Best Backpacking Thermometer for Weather Prediction

Best Backpacking Thermometer

Sun Company Outsider

Sun Company Outsider - 4-in-1 Survival Multi-Tool | Compass, Thermometer, Whistle, and Fire Starter in a Compact Zipper Pull | Outdoor Gadget for Backpacking, Camping, or Survival Situations

While other backpacking thermometers might be more “advanced,” most of them provide functions that few hikers or campers need. This is where the Sun Company Outsider’s survivalist design shines brighter than digital backpacking thermometers that are larger and heavier.

Outside of the standard thermometer, the Sun Company Outsider also comes with a reasonably accurate orienteering compass. However, this thermometer takes its tools to another level by also providing a built-in safety whistle as well as a flint and striker fire starter.

The ring connection allows you to use the Sun Company Outsider as a traditional zipper thermometer, even if it is thicker than expected. This is also one of the more accurate analog backpacking thermometers we came across as well.

Bottom Line: Whether you need accurate readings or additional tools to cut down on weight, the Sun Company Outsider provides one of the best values we found.

Introduction

Whether using well-known trails or taking on a demanding new adventure, hiking presents a multitude of challenges for beginners and proficient climbers alike. Knowing what equipment is vital can not only make your hike more enjoyable but keep you safe too.

While the proper clothes and sleeping gear gets a lot of the headlines, knowing your current conditions is just as important. Few circumstances can impact your hike as much as the weather, which is why it pays to know the temperature.

That is why we put together a list of the nine best backpacking thermometer reviews of 2020, highlighting what each one does best. We also provide a helpful buyer’s guide, so you can figure out which backpacking thermometer best fits your needs.

These Backpacking Thermometer Reviews:

You’re in the right place! In this guide we will be covering the following:

  • Why knowledge of upcoming weather conditions & temperatures helps keep you safe.
  • What features other than accurate temperature readings should you pay attention to
  • Reviews of the top models & our #1 pick.

Why Use a Backpacking Thermometer?

The main benefit of a backpacking thermometer is that it aids in weather prediction, and specifically upcoming weather changes. Knowing a storm is shortly going to fall allows you to through on extra layers before the downpour starts or if it looks serious, turnabout and head home for shelter.

Generally, sudden temperature drops are often a sign of incoming inclement weather. However, to get a more accurate picture it’s best to combine several tools together to determine what lays ahead of you.

Of the numerous additional predictive tools available, one type that is useful are anemometers that can read wind chill. Being able to read the speed of the wind can provide the basic information to determine wind chill on your own, but there is no substitute for fast, accurate readings.

In addition, devices that can read barometric pressure changes (such as altimeters & GPS watches) can further aid your weather prediction abilities.

Although, it’s good to understand the limitations. For instance, Analog thermometers are often not as accurate at measuring temperatures as high-end digital models due to the materials used and the design. For example, having to hold the thermometer introduces body heat, which can throw off the accuracy of the readings.

How to Choose a Backpacking Thermometer

Type of Thermometer

Analog Thermometer

This is your standard thermometer that uses a thermally calibrated fluid to provide air temperature readings. While this type of thermometer is inexpensive and often lightweight as well as compact, it is rarely the most accurate type of thermometer. On top of that, analog thermometers do not usually include other types of predictive tools outside of a wind chill chart.

Digital Thermometer

A high-end digital thermometer provides some of the quickest and most accurate temperature readings you can get. On top of that, digital backpacking thermometers can also come with multitudes of other predictive tools such as barometric pressure data, wind speeds and humidity.

However, this type of backpacking thermometer tends to have a higher price tag than analog models while weighing more and taking up significantly more space. Additionally, as with all electronic devices, these suffer from one major flaw – battery life. It’s difficult to get an accurate temperature or barometric pressure rating if the battery died an hour previously.

Accuracy

This is easily the most crucial aspect of a thermometer, as inaccurate readings can leave you unprepared and vulnerable. That said, temperature accuracy tends to be far more important than other factors outside of potentially wind chill, which is generally reserved for hiking in cold, elevated climates.

Other predictive tools like dew point or humidity readings are nice to have, but their accuracy falls far down on the list of importance. The accuracy of other tools, like a compass, can be important, but it should not necessarily be the reason you choose or avoid a thermometer without everything else being equal.

Durability

For analog thermometers, this is rarely an issue as most are made out of either metal or polycarbonate (“shatterproof”) plastic. For analog thermometers, the only point to watch out for is the connections that may not be as durable as the rest of the product.

