ACR Bivy Stick vs ZOLEO

This is an in-depth field test comparison between the ACR Bivy Stick vs ZOLEO satellite messengers.

ACR Bivy Stick


What They Have in CommonACR Bivy Stick vs ZOLEO

  • SOS
  • Two-Way Messaging
  • Sync with Smartphone
  • Topo Maps Available on Smartphone App
  • Tracking & Location Sharing
  • Global, Pole to Pole Satellite Coverage
  • Weather Forecasts

How They Are Different

  • ZOLEO Transitions Seamlessly from Wifi, to Cell Service, to Satellite Service
  • ACR Bivy Stick Offers Greater Detail on Maps and Filters for Map Information


Two-Way Messaging

Both of these satellite messengers offer great 2-way messaging, however, the ZOLEO wins this head-to-head confrontation as it allows the user to access wifi, cell service and then satellite service. ZOLEO will always attempt to access the least expensive method of transmitting messaging, which is wifi, and end up using satellite service, which is the most expensive method of sending and receiving messages.

Both ACR and ZOLEO do a great job of two-way messaging, however, it’s an easy decision to go with the satellite communicator that can transition easily from being inside a building with wifi or cell service then going to the outdoors with no service, other than satellite service, without you having to give any thought to the change or where you are.

The outright winner in this head-to-head comparison is ZOLEO.

If seamless communication is your priority, then stick with ZOLEO.

Topo Maps

For me, topo maps are more important than seamless messaging, as I use my satellite messenger for day hikes and other outdoor adventures.

The ZOLEO does not offer a map icon at the bottom of the ZOLEO app, but makes you select a Location Share+ message to click on. You have to select the map image again, before getting to the map page, where you can zoom in and out and go to different locations you may be interested in. See the images below.

ZOLEO Message and Topo Maps

Below are some examples of the map you will see in the ZOLEO app.


The ZOLEO maps are very good, but not excellent. Consider the ACR Bivy app and what it offers. It offers many different icons, from trails, to camp sites, to off-roading to snow shoeing and much more, plus you can filter to limit what is displayed. See some examples below.

ACR Bivy Stick Map Filter

You can see from the images above that you start with all the possible interests the ACR map offers, but then after I filtered by snowshoeing, it only shows the snowshoeing trails, which is powerful and extremely convenient.

There is no doubt, in my opinion, that the ACR Bivy Stick wins this head-to-head comparison, by a wide margin.

Tracking & Location Sharing

Both of these satellite messengers offer great tracking for family and friends that may want to follow you on your adventure or allows them to know you are safe. The first few images are of the ZOLEO Location Share+.

ZOLEO Location Share Plus

To be perfectly honest with you, I was driving on this test, with the ZOLEO sitting on my truck dash board, as I wanted to see how it worked in cell service and then again in satellite service. It worked perfectly.

This next test was with the ACR Bivy Stick tracking. Here is an image of what it looks like in tracking.

ACR Bivy Stick Tracking

You can see both of these satellite messengers offer great tracking information so this one is a toss up for me.

Global Satellite Coverag

This is an easy comparison as they both use the Iridium Satellite Network and offer global, pole to pole coverage.

Iridium Satellite Network

Nothing more to say on this one.

Weather Forecasts

Here are some examples of the weather forecasts you will see for both the ZOLEO and the ACR.

Dark Sky Weather Forecasts

I believe that both of these satellite communicators offer weather forecasts by Dark Sky, so the information displayed is only subtle changes in how the weather is displayed.

Final Thoughts

The ZOLEO is slightly larger, and heavier, but offers the best communication, with wifi, cell service and then satellite service. The ACR Bivy Stick offers good messaging but much more powerful maps with filtering that allows you to focus in on what you’re interested in, plus the map icon is located at the bottom middle of the smartphone app.

They both offer SOS and Tracking that you can select directly from the device itself.

In many ways these satellite messengers are equals, however, if you priority is communication, then the winner is ZOLEO, but if topo maps are your priority, then the ACR Bivy Stick is the winner.

Personally, I give the ACR Bivy Stick the win in this head-to-head comparison.

