Emergency Radio Reviews

These emergency radio reviews, which may be better known as Personal Locator Beacon Reviews or Satellite Messenger Reviews, are a summary of the devices and the typical best uses for them, but remember that the services and initial price may only be part of the what is needed for your decision-making process. The subscription costs and coverage areas are just as important, especially if you are on a budget.

Garmin GPSMAP 67i

This will not be a recommendation for the best product to buy due to the wide variety of options available and the individual’s needs, which will not always point to the number one product for every situation and person. The following emergency radio reviews are a summary of the products so you can decide what will work best for you.

Please leave a comment below or send me an email if you have additional questions.

Garmin inReach Explorer+Garmin inReach Explorer+

The Garmin inReach Explorer may be the all around top performer, as long as price, size, weight and battery life are not your primary concern. The Explorer+ provides you with emergency SOS service but will also give you 2-way non-emergency messaging, location sharing plus navigation. This really does provide the most safety and convenience options in one device.

The Explorer+ is a satellite communicator with maps and sensors. It’s a rugged communicator with two-way messaging and includes an interactive SOS system that reaches out to a rescue monitoring center. You can track and share your location with family, friends and even social media. Pair the Explorer+ to a compatible mobile device and gain access to downloadable topo maps for navigation. There are also preloaded DeLorme topo maps with onscreen GPS routing plus a built-in digital compass, barometric altimeter and accelerometer. You can sign up for an optional inReach weather forecast service that provides detailed updates directly to your device.

You can access flexible satellite airtime plans with an active satellite subscription plan. The subscription plans come in monthly or annual plans.

The Garmin inReach Explorer+ may be the best device for nearly comprehensive communication with family, friends and rescue crews when you are out of cell service. The Explorer+ may be the right choice for you if you want more navigational services and a longer battery life over the Garmin inReach Mini 2.

Pro’s

  • 2-way messaging service
  • Built-in topo maps without being synced to your smartphone
  • Great smartphone app
  • Navigation
  • Trackback if lost
  • Proven global satellite network

Garmin GPSMAP 67i

 

Con’s

  • Size and weight
  • Expensive initial purchase
  • Shorter battery life than Personal Locator Devices (PLBs)

Bottom Line

The Garmin inReach Explorer+ is a great option if you want the peace of mind of being able to contact emergency services, friends and family plus have the luxuries of navigation, location tracking and a host of other convenient services.

Garmin inReach SE PlusNote: The GPSMAP 67i is one of the devices that is replacing the Explorer+

Garmin GPSMAP 67i

Garmin inReach SE+

The Garmin inReach SE+ is identical to the Garmin inReach Explorer+, but it does not have the Built-in topo maps that can be displayed on the device itself. The topo maps can be viewed on you smartphone when they are synced.

Learn more about the Garmin inReach SE+ HERE.

Garmin inReach Mini 2

garmin-inreach-mini-2The Garmin inReach Mini 2 may be the best option for you if you like many of the services the Garmin inReach Explorer+ offers without the built-in navigational services. The Mini is much smaller and lighter but it also has a lower batter life. The inReach Mini 2 is a great lightweight rugged option that also allows you to send pre-programmed messages, along with custom messages with unlimited text messaging, which may save you money in the long run.

The Mini 2 is a lightweight and compact satellite communicator. It has 2-way text messaging via the global iridium satellite network. Trigger an interactive SOS to rescue services via a 24/7 rescue monitoring center. Access downloadable maps and aerial imagery via the Garmin Explorer app with compatible devices. Optional inReach weather forecasts area available directly to your device with a subscription service. Internal, rechargeable lithium battery provides up to 90 hours of battery life in the 10-minute tracking mode.

The inReach Mini 2 is smaller and lighter than the inReach Explorer+ coming in at 4″ tall by 2″ wide and weighing only 3.5 oz. The GPS based location tracking will also allow your family, friends and even social media to keep track of your location when in the field.

