, while providing good sound quality for your run. Additionally, I happen to love using Bluetooth earbuds, as they eliminate the wire running to your music player during a workout. Finding a pair that can stream music wireless, and serve as a heart rate monitor is simply incredible. Jabra says the Sports Pulse Wireless are good for five hours of battery life, which is an improvement on previous generations, even though they are smaller in size. That means that most of us can get a couple of workouts in before we need to recharge, while marathoners can be sure that they'll make it through a long run without worry.

The Sports Pulse Wireless will be available to purchase in late September, with MSRP of $199. That's a bit pricey, but if they deliver on their promise, they'll be worth it. Check out the video below for more.


Outdoor Retailer Recap (Part 2)

Yesterday I shared some thoughts on just a few of the great products I saw at Outdoor Retailer last week, spotlighting some items that stood out in a sea of new boots, tents, backpacks, and sleeping bags. While of course, those items are a staple of OR, there are plenty of other gear items to see there as well each year. The show can be overwhelming at times, but it also is a good indicator of the trends we'll be seeing in the outdoor industry in the days ahead.

One of the tends I noticed this year was a distinct movement by a number of companies to get into the "wearable" technology space. Obviously there have been a number of excellent fitness watches on the market for years now, but the devices that were on display at Outdoor Retailer were more sophisticated and connected than ever before. Most paired with a smartphone to collect data and track our runs, rides, and other workouts, but others upped the ante in other ways as well. As a result, there were some impressive products shown, as the industry prepares to for what ever product Apple will announce for this market sometime this fall.

Here are a few of the wearables that caught my eye at Outdoor Retailer.

Timex Ironman One GPS+
While most of the companies showing off new fitness watches were looking to connect to your smartphone, Timex introduced the Ironman One GPS+, a watch that connects to AT&T's 3G cellular network to share data without the need for another device. The watch can send and receive messages, share your GPS position with friends and family, and even alert them with an SOS should something go wrong. It has 4GB of onboard storage for carrying music, and includes all the typical features you would expect out of a watch designed with the triathlete in mind. It will retail for $399 when it is released, although no shipping date has been announced just yet. The watch includes one year of free service on AT&T's network, although fees for use after that year is up have not been announced either. How useful the watch will be in areas that lack cell coverage remains to be seen, and battery life is suspect until Timex proves otherwise.



Mio Link Heart Rate Monitor
At last summer's Outdoor Retailer, the folks from Mio were crammed into a tiny booth, showing off a great looking fitness watch that could monitor your heart rate without the need for a bulky, annoying chest strap. This year, they were back with a much larger, and nicer, booth to show off that product once again, as well as their $99 Mio Link wristband that does away with the watch functionality, and only provides heart rate monitoring. The band is ANT+ and Bluetooth compatible, so it should connect with your other fitness devices, providing a great alternative to the chest straps that no one really likes to wear. The Link is available now, but coming soon will be the new Mio FUSE, a fitness and activity tracker that promises better functionality and improved performance. It will ship in time for the holidays, and carry a $179 price tag.

TomTom Fitness Watches
Speaking of Mio, the folks over at TomTom were so impressed with their technology that that they actually licensed their heart rate monitoring technology for their own watches. This allows the TomTom devices to do away with the chest strap as well. This technology is integrated into the company's Cardio line of fitness watches, which are available now. These devices connect to a smartphone, offer an easy to use touchscreen interface, and are competitively priced at $269. Considering what you would pay for a GPS watch that includes a heart rate strap, that's quite affordable.

Suunto Ambit 3
I already wrote about the Suunto Ambit 3 when it was officially announced, and it is still on track for a September release. The device will have Bluetooth connectivity for the first time, as Suunto expands into the connected device space. This will allow the you to share workout data via social media of course, and get notifications directly on your watch. But there is more to the Ambit 3 than just being able to communicate with your smartphone, as it will also interact with geotagged photos to share information about your workout, while also gaining the ability to use that data to create videos that overlay speed, and distance covered, on a 3D generated map of your run, climb, ride, or paddle. The Ambit 3 doubles the battery life of its successors, and adds daily activity tracking to the mix as well. As is typical with Suunto's watches, it won't come cheap. The "Sport" model will start at $400, while the "Peak" edition will go for $500.

Garmin Forerunner and Vivofit
Not to be left behind, Garmin was showing updated firmware for their popular line of Forerunner fitness watches that gave them more accuracy and features as well. These affordable watches have just about everything you could ask for in a wearable device aimed at helping your workout, and the company continues to provide good support as the products evolve. Garmin has added support for more fitness apps on our phones, and has created some of the most versatile fitness watches on the market at the moment. But, not content to sit still, they've all launched the Vivofit, an activity tracker that is designed for use all day. At $129, it is very affordable, and offers a fun, unique way for casual athletes to get into better shape. It mostly tracks movement, counting your steps each day, but it can also monitor calories burned, distance covered, and duration of the workout. Users can set goals, with an included app keeping track of progress. It is available in five colors, and should compete nicely with similar devices such as the Fitbit.

That's a round-up of some of the new wearable technology I saw. There were a few other things, but mostly stuff I can't talk about yet, including a pair of earbuds that also have the ability to monitor your heart rate. Those will come in due time of course, but for now, it is the smart fitness watch that seems to be getting all of the attention. Of course, these could all be rendered obsolete if Apple deliver an exciting product this fall, but considering they are an unproven quantity in this space, I'm not sure how much these companies need to worry about the "iWatch" just yet.