Thursday, October 21, 2021
HomeHikingWhy I purchased a SPOT 4 | Gear Evaluation

Why I purchased a SPOT 4 | Gear Evaluation

…and in addition carry a PLB.

It’s fairly unimaginable the methods through which expertise has modified the bush search and rescue (LandSAR) panorama lately. I’ve performed fairly just a few critiques and articles that evaluate completely different satellite tv for pc communication units, resembling a PLB (Private Locator Beacon), Garmin InReach or SPOT, however when it got here to my private desire, I might all the time carry a PLB. All that modified a month in the past after I additionally purchased* a SPOT Gen4.

SPOT Tracker Gen 4 buttons
5 buttons – 5 actions – 5 messages

I keep in mind when brick-like PLBs, just like the (nonetheless present) GME Accusat, which slid comfortably into my backpack for a few years (sure, testing the battery yearly), first got here onto the market. Prices have been excessive and so it was nice to be a part of a bushwalking membership who bought just a few that we may borrow. A PLB is type of like elevating a really lengthy arm, means up into the environment, tickling a satellite tv for pc’s underbelly and inflicting it to ship a message to AMSA together with your location. I can’t inform it what the issue is or any particulars, simply the place I’m and that I want emergency assist.

Then issues began getting smaller and lighter, with far more options included.

I upgraded my brick PLB to the teeny 116gram Ocean Sign RescueMe, which nonetheless takes delight of place in my backpack.

SPOT Tracker 4
SPOT Gen 4 out within the Blue Mountains Nationwide Park.

What’s the distinction between a PLB and a SPOT or Garmin InReach?

Bang for buck, I nonetheless reckon {that a} PLB shouldn’t be solely one of the best worth for cash (one-off price, no subscription), however it’s the best resolution that doesn’t embody any middle-man, with very low reviews of failure.

Up to now, I’ve carried each a SPOT for work (it’s extremely popular in guiding) and a Garmin InReach. What’s completely different about these kinds of satellite tv for pc communication units, is that when my very lengthy arm extends as much as the heavens to tickle the satellite tv for pc, it first beams the message over to a third-party relay abroad, earlier than forwarding (nearly immediately) any emergency name for assist to AMSA. These units want a subscription on high of the preliminary tools price, however this subscription comes with added options. Sure, digital fries with that.

Wanna learn up on all of the nitty-gritty specs and information? Soar in right here to the producer’s blurb.

I’ve programmed the check-in button as a little bit of a heads-up, all good, standing replace.

So what modified for me?


I do know, I do know, you’re considering, how on earth can a worldwide pandemic make me wish to purchase a SPOT 4, after I’ve been totally happy with a PLB up till now?

Properly, quite a bit has modified for many people throughout lockdowns and restrictions. For me, one in every of my greatest adjustments has been by way of the methods through which I expertise the bush. Up till now, this has all the time been in a small group, with pals or members of my bushwalking membership. This touches on the entire challenge of solo mountaineering and while this text isn’t about that can-of-worms, I’ve been aware that my common walks for train in my native nationwide park have new dangers, which I wanted to deal with. There isn’t a query that strolling in a bunch (or no less than with one different individual) helps mitigate sure dangers (an additional pair of arms to use first help, name for assist, brainstorm points, and many others). In the event you’ve ever needed to do a threat administration plan, you’ll know that it’s all about figuring out dangers and their potential outcomes, then making use of varied measures to cut back the severity of these outcomes. Carrying a SPOT 4 is a technique that I’ve chosen to assist mitigate the dangers related to travelling solo into the bush.

SPOT Gen 4
Suits within the palm of your hand and 172 grams with included carabiner


I’m very fortunate to be part of an ideal group. By group, I imply not solely the geographic location of the Blue Mountains – a metropolis inside a World Heritage Nationwide Park – however a group of pals and acquaintances who all spend a superb period of time within the bush and have a really excessive degree of abilities within the outside. These are individuals I belief implicitly (even to maintain a secret) and I do know that if I ever simply wanted one other hand (not the ‘full cavalry’ of a Police Rescue callout) I may hit them up with a SPOT ping they usually’d come to assist.

The Assist/SOV message I’ve programmed into my SPOT settings. That is despatched as an sms and electronic mail to my contacts.


That SPOT characteristic of ‘not the total cavalry’ (what SPOT calls ‘Assist/SOV’ button) was the decider for me. Certain, I may’ve received a Garmin InReach Mini (tethered it to my telephone and despatched full sms messages with particulars), however for me (see beneath!) I’m reminded of the explanations I’m going into the bush within the first place. I’m going to disconnect… to reconnect. There’s one thing about having the ability to ship sms messages and even Fb messages by way of an InReach, that may be no completely different to being in full cell protection and contactable always. That’s not essentially one thing that I wish to do in a wild and pure surroundings.

The customized message I’ve programmed in for my contacts. They’re welcome to return and be a part of me… with beer.
The hyperlink within the sms and electronic mail takes my contacts to this show.

What’s one of the best distant communications machine for you?

Properly, that each one relies upon.

Danger and threat tolerance is a really private and subjective factor. While I personally don’t need the comfort of sending an sms or two-way satellite tv for pc communication on faucet, for others, this might be precisely the jam you’re on the lookout for to offer you (or your family members) that usually touted, ‘peace of thoughts’.

So in the event you’re trying to purchase a satellite tv for pc gadget and studying infinite opinion-filled boards or gear critiques, maybe take a second to assume not solely in regards to the logistics of worth, efficiency pedigree and options, however the sociological facet that introducing a brand new gadget will deliver.

*PS: And sure… I purchased the SPOT 4, it wasn’t sponsored or supplied to me freed from cost. Nevertheless, in the event you select to get one by way of one of many hyperlinks on this article, it’s an affiliate hyperlink to Snowy’s Outside – an ideal Aussie outside retailer. They’ve nice costs, you’ll pay no extra, however I’ll get a small fee. Thanks!

Purchase a SPOT Gen 4 now.

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