There’s one weather prediction you don’t have to be a meteorologist to make: Some day when you’re deep in the backcountry, the weather will change unexpectedly. Unpredictable weather is an inherent risk in wilderness travel and it’s impossible to know for certain what the weather will do, unless you have the Ino Weather Pro in your pack.
Ino Technologies recently introduced the first handheld device that combines weather data with lightning detection, providing outdoor adventures with an all-in-one way to be prepared for rough weather.
Although most lightning detection technology relies on national weather data feeds, internet, or cellular connection, the Ino Weather Pro has its own internal sensors providing real-time local lightning detection and direction. The device’s data and alert settings help anyone working or playing in the outdoors to make informed and educated decisions about what is going on outside and how long to stay outdoors.
A Head in the Clouds
Ino Technologies is a forward-thinking technology startup located in Louisville, Colorado. Its founder and lead developer, Michael Lands, is an avid fly fishermen who combined his love for and personal experiences in the outdoors with his technology background to create this weather tracking system.
“During a fly-fishing trip I got caught out on a river in a lightning storm, and this experience got me thinking about a new product idea,” Lands said. “I did some research and discovered that there were not any devices on the market that had all the weather functions with lightning detection in one handheld device. After talking with some people I knew who were hikers, fishermen, hunters and police officers, they all thought it was a good idea to develop the Ino Weather Pro.”
The Ino Weather Pro detects the distance of cloud-to-ground lightning strikes as far away as 40 miles, providing visual and auditory feedback of lightning activity on an easy to read touchscreen display. With an updatable software interface, users are able to customize their dashboard with the information most important to them. The portable device is also highly water resistant, runs on a USB-charged lithium battery, and weighs only 6.6 oz.
Performance on the Trail
Intrigued by the marketed capabilities of the Ino Weather Pro, we decided to field test this product first hand on a weekend backpacking trip into the Superstition Wilderness in central Arizona. The mountainous terrain of this wilderness area experiences over 4500’ in elevation change, and with isolated canyons and open vistas, hikers can experience a change in daily temperature by as much as 40 degrees. Due to the extreme terrain and unique conditions, regional weather forecasts for nearby Phoenix do not accurately represent the conditions in the Superstitions.
During our trip into the Superstitions the Ino Weather Pro worked flawlessly.
During our trip into the Superstitions the Ino Weather Pro worked flawlessly. With no cellular service or network connectivity to rely on, the Ino Weather Pro provided accurate real-time weather temperature and changes to the conditions. Although there was significant cloud cover and rain on and off throughout our first day out, the Ino Weather Pro kept us at ease by reporting no lightning detected in our area.
“I believe the people who will be most interested in the Ino Weather Pro are those that have found that traditional weather broadcasts and Internet services are not specific enough for their needs,” Land said. “In Colorado, we get many isolated storms, especially in the spring and summer, and general weather reports don’t give you enough specific, localized information to tell you what is happening right where you are.”
Ino Technologies is dedicated to bringing smart technology products to market that are easy to use and provide superior performance. This was evident in the overall design of their product. With a simple on/off button and familiar smart phone app style layout, the Ino Weather Pro was easy to use, even for a low tech operator. There is also a trip history feature that allows you to download trip details by using the provided USB connector.
“Our product development pipeline is focused on applying new technologies to problems that have not been solved. We search for ideas and product solutions to problems people care about and apply innovative thinking to solving those problems,” Lands said. “The Ino Weather Pro is our first device we have launched, and is certainly not our last.”
Ino Technologies warrants that all products it manufactures to be of good material and workmanship, and to be free of defects when properly installed and operated for a period of two (2) years from the date of purchase.Our Take
Ino Technologies has produced a handheld device that combines weather data with lightning detection that really works as an all-in-one way to be prepared for rough weather.
Is there a better alternative?
There are currently no known products available on the consumer market with the all-in-one capabilities of the Ino Weather Pro. There are weather tracking applications for your smart phone and other devices that have similar capabilities, but they require cellular service or network connectivity to function.
How long will it last?
This product seemed very solid during our field test. The case is durable, rugged and is water resistant. The weakest part of the Ino Weather Pro construction is the touchscreen display — it would be recommended to get a scratch and impact resistant screen protector to prolong its use.
Ino Technologies designed the architecture of the system to be capable of updates to the patent pending lightning detection algorithm, system enhancements and potential new features. The firmware behaves just like a smart phone application and can be updated and enhanced easily in the future.
Should you buy it?
This product is ideal for anyone who works outdoors or plans on an extended trip into the wilderness, such as through hikers, wilderness guides, or fishermen, where there is little to no reliable network coverage to provide weather updates.
Currently the Ino Weather Pro is only available for purchase on the Ino Technologies website, with a suggested retail price of $497. There are plans to make this product available through outdoor retailers in the future.