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Thread: Satelite/GPS communicators

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    Default Satelite/GPS communicators

    Anyone use SPOT GPS, Garmin InReach, Zoleo or one of the other satellite communicators for backcountry safety and check-ins?
    Seems like Zoleo is cheap-er, and very good for sending texts if you need to organize meetups or verify location, time of arrival etc.

    I could see myself using something like this for crown land camping or hikes.

    Anyone have thoughts?
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    I will be following this thread closely. I am trying to convince my self I don't not need a Garmin GPSMAP 66i. I spend a fair amount of time hiking, back packing and hunting so I feel like I will get my monies worth. But if there are other options as good or better for less money I am interested.
    Last edited by KRyn; 06-16-2020 at 04:38 PM.
    Originally posted by lint
    Who the f*ck cares what brand of protein a weak ass sissy takes? Or what exercises a weak ass sissy does?
    Originally posted by slinkie
    to each haters of "milk" your eating like a b!tch so ur gonna stay a b!tch. eat some cow eat some pizza eat cow in pasta cow in bread cow with cheese drink cow. look at cows there big eat them and ull be to. u are what u eat u wanna eat chicked ull stay being a chicken. u wanna eat string cheese ur gonna be a string cheese. u wanna eat fruit ur ganna be a fruit. Enjoy life.

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    Bivystick appears to also be an option. You need to decide if you want to be tied to your phone as the interface or not, it seems.
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    A buddy of mine swears by his in reach for hunting.
    Originally posted by Thales of Miletus

    If you think I have been trying to present myself as intellectually superior, then you truly are a dimwit.
    Originally posted by Toma
    fact.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ExtraSlow View Post
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    Bivystick appears to also be an option. You need to decide if you want to be tied to your phone as the interface or not, it seems.
    Interesting product, I am looking for an all in one device though. Are you just wanting communication or are you looking for mapping capabilities as well?
    Originally posted by lint
    Who the f*ck cares what brand of protein a weak ass sissy takes? Or what exercises a weak ass sissy does?
    Originally posted by slinkie
    to each haters of "milk" your eating like a b!tch so ur gonna stay a b!tch. eat some cow eat some pizza eat cow in pasta cow in bread cow with cheese drink cow. look at cows there big eat them and ull be to. u are what u eat u wanna eat chicked ull stay being a chicken. u wanna eat string cheese ur gonna be a string cheese. u wanna eat fruit ur ganna be a fruit. Enjoy life.

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    I've used them for work and play. Simply put, dont use SPOT in Canada, as the satellite system is unreliable at our high latitudes particularly in treed or mountainous area.

    Iridium is the way, so the inreach's work well. Can't speak to the Zoleo.

    I have the regular inreach and wish i had the mini for convenience of size. Tons of storys in the mountain communities of spots being unreliable, and from rescue orgs wanting back and forth communication that is achievable through Inreach. I have a friend who spent the night roped into Mount Andromeda assuming that their SPOT message had gone out and someone was coming, but no way to tell..

    I'd prefer something that doesnt rely entirely on phone, like the bivvy, as doesnt take much cold to sap a phone.

    That being said, I use mine whenever backcountry skiing or doing bigger backcountry trips. The inreach saved me last year as we hiked 16 k, got rained on for 20 hours, but were able to get a forecast from my wife saying to hold out.. next day was beauty, and could send a 'at car, will have signal soon'.
    Last edited by Brent.ff; 06-16-2020 at 05:10 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brent.ff View Post
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    I've used them for work and play. Simply put, dont use SPOT in Canada, as the satellite system is unreliable at our high latitudes particularly in treed or mountainous area.

    Iridium is the way, so the inreach's work well. Can't speak to the Zoleo.

    I have the regular inreach and wish i had the mini for convenience of size. Tons of storys in the mountain communities of spots being unreliable, and from rescue orgs wanting back and forth communication that is achievable through Inreach. I have a friend who spent the night roped into Mount Andromeda assuming that their SPOT message had gone out and someone was coming, but no way to tell..

    I'd prefer something that doesnt rely entirely on phone, like the bivvy, as doesnt take much cold to sap a phone.

    That being said, I use mine whenever backcountry skiing or doing bigger backcountry trips. The inreach saved me last year as we hiked 16 k, got rained on for 20 hours, but were able to get a forecast from my wife saying to hold out.. next day was beauty, and could send a 'at car, will have signal soon'.
    No
    Guess I need to buy the Garmin then...
    Originally posted by lint
    Who the f*ck cares what brand of protein a weak ass sissy takes? Or what exercises a weak ass sissy does?
    Originally posted by slinkie
    to each haters of "milk" your eating like a b!tch so ur gonna stay a b!tch. eat some cow eat some pizza eat cow in pasta cow in bread cow with cheese drink cow. look at cows there big eat them and ull be to. u are what u eat u wanna eat chicked ull stay being a chicken. u wanna eat string cheese ur gonna be a string cheese. u wanna eat fruit ur ganna be a fruit. Enjoy life.