Anemometer thermometers, on the other hand, are generally digital and more delicate due to electronic components. Some models are waterproof, but few digital thermometers can handle the kind of rough use that analog models can.

Weight and Size

When it comes to safety gear, here at 50miler, we take the view that these are generally “good weight” to carry in your backpack. That said, if your need to cut weight and space is imperative, then there are many excellent analog backpacking thermometers that can work well in this context. However, if you plan to hike in cold, windy, changeable environments, you might want to spring for a larger, heavier anemometer thermometer.

Connection

Clip

This is considered one of the more convenient types of connections, but it also tends to be the least durable. Most clips are made out of plastic and can easily fall off, even if they do not break. The big exception to this is a carabiner, which is arguably the more secure type of hiking thermometer connection.

Ring

A ring, or split-ring, is the same kind of connection that we call a keyring and works exceptionally for zipper thermometers. That said, the type and gauge of metal used will influence how durable a ring connection performs when exposed to rough conditions like climbing.

Lanyard

A lanyard is a more comfortable type of connection but is best reserved for larger backpacking thermometers. Analog thermometers rarely include the kind of weight that requires using your neck and shoulders to support it. Anemometer thermometers, on the other hand, are large and heavy enough such that lanyards are a good option.

Best Backpacking Thermometers Reviewe

Coghlan’s Four Function Whistle

Best Safety Whistle Backpacking Thermometer

Out of all the different inexpensive multi-tool thermometers, the Coghlan’s Four Function Whistle might provide some of the best value that we found. For example, this is one of 2 different products on our list that comes with a safety whistle, which is a vital part of any hiker’s gear.

However, being able to combine the safety whistle with your backpacking thermometer allows you to shed precious ounces. On top of that, the Coghlan’s Four Function Whistle also comes with other tools like a magnifying piece, so you do not have to strain so hard when reading small text on your map– another way to help reduce weight.

That said, the Coghlan’s Four Function Whistle is not the most accurate thermometer or compass that we came across and is best reserved for more temperate climates and recreational hiking. On top of that, the plastic clip is not that durable, but you can always just use the split ring connection instead.

PROS

  • Is a less expensive thermometer
  • Has a compass
  • Has a safety whistle
  • Has a magnifying piece

CONS

  • Not the most accurate
  • Not the best clip

Bottom Line: For a great value with recreational hiking, the Coghlan’s Four Function Whistle offers plenty of functionality in a lightweight, compact profile.

Sun Company TempaComp

Best Carabiner Backpacking Thermometer

Sun Company TempaComp - Ball Compass and Thermometer Carabiner | Hiking, Backpacking, and Camping Accessory | Clip On to Pack, Parka, or Jacket
  • LARGE BALL-COMPASS - Easy to read ball compass shows two readings. Look directly down on the top (smaller card) of compass to view general orientation cardinal points. Hold compass up to eye level and view larger side card for "direction-of-travel" compass. NOTE: Do not use the side card for general orientation purposes. Doing so will cause readings to be off by 180 degrees.
  • EASY-TO-READ THERMOMETER - Cushion-mounted thermometer provides an "at-a-glance" weather report.
  • HANDY CARABINER CLIP - Carabiner allows you to clip TempaComp onto anything you'd like.
  • SPLIT RING INCLUDED - TempaComp comes with a split ring so you can attach to your zipper and use it as a zipper pull.

The Sun Company TempaComp may not offer the extreme versatility that some of the other thermometers on our list do, but it provides a bit more options in different contexts. For instance, this is the only thermometer that we reviewed, which includes a compass that allows for orienting as well as directional readings.

Even better, this is one of the more durable options that we came across thanks to the use of anodized aluminum, which also helps prevent rust or corrosion. As if that were not enough, this backpacking thermometer is also the only model on our list that employs a carabiner connection without increasing the size or the weight.

Keep in mind, the carabiner connection is meant to provide an easier, more stable connection and is not a load-bearing carabiner. On top of that, check the compass’ magnetization ahead of time as they tend to slip a bit on quality control from time to time.

PROS

  • Is a less expensive thermometer
  • Has a compass
  • Has a secure connection
  • Made of anodized aluminum

CONS

  • Not a load-bearing carabiner
  • Compass has iffy QC

Bottom Line: For a rugged backpacking thermometer, the Sun Company TempaComp offers one of the most durable builds with a rock-solid connection.