The Garmin inReach Mini 2 may be the best satellite messenger overall, with the exception that it doesn’t built-in, on-screen topo maps, however, many outdoor enthusiasts use the navigation capabilities of their smartphones and do not need this service on their Mini 2. The inReach Mini 2 provides the peace of mind of 2-way text messaging plus the SOS rescue services option for life-saving events in a lightweight and compact device that may be the right choice for you.

Pro’s

  • Size and weight
  • 2-way messaging service
  • Navigation
  • Topo maps when synced with your phone
  • Proven global satellite network

Con’s

  • Texting on device is slow on the device itself
  • Expensive initial purchase but less than the Garmin inReach Explorer+
  • Shorter battery life than Personal Locator Devices (PLBs)

Garmin inReach Mini 2

Bottom Line

The Garmin inReach Mini 2 is a great option if you want the peace of mind of being able to contact emergency services, friends and family without the size and weight of the larger emergency locator devices.

Spot X

SPOT X

The SPOT X has a built-in compass with programmable waypoints with 2-way messaging but the really nice thing about the SPOT X is the built in keyboard which allows for much quicker and easier messaging than other on-screen messaging devices. It also provides you with a unique U.S. cell phone number so your family and friends can message you directly from their cell phones.

The SPOT X provides direct communication with search and rescue services in-case of life threatening emergencies. This direct communication can be invaluable when it comes to guiding the search teams to your location and to alert them to exact situation they should be prepared for. You can load 14 predefined messages to make communicating with friends and family much easier.

Select from 2.5, 5, 10, 30 or 60 minute tracking intervals for friends and family to follow you on your adventure. Be aware that the smaller the interval tracking time, the lower your battery life will be. The SPOT X also has a built-in compass and programmable waypoints to help you navigate, even without the navigation options offered by other devices. Also, the keyboard is illuminated and the battery will last for 10 days in the continuous 10-minute tracking mode.

The SPOT X is the only device that will send texts independently without needing to be synced to a smartphone or use a slow onscreen keyboard. It makes sending custom texts easy and effortless. The unique U.S. cell phone number will make sending messages to rescue teams, friends and family to explain your emergency and receive confirmation.

Pro’s

  • 2-way messaging service
  • On-device keyboard
  • Unique U.S. cell phone number

Con’s

  • Bulky and heavy
  • No smartphone interface

Bottom Line

The advantage the SPOT X has over its competitors is the built-in key board and unique U.S. cell phone number that really will be an advantage if you need to communicate more information to your friends, family and rescue teams in a life threatening emergency.

SPOT X Bluetooth

SPOT Gen4

The SPOT Gen4 is a critical life saving emergency locator that can send and SOS distress call and three pre-programmed messages only. This is classified as a satellite messenger but it is not farSPOT Gen 4 off from having the same function as a Portable Locator Beacon (PLB). The advantage to the Gen4 is its size, weight and significantly reduced cost. The SPOT Gen 4 does come with monthly and yearly service plans.

The SPOT Gen4 gives you a critical, life-saving line of communication when traveling outside of cell service coverage. The Gen4 lets family and friends know you’re okay, or if the worst should happen, sends a message to emergency responders and gives them your GPS location. This is a rugged, pocket sized device that should be a part of your essential gear.

The SPOT Gen4 allows you to change the tracking rate from 2.5, 5, 10, 30 or 60 minute intervals. its motion activated and a vibration sensor tells SPOT when you are moving and when you are stopped, which conserves battery power. Additional batteries could be carried with you plus rechargeable batteries are always a great idea.

There are 10 predetermined messages that can be sent with the push of a button plus your waypoints are stored in your SPOT account for later reference.

The SPOT Gen4 is a lightweight and compact device that is basically for emergencies only. It has no navigation capabilities and is limited on its outgoing communication, and remember, it can only send out-going messages. its’s significantly less expensive than other satellite messengers, however, as stated earlier, this is basically a PLB for emergencies only.

