Casio is a brand that most people are familiar with. Their timepieces have a reputation for durability and quality, and they also produce some of the most reasonably priced watches on the market. The Pathfinder is no exception. However, it does come with some top of the line features that we were surprised to find on an outdoor watch in this price range.
The Pathfinder by Casio is an outdoor watch that offers a variety of built-in functions including multiple time zones, thermometer, barometer, compass, sunrise and sunset times, data history storage, and a variety of alarms and timers.
But it can take some practice in order to use this watch correctly. Fortunately, it comes with a well-written, detailed user’s manual that explains how to use and calibrate certain features and what you can expect in terms of battery life, overall data accuracy, and data storage.
Overview and Features
When navigating with a compass and altimeter, hikers have the ability to pinpoint their locations on a contour map in 3D using elevation and a compass bearing. This allows them to know exactly where they’re at even if they’re not able to identify any landmarks. When hiking off-trail, this can be extremely valuable. In these areas, the coverage is often dense, making it even more difficult to guess at the location based on travel speed because moving through the backcountry is usually very slow going.
By using the Pathfinder and reading the elevation level off the watch, then matching it to a contour line on the 3D map, hikers can find their exact location, anytime during a longer climb.
Because the watch does not include GPS functionality some of the features must be calibrated one or more times a day. Some hikers have found that the Garmin Fenix 3 outdoor watch is a more user-friendly option.
Altitude is calculated using data from atmospheric pressure and temperature. In order to get an accurate reading, the watch should be placed in stable temperatures. Any altitude data can be automatically stored once an hour, every two minutes, or every five seconds. The data will only be recorded when the watch is switched to altimeter mode.
Because of the barometric feature, the altimeter must be recalibrated at least once daily in order to keep the elevation level synced with changes in atmospheric pressure and the weather. However, as long as the hiker remembers to do this, the watch is said to be incredibly accurate.
This model is solar-powered, which means hikers won’t have to worry about changing or charging the battery. The watch simply needs to be worn out in the open or under a light source in order to keep the battery fully charged. This is a huge plus for hikers and backpackers who prefer longer trips on the trail or in the backcountry, when charging a battery isn’t an option. Because this battery is solar powered, it never needs to be replaced. The watch also features a power saving mode that is activated between ten at night and six in the morning. This mode will switch the display screen off after one hour of inactivity. To wake the watch up, just shake your wrist.
Timer and Alarms
The watch allows user to set a maximum of five alarms. Additionally, the timer can be set for both minutes and hours and can count down from twenty-four hours.
This outdoor watch features a dual layer backlit LCD display screen. The display is easy to read, thanks to the size of the screen and the large font used. However, at extreme angles it can be difficult to read.
The built-in compass can easily be adjusted for magnetic declination and is calibrated with northerly and bidirectional. The compass is even able to store angles.
- Great looks
- Amazing price to value ratio
- Tons of functionality
- Solar powered
- Water resistant
- The ability to track elevation allows hikers to take more challenging routes off-trail.
- Lacks GPS functionality
- Some of the features can be complicated to use or calibrate
- While the display is backlit, it still proves difficult to read in low light conditions