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  1. #81
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    The only complaint I have with tthe SPOT Gen 3 is the yearly cost. I have never had a message not go out.
    I have used it on the CDT way down at the Mexican border, up the very deep Gila River canyon, and many
    places in the Wind River Range in Wyoming and Yellowstone and Colorado. You just have to wait until the little "email message"
    light stops flashing. That may take up to 15 minutes. Don't know why it should take so long for that small
    amount of data but it does. If you turn the device off before the message light stops flashing then it didn't go out.
    Simple as that. They should emphasize that fact more in the instructions.

    Larry

  2. #82
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    02-14-2017
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    Pasadena, Maryland
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    Quote Originally Posted by Offshore View Post
    A SPOT or inReach are hardly bricks, but I understand what you're saying. Both do tracks, the difference is in the messaging. SPOT gives you a couple of messages (a check in and non-emergency assistance needed) as well as the SOS that goes to the GEOS SAR team. The non-SOS messages content and recipients need to be set up on the website ahead of time. You also get no confirmation of a message being received. InReach gives you a lot more flexibility in non-emergency messaging as well as a confirmation of message received.

    If this isn't enough to move you one way or another, I'd suggest a total cost of ownership analysis. Figure 4 to 5 years useful life of the hardware and then add the annual plan costs (we'll have to assume no plan increases over the time period for the sake of the analysis.) For the SPOT, it's just the annual fee times the number of years. The InReach gets a bit more complicated in that they offer annual or monthly plans. If you activate it for 8-9 months/year the annual plans have the edge. Do the cost analysis for your anticipated use (don't forget the $25/year charge for the Freedom option) and choose the lower of the two options, and compare it to the SPOT to do your cost/benefit analysis.

    I've been using the SPOT for three years now and it's worked well based on the track logs I see. I don't really care about text messaging, so didn't want to bother with the InReach. I'd still go with the SPOT today as the InReach is still more than I need. I view my SPOT like my first aid kit. It's there doing its thing if I need it, but I generally don't bother with it other than to turn it on and off.
    Yes, I agree the Spot has its advantages, particularly in the weight department. But the added functionality and feedback of InReach: confirmation GPS is tracking, text confirmation, EMS confirmation. Again, especially for those who arenít professional hikers, knowing instead of guessing is a big difference.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  3. #83
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    02-14-2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by Offshore View Post
    A SPOT or inReach are hardly bricks, but I understand what you're saying. Both do tracks, the difference is in the messaging. SPOT gives you a couple of messages (a check in and non-emergency assistance needed) as well as the SOS that goes to the GEOS SAR team. The non-SOS messages content and recipients need to be set up on the website ahead of time. You also get no confirmation of a message being received. InReach gives you a lot more flexibility in non-emergency messaging as well as a confirmation of message received.

    If this isn't enough to move you one way or another, I'd suggest a total cost of ownership analysis. Figure 4 to 5 years useful life of the hardware and then add the annual plan costs (we'll have to assume no plan increases over the time period for the sake of the analysis.) For the SPOT, it's just the annual fee times the number of years. The InReach gets a bit more complicated in that they offer annual or monthly plans. If you activate it for 8-9 months/year the annual plans have the edge. Do the cost analysis for your anticipated use (don't forget the $25/year charge for the Freedom option) and choose the lower of the two options, and compare it to the SPOT to do your cost/benefit analysis.

    I've been using the SPOT for three years now and it's worked well based on the track logs I see. I don't really care about text messaging, so didn't want to bother with the InReach. I'd still go with the SPOT today as the InReach is still more than I need. I view my SPOT like my first aid kit. It's there doing its thing if I need it, but I generally don't bother with it other than to turn it on and off.
    Yes, I agree the Spot has its advantages, particularly in the weight department. But the added functionality and feedback of InReach: confirmation GPS is tracking, text confirmation, EMS confirmation. Again, especially for those who arenít professional hikers, knowing instead of guessing is a big difference.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  4. #84

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    Quote Originally Posted by BowGal View Post
    I want to buy the Spot Gen3, but when I read the reviews, I wonder how good they are. Biggest complaints I read is the billing and customer service. Next, is messages or tracks dropped. I love to do my homework on every item. I usually take reviews with a grain of salt...thinking a lot of them are fake. Anyhow, hereís what I read:
    From Amazon:
    51% rate it five star and 24% rate it one star
    From Cabelaís:
    18 people rated it 5 star and 3 rated one star
    REI:
    28 rated five star and 31 rated it one star
    Finally, in Canada we have a REI like chain called Mountain Equipment Co. (MEC)
    6 rated it 5 star and 22 rated it one star.