Pro’s

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Good rental options
  • Low initial purchase cost

Con’s

  • No 2-way communication
  • No smartphone interface
  • No navigation services

Bottom Line

The SPOT Gen4 is basically a ramped up Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) which gives you the option to send out 10 pre-programmed messages. If you want a lightweight PLB with some basic messages you can send home than this really may be the device for you.

SPOT Gen 4

Somewear Global Hotspot

Somewear Global Hotspot

The Somewear Global Hotspot is a small, lightweight satellite messenger but requires your smartphone to be synced in order to use it. I normally don’t want to add my opinion to early into a review but I have personally had my smartphone die on me on hiking trips after two days, depending on how much I use it or if I put it in save power mode. This has been an issue for me that I want to make sure you are aware of. You may want to invest in a Portable Charger to take on your trip.

The Somewear Global Hotspot enables any smartphone to have satellite connectivity, giving you the reliable coverage needed to explore in style. The iridium satellite network offers 100% global coverage in an ultralight, compact form that easily fits into your pocket or on your pack. With your smartphone synced, you can easily text family and friends, give them tracking information and receive weather forecasts.

Somewear is partnered with GEOS Worldwide to offer 24/7 SOS monitoring services with every satellite data subscription.

The Somewear Global Hotspot is one of the smallest emergency devices with 2-wya communication, but this requires your smartphone to work. On the bright side, the subscription plans are not as expensive.

Pro’s

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Less expensive subscription options
  • Proven satellite and dispatch networks

Con’s

  • You must have your smartphone synced for this device to work

Bottom Line

The Somewear Global Hotspot is a lightweight, compact and convenient option, as long as you have a smartphone and don’t lose power. Saying that, this could be a great option for someone but I personally won’t have this in my pack.

Bivy Stick

ACR Bivy Stick

The ACR Bivy Stick is the most recent version of Bivystick to hit the emergency locator market and has been on the scene since 2018. Its’s much smaller and lighter then the original Bivystick and requires your smartphone to use most of it’s functions but it has a slick design and those of you who like Bivy Apps, will love how this works.

The ACR Bivy Stick has 2-way communication and can send or receive text messages anywhere in the world. If you have a view of the sky, you can communicate. You can share your location via text message, Facebook or Twitter. Your friends and family will rest easier when you share your progress and location on detailed topo maps.

There are no contracts or annual fees so your budget will feel better after your initial purchase.

When things don’t go as planned, the ACR Bivy Stick will get you in contact with emergency services using GEOS with 24/7 monitoring. You can communicate directly with rescue teams to provide them the much-needed information to reach you and give you the medical attention you need.

The Bivy Stick, with it’s new small size and weigth, continue to up shake up the market up with its integration with your smartphone and Bivy apps.

Pro’s

  • Topo Maps
  • 2-Way Messenger
  • Reliable network
  • Solid construction
  • Bivy apps

Con’s

  • You must have your smartphone synced with the ACR Bivy Stick for most of it’s functions to work

Bottom Line

The ACR Bivy Stick is shaking up the market, with its small size and weight, but you need to be connected to your smartphone to use most of it’s functions.

ACR Bivy Stick

ZOLEO

Zoleo Satellite MessengerThe ZOLEO is one of the newest satellite messengers on the market. This messenger is a great two-way satellite communicator, plus it offers sharing, tracking, topo maps when synced to your smartphone, plus weather forecasts and more.

The best feature about the ZOLEO satellite messenger is it’s communication abilities. This is the only satellite communicator that uses wifi, cell service and satellite service. ZOLEO uses the least expensive method of messaging first, which is wifi, then it will search for cell service, if wifi is not available, and finally will use satellite service, which is the most expensive method of communication.

Without thinking about it or having to do anything, the ZOLEO satellite messenger will be able to communicate inside a building or out in the mountains seamlessly. If communication is a priority for you then you will not be able to beat ZOLEO.

Pro’s

  • Two-way messaging with wifi, cell service, and satellite service
  • Compact & lightweight
  • Less expensive initial price
  • Global, pole to pole satellite coverage

Con’s

  • You must have your smartphone synced for this device to work
  • Cannot view topo maps without being synced to your smartphone

Find out more about the ZOLEO satellite messenger HERE.