Coghlan’s Zipper Pull Thermometer

Best Budget Backpacking Thermometer

Coghlan's Zipper Pull Thermometer
  • Fahrenheit and Celsius scales
  • Windchill chart on back
  • Split key ring for easy attachment ot zipper keys

Coughlan’s makes another appearance on our list, but this time, the company opts to go for a more minimalistic approach. While this can leave the Coghlan’s Zipper Pull Thermometer missing out on some of the helpful features found on other options, it also allows the company to provide a great value as well.

It is also worth noting that this might be one of the best zipper thermometers out there as well, thanks to a sturdy ring connection. Another great thing that the simplistic design affords is shedding more ounces than most other hiking thermometers.

However, this is one of the few products on our list that only comes with a thermometer tool as well as a wind chill chart. Also, the Coghlan’s Zipper Pull Thermometer is one of the more difficult thermometers to read due to the tiny print on its compact profile.

PROS

  • Is a less expensive thermometer
  • Has a ring connection
  • Is small and lightweight
  • Wind chill factor chart

CONS

  • Not many tools
  • Hard to read

Bottom Line: When you want reasonably accurate results at a great value and are not worried about additional bells and whistles, attaching the Coghlan’s Zipper Pull Thermometer to your backpack is a great option.

Sun Company TripleGage

Best Zipper Backpacking Thermometer

Sun Company TripleGage - Zipper Pull Compass, Thermometer, and Magnifying Glass
  • LIQUID-FILLED COMPASS - The perfect navigation tool.
  • THERMOMETER - At-a-glance temperature reading.
  • MAGNIFYING GLASS - Perfect for reading maps or examining plants, rocks, etc.
  • SPLIT RING - Hang on you coat, parka, pack. Anywhere you'd like!
  • WIND-CHILL CHART - Easy to read windchill chart on the back gives you an instant weather report.

Sun Company enters our list again with its own stripped-down, minimalist approach, though it is not quite as good of a value as other zipper thermometers. That said, part of the reason comes down to this model, offering a bit more versatility in terms of function.

For example, this is the only true zipper thermometer we reviewed, which comes with an orienteering compass. On top of that, this backpacking thermometer also comes with a magnifying piece to help you read smaller print.

Unfortunately, the magnifying piece does not help you read the small print on the thermometer itself, and the compass suffers from iffy quality control. That said, this is another backpacking thermometer that is exceptionally lightweight and compact with a ring connection.

PROS

  • Is a less expensive thermometer
  • Has a ring connection
  • Is small and lightweight
  • Has a compass

CONS

  • Compass has iffy QC
  • Hard to read

Bottom Line: If you want a true zipper thermometer with a little bit more functionality than barebones competitors, the Sun Company TripleGage is perfect.

HOLDPEAK 866B Digital Anemometer

Best Tripod Backpacking Thermometer

Sale
HOLDPEAK 866B Digital Anemometer Handheld Wind Speed Meter for Measuring Wind Speed, Temperature and Wind Chill with Backlight and Max/Min
  • Steday Wind Speed Measurement & High Accuracy: Wind Speed Range: 0.3-30m/s and Accuracy: 0.1dgts
  • ESSENTIALS FOR BAD WEATHER:You will know the hurricane trend before going out. HOLDPEAK anemometer provides fast measurement for analysis of critical environment conditions.
  • MULTIFUNCTIONAL ANEMOMETER YOU WILL NEED: Wind Speed, temperature and wind chill in one LCD display. Digital Anemometer Handheld measure wind speed in 5 units: m/s, km/h, ft/min, knots, mph.
  • MORE EXTRA SPECIFICATIONS THAN OTHERS WIND SPEED METER: Through the built-in temperature regulator to adjust C/F temperature. Record and recall Max/Min/Average/Current function. Low battery indication. Screw hole in the button can be connected a lanyard.
  • REASSURING AFTER-SALES SERVICE: We have perfect quality. If the meter what you received have any quality issues, please contact our After-sales personnel in time and we will serve you in good faith.

The HOLDPEAK 866B Digital Anemometer is not only a thermometer, but it also helps you read the wind speed and the wind chill factor. Even better, this anemometer provides some of the most accurate readings we found thanks to the inclusion of 2 different wind sensors as well as the built in temperature sensor.

While some backpacking thermometers aim to cut weight, others provide increased functionality to help extended hikers in extreme conditions. This is most apparent with the HOLDPEAK 886B Digital Anemometer and its ability to be used with a tripod.

