• Aznealz

    It’s a cool tool Mark. We use the Connect and sat phones in the field when on surveys and research trips. Although there have been times in narrow slot canyons here in AZ when we couldn’t get enough sky to even find a satellite. Still, it’s a good backup.

    You and your teaser hook titles! When I first read it, I thought it was a new and potentially hunt ending injury you had sustained. Glad I was wrong. And, it made me read the piece. Nice work.

    • SoleAdventure

      Ha ha! Didn’t mean to mislead you. ;-)

  • MO_buckhunter

    Good article Mark! These types of devices have always interested me. I do have one question though: how will you keep your iPhone charged? iPhone batteries aren’t known for being long lasting. Just wondering if you used something to charge it in the field.

    • Terry Howe

      Brunton makes a nice USB solar charger that I’ve packed in on hunts, but personally, I would not want to carry something that heavy on a long trip like Mark is planning. I’ve had that solar cell charger on backpack hunts where I’ve made drops of supplies weeks in advance.

      I have the Spot 2 which I just use for OK messages to my wife and “elk down” messages to call friends for help packing out.

    • SoleAdventure

      The portable/solar power market has exploded! There are are kinds of different chargers or stand-by batteries, but so far, I’m not planning on taking any of them. I’ll only be turning my phone on when I send a message, and I don’t plan on sending them extremely frequently, so I think I’ll be able to make it through the trip. That said, I’m going to do some more testing on the battery drain and consider a lightweight charger or back-up battery.

      • You can get fairly light weight phone chargers. Its sort of like packing an extra battery. I download ebooks on my phone and read them at night. If I was to add the connect, I’d have to bring at least of of those. I have been testing the Outdoor Tech Kodiak and will pick up the mini next. Pretty solid product so far. http://www.outdoortechnology.com/Shop/Kodiak-Mini/ Might be worth checking out. ;)

        • SoleAdventure

          I’ve since started using this unit, which performs very well: http://www.amazon.com/Levin-trade-Rain-resistant-Shockproof-authentic/dp/B00JEGLLHM/. It isn’t as light/small as the stick you referenced, but the solar recharge is valuable to me.

          • Nice! I like the solar option! Amazing what they are doing with portable power these days! : )

          • SoleAdventure

            It is amazing. This unit is the best of both worlds — stored capacity in the battery and on-demand charging with solar. I’ll leave it out all day to put juice in the battery, then used that stored juice to replenish devices at night.

  • Allan K.

    Very interesting Mark, I was looking int o the same device, certain parts of Kentucky have very spotty cell coverage, Just wondering how you’re going to charge your phone?

    • SoleAdventure

      Hey Allan, I responded to the same question from another commenter. (See the thread.) But, basically I’m planning on only having my phone on when I’m sending a message, and pending some testing, I’m hoping that’ll last me the whole trip.

  • Donnie

    Mark, I know this is an older post but how did the SPOT hold up? I’ve read a lot of mixed reviews.

    • SoleAdventure

      I’ve heard the mixed reviews as well. It has worked great the in numerous continental states that I have used it in, however. I wasn’t so lucky when I tried SPOT’s phone product.

      • Donnie

        After a little more research, it looks like the Delorme InReach may be a contender. Still researching though.

        • SoleAdventure

          The are pros/cons each way. I love the fact that the InReach is two-way messaging, whereas the SPOT only sends outbound messages. I also believe that DeLorme as restructured their service plans since I was looking (two years ago), so it might be a better deal now, too.

  • Mike

    The gold standard for rescue beacons is ACR Artex ResQLink. It’s only job is to let SAR know where you are and get help. I’ll pass on the outbound text messages – the ResQLink has 10-12x the transmit power of the SPOT and a 5 year battery. Downsides are that it’s more expensive, doesn’t do anything other than alert (multiple) SAR services, and batteries are very expensive to replace.

  • Jacob Ellison

    Another great article! How has the cell signal been for you in the mountains of CO where you have been? I’m curious to see how cell coverage has expanded over the years into these remote locations..

    • SoleAdventure

      So many variables. We’ve had pretty good luck getting texts in/out if we’re high enough (often over 10k), but I wouldn’t necessarily count on having service if you’re headed to a new area. Then you have to consider things like, what happens if you experience an immobilizing injury while you’re down in some hell-hole chasing an elk.

      When we head back to the same area this year as we were last year, I’d feel comfortable not having a satellite option. I know we can get service if we’re high and I know that my partner could get there if I had an injury (or vice versa).