Many of us rely heavily on our phones in a pinch to map our exact location or to communicate with our loved ones when we’re out on our adventures, but what happens when we’re out of cellular coverage? This is where the market for satellite tracking and communication devices have really picked up. More and more people are venturing out past their cell signals deep into the wilderness but still have a need to stay connected. The Spot X brings the Globalstar network to the 2-way communication platform and only needs a clear view of the sky to be able to send and receive text messages to friends and family to stay in touch. Or in the case of an emergency, an SOS can be sent to rescue personnel to get help.
The Spot X is competitively priced at $250 versus $280 for the Bivystick or $450 for the Garmin inReach. Not included in the price is the cost of the subscription to a data plan which ranges from $12-40 per month, depending on the amount of activity. You can also set your tracking interval times from 2.5 minutes to every hour depending on your pace.
One downfall of the Spot X is in the network coverage. The Spot X uses the Globalstar network versus its competitors who use the Iridium network. The Iridium network has no gaps from pole to pole whereas the Globalstar network has some limited coverage in certain areas like central Africa or in the high latitudes. For most folks in North America, this needn’t be a concern. The battery life of the Spot X could be another deciding factor in choosing between satellite tracking devices. At full charge, the Spot X has roughly 240 hours of battery time versus 100 hours for its next closest competitor. This will vary with how hard the device has to look for a satellite, specifically, when operating in fringe coverage areas or where the signal might get blocked (i.e. thick woods or canyons).
So how do you decide if a satellite tracker is right for you? You have to ask yourself how much time are you going to spend outside of cell coverage? Is your adventure remote and secluded enough to warrant its use for safety reasons? A satellite tracker like the Spot X is also just a wonderful piece of mind for those not going on the adventure with you.