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DeeJay
12-24-2011, 23:38
So i wasn't planning on bringing any electronics other then maybe an old cell phone, but my Dad just went out and bought me the Spot Connect from REI. It utilizes my smartphone through blue tooth but apparently gets service in areas that normally doesn't by connecting directly to satellite instead of towers. It allows for GPS coordinates, SOS, and send short emails or text messages out. The people at REI recommended it to him but I was curious if anyone actually has any experience with it and if it's even worth carrying.. honestly I'm not a big techy guy but if it works great or can be needed i might as well give it a try.. Thoughts??

10-K
12-24-2011, 23:49
Not with this version but I have a Spot 2 that I take on longer hikes because it makes my wife happy.

Works as advertised - I usually just leave it in the mesh pocket on the front of my pack rain or shine.

Wise Old Owl
12-25-2011, 00:23
http://www.rei.com/product/816133/spot-connect-satellite-communicator

Suggest click on reviews - some issues with customer service if you don't get their insurance..... understand there are always two sides to any story...

Shutterbug
12-25-2011, 11:43
So, i wasn't planning on bringing any electronics other then maybe an old cell phone, but my Dad just went out and bought me the Spot Connect from REI. It utilizes my smartphone through blue tooth but apparently gets service in areas that normally doesn't by connecting directly to satellite instead of towers. It allows for GPS coordinates, SOS, and send short emails or text messages out. The people at REI recommended it to him but I was curious if anyone actually has any experience with it and if it's even worth carrying.. honestly I'm not a big techy guy but if it works great or can be needed i might as well give it a try.. Thoughts??

I have been a SPOT fan since they first came out. I have not yet bought the SPOT Connect, but will probably do so before summer.

Most of those who have criticized the SPOT on Whiteblaze either have not used one or have unrealistic expectations. The SPOT products work just as advertised, but depend on a line of sight connection with a satellite. If something solid, like leaves, are between the SPOT and the satellite, don't expect it to work.

I have only clicked on the SOS once, by accident (that is another story), but I received a call within 60 seconds on my cell phone. Fortunately, I was in an area with cell phone coverage, so the emergency responders were never called. Still, it confirmed that they do respond when there is a SOS call.

Shutterbug

Lando11
12-25-2011, 11:59
tho i didnt have 1, i know several people from the trail that started with 1 this year. only to ditch them shortly after the beginning. they dont get service everywhere, and its also another electronic you have to worry about batteries + keeping dry. leave the brick at home, and if you have a wife or whatever that wants you to check in frequently, use your phone.

Miner
12-25-2011, 13:41
Most of the complaints about SPOT devices were its weight for something you probably won't need (more of an issue with the original SPOT, but still valid), the price of the service that you sign up for, it can feel like a ball and chain as you now feell obligated to regularly check in (not everyone likes this, though those with family are more accepting of it), it sometimes doesn't work due to the terrain blocking the satellite, and there have been false alarms generated causing S&R to be dispatched.

I think on a trail like the AT with all the people on it, its really not necessary as someone will come across you if you get injured within a couple of hours. It makes more sense on trails like the CDT where no one may find you for days or weeks due to the remoteness and due to all the alternative routes people take. My experience with people using them on the PCT was that it was more for easing the minds of parents or family back home then because they felt a need to have it. Personally, I wouldn't carry one, but as they get lighter and add more features, I might get tempted in the future; providing the service cost goes down. But it isn't because I feel the need for one. I think the biggest advantage of the SPOT connect is it can allow some text communication when cell phones don't work which is a nice feature that is tempting on trails like the PCT or CDT; but once again, on the AT you have pretty good cell coverage so is it really necessary? Only you can decide that.

max patch
12-25-2011, 13:51
I wasn't sure what the "Connect" was compared to the other model so I checked the website. I thot it was funny that the first things they mentioned on the website as to what the Connect would allow you to do on the trail was to "update your twitter and facebook"! While that may be important to some it sure isn't to me.

The Connect is an example of why my family knows not to buy me any hiking gear.

Oh, and for those who carry one to give their family "peace of mind" - how much peace of mind is your family gonna have when that nightly "i'm ok" message doesn't come? These things don't work 100% of the time.

10-K
12-25-2011, 14:21
I wasn't sure what the "Connect" was compared to the other model so I checked the website. I thot it was funny that the first things they mentioned on the website as to what the Connect would allow you to do on the trail was to "update your twitter and facebook"!

That's over the top!

So far, I've had a 100% success rate getting my "I'm OK" messages through but my wife knows that there's a chance that a signal may not get through so she's not going to freak out.

It's kinda like 99 times out of 100 knowing I'm ok is better than 100 times out of 100 times having no idea....

I just do it to keep mama happy - she's pretty good when it comes to not giving me a hard time about going on extended hiking trips on a semi-regular basis. I figure it's the least I can do.

Kerosene
12-25-2011, 18:39
I ran into a kid in the Smokies who setup his SPOT every evening outside the shelter to broadcast his location to his family. It had successfully sent an OK message for each of the following evenings. On the evening I met him, the signal didn't get through for some reason; there was an unobstructed view of the sky but low ridgelines around the shelter (Pecks Corner). The next evening the ridgerunner stayed with us at Cosby Knob Shelter and eventually asked him if he was the guy that the Forest Service had radioed him about earlier that day. Seems his family was worried about him after missing one transmission.
.
Of course, the family over-reacted, but if someone becomes dependent on the consistency of messaging then any interruption becomes a warning, whether it really is or not. The fact that you can't tell if your OK makes it less than useful in my opinion, although the newer versions apparently provide more feedback and flexibility.

Spokes
12-25-2011, 18:50
A friend tried to convince me to carry one on my 2009 thru but I laughed at him and decided on carrying an equal weight in Snicker Bars instead. Glad I did. Heard more hikers cursing their Spots, mostly females.

I do think Spots have their place when, say, you're progressing down the Amazon, on a long distance kayak trip, or need a good orange paperweight.

DeeJay
12-26-2011, 12:23
I ended up telling him to return it, i just don't think i'd ever use it.

12-27-2011, 12:42
I have experience with the Connect and it works very well. My business counter part just used the device on her way from Chicago to Tennessee, while utilizing the tracking and messaging options and they worked flawlessly.

Mr Breeze
12-27-2011, 14:46
Whether you decide to bring it with you or not, be aware of your service end date. When your service is about to expire, Spot will automatically re bill you for another year of service without contacting you first.

10-K
12-27-2011, 16:39
Whether you decide to bring it with you or not, be aware of your service end date. When your service is about to expire, Spot will automatically re bill you for another year of service without contacting you first.

But they'll send you a nice letter afterwards.. :)

Wise Old Owl
12-27-2011, 18:11
The auto re-billing is explained and it in itself is not unusual - Trails.Com is guilty of this too.

So Dee Jay u returned it.... OK - so what is he going to get you now a Hennessy Hammock instead? :cool:

DeeJay
01-02-2012, 01:04
Well actually..... I went to REI garage sale and they had one there for 50 bucks! I got it and it's awwwesome. I'll prob stick w/ the tarptent for the AT but who knows I may change my mind before then. 2 months for me and I'll be starting the trail!