Bottom Line

This is by far, in my opinion when field testing, the best two-way communicator on the market. It’s not the overall best satellite messenger, but it is best at 2-way messaging.

ZOLEO

BivystickBivystick (Replaced by the ACR Bivy Stick)

The Bivystick is a newcomer to the emergency locator market and has been on the scene since 2018. its’s heavy and cumbersome and requires your smartphone to use but it has a slick design and those of you who like Bivy Apps, will love how this works.

The Bivystick has 2-way communication and can send or receive text messages anywhere in the world. If you have a view of the sky, you can communicate. You can share your location via text message, Facebook or Twitter. Your friends and family will rest easier when you share your progress and location on detailed topo maps.

There are no contracts or annual fees so your budget will feel better after your initial purchase.

When things don’t go as planned, the Bivystick will get you in contact with emergency services using GEOS with 24/7 monitoring. You can communicate directly with rescue teams to provide them the much-needed information to reach you and give you the medical attention you need.

The Bivystick may end up shaking the market up with its integration with your smartphone and Bivy apps. We’ll have to wait and see but keep an eye on this one as it may change the way we keep in touch in emergencies in the future.

Pro’s

  • Reliable network
  • Solid construction
  • Bivy apps

Con’s

  • Large and heavy
  • You must have your smartphone together with the Bivystick for it to work

Bottom Line

The Bivystick may soon shake up the market, but for now, its size, weight and need for your smartphone may keep its popularity to a minimum.

ACR Bivy Stick

Go Tenna MeshGo Tenna Mesh

The Go Tenna Mesh is more suited for festival or concert goers. Two or more devices can be synced and communicate directly to each other but the range is limited to about 4 miles, unless there are other Go Tenna Mesh users in the area and then the ranges may be increased. The emergency coverage is more limited than the other devices mentioned here so keep this in mind if you think the Go Tenna Mesh is right for you.

The Go Tenna Mesh is a sleek, lightweight device that pairs with your smartphone, and keeps your group connected when venturing off grid. You can send text and GPS locations without cell or wifi. It works with and iOS or Android smartphone and it typically has a 4-mile point-to-point range. The Mesh networking enables privately relayed messages.

Stay connected in remote areas, share GPS locations and send for help if you get into trouble. You can avoid costly international plans by using Go Tenna to stay in touch with other travelers. Go Tenna will work great when local networks are overloaded with large groups of people wanting to communicate at places like concerts, festivals and sporting events.

The Go Tenna Mesh has a network unlike anything else in this review. This is a great device for two or more users in a large crowd if communicating in an area 4 miles or less. It would be great for festivals, concerts and sporting events but would also be helpful when traveling with a group or with family.

Pro’s

  • Light and compact
  • Customizable communication network

Con’s

  • Limited coverage area
  • Limits to securing emergency assistance

Bottom Line

This device is better used at sporting events, festivals, and concerts than a remote hiking or backpacking trip deep into the wilderness. The Go Tenna Mesh may not belong with these other emergency locators but it should make you think about other situations where it would work better and should be considered for keeping in touch with friends and family.

Ocean Signal RescueME PLB1

Ocean Signal RescueME PLB1

The Ocean Signal RescueME PLB1 has earned one of the top spots among PLBs in that it has a proven network of satellites that summons help in life saving emergencies only. its’s lightweight and compact and is a valuable tool to have in your pack if the worst should happen.

The Ocean Signal RescueME PLB1 is the worlds smallest PLB. its’s waterproof to 15m and has no subscription cost. its’s linked to emergency services via satellite and has fast accurate positioning. It includes a high intensity (1 candela) strobe light with an easily deployed antenna and a 7-year battery life. The extended battery life is due to the battery not being used until activated.

The RescueME has a homing beacon to aid in your location by search and rescue teams. Whether you are on land or see, the RescueME PLB1 provides the reassurance that global emergency services can be alerted by the press of a button.

