User Review: SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger
Price Paid: Gift
I was gifted a SPOT GPS messenger by the lovely people here at Trailspace about a year ago. Now that my subscription is about up I wanted to write a review of my experiences.
- GPS tracking that is updated to the Internet as you go.
- Send messages (to the people that get paranoid)
- get help (i did not use or test this but put faith in the function)
- BATTERIES! (expensive and lots of them if you want to track your week long trip)
- $100+ a year (It a big deal for me because that's all I get in a year to buy anything for my trips).
- Coverage (I had a very times where my track cut out in dense trees and deep valleys)
I give it four stars because overall the SPOT worked great, did its thing and gave me some false sense of security (not much), but it did not really fit me.
My biggest beef is the stupid expensive batteries. I am not a technology backpacker, the only battery powered gear I carry is my Petzl Myo 5, and the batteries last for months (I carry two extra just in case I need to give them to someone else).
The battery specs say 3-7 day depending on the sky coverage and so on if you track your trip; the catch is the better the sky view the better the battery life. Walk the flat prairie and you get 7 days; wander the Bob Marshall and get 2-3 days tops. I spent $24 dollars on 12 exotic AAAs and used every one of them in a 9 day trip (in fact the last few miles were not tracked at all). I learned my lesson to only check in and leave the tracking to someone that needs to prove something.
My wife liked the check ins but the reason I get outdoors it to not have to check in so it cramped my style in that way too. I did not feel safer having the distress call handy mostly because I feared in the end the batteries would die and all I would have is the tracking data to my grave, days later when my wife notices I am camping in the middle of my trip for too long.
I still get a better sense of security when hanging my food :) and sleeping with a 45 under my “pillow”. In the future when they figure out how to make the units power longer or for less money I will look at the idea again.