There are plenty of reasons to have a satellite communicator, but most options have been downright expensive. There were annual plans, activation and suspension fees, auto-renewals and that was on top of the hundreds of dollars spent to purchase the device. So basically, unless you were a guiding outfit, a professional explorer, or a hard-core adventurer, it’s an expensive proposition to maintain a satellite communicator.
Launched on Kickstarter yesterday by Bivy, makers of the popular adventure tracking phone app, Bivystick is a new product to allow users of their app to communicate when in the backcountry or out of cell reception. When paired with a smartphone (bluetooth), it provides all the functionality of a GPS unit and a satellite 2-way communicator to send SMS messages, track and provide location data, get weather information or send out an SOS request in an emergency. They provide simple 1-month usage packs with no activation or suspension fees and they allow you to roll-over unused credits to another month for a small charge. It also doubles as a 6000 mAh backup battery to keep your phone juiced up.
Bivystick is regularly priced at $279 and use credit packs start at $17.99. Hit up the Kickstarter for an early bird special of $259. The deal also includes 20 usage credits to get you started on the Iridium Satellite Constellation utilized by this communicator — providing service over the entire Earth surface.
We are really looking forward to getting our hands on the Bivystick here at Gear Institute in order to put it through the paces, see how well it maintains signal, and feel more safe and secure in the wilderness!