Christmas came early for me in the back end of 2015, no thanks to the Santa but more so Suunto. A highly compatible sport watch is a practical, very useful and therefore an acceptable gift. Santa often disregards these key gift requirements. I barley wear underwear when I run, strength train, sleep, swim, or dine, so I don’t need them!

What I received was a sports watch that looked sleek, simple yet deceiving. A sports watch I could wear not just during training but also before and after training, and be free from hearing sarcastic comments about its large onboard GPS satellite antenna.


Four colours available are Lime, Blue, White & Black.

The newly released Suunto Ambit 3 Vertical passed my acceptance test of having a practical application in everyday life (24hr wear ability) and no surprise, it also surpassed the everyday training needs of a mad keen runner.

My newly recruited Tasmanian tour guide Hanny Allston and I, have been putting this new addition in the Ambit 3 family, to the test. In Tasmania there are trails which traverse ultra-distances and they connect a cluster of good mountain peaks, a perfect playground for a Suunto with the name ‘Vertical’.

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In short the Suunto Ambit 3 Family is as follows:

Economy = Ambit 3 Run

Premium Economy = Ambit 3 Sport

Business Class = Ambit 3 VerticalNew Addition

First Class = Ambit 3 Peak

I said this watch looked deceiving, and that is because it looks stylish and comes without the traditional Ambit GPS antenna attached to the watch housing. But it also looks like it can still be used on serious missions.

Other new additions to this watch include:

  • Real time, pre-mapped (using Suunto Movescount) route elevation profile
  • Weekly, monthly and yearly total ascent graphs
  • Remaining pre-mapped route ascent and descent tally
  • Vibration alerts
  • Improved GPS capabilities with GLONASS and added barometric altimeter

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All of the above are big ticks for me and my love in searching for vert. I am happy to take 25hr 43min to cover 170km because I love the mountains and that 170km has 10,000m of Vertical ascent and descent. In order to prepare for events with greater than average vertical ascent and descent, it is important to hit the inclines of your local mountain or hill (multiple times).

Already to date, this Ambit 3 Vertical has embarked on some seriously great missions in 2016: Frenchman’s Cap, 7hrs, 45km, 1900m ascent; Collin’s Bonnet 3hr, 24km, 1700m ascent; Mt Wellington 2hr, 17km, 1200m ascent. It has been appreciated and performed on every one of them. The ability to check the elevation remaining when making a cloud covered summit bid, is nothing short of helpful and safe! If the weather is packing out and you know your distance to the top, this will keep silly summit fever at bay, most of the time.

Using Movescount, mapping a set route and having an on hand (or wrist) elevation profile of the course, is such a benefit to any training day or more importantly race.

The ability to use vibration alerts during specific speed based training sessions is a feature that again is a move forward for Suunto. Not having to constantly check you did or didn’t press the button using a visual, is just easy.

But again I have to keep coming back to the new look and design, its fit and practicality on and off the mountain is where it stands above all others in the Suunto Ambit family.

The major benefit of this is also its compatibility for the more petite wrist, of say, a lady. Big brownie points Suunto.

With the battery life (up to 100hrs with 1 minute GPS accuracy on) and ability to manage route guiding for ultra-distance events, this will surely be a winner for many Mountain, Trail, Ultra races of the New Year. Gone will be the reliance on those stupid temporary tattoos of elevation profiles or cut out laminations of elevation profiles from the pre-race programme.

I don’t mind dropping 30min/ mile when I’m heading up a VK, because it is a training stimulus that I use. Vertical gain and loss is important in training and loved by many a mountain, ultra, trail runner. Weekly totals of elevation gain AND the time spent logging the vertical climb are going to be important pieces of information for the years training ahead and it will provide a quick boost of confidence during any pre-race freak outs the evening before a race!

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The Suunto Ambit 3 Vertical is going to be loved by more than just mountain runners because it also looks like a James Bond 007 watch and it now fits a ladies wrist too.

It’s Time to Play in the Mountains.

Editors Note:

The Suunto Ambit 3 Vertical has recently been given a “Best New Gear for Winter 2016” award from the recent Outdoor Retailer by the highly recognised Gear Institute.



About The Author

Majell Backhausen goes by the thought that "Motivation can be taken from everywhere, but dedication can only be found in one place. The same rule applies for smiling and running" An Australian International Ultra Distance Runner, Suunto and Salomon Athlete who explores the world, meets great people and provide motivation and inspiration, leading by example to educating people at all levels. Patience is something that he believes we need to incorporate more of in daily life, using smarter training and resting for better health and performance. He is usually found behind a BIG plate of veggies, running in the mountains or talking about a positive life.

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