The moment I walked in from work I could see the box sitting on the side. It didn’t take much to work out what was in it, the stamp had clearly been applied somewhat hastily but it was easy to work out the word ‘Suunto’ pressed to the side of the well wrapped cardboard box.

Nothing else mattered now, bag dropped to the floor, dog nudged to the side and a series of well timed nods convincing my mother I was listening to whatever it was she was saying to me. I walked almost zombified through the kitchen into the lounge where I landed firmly on the couch and began slicing the tape open with my keys. There it was, in all of its glory. I slid the wraparound presentation sleeve from the box and swiftly prised the brand new Suunto Traverse from its housing.

I have since used the Suunto Traverse on a pretty average day to day basis, and whilst I have not yet taken it on any mountain based adventures I am keen to share the experiences I have had with the watch over the last few weeks. Like many others, I would like to spend much more time out in the hills, however the reality is it will be mostly used whilst at work, commuting to and from and the odd outing. I will go into the specifics of its benefits during outdoor pursuits at a later date, but its easy to forget that the Suunto Traverse, with its ease of use, versatile functions and modern look, is as much for daily use as it is for mountaineering etcetera.


First impressions. Good looking! Its design is elegant, yet has a robust look to it, as well as feel. It has a scratch resistant stainless steel bezel and a mineral crystal screen, offering further protection against scratches. Compared to the Suunto Ambit, the GPS antenna is located within the watch ring its self, providing a tidier looking device. In my case, I have the Amber version, which comes with the dark steel face and bright orange strap, but it is also available in the black and white options. The watch comes in at a fantastic 80 grams, almost 20% lighter than the Ambit 3.

Getting things kick started was pretty simple, the watch was accompanied by a relatively basic start up guide, but that was enough to get going with. Once the watch had been turned on it guided me through a series of steps to get it set up, but even then, the Traverse showed signs of its true capabilities. When setting the time, a pretty standard procedure for a new watch, I was prompted to set using the GPS function. I did have to shuffle my way over to the window to get a more reliable GPS link, but it was otherwise simple and quick enough. Once things were up and running the deeper set up couldn’t be easier in that it is possible to do on either a smart phone or computer via the Movescount app.

Linking the watch with the app was simple, but required a few attempts – possibly because of my occasional technophobic tendencies. Within the app you can customise which screens you have access to, the various sports modes, plot routes, design apps, analyse previous data and change some of the basic settings such as turning the beep on or off.


Once the watch is linked with your phone it also works to notify you of any messages or phone calls you receive, or even if you have reached the next level on Candy Crush. Candy Crush aside, this is definitely a useful every day function that anyone with a compatible smart phone will undoubtedly use. The watch also vibrates, and whilst the vibrate feature is designed more for navigational and outdoor orientated notifications, it can be good for discreetly checking whose messaging you whilst at work, etcetera. Should I have confessed to that?

I previously mentioned ‘Sports Modes’ and different screens you can set up using the Movescount app, I’m not sure where to start here as the features are virtually endless. Within Movescount you can download Apps, much like a smart phone, to your watch which can translate the data from the watches various functions into comprehensible information – such as how much oxygen is in the air at the particular altitude you are at, to how many beers you have earned whilst in the gym. All of these applications run off the watches core features, including a digital compass, thermometer, altimeter and GPS tracking and navigational attributes. The watch screen not only lights up to display the time in the dark, but when held for longer, the screen turns bright white and can be used as a basic flashlight.


I have had a play with all of the features. Although testing them out on a walk to work is not quite as thorough as it might be when I get into the mountains next week, it has given me a good insight into the capabilities of the watch. I’d recommend to any one new to the Traverse, play with it before going out on an expedition or trip (if you can resist doing so anyway, I’d be very impressed). Using the Movescount app you can manually plot a reasonably accurate route on either google maps or on an OpenStreetMap.

I plotted my short walk to work and spent the following 15 minutes bumping into people as I meandered to work staring at the screen, impressed with the navigational functions. The map is basic. It is quite simply a white line on a black background, as you may expect. But it is possible to add POIs, or points of interest. These can be summits, your campsite, the closest water source or of course, the pub and where you parked your car. Along side the map this can help bring a little more understanding of the area you are in. The watch also vibrates and beeps when you near your destination – we all know how easy it is to wander past a vital turning.

It logs your step count, distance, average speed, pace, current speed, ascent, descent, altitude, vertical speed, current air pressure and even the time. Once you have completed your outing, its easy to check through the data on the Movescount App, and compare it to others you may be following. You can also create a mini movie using 3D mapping on Movescount that shows you a virtual reality impression of your hike, climb, bike ride or run. Sadly, my walk to work didn’t make for a Spielberg style epic, but I am looking forward to seeing it generate a video of some climbing I’ll be doing next week.


The battery is impressive, and compared to other brands, it really takes the lead. Under its most intensive GPS plotting settings you can expect to ware the battery down in around 10 hours. This involved having the watch plot a location every second, as well as running all the other functions. For general use, or even less intensive GPS plotting (eg, every 5 seconds – 60 seconds) you can expect the battery to last in excess of two weeks. On the home screen a small battery indicator is displayed, and provides plenty of warning if charging is needed.

In conclusion, the Suunto Traverse is a brilliant watch for any outdoor sportsman, weekend adventurer or commuter alike. Its aesthetics make for a fantastic day to day watch, whilst being rugged and ready for the outdoors.

About The Author

Jack Williams

Jack has thrived on travel for years, and is especially attracted to inhospitable locations. Jack has spent most of the last six years dotting around the world including expeditions to Iceland, Morocco & several Trips to Nepal. Mountaineering and hiking has always being the core of Jack’s travel, but its not unusual to find him skiing across ice caps or hiking through deserts.

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