One thing to consider, though, is that this backpacking thermometer is not meant to be read on the fly and is best utilized during a short rest to get the most accurate readings. On top of that, the HOLDPEAK 866B Digital Anemometer is a large unit, even for an anemometer/thermometer combination.

PROS

  • Has multiple sensors
  • Has an anemometer
  • Is easy to read
  • Has a nut design

CONS

  • Is a more expensive thermometer
  • Is a larger thermometer

Bottom Line: If you hike for extended periods up cold, windy mountains, the HOLDPEAK 866B Digital Anemometer can help keep you informed and safe.

Petcaree Anemometer

Best Budget Anemometer Backpacking Thermometer

Anemometer, Digital LCD Wind Speed Meter Gauge Air Flow Velocity Thermometer Measuring Device with Backlight for Windsurfing, Sailing, Kite Flying, Surfing Fishing Etc. (Mini Anemometer) (Yellow)
  • ESSENTIALS FOR BAD WEATHER: you will know the hurricane trend before going out. anemometer provides fast measurement for analysis of critical environment conditions
  • MULTIFUNCTIONAL WIND METER: this handy palm sized anemometer with strap for convenient carrying shows wind speed, temperature and wind chill in one LCD display
  • HIGH QUALITY: hand held wind speed meter with a large LCD screen can display the data clearly. Back-light makes you easy to read and accurate in low ligh
  • EASY USE: there are only 2 buttons on the wind reader, mode-button for switch on and set-button to select parameters on the device
  • PORTABLE WIND METER IDEAL: for home purpose such as measuring wind speed, air blower, temperature of CPU computer fans, for windsurfing, sailing, fishing, kite flying and mountaineering, also for power, steel, petrifaction and manufacturing industries

The Petcaree Anemometer may not offer the full range of options that some of its competition does. Still, it provides arguably better value for recreational hikers in more temperate and calm climates. This dynamic is fairly apparent due to the simplified user interface, which is significantly more straightforward to use than some of the other anemometers we encountered.

On top of that, the Petcaree Anemometer is also easy to read, thanks to a large LCD screen with a backlight. This backpacking thermometer also comes with a lanyard connection and features a data hold function, so you do not have to worry about setting it up every time you want to use it.

On the other hand, the NTC thermistor can be a bit hit or miss while the anemometer is not the most accurate making it a poor choice for serious hiking. Also, the Petcaree Anemometer is a fairly large backpacking thermometer, though it is reasonably small for an anemometer.

PROS

  • Has a lanyard
  • Has an anemometer
  • Is easy to read
  • Is easier to use

CONS

  • Is a more expensive thermometer
  • Not the most accurate

Bottom Line: When you want the added versatility of an anemometer at a great value, the Petcaree Anemometer is a good choice.

Ambient Weather WM-4

Best Anemometer Backpacking Thermometer

Ambient Weather WM-4 Handheld Weather Station w/Windspeed, Direction, Temperature, Humidity, Compass, Dew Point, Comfort Index, Psychrometer
  • The Ambient Weather WM-4 is a comprehensive handheld weather station, directional compass, heat index monitor and psychrometer, all in one compact, portable, rugged package.
  • The WM-4 measures wind speed, wind direction, temperature, relative humidity and compass direction, and calculates wind gust, dew point, wet bulb and dry bulb temperature, Delta T, wind chill and heat index.
  • The jack knife case design protects the unit, and allows you to hold the case while taking precise temperature meaurements, avoiding false readings from your hand temperature.

Out of all of the anemometer backpacking thermometers, few can offer the same kind of performance as the Ambient Weather WM-4. The most impressive quality about this backpacking thermometer is also the most crucial quality of a backpacking thermometer in general: accuracy.

For the temperatures, the Ambient Weather WM-4 offers a 1.8-degree Fahrenheit accuracy and a 1-second wind response time. Even better, this is the only anemometer backpacking thermometer on our list designed to be used on the fly without having to set it up first.

This feature comes down to the inclusion of a durable jackknife case that both protects the Ambient Weather WM-4 as well as prevents your body temperature from impacting its readings. That said, the jackknife case might work a bit too well as it can be maddeningly difficult to open and often requires a pry tool to get started.

PROS

  • Has 12 different tools
  • Is easy to read
  • More accurate than most
  • Has a protective case

CONS

  • Is a more expensive thermometer
  • Difficult to open the case

Bottom Line: Professional hikers and climbers demand more out of their backpacking thermometers, and the Ambient Weather WM-4 provides everything they might need.

