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  1. #1
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    Default SPOT or similar product

    I am going to be doing the JMT and for my wife's piece of mind I am thinking of getting a spot. However there are some negative reviews about the spot's Billing Practices. Is a spot worth it or is there something else out there?

  2. #2
    Registered User Donde's Avatar
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    I own and have used a SPOT Gen2 (to include cancelling and reactivating it) and it has been as advertised for me. You should also look at DeLorme's products and maybe look at actual PLBs. As for the billing practices thing, people who have has problems with that have problems with their ability to comprehend written information. It is all in writing when you activate a SPOT you sign up for a yearly subscription if you do not want it to renew you send them one email, and they will terminate service at the end of the subscription. Not a big deal. Then you can go back and reactivate if you are going on another adventure in the future. The only issues I have had is getting a message out in less than ideal conditions (canyons, too much overhead etc.).

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donde View Post
    I own and have used a SPOT Gen2 (to include cancelling and reactivating it) and it has been as advertised for me. You should also look at DeLorme's products and maybe look at actual PLBs. As for the billing practices thing, people who have has problems with that have problems with their ability to comprehend written information. It is all in writing when you activate a SPOT you sign up for a yearly subscription if you do not want it to renew you send them one email, and they will terminate service at the end of the subscription. Not a big deal. Then you can go back and reactivate if you are going on another adventure in the future. The only issues I have had is getting a message out in less than ideal conditions (canyons, too much overhead etc.).
    i agree, but will say that the DeLorme is not a bad unit (I have both) but it chews through batteries like no ones business!
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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by garyp View Post
    I am going to be doing the JMT and for my wife's piece of mind I am thinking of getting a spot. However there are some negative reviews about the spot's Billing Practices. Is a spot worth it or is there something else out there?
    I have used a SPOT device for a long time and have no complaints myself. I have seen anecdotal information of connectivity issues in certain places (likely not being able to see the sky due to tree canopies or closed wall canyons type of situations), but have not experienced these myself. I would think on the JMT seeing the sky is not of an issue.

    Negative comments about billing seem a bit inflated and may stem from not reading through the plans you can select from. I use the auto-renewal plan, which issues an email telling me they are going to charge my credit card several weeks before it happens, providing a window I can cancel the renewal. Other people opt to open/close their accounts during the year and not have the auto-renewal option. Like anything else, read the instructions and programs before you start filling in the blanks.

    I'm sure your wife will appreciate your carrying the SPOT device, mine does. Have a great walk!

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by AT Traveler View Post
    I have used a SPOT device for a long time and have no complaints myself. I have seen anecdotal information of connectivity issues in certain places (likely not being able to see the sky due to tree canopies or closed wall canyons type of situations), but have not experienced these myself. I would think on the JMT seeing the sky is not of an issue.

    Negative comments about billing seem a bit inflated and may stem from not reading through the plans you can select from. I use the auto-renewal plan, which issues an email telling me they are going to charge my credit card several weeks before it happens, providing a window I can cancel the renewal. Other people opt to open/close their accounts during the year and not have the auto-renewal option. Like anything else, read the instructions and programs before you start filling in the blanks.

    I'm sure your wife will appreciate your carrying the SPOT device, mine does. Have a great walk!
    I've had pretty much the same experience as AT Traveler cites. No complaints, reliable performance, and enough notice for service renewal. In the few instances where I had GPS issues due to canyons, vegetation canopies, or satellite geometry, it's really just been due to limitations associated with GPS technology, not a particular instrument. There can be slight performance differences in GPS receiver chipsets, but if you're in an area where you are having issues with a SPOT, odds are a DeLorme, hand held GPS, or your phone GPS would have similar issues.

  6. #6
    Registered User O-H-10 Lil Ohio's Avatar
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    My SPOT has done everything that I have needed to give my wife and Family the piece of mind required. Very few issues with my SPOT from GA to Maine. I have even added other hikers to my email so there familys could track the link. I took them off when I completed my hike. I have a pacemaker so the family worries more then I do ,so for me it was a great purchase.

  7. #7
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    I realize it's a little more expensive, but I use and highly recommend the Delorme InReach. Quite a bit more capability than a SPOT, more reliable, integrates with smart phone app, etc. My family also appreciates it very much.


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  8. #8
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    When I do the AT I will surely do the Delorme, but that is in 15 to 20 years.

  9. #9
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    The InReach is more capable but it is far more expensive to own and operate compared to the SPOT, not just a little more expensive.
    HST/JMT August 2016
    TMB/Alps Sept 2015
    PCT Mile 0-857 - Apr/May 2015
    Foothills Trail Feb 2015
    Colorado Trail Aug 2014
    AT: Rockfish Gap to Boiling Springs 2014
    John Muir Trail Aug/Sept 2013

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by garyp View Post
    When I do the AT I will surely do the Delorme, but that is in 15 to 20 years.
    In that period of time, anything used today as state of the art will be obsolete!

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by garyp View Post
    When I do the AT I will surely do the Delorme, but that is in 15 to 20 years.
    The heck with the DeLorme and the SPOT - just think of what might be available in 15 - 20 years! Virtual reality may redefine "armchair hiker".

