Review of Bivy Stick

The Good

The Bad

THE VERDICT

The Bivy Stick weighs in at 7.2oz (204g) and is about the size of an elongated bar of soap (6”x2”x1”).  Its 5200mAh lithium ion battery provides up to 400 hours of tracking (at 10 minute intervals) and can also be used to charge up your smartphone in a pinch.  It comes with a short tether cord and carabiner for attaching it to your pack — it needs to be on the outside to maintain a good sat signal.  And you can also use credits to download weather reports via satellite. If you go off the grid on occasion, or even more often than that, an innovative alternative to a DeLorme or Spot device is now even more affordable in Bivy Stick.

FULL REVIEW

I try and find myself without cellphone signal as often a possible — it’s kind of the point of getting out in the wilderness — leaving the fast-paced, tech driven world we live in behind for some peace and nature.  That said, the potential has been there to face a life and death emergency and be unable to contact someone for help.

On a recent trip to Perú, several of my friends and I ventured uphill to some Incan ruins, without our guide, at about dusk and no less than seven of us walked over a fur du lance snake, without actually stepping on it.  The last person in our crew saw the snake and snapped a photo (getting a little too close for comfort, in hindsight) of the deadliest snake in south America we had all, by chance, failed to disturb.

It’s incidents like that which make me consider subscribing to sat phone service or, at least, getting a satellite communicator.  And until now, it’s been a pricey proposition.  They usually cost at least as much as a second cellphone.   Finally, I’ve got a solid alternative in the Bivy Stick.  The people behind the popular route-finding app “Bivy” have ventured into the satellite communicator market.  Their “Bivy Stick” device bridges the gaps in your cell phone coverage by adding satellite texting, tracking, and SOS capabilities to the Bivy app.

The unique and compelling thing about the Bivy Stick is that you no longer need to be tied to a monthly subscription.  You can buy “credits” for your stick and they’re good for text messages and tracking hours all around the globe.  There is a $17.99 activation fee for 30 days, but there’s no commitment to continue with a plan.  If you just need the stick active for a trip in July and then one in December, for example, great just activate it for those two months for just under $36. They do offer monthly plans, if you’re going to be using it on a regular basis.  But I’m sticking with buying credits for texts so that I can contact my friends and family while traveling off the grid.

I took my Bivy Stick on a recent trip to Banff, Alberta.  Skiing in the mountains of Banff National Park, I was often without cell service.  And while I didn’t need to contact anyone, it was nice knowing that I could.  Additionally, I was able to track my backcountry routes through the Bivy Stick and the Bivy app, allowing loved ones to track my progress online — even though I didn’t have the cell service that’s usually required to upload my tracks to the Bivy servers.

The Bivy Stick weighs in at 7.2oz (204g) and is about the size of an elongated bar of soap (6”x2”x1”).  Its 5200mAh lithium ion battery provides up to 400 hours of tracking (at 10 minute intervals) and can also be used to charge up your smartphone in a pinch.  It comes with a short tether cord and carabiner for attaching it to your pack — it needs to be on the outside to maintain a good sat signal.  And you can also use credits to download weather reports via satellite.

If you go off the grid on occasion, or even more often than that, an innovative alternative to a DeLorme or Spot device is now even more affordable in Bivy Stick.

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