ACR Bivy Stick Satellite Communicator - Global Two-Way SMS Text Messaging, GPS Tracking, Maps & Navigation, Emergency SOS, Weather Reports, & Location Sharing - Android & iOS Compatible App
  • 🌐 GLOBAL SATELLITE COMMUNICATOR & SATELLITE PHONE ALTERNATIVE: 100% global Iridium satellite coverage for two-way SMS text messaging, GPS tracking, maps & navigation, emergency SOS, weather reports, and location sharing. Compatible with iOS & Android apps. Subscription required. Monthly: (Basic $19.99 | Plus $34.99 | Unlimited $59.99). Annual: (Basic $14.99 | Plus $29.99 | Unlimited $54.99). One time 3-month commitment per device, then month-to-month. Plans available globally.
  • 📡 TRI-NETWORK COVERAGE & APP-TO-APP MESSAGING: Benefit from least-cost routing with priority given to Wi-Fi, followed by cellular, and then satellite. Effortlessly connect with others using app-to-app messaging, your dedicated phone number, or email. Choose ACR Bivy Stick, the leading alternative to satellite phones for unrestricted two-way communication, and the freedom to initiate and receive messages confidently.
  • 👥 GROUP Messaging & Tracking: Keep your crew connected with GroupTrack, featuring group messaging and location sharing for up to 12 people. Monitor your team off-grid using the Bivy Stick and app or in-network via a web browser. Ideal for search & rescue, guiding services, remote workers, outfitters, adventure racing, overlanding groups, and more.
  • 💬 CHECK-IN WITH EASE & GPS LOCATION SHARING: Effortlessly send unlimited & customizable check-in messages that include your GPS location with this advanced outdoor communication device. Use the dedicated check-in button on the device or through the app to keep your loved ones updated on your whereabouts. A shareable webpage displays a map with your GPS coordinates and a check-in breadcrumb trail, allowing others to follow your journey.
  • 🗺️ OFFLINE MAPS & NAVIGATION: Download detailed maps from around the world to ensure you're never lost, even without cellular service. Easily navigate and track your location off the grid using device-based GPS with this satellite messenger. The Bivy app offers over 50,000 adventures to explore, with 20 different adventure types available. Monitor your pace, mileage, altitude, and more on your journey.

This product was presentation was made with AAWP plugin.

ZOLEO Satellite Communicator – Two-Way Global SMS Text Messenger & Email, Emergency SOS Alerting, Check-in & GPS Location – Android iOS Smartphone Accessory
  • 🌎ZOLEO GLOBAL TWO-WAY SATELLITE COMMUNICATOR: Rugged, GPS location-aware and Iridium satellite based, the ZOLEO device links with the free ZOLEO app on your smartphone to keep you connected when outside cell coverage. Monthly subscription required: $20, $35 or $50 (25, 250 or unlimited satellite messages) with unlimited check-in, SOS, cell and Wi-Fi messages included. After the initial 3-month commitment, suspend for just $4/mo. Plans available in USA, Canada, Australia, EU but work globally.
  • ✉️GLOBAL MESSAGING AS IT WAS MEANT TO BE: ZOLEO extends your messaging coverage to everywhere on earth transmitting over the lowest cost network available (satellite, cellular or Wi-Fi). ZOLEO offers a familiar text messaging experience to and from any SMS text number, email address or another ZOLEO app user. By taking advantage of cellular or Wi-Fi when available and the Iridium network (a truly global satellite network) when it isn’t, ZOLEO offers seamless coverage wherever you go!
  • 📲DEDICATED SMS PHONE NUMBER & EMAIL ADDRESS: Your assigned ZOLEO SMS number and email address allows your contacts to initiate messaging with you, as opposed to them waiting to receive a message from you to which they can reply.
  • 🆘EMERGENCY ALERTING & MEDICAL ASSIST: If something goes wrong, declaring an SOS ensures your SOS alert and GPS coordinates are sent to the expert 24/7 emergency monitoring service. Your ZOLEO service also includes Medical Assist, a convenient 24/7 chat service for non-emergency medical advice, help locating medical services or replacing medical supplies.
  • ✅CHECK-IN & LOCATION SHARING: Check in to let others know you’re OK (using built-in device button or the ZOLEO app) and share your GPS location via messages, check-ins, automated Location Share+ updates or through a secure Share Map URL. Location Share+ (add-on at $6/mo) allows for automatic location sharing at a selected interval and includes a breadcrumb trail viewable on a map.

This product was presentation was made with AAWP plugin.

Check out this YouTube video of the ACR Bivy Stick vs ZOLEO satellite messengers.

If you would like to see ALL the Satellite Messengers in another review, see my Emergency Radio Reviews.

Return to Home Page

Leave a Comment