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  1. #1

  2. #2
    Rain Man's Avatar
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    I hope to take one of these on my John Muir Trail hike later this summer. Basically it's a satellite-based Wifi Hotspot. Can connect 5 phones at a time. Voice, text, data. Wooo woooo!

    https://www.outfittersatellite.com/iridium-go.html
    ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: ... Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit..... Numbers 35

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  3. #3
    MuddyWaters's Avatar
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    No new technology here

    Just a new device with different features
    "Inevitably, a long distance hiker must choose between travelling light, and not travelling at all." - Earl V. Shaffer

  4. #4

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    I like the idea of this product but I also feel like it's a slippery slope. There are not many places I can go these days to get away from my phone and other technology. While I like the thought of family being able to contact me in an emergency or me being able to utilize my phone for emergency calls or texts in an area otherwise out of cell phone range.... I would be concerned that this would change the outdoor experience on remote hikes.

    Again, I like the thought of the technology but am torn about how it may change the few places I can truly get away from technology (society).

  5. #5
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    The Garmin InReach uses the same satellite system and also has the option of interfacing with a smart phone via Bluetooth. The big difference here is that this one doesn't function as a standalone system like the InReach but requires the phone for its interface. This has the advantage of making the satellite interface device simpler and the phone interface is easier to use. But the disadvantage of now requiring two devices for your communications and greater energy demands. No only do you have to keep two devices powered up, you need to power the Bluetooth interface on both of them. I would have possibly included an SOS button on this device so you could at least use that function without a phone, if necessary.

  6. #6

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    Totally concur on the disadvantages of having to have two devices; even with the hassle of going on airplane mode and activating Bluetooth so they can connect, the phone battery drain on these mapping apps is significant. I like the ability to hit one button in case of emergency, not worrying about having to sync some other device.

    One other important key to evaluating all these devices are the data plan options for each and how you plan to use it. The new SpotX requires an annual contract, for example, while the Garmin InReach has options that allow for temporary deactivations and changes in the monthly plans - so you really need to be a bit of a fortune-teller about your planned activities for the next year or so and see how the various fees under each plan will play out based on your expected usage.

    According to the data plan explained on the Bivy stick's Kickstarter page, the basic plan is $18/month and come with 10 "credits" - with a text, weather report, or hour of tracking = one credit. So one day's hike with 8 hours of tracking, a weather report, and text to say "safe and heading home" and you've used all your credits for the month. Additional credits can be purchased for $.35 - $.45 depending on bundle size. There doesn't seem to an unlimited option.

    Someone that expects more usage than the example above (hikes a few times a month and likes the tracking feature, for example) may come out better opting for the Garmin "recreation" plan which provides 40 texts and unlimited tracking for $35/month ($25/month with annual contract).

    Point is, each of these devices have a lot of data plan options and methods of paying for flex periods of higher usage - and you really need to try and estimate your usage in advance when you try and do an apples-to-apples comparison.

  7. #7
    Is it raining yet?
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    So the toy costs $299. What does it cost to use it? Does it only send texts or can you talk? And how would one text rescuers exactly?
    Be Prepared

  8. #8

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    Cost is about $580.00 for a 200 minute/or 6-month plan and about $900.00/ for 500 minutes/or 1-year plan. You can send GPS tracking reports, have voice conversations, text, and "light email" (under 10 per minute).

    Currently there are few rules of etiquette regarding the proper way to text rescuers exactly. Best advice there is to avoid the use of pejoratives.

  9. #9
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    Iridium (most well known of the SatPhone manufacturers) recently came out with the Shout PLB/sat-text/GPS handheld. It looks cool. It's $850, so for now, only the hardcore tech junkies and independently wealthy hikers will be placing orders. I'll be a gadfly if I come across someone in Shenandoah with one pinned to his/her pack strap. They look really cool.
    Hiking is the best teacher, it grades on a curve.
    AT miles: 185 / Total miles: 801.67

    Author of "Hiking Into Trail Days"



  10. #10
    Is it raining yet?
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    That's really expensive. My ACR PLB was $700 in 2007 I think it was. They are less than half the size and price now, but they only send satellite & radio signals.
    Be Prepared

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