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    The mini-inreachs are great. my inreach is a monster in comparison.

    having it as an all in one is great, wish i could do that with my garmin watch
    Last edited by Brent.ff; 06-16-2020 at 05:13 PM.

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    I think both Bivy an Zoleo will do mapping through your phone, but there's obviously big drawbacks to needing to keep two devices charged and accessible all the time. Currently for me, I think mostly texting to arrange rendezvous or confirm safety is the main thing, although I sorta also want to get back into backcountry hiking and/or geocaching and I guess the InReach would be be the "all-in-one" option for that. For sure only need it 3-4 months a year, so I think I'll have to dig into the subscription costs more deeply, because that could quickly exceed device costs.
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    I'm in midst of purchasing one of these as well. I lean HEAVILY towards the Bivystick for a few reasons.

    They are the only one that will allow you to cancel without costs, Garmin's charge like $35 to activate and $35 cancellation, costs to move plans etc. Also lots of horror stories about Garmin back charging them etc. If you only use it 3 months a year? Put an unlimited plan on for those 3 months, cancel it for the rest of the year and you will be better off vs leaving a plan on the Garmin all the time etc.

    The credits also continue to roll forward if you do not use them. They will roll forward indefinitely as long as you keep an active subscription. For me who uses them in the winter and summer (less in the shoulder seasons) this lets me just leave the subscription on and bank a bunch of extra credits for when I need them, while still having an active device if I want to go on a random hiking trip etc.

    The device can be used as a battery pack. My worry with the Zoleo exp is if your phones dead you are dead in the water.

    The Bivystick also does tracking, it costs 1 credit for an hour of tracking which I think is reasonable vs some of the other ones.

    They have a brand new version that will be out before the end of the month that will have a new body (smaller apparently) with new antenna's and a dedicated SOS button that can be used without the phone.
    Last edited by blubs; 06-16-2020 at 05:24 PM.

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    Its crazy how much misinformation is out there about the Globalstar network, ask them and they say they've got great service in Revelstoke etc. The one time we thought about pushing SOS with a guy hurt in a slight valley it couldn't connect at all. Pulled out a iridium sat phone, connected up in 20 seconds or less.

    Makes you worry for sure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blubs View Post
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    I'm in midst of purchasing one of these as well. I lean HEAVILY towards the Bivystick for a few reasons.

    They are the only one that will allow you to cancel without costs, Garmin's charge like $35 to activate and $35 cancellation, costs to move plans etc. Also lots of horror stories about Garmin back charging them etc.

    The credits also continue to roll forward if you do not use them. They will roll forward indefinitely as long as you keep an active subscription. For me who uses them in the winter and summer (less in the shoulder seasons) this lets me just leave the subscription on and bank a bunch of extra credits for when I need them, while still having an active device if I want to go on a random hiking trip etc.

    The device can be used as a battery pack. My worry with the Zoleo exp is if your phones dead you are dead in the water.

    The Bivystick also does tracking, it costs 1 credit for an hour of tracking which I think is reasonable vs some of the other ones.

    They have a brand new version that will be out before the end of the month that will have a new body (smaller apparently) with new antenna's and a dedicated SOS button that can be used without the phone.
    Some of what you are saying doesn't jive with what is on Garmin's website. Unless I am reading it wrong?

    From the site...

    Enrolment in the Freedom plan is subject to a $29.95 CAD annual fee. A Freedom plan’s minimum term is 30 days. New 30-day minimum applies to a changed Freedom plan. No charge applies to changing a Freedom plan. Service can be suspended a month at a time at no charge. User retains access to inReach data stored on the Garmin Explore™ website while account is suspended. Selected plan auto-renews monthly unless user changes account selections in the Garmin Explore™ website.

    I do dislike the structure of the plans offered through Garmin. Their base plan doesn't provide enough but the jump to the Recreation is substantial. I understand this is to push more people to move to the Recreation plan, but damn $15.00 a month to $35.00 or $20.00 to $45.00 a month is steep.
    Last edited by KRyn; 06-16-2020 at 05:31 PM.
    Originally posted by lint
    Who the f*ck cares what brand of protein a weak ass sissy takes? Or what exercises a weak ass sissy does?
    Originally posted by slinkie
    to each haters of "milk" your eating like a b!tch so ur gonna stay a b!tch. eat some cow eat some pizza eat cow in pasta cow in bread cow with cheese drink cow. look at cows there big eat them and ull be to. u are what u eat u wanna eat chicked ull stay being a chicken. u wanna eat string cheese ur gonna be a string cheese. u wanna eat fruit ur ganna be a fruit. Enjoy life.

