Friday, March 31, 2017

Gear Closet: INO Weather Pro

As outdoor enthusiasts, one of the things we keep any eye on the most is the current weather conditions. The weather has a huge impact not only on our ability to do the things we love outside, but our safety as well. Which is why keeping tabs on current and future conditions is vitally important at times. Thankfully, smartphones have made this a lot easier to do than in the past, but those devices are only as good as the forecast that they are feeding us and aren't all that helpful in telling us exactly what the weather is like directly around us. On top of that, should you find yourself in the backcountry where a data network is not existent, a smartphone becomes all-but useless for tracking changing weather patterns.

Fortunately, there is a device that can fill that niche, and provide a wealth of weather data to help keep us safe wherever we go. It's called the INO Weather Pro from INO Technologies, and after putting it to the test extensively, I can attest to how handy it is to have in your pack.

Designed to fit in the palm of your hand, the Weather Pro is a gadget that comes packed with an array of sensors simply designed to monitor the conditions around us. As such, it can provide the current temperature, atmospheric pressure, relative humidity, heat index, dew point, and more. It can also use its onboard barometric sensor to detect your current altitude as well. But best of all, it can also detect lightning strikes within 40 miles of the device, and provide audio alerts if those strikes get too close.

If you spend a lot of time in the outdoors, you can probably already see how a gadget like this one would be nice to have at your disposal. Monitoring sudden shifts in atmospheric pressure and temperature could prove to be incredibly useful, if not life-saving, while knowing when lighting is moving into your area is something that anyone who is climbing or hiking in the mountains can appreciate.


While testing the Weather Pro I found it to be very accurate in most of its readings. Upon powering it up, it takes a few minutes for the device to acclimate itself to its current location, but once it does, temperature, barometric pressure, altitude, and other readings soon reflect the conditions around you. A simple touchscreen interface makes it a breeze to access that info, which is displayed on the screen in a large, easy to ready font. That screen can get a bit washed out in bright sunlight however, but the display offers solid performance without draining the rechargeable battery too quickly.

My test unit did on occasion register a few false positives when it came to lightning strikes however. It would often indicate that there had been two or three strikes near by, even though that wasn't the case. Those readings never set off any of the active alarms however, and I chalked it up to the device recording other atmospheric anomalies. Were a real thunderstorm taking place around me, it would not only indicate the number of lightning strikes in a given time period, but the Weather Pro would have also given off an alert tone indicating it was time to take shelter. That never happened, except when an actual lighting storm was taking place.

The technical specs on the Weather Pro indicate that it has a battery life of about 30 hours when fully charged, and I would say that from my testing that is fairly accurate. The rechargeable lithium-ion power cell can be powered up using a USB adapter, which is becoming a universal way of keeping most of our mobile gadgets charged these days. 30 hours may not seem like much battery life, but unless you're really keeping a close on the weather conditions, it is actually quite a bit of time. I found that I could power on the device, take a few readings, and then shut if off again until it was needed. In this way, that battery could go a very long time on a single charge.

The other limiting factor for the INO Weather Pro is its price. MSRP on the device is set at $497 (although it is currently on sale for $447), which makes it an expensive purchase for the casual user. However, this is a gadget that will likely prove indispensable for guides, as well as dedicated climbers and mountaineers. Basically, if you depend on accurate weather information to keep yourself, your friends, or your clients safe in the backcountry, this is a worthy investment indeed.

To find out more, and purchase your own INO Weather Pro, visit inotechnologies.com.

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