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Old 11-30-2015   #1
nessles's Avatar
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 75
Choosing a Satellite Device for River Trips: DeLorme vs SPOT?

In the market for a satellite device? They're pretty handy in the backcountry & provide peace of mind, but the cost of the subscription is sometimes more expensive than the device itself. Did a little write-up on why the DeLorme inReach is better than the classic SPOT in this regard. This is not at all comprehensive, but would love to hear some opinions.

Choosing a Satellite Device: DeLorme inReach SE vs. SPOT Gen3

- John

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Old 11-30-2015   #2
San Jose, CA, California
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 433
Nice write up!

I like how you break down cost / possible use.

I am a weekend warrior of sorts so I need that coverage year around.

As is such spot is my lowest cost option. I also like how durable the spot is. I keep mine in my life jacket pocket with only a ziplock bag to add an small additional layer of water proofing to it.

I wish spot had a month to month plan like DeLorme.


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Old 11-30-2015   #3
San Jose, CA, California
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I just clicked through the other links on your site. Nice build.
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Old 11-30-2015   #4
Castle Rock, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 321
The inreach is pretty good, but it is not as good as its marketing. I've found I have to test thoroughly before I head out of town to make sure they haven't screwed up my account, and that their service is not as extensive or as fast as they claim. That said, it is soooo much better than Spot it doesn't leave you with much choice. Pair it with a small solar panel, and a tablet or bluetooth phone and you've really got some incredible capability. It's just about 3-5 years from being bombproof, and I think that depends on irridium. Figure where Moore's Law will put the hand-held in 2 generations of doubled capacity, and the growth in satellite coverage.
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Old 11-30-2015   #5
Wounded Knee's Avatar
Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1974
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 8
We've carried a Spotify device for several years. In 2007 we rented a sat phone for the GC, but found reception so spotty that it was difficult to test the device. Glad we didn't need it for an emergency. For our last Grand Canyon trip in 2013 we rented a Cerberus device. Cost was about $90 for the device, 4 weeks usage. This should have given us 2 way text ability, but we could never receive, only send. That did enable us to report on location and give a brief summary of our daily adventures. If I were buying a device, I'd definitely consider one. Cerberus - Global Connectivity for your Smartphone
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Old 11-30-2015   #6
nessles's Avatar
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 75
Hey Buckmanriver, thanks for the feedback! I've had a couple other sites over the years, but working to get more good stuff onto this one. If I remember correctly I ran into you a couple years ago in Feb on Gore at an outrageously low flow (275 ish).

Plecoptera, totally on point with the inReach being a little slower than the SPOT. I think the Iridium system overall is more predictable, but it could take 5-10 minutes for the message to send. SPOT messages usually go through in just a minute. Haven't had any issues with activation and such, so maybe I'm lucky in that regard.

Wounded Knee, interesting find. I had heard about something like this for smartphones, but I think it worked primarily up in the Himalaya. Seems like a pretty good deal, although there's always more ways for a system to fail if it requires two devices to both be working.

Thanks for the feedback!
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Old 11-30-2015   #7
duct tape's Avatar
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1974
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 637
I've used a 1st gen Spot since it came out for dirt bike/adventure bike riding.

But if I were to buy a new one it would be a PLB, the land based version of a EPIRB. Great for true emergencies and as backup for a sat phone. Doesn't have texting though.

The Great Book Of BASE - Emergency Electronics Review
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Old 11-30-2015   #8
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 332
This is a common conundrum. I chose to drop the cash on a used sat phone through outfitter satellite after an unplanned 18mi walk and bivouac. 7 years later its still going strong. We do trips the require coordinating flights and gear so it's the only way. I also would like the avoid the front page of the paper when you need a tow truck or a couple rolls of TP. I have my current plan through x sat global. They have a 200 min prepaid plan for ~$450 and no charge for minutes. I gifted 160 min this year but it's still
Cheap insurance.
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Old 12-01-2015   #9
Randaddy's Avatar
Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,404
I use the InReach weekly. No cell service where I work so I use it to text home a lot. The "locate" feature on the MapShare page is an oft overlooked feature. If the thing is on, others can find you and send you messages from a simple Web page.

I've used a SPOT too and found they both take a couple minutes to send a message, but not much longer if you have a good view of the sky.
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Old 12-03-2015   #10
Dave Frank's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,727
I think spot has an iPhone app now. Anyone tries this and have feedback?

My on and aunt used one on a recent himalaya trip and we were getting daily location updates from it, though i have no idea about messaging outside of cel coverage.

Nice not to buy a device if your phone has that part covered. Though also nice to leave the phone at home for river trips.

Battery issues come to mind as well.

Sent from my iPhone using Mountain Buzz


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