Author Topic: Recommendations for thermometers?  (Read 11027 times)

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Offline jwrushman

Recommendations for thermometers?
« on: March 21, 2017, 08:27:54 pm »
I like to carry a thermometer when backpacking.  I've been using a AcuRite Suction Cup Thermometer - I just take the suction cup off it.  The first one worked well, the replacement was not so good - erratic temperature readings.  What I like about it is: 

1) small and lightweight
2) inexpensive - about $10 on Amazon
3) Gives daily minimum and maximum temps
4) Relatively large, easy-to-read, digital display.

But first and foremost, it's nice if a thermometer gives reasonably accurate temperatures! Within a couple a degrees would be fine.

I'd like a thermometer for an upcoming ride and am interested in recommendations.

Offline jrswenberger

Re: Recommendations for thermometers?
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2017, 12:06:40 am »
If you are riding a bike like this...



then I suggest a weather rock...



Either way, enjoy the ride.
Jay
ACA Life Member 368

Offline staehpj1

Re: Recommendations for thermometers?
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2017, 07:31:02 am »
I tried one of those zipper pull ones.  It was light and cheap and gave a general idea of the temperature, but it wasn't easy to get a very precise reading.  Mine was an REI house branded one.  As long as you don't need too much precision it is okay.

I have since started using a cyclo-computer (planet bike) that has a built in thermometer.  I like it very well.  It is surprisingly accurate as long as you are either in the shade or moving.  It heats up in the sun when sitting still, but I never found that to be a problem since when I read it I was generally either parked in the shade or riding.

Offline DaveB

Re: Recommendations for thermometers?
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2017, 08:01:28 am »
If you carry a cell phone and remain in an area with coverage, your phone should have a weather app that will give you the current temperature and projection for that day.  You would also have  internet access (assuming you have a data plan) to the various commercial or government weather sites for both forecasts and history.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Recommendations for thermometers?
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2017, 08:16:59 am »
If you carry a cell phone and remain in an area with coverage, your phone should have a weather app that will give you the current temperature and projection for that day.  You would also have  internet access (assuming you have a data plan) to the various commercial or government weather sites for both forecasts and history.
The problem with that is that a lot of the time on tour when I have cared the most about what the temperature was I was on top of a pass or somewhere that would be a lot different than the nearest weather station which even if you count all the little personal ones on WeatherUnderground, might be far away and thousands of feet different in elevation.  The differences can be pretty substantial.

Offline DaveB

Re: Recommendations for thermometers?
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2017, 10:31:32 am »
If you carry a cell phone and remain in an area with coverage, your phone should have a weather app that will give you the current temperature and projection for that day.  You would also have  internet access (assuming you have a data plan) to the various commercial or government weather sites for both forecasts and history.
The problem with that is that a lot of the time on tour when I have cared the most about what the temperature was I was on top of a pass or somewhere that would be a lot different than the nearest weather station which even if you count all the little personal ones on WeatherUnderground, might be far away and thousands of feet different in elevation.  The differences can be pretty substantial.
That's right for current temperature at your exact location and for that info a little zipper-pull or similar thermometer is truly local.  However, the OP also wanted the daily temperature history and the cell phone app is about the best way to get that.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Recommendations for thermometers?
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2017, 11:05:02 am »
That's right for current temperature at your exact location and for that info a little zipper-pull or similar thermometer is truly local.  However, the OP also wanted the daily temperature history and the cell phone app is about the best way to get that.
It depends on what the OP really wants.  I took their list as a "nice to have" feature list, since it was stated as what they liked about the Accurite.

A history of what nearby local stations report can be of 20 or even more degrees from the actual conditions where you are in the desert or the mountains.  So I think any one solution may be pretty limited.

I guess you pick and choose what you want/need and use what suits that.  I'd think that a combination of a cyclo-computer or zipper pull thermometer for local conditions along with the cell phone for forecasts probably covers the bases pretty well for most folks.

For myself, I seldom actually look at the forecast and mostly rely on just local observations.  I typically only record observations is they are for some reason exceptional.  Others may want more.

If what you want is a record after the fact you can always peruse the local stations at the times and places you were, but again they may differ substantially if you are at substantially different elevations than the nearest stations.

For a weather enthusiast something like the Kestrel 5000 might be nice.  It is essentially a full featured hand held weather station.

Lots of different answers may suit any individual, but they are are compromises in one way or another.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Recommendations for thermometers?
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2017, 03:31:33 pm »
+1 on the zipper pull thermometer.  It's partially for finding out how well you need to cover up before you get started (do you need long gloves and/or tights?), but mostly for bragging: "When we camped out at Guffey it was 25 degrees the next morning!"