    So, I donít know what to think. Sure, a majority tend to rate the Spot highly, but way more 1 star. Coming from someone who spends a ton on hunting and backpacking gear, I want to be totally comfortable with my purchase and that Iíll get good customer service if the product fails.
    I've had mine for three years and thankfully never had to use it for a rescue. It's never failed when keeping a decent track log and sending the non emergency check in messages. When I look at any reviews, I do so with a lot of skepticism. I try to determine why someone hated an item - or why they loved it - before I take it seriously. There are paid reviewers (especially on Amazon) who post on the extreme ends of the ratings. With a technology item, a lot of people just can't understand it or won't put in the time needed to properly use the product so just give it a low rating. This is crucial with a potentially life-saving device like a SPOT (or InReach) device. You also need to understand that it is not foolproof and that external factors can greatly affect the device's performance. It needs access to the sky since it uses two satellite constellations for GPS location and message transmission, so placement, surrounding terrain and the position of the satellites in the sky at the moment are all important factors. The user also has to put in some time to ensure it is set up correctly - including registration on the SPOT network, non-emergency message set up (content and recipients), how to carry the device for best reception, and what chain of events are set into motion when the SOS button is pressed.

    Looking at the recent reviews on REI, its seems that many are due to people not understanding that like buying a cell phone, you need to buy service to go along with it, the automatic service renewal policy - which they explain ahead of time, and the recent service plan price increase. (See above in this thread for a breakdown on how the plans changed.) I don't take these seriously as they are issues with the buyer just not doing their research. I can't comment on SPOT customer service because I never needed to contact them. They do auto renew each year, but they clearly state that in the terms and conditions and I've gotten email messages a few weeks before the renewal was processed. If I wanted to cancel, I'd reply to the email advising them so, and if it was renewed, I'd dispute the charge with my credit card issuer and offer the email exchange as proof of my cancellation.

  5. #85

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    Maybe a question for it's own thread.

    But does anyone know what phone has the best GPS?

    Looking for a new phone this year. Been using apple phones, because that's what my son's have and they can show me how it works . Also used it on the Colorado trail last summer. Side by side with my Inreach was almost identical positioning.

  6. #86
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    02-20-2013
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    Upper East Side of Texas
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    Does anyone remember the original thead topic?
    😀😎👍
    Wayne

  7. #87
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    02-14-2017
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nodust View Post
    Maybe a question for it's own thread.

    But does anyone know what phone has the best GPS?

    Looking for a new phone this year. Been using apple phones, because that's what my son's have and they can show me how it works . Also used it on the Colorado trail last summer. Side by side with my Inreach was almost identical positioning.
    All the main ones are basically the same and are more dependent on the app youíre running than the phone. Any Android or Apple will get you consistently to within 5 feet.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  8. #88

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nodust View Post
    Maybe a question for it's own thread.

    But does anyone know what phone has the best GPS?

    Looking for a new phone this year. Been using apple phones, because that's what my son's have and they can show me how it works . Also used it on the Colorado trail last summer. Side by side with my Inreach was almost identical positioning.
    I don't think it really makes a difference. A later model high end phone like an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S or Note series are going to be pretty much the same. Hardware being equal, the goal become reducing inaccuracy that is due to user error. The best way to avoid that is to buy a phone that you're comfortable with, whether it be iOS or Android, and practice using the phone and whatever apps you intend to use so you get comfortable and confident.

  9. #89

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    Handheld GPS is better IMO.
    2 reasons: Battery life (we got 11 days out of 2 AA lithium batteries on our recent Via Dinarica hike which is ONLY found with a GPS track (no maps available)
    And tree cover: We found that the Garmin etrex worked better than the phone when under strong tree cover.
    (there were 2 of us, and one had the etrex, and I had the phone: Same track and you need both because the phone gave comments for water sources etc.)
    We were really surprised at how much longer the lithium batteries lasted compared to regular Duracells. (11 days vs 3, and we had it on most all the time while walking as it is the only way to find the trail)
    So, for the CDT?
    It is a good question as there are probably only a few times that you would need the Garmin and the phone has so many other tools for you out there.
    I think I would take only a phone on the CDT personally. (but have a way to charge it. probably just a small power bank as the solar chargers are too heavy IMO)
    (also leave my pile of real maps at home as they are pretty shabby now that they've done the CDT 5 times already) (twice by me)
    Good luck Wolf2000.
    You doing the CDT again?
    Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams

  10. #90

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    Anybody keep up with Wolf at all? Looks like he went underground a year ago.

  11. #91
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    04-02-2013
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    Pensacola, Florida
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hillwalker View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but a GPS uses navigational satellite fixes to determine Lat and Lon whereas a cell phone uses cell tower fix information to determine that. If true, then a cell phone will not work as a navigational aide if no cell towers or too few are in range.
    That was true at one time, but it's not true anymore. Phones with GPS do use cell tower information when available, to speed up the process, but they will work with no cell signal at all, just slightly slower.
    Time is but the stream I go afishin' in.
    Thoreau

  12. #92
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    Just to add an update to the thread: I recently added the Garmin InReach Mini to my kit, and I honestly think the combination of a phone and the mini are a perfect setup. The only downside is that to view your location based on the Mini, your phone must have power.

    That said, the mini gives me tracking, position, routes, everything a typical GPS has plus the ability to share your location, send and receive messages without cell coverage, and of course the SOS function. All in a package much smaller and lighter than a typical GPS. Youíre going to have your phone anyhow, so the mini doesnít add significantly to your pack.


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