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
    The InReach is more capable but it is far more expensive to own and operate compared to the SPOT, not just a little more expensive.
    it really comes down to what you're looking to do. I found this huge price differential to be true when making my SPOT vs. DeLorme decision last year. I found the hardware and service costs to be about double for the DeLorme and didn't want to spend that much more just to add non-essential functions that were duplicative of my cell phone. In the areas I plan to be in in the next couple of years, cell coverage is good and getting better. I got the SPOT only as a last resort backup if things truly reached the SAR level. There's also the matter that I don't want to be dealing with text messages when enjoying the outdoors.

  13. #13
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    I have a really hard time spending the big bucks on technology that seems like it came out of the 1990s and is sure to be replaced soon with much better gear. I paid around $75 on Amazon for my Spot 2 and I pay $100/year for service. That's an acceptable cost for a very archaic, low tech, but reliable device to keep my family in the loop on my whereabouts twice a day. I have no doubt at all that 3-5 years from now all of these products will be totally obsolete.
    HST/JMT August 2016
    TMB/Alps Sept 2015
    PCT Mile 0-857 - Apr/May 2015
    Foothills Trail Feb 2015
    Colorado Trail Aug 2014
    AT: Rockfish Gap to Boiling Springs 2014
    John Muir Trail Aug/Sept 2013

  14. #14
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    I carry a SPOT. It is 1/4th of a pound of sleeping pill I carry so my husband will sleep better. First one didn't work.

    Current one pretty much works as advertised. I have had some messages not go thru, but I doubt that my husband notices as he is no longer sitting at home waiting for every message. We also have the conversation before every trip, "It is electronics. Stuff can go wrong. If you don't hear from me - I'm statistically probably fine!"

    Someday, I'll just be chipped like my cat or something.

  15. #15
    Registered User handlebar's Avatar
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    Have used SPOT on all my hikes and found it very reliable. DeLorme InReach is tempting since it has 2way texting and appears to include many GPS functions. Still not enough better to cause me to replace the SPOT.
    Handlebar
    GA-ME 06; PCT 08; CDT 10,11,12; ALT 11; MSPA 12; CT 13; Sheltowee 14; AZT 14, 15; LT 15;FT 16;NCT-NY&PA 16; GET 17-18

  16. #16

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    What capability do you seek? I have read that these satellite communication devices work pretty well. However, I've also read that families actually get more upset when such a device doesn't work and they start assuming something is wrong. If I'm in a life-or-death situation, I don't want something that works "pretty" well, I want something that will always work. That seems to be a PLB designed or one-time use. Those devices don't require a subscription and utilize two satellite systems and local homing signals. It seems the PLB actually gives family members more peace because they KNOW you can get help if you need it - which is far more valuable than daily check-ins. JMHO

  17. #17
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    If you think about Spot you may consider reading my post & some replies in another thread on WB: https://whiteblaze.net/forum/show...=1#post1948604

  18. #18
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    I have carried a SPOT 1st generation, since they came out. No Problems with billing & A great Peace of Mind. I don't used the "tracking", I send a signal every night when I get the camp.
    Take Time to Watch the Trees Dance with The Wind.....Then Join In

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tundracamper View Post
    What capability do you seek? I have read that these satellite communication devices work pretty well. However, I've also read that families actually get more upset when such a device doesn't work and they start assuming something is wrong. If I'm in a life-or-death situation, I don't want something that works "pretty" well, I want something that will always work. That seems to be a PLB designed or one-time use. Those devices don't require a subscription and utilize two satellite systems and local homing signals. It seems the PLB actually gives family members more peace because they KNOW you can get help if you need it - which is far more valuable than daily check-ins. JMHO
    Every family is different. My two spot checkins per day not only give my family peace of mind but allow them to "participate" in the hike by tracking my progress. They wouldn't get that if I had a "real" PLB, even though they would know that I could call for help if desired. This is all fine with me. I wouldn't carry a PLB, but do carry the SPOT. It is 4.2 ounces for peace of mind of family - worth every ounce.
    HST/JMT August 2016
    TMB/Alps Sept 2015
    PCT Mile 0-857 - Apr/May 2015
    Foothills Trail Feb 2015
    Colorado Trail Aug 2014
    AT: Rockfish Gap to Boiling Springs 2014
    John Muir Trail Aug/Sept 2013

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by iAmKrzys View Post
    If you think about Spot you may consider reading my post & some replies in another thread on WB: https://whiteblaze.net/forum/show...=1#post1948604
    In your cited prior post, your comparison between the Etrex tack log and the Spot track log is invalid. The tracking interval on the SPOT was much longer than the interval on the Etrex, making the Etrex a higher resolution log and the SPOT is a lower resolution log. Comparing the two is like comparing picture quality between HD and SD TVs. To make a valid comparison of the tracks, the tracking interval would need to be the same, or at least similar.

    You can, however, use your data to get a feeling for location agreement. IOW, look at where the SPOT points fall on the Etrex track. Your images show 2 outliers on the SPOT data, so the agreement is about 90% of the points -pretty good for handheld technology. As far as the 2 outliers, you really can't draw any conclusions based on those points unless you had Etrex readings taken at exactly the same time and location to rule out external influences. (GPS units can also interfere with each other)

    I'm not saying SPOT is good and a Garmin handheld is bad (I own and enjoy both), but you are drawing a conclusion that the data don't support. I would think the reason that SPOT isn't addressing the "problem" is that its not really a problem with the device, but with data interpretation.
    Last edited by Offshore; 04-02-2015 at 11:24.

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