Offline DanE

Re: Recommendations for thermometers?
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2017, 07:49:00 pm »
I say find a thermometer in something that you are already using and will have with you. My Planet Bike computer has a thermometer in it. It is totally worthless in many ways and will read 120 when parked in the sun in the middle of the day. However, first thing in the morning before the sun has baked the thing out it will be correct. So when I am cold and drinking coffee and I see the thing reads 44, it is mostly correct.

Garmin makes a do-dad that will send the temp to some Garmin units. You could mount the do-dad in some out of the way spot on your bike, like zip tied to a saddle rail or something and maybe have the same functionality as one built into a bike computer. This will satisfy keeping track of the temp as it will be recorded in the gpx file for the day.

There must be other items like those which are available. However, I doubt if any option will be approaching the $10 solution you have already found. That is pretty inexpensive.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Recommendations for thermometers?
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2017, 08:16:31 pm »
Most thermometers are going to be useless for what you want. The biggest problem is where to put it where its readings won't be distorted. You can't put it on your body, nor in your bags. You need to put it in a well-ventilated shady spot that won't get reflected heat off the pavement. Where are you going to find that on a bicycle?

Offline staehpj1

Re: Recommendations for thermometers?
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2017, 08:40:46 pm »
Most thermometers are going to be useless for what you want. The biggest problem is where to put it where its readings won't be distorted. You can't put it on your body, nor in your bags. You need to put it in a well-ventilated shady spot that won't get reflected heat off the pavement. Where are you going to find that on a bicycle?
I find that the one in my Planet Bike cyclocomputer works surprisingly well.  Obviously it will give inaccurate readings if you park it in the sun, but if either riding at a decent clip or parked in the shade I find the readings typically fairly closely match official readings for the area.

My zipper pull thermometer was clipped on the zipper of my handle bar bag a few trips.  It was okay as long as I read it when it had been in the shade for a while.  Since I look for shade when I stop in hot weather I can usually read it a few times throughout the day.

Of course any thermometer will give bad readings if you put it in the blazing sun, so when shade is super scarce nothing I have used is satisfactory.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Recommendations for thermometers?
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2017, 09:36:25 pm »
The hard part is that "daily minimum and maximum" requirement. The thermometer has to stay out of the sun continuously all day.

Offline jwrushman

Re: Recommendations for thermometers?
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2017, 10:07:18 pm »
Thanks all, for your input.  Although I like the simplicity of the Larry and Kathy Weatherstation (no batteries needed, clear instruction manual), I did more shopping on Amazon and found something that looks reasonable.   A digital thermometer from Flexzion got pretty good customer review, is only $13 and weighs less than an ounce.  Most of the ones I see for camping are too bulky and have features I don't think I'll need (altimeter, barometer, weather forecast features).  The Kestrel 5000 (and even the 3000) is a bit out of my budget.  I'm not so much a weather nerd.   I like to know, for example, if I was freezing in my sleeping bag, just how cold it got over night. 

Offline staehpj1

Re: Recommendations for thermometers?
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2017, 08:10:51 am »
The hard part is that "daily minimum and maximum" requirement. The thermometer has to stay out of the sun continuously all day.
Agreed that the maximum temperature where you actually are is a tall order.  The minimum on the other hand will usually come when it is dark or at least not sunny, so that is easier to record.

Thinking back to my tours, probably in excess of 95% of the time the low is overnight or more often around dawn.  In those cases looking at it when I get up in the morning yields a close approximation.  There have been a few cases where the low was in the evening while still riding when there was a high pass crossed late in the day, but again it comes at a time when I am likely to take notice of the reading.  So just noting the low, while not automatic, is pretty easy.  Similarly the high pretty much always comes at a time when I can note it manually if I care to.

Since the OP said the list was of the things they "liked about" the acurite that they had, I didn't take that to mean they were a hard requirements.  Something has to give somewhere if you are to capture high and low reading on the bike.  At the very least you are likely to have false readings on the high end with anything that reads constantly.  For me a good compromise is something that I can watch throughout the day and choose to read when it isn't prone to excessively high false readings.

Offline canalligators

Re: Recommendations for thermometers?
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2017, 12:04:26 pm »
What are you going to use the information for?  Noting it in your journal?  Check if the roads are in danger of freezing?

I used to carry a zipper pull thermometer.  Then on one trip a few years ago, I realized that I hadn't been carrying it for several years.  I hadn't missed it.  I choose to go minimal, go light.