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    There seems to be a difference between cancelling and suspending their plans then, if you read here... Not sure why you would ever cancel, rather just suspend.

    https://support.garmin.com/en-CA/?fa...g87UBuAhuW0Ue5

    Annual Plan Users

    In the event of canceling of an Annual plan, at the option of inReach, your account will either (1) be billed at the time of cancellation for the remaining amounts due on your service plan, or (2) be billed for an amount equal to the fees for the remaining term of the service plan at the lowest available rate.

    If you decide you want to activate an annual plan again later, you will be assessed another activation fee.


    Freedom Plan Users

    If you choose to cancel service on a Freedom plan and then choose to activate again later, you will be assessed another annual fee. Choose to Suspend instead if you want to continue service again later.



    The other thing I forgot to mention is that with the Zoleo and the Bivystick you get a dedicated number and email address. VS the Garmin that is a "Rolling bank of numbers" For people like my parents, that will struggle how to contact me, Id rather just say "text this number and it will always be good" vs Use an app to send the first message, then it will send from a random number that disappears after a few weeks.
    Last edited by blubs; 06-16-2020 at 05:39 PM.

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    I don't suppose you know what the pricing be on the new Bivysticks device when it launches?
    Originally posted by lint
    Who the f*ck cares what brand of protein a weak ass sissy takes? Or what exercises a weak ass sissy does?
    Originally posted by slinkie
    to each haters of "milk" your eating like a b!tch so ur gonna stay a b!tch. eat some cow eat some pizza eat cow in pasta cow in bread cow with cheese drink cow. look at cows there big eat them and ull be to. u are what u eat u wanna eat chicked ull stay being a chicken. u wanna eat string cheese ur gonna be a string cheese. u wanna eat fruit ur ganna be a fruit. Enjoy life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ExtraSlow View Post
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    I think both Bivy an Zoleo will do mapping through your phone, but there's obviously big drawbacks to needing to keep two devices charged and accessible all the time. Currently for me, I think mostly texting to arrange rendezvous or confirm safety is the main thing, although I sorta also want to get back into backcountry hiking and/or geocaching and I guess the InReach would be be the "all-in-one" option for that. For sure only need it 3-4 months a year, so I think I'll have to dig into the subscription costs more deeply, because that could quickly exceed device costs.
    Might want to read into the explorer models too, if you are using it for the GPS maps, it says online that they might not work if they dont have an active subscription? I'd hope the GPS features would still work, but just would want to confirm. Might be a ploy to keep you having a subscription.

    https://support.garmin.com/en-CA/?fa...w06kXs2pep9gfA

    "inReach 1.5, SE or Explorer models: These devices cannot be used when your inReach subscription plan is suspended or cancelled."

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by KRyn View Post
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    I don't suppose you know what the pricing be on the new Bivysticks device when it launches?
    Just asked on their live chat.

    Screen Shot 2020-06-16 at 5.50.47 PM.png

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    I’m more likely to lean on the big boy (Garmin) when it comes to an SOS button then a startup, personally

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brent.ff View Post
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    I’m more likely to lean on the big boy (Garmin) when it comes to an SOS button then a startup, personally
    Thats a fair call, All of my other Garmin devices have been solid. Love their Rino series for a radio and a GPS.

    That being said I think that GEOS take care of all the SOS functions. Being that its an iridium device I dont imagine that Bivy/Zoleo/Garmin do a ton on the operation side.

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    I'd guess that the SOS functionality is identical for all the iridium/GEOS systems. Although I suppose I can't prove that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brent.ff View Post
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    I've used them for work and play. Simply put, dont use SPOT in Canada, as the satellite system is unreliable at our high latitudes particularly in treed or mountainous area.

    Iridium is the way, so the inreach's work well. Can't speak to the Zoleo.

    I have the regular inreach and wish i had the mini for convenience of size. Tons of storys in the mountain communities of spots being unreliable, and from rescue orgs wanting back and forth communication that is achievable through Inreach. I have a friend who spent the night roped into Mount Andromeda assuming that their SPOT message had gone out and someone was coming, but no way to tell..

    I'd prefer something that doesnt rely entirely on phone, like the bivvy, as doesnt take much cold to sap a phone.

    That being said, I use mine whenever backcountry skiing or doing bigger backcountry trips. The inreach saved me last year as we hiked 16 k, got rained on for 20 hours, but were able to get a forecast from my wife saying to hold out.. next day was beauty, and could send a 'at car, will have signal soon'.
    I can vet that SPOT does indeed work in most of Canada - I have used it in Nunavut and Northern Manitoba for work and it saved my bacon (and a temporarily missing helicopter) from being lost up there. This was in 2010.

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    It does work, but it’s very inconsistent. We used to have to use them to check in and they could be delayed 30 seconds to 4 hours, or just never appeared

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