Proster Handheld Anemometer

Best Flashlight Backpacking Thermometer

Proster Anemometer Portable Wind Speed Meter Gauge Air Volume Measuring Meter with Backlight for Weather Data Collection and Outdoors Sports Windsurfing Sailing (Air Temperature Anemometer)
  • 【Anemometer with Air Velocity Measuring】For wind speed & wind temperature & air velocity measurement device, small size, battery included. portable to carry.
  • 【Wind Speed Measuring】Range: 0.80~30.0m/s, Accuracy: 0.01m/s. Unit selection: m/s, Km/h, ft/min, Knots, mph; 3 reading modes for your convenience: MAX/Min/AVG/Current wind speed.
  • 【Wind Temperature Measuring】℃/℉ conversion, Range: -10-45℃, 14-113°F; Resolution: 0.1℃, 0.2°F; Accuracy: ± 2℃, ± 3.6°F, wind chill indication.
  • 【CFM Meter with LCD Backlight】CFM testing: 0-9.999 ft² / 0-9.999 m²/ 0-9.999 m²; 1.8" LCD Backlight screen. Data hold and LED flashlight function. Manual/Auto power off.
  • 【Wide Application】Ideal for weather monitor windsurfing sailing fishing kite-flying, also for measuring wind speed of CPU computer fans, air conditioners, air blowers, etc.

The Proster Handheld Anemometer splits the difference between some of the other anemometers we reviewed by including extra features to increase its overall value. For instance, this is the only backpacking thermometer on our list that also comes equipped with an LED flashlight.

This alone can save enough ounces to make it a solid choice, but the Proster Handheld Anemometer goes one step further by also providing some of the more accurate readings on our list. Even better, this backpacking thermometer provides additional anemometry readings not found on competitors like cubic feet per minute (CFM).

On the other hand, the Proster Handheld Anemometer is one of the more difficult products on our list to use, thanks in no small part to poorly written instructions. This backpacking thermometer also happens to be one of the largest and heaviest options on our list as well.

PROS

  • Has a flashlight
  • Multiple memory settings including min/max temperature, temperature data
  • Has multiple tools
  • More accurate than most

CONS

  • Is a more expensive hiking thermometer
  • Not easy to use

Bottom Line: For some unique readings and the only thermometer with an LED flashlight that we reviewed, you cannot go wrong with the Proster’s value.

Sun Company Outsider

Best Survivalist Backpacking Thermometer

Sun Company Outsider - 4-in-1 Survival Multi-Tool | Compass, Thermometer, Whistle, and Fire Starter in a Compact Zipper Pull | Outdoor Gadget for Backpacking, Camping, or Survival Situations
  • LUMINOUS COMPASS - Easy-to-read luminous button compass keeps you on course, even in low-light conditions. Perfect for hiking, camping, hunting, or any other situation where reliable tactical gear is essential.
  • SURVIVAL WHISTLE - One of the must-have accessories for survivalists. This mini whistle creates big sound.
  • CUSHION MOUNTED THERMOMETER - Reads temperature down to a chilly -20 degrees Fahrenheit. An essential piece of equipment for the outdoors.
  • FIRE STARTER - Outsider pulls apart to reveal waterproof flint rod and removable steel striker tools. A handy piece of equipment for any emergency.
  • KEYRING INCLUDED - Use the key ring to easily clip these four gadgets to your jacket, backpack, carabiner, or keychain for quick access. A full survival kit in a portable, ultralight key chain.

Our final entry is also our last Sun Company offering, but this model aims to provide as much functionality in as small of a package as possible. Much like another multi-tool backpacking thermometer, the Sun Company Outsider comes with a safety whistle to help cut down your ounces.

However, this backpacking thermometer takes things a step further by also providing a flint rod and striker to help you start fires. As if that were not enough, the Sun Company Outsider also provides a compass but one that does not seem to suffer as much from the quality control issues other options do.

The main issue with this backpacking thermometer is the ring connection connects to the thermometer by a thin plastic piece that will not hold up under hard climbing conditions. Also, the Sun Company Outsider is a bit bigger and heavier than you would expect from a “zipper thermometer.”

PROS

  • Is a less expensive thermometer
  • Has a ring connection
  • Has a fire starter
  • Has a safety whistle

CONS

  • Not the most durable
  • Bigger than expected

Bottom Line: In terms of necessary tools, the Sun Company Outsider offers more functionality than most other options we came across thanks to its fire starter.

Last update on 2020-06-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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