Going off grid - your options, both for tracking and satellite communication

Garmin, inReach, Spot 3 -

Going off grid - your options, both for tracking and satellite communication

If you are going off grid this article looks at your options, both for tracking and satellite communication.

If you are looking for 100% connectivity for both tracking and also so you can message whilst off grid there are a number of options.

We look at and discuss both the positive and negative sides of –

1. Mobile phones, using in the countryside

2. SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger and Tracker

3. Garmin inReach satellite communicators

In the video I refer to the GPS Training Podcast, where we discuss many of these subjects in greater depth – listen to the podcast here

Mobile phones - apps for hiking

Benefits – we all have one already

Downside – poor battery life and not waterproof. Look at putting one in an Aquapac. Keep close to your body, to keep it warm and think about using it alongside a battery pack.

Think about using an old phone as this has better battery life.

Spot Trackers - live tracking

Both use the Globalstar low orbit satellite system.

As it uses the satellites to send messages you don't need a mobile phone signal but you do need a contract to run alongside them. the Spot contracts are very reasonable price.

1. Spot Gen3 - more here

Stunning battery life.

2. Spot X - more here

Two way satellite communication.

Garmin inReach - two wat satellite communication

Garmin two-way satellite communicators use the Iridium Satellite system which is also used by Sat Phones.

1. Garmin inReach mini – more here

Small device, great battery life. It will tether with a Garmin GPSMAP 66s, Garmin Fenix watch (5 plus onwards) and also with your smartphone, so you can use the phone as a larger keypad to input messages etc.

It gets used lots my fell runners and mountain bikers etc

2. Garmin GPSMAP 66i - more here

Same as the GPSMAP 66st bit it has the inReach technology built in and it also has a built in battery.

A proper two way satellite GPS communicator and also a GPS navigator, two devices in one.

3. GarminGPSMAP 86i - more here

Same as the GPSMAP 66i but it is made for those going on the water as it has buoyancy built in.

Below is an interesting webinar Garmin put on looking at Garmin inReach devices - choosing a Garmin inReach device.

I appreciate it shows the Garmin explorer (now discontinued in the UK), but there is some valuable you may find useful.

Further reading

1. Two way satellite communicators - all the options

2. Garmin inReach mini - unboxing

3. Review - Spot 3 satellite tracker

4. Best handheld GPS units

5. Top 10 best selling Outdoor GPS units


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