You are not logged in. Would you like to login or register?

4/24/2019 2:25 pm  #1


GPS, Emergency beacon recommendations?

Hi all, being trying to decide what gps device i should pick up for backcountry. liked the Spot at first but have now read too many customer service horror stories, etc. any recommendations on handhelp gps with emergency functionality? my daughter has T1 Diabetes and now doing more backcountry we should really be more prepared in case of an emergency.

 

4/24/2019 2:31 pm  #2


Re: GPS, Emergency beacon recommendations?

I used a Spot (Gen2) for many years and was happy with it. But after my daughter was born, I found myself wanting two-way communication instead of just one-way, and having the ability to write anything I wanted instead of just pre-defined messages. I'd say both of those could be important to you one day, being able to identify exactly what's going on. 

Anyway, I picked up an inReach mini at the start of last camping season, and I've been very happy with it. For full functionality you'll want to bring a smartphone along on your trips (I always do anyway), as it would be a pain in the behind typing up messages on its tiny little interface. Last July I even used it to arrange an earlier water taxi pickup!

 

4/24/2019 3:41 pm  #3


Re: GPS, Emergency beacon recommendations?

My Wife is Type 1. You want 2 way communication end of story.

I have the same device as Uppa. Almost had to call in emergency services on it last year. My wife got sick and could not get her levels under control. Dangerously high.

All while there was a massive thunderstorm battering us all night. Didn’t have to call in anyone and got her out fine the next morning but knowing I could have contacted people and explained exactly what was going on was a big relief.

Would not take her into the backcountry without it.


We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it.
 - George Washington Sears
 

4/24/2019 4:00 pm  #4


Re: GPS, Emergency beacon recommendations?

Get an InReach

 

4/24/2019 4:01 pm  #5


Re: GPS, Emergency beacon recommendations?

thanks for the comments, yes i'm looking at the InReach Mini and Explorer, not sure i really need all the extra features of the explorer. 

     Thread Starter
 

4/24/2019 8:11 pm  #6


Re: GPS, Emergency beacon recommendations?

Very happy with InReach...I don't go backcountry without it...like that I can create some 'typical'/possible messages in advance...e.g. delayed 1 day due to weather

 

7/31/2020 9:56 am  #7


Re: GPS, Emergency beacon recommendations?

It looks like there's a new player in the field now. I know nothing about them, but their pricing looks much more reasonable than InReach, which has always seemed strangely expensive (like all Garmin products).

https://www.zoleo.com/en-ca/satellite-communicator/

 

7/31/2020 10:47 am  #8


Re: GPS, Emergency beacon recommendations?

The device itself is much cheaper but the subscription plans don't look as appealing. It's $5 more per month for the basic plan; $25 Zoleo, $20 InReach.

Zoleo lets you send 25 satellite messages whereas InReach only lets you send 10, but InReach lets you send unlimited preset messages (no mention of this for Zoleo)... the vast majority of messages you would need to send can be preset. Garmin also has tracking and weather reports; Zoleo mentions weather forecasts but doesn't give any details about pricing etc.

Zoleo has an activation fee of $25, requires 3 months without suspension, and then has $5 fee per month when the plan is suspended. So the minimum you can spend in your first year is $145, and in subsequent years is $60. InReach has annual fee of $30 but doesn't require any initial term and gives free suspensions. So the minimum you can spend in your first year is $30, and in subsequent years is also $30.

Maybe I'm misinterpreting some of the costs, but it looks like the only advantage of the Zoleo is the cheaper upfront cost; but the plans are more expensive and offer less.


Trip Reports & Campsite Pictures
www.algonquinbeyond.com
 

7/31/2020 10:16 pm  #9


Re: GPS, Emergency beacon recommendations?

Oh I didn’t realize InReach had no monthly suspension charge- I believe they also used to be $5ish a month. And I thought there was even a charge to reinstate service, but that was years ago that I last looked. I like that you can send unlimited pre-composed messages. Still, if you’re using it for a few months a year it would take a while to make up the difference in transmitter costs.

Last edited by nvm (7/31/2020 10:18 pm)

 

7/31/2020 11:33 pm  #10


Re: GPS, Emergency beacon recommendations?

"Still, if you’re using it for a few months a year it would take a while to make up the difference in transmitter costs."

Well this is actually really interesting... I decided to crunch the numbers just because I was curious to see what the breakeven is between the two. Here is all of the data using after-tax amounts: 
https://postimg.cc/K8BbW3Fc

It turns out no matter how many months per year you use the device, the breakeven between the two devices is at the 5 year mark. And weirdly enough, they're the EXACT same costs down to the penny.

The only thing I didn't include in that model was the required initial 3 month subscription for the Zoleo. This is what the model looks like once that is factored in: 
https://postimg.cc/K1mrm3R3

In both images, Zoleo is the top chart, InReach Mini is the bottom chart.

I'm happy to send the actual excel if someone wants to double check the formulas, because this is super weird. It's also past midnight so I could have made some silly mistake somewhere.

 


Trip Reports & Campsite Pictures
www.algonquinbeyond.com
 

Board footera

LNT Canada is a national non-profit organization dedicated to promoting responsible outdoor recreation through education, research and partnerships.