The Ocean Signal RescueME PLB1 is a compact, affordable “help me” button that can fit in your pocket or on your pack. It has a reliable and proven system for rescue calls and operations. It’s important to equip yourself with some kind of emergency beacon whether you are hiking in the wild or traveling around the world in unfamiliar territory.

Pro’s

  • Light and compact
  • Reasonable initial purchase price with no subscription
  • Reliable and proven global network

Con’s

  • No non-emergency messaging

Bottom Line

This is a great, potentially life saving piece of equipment that is lightweight, compact, fits in your pocket or on your pack and should be part of everyone’s essential gear. It may only be a 1-way emergency transmitter, but it is the best at what it does.

rescueME PLB1

ACR ResQlink View

 

ACR ResQlink View

The ACR ResQlink View is a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) for 1-way outgoing SOS or emergency distress call only. It may not have a lot of extra services or the ability to receive incoming messages but what it does, it does well and has a long track record of saving lives.

The ACR ResQlink View is small but tough. This PLB is a buoyant, GPS enabled rescue beacon that is suited for outdoor adventures of all sizes. Whether you want to boat, hunt, hike or cycle, this should be part of your essential gear.

The ResQlink View will display your location in an emergency to a reliable system of satellites for the first responders. its’s buoyant, has an LED strobe light, has a self test function and 66 channel GPS.

The ACR ResQlink View is a compact, full-functional personal locator beacon from a long-standing company that uses the COSPAS/SARSAT communication network and protocol. The explicit function of the ResQlink is to send a distress SOS transmission.

Pro’s

  • COSPAS/SARSAT’s reliability and long track record
  • No annual subscription
  • Simple operation
  • Free battery replacement if used

Con’s

  • Larger and heavier than its closest competitor

Bottom Line

This is a great Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) that is simple and easy to use, manufactured by a long-standing company with a long track record of responding to and saving lives.

ACR ResQLink View

ACR Aqualink View

ACR Aqualink View

The ACR Aqualink View is a PLB and is a cousin to the ACR ResQlink View. They provide similar functions but its primary function, other that an emergency SOS distress beacon may be for boaters or mariners.

The ACR Aqualink View is a personal locator beacon that you can head offshore with confidence of the handheld locator beacon. Its digital display provides all the important information about the beacon’s functions, including GPS positioning and transmission bursts. Plus, its buoyant design means that if it falls overboard, it will float.

Have the peace of mind knowing that if an emergency should occur, this personal emergency beacon will quickly relay your position to satellite networks, and reduce search and rescue time.

The ACR ResQlink View is a compact, full-functional personal locator beacon from a long-standing company that uses the COSPAS/SARSAT communication network and protocol. The explicit function of the ResQlink is to send a distress SOS transmission.

Pro’s

  • COSPAS/SARSAT’s reliability and long track record
  • No annual subscription
  • Simple operation
  • Free battery replacement if used

Con’s

  • Larger and heavier than its closest competitor

Bottom Line

This is a great Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) that is simple and easy to use, manufactured by a long-standing company with a long track record of responding to and saving lives.

ACR ResQLink 400

Need Additional Information? Checkout this Article “Which Locator Beacon is Right for Me?”

Need Additional Batteries, Rechargeable Batteries or a Portable Charger? Check These Out in Accessories.

If you would like additional information, go to my HELP ME CHOOSE page, leave a COMMENT BELOW or send me an EMAIL.

Check out my Top 11 Satellite Messengers of 2023 in this YouTube video below.

Return to Home Page

Garmin inReach Mini 2, Lightweight and Compact Satellite Communicator, Hiking Handheld, Orange
  • Compact, lightweight satellite communicator enables two-way messaging and interactive SOS globally (Active satellite subscription required. Some jurisdictions regulate or prohibit the use of satellite communication devices.)
  • Navigate back to where you started by using TracBack routing
  • Share your location with loved ones back home at any time (active satellite subscription required) by using your MapShare page or with your coordinates embedded in your messages
  • Get accurate heading information using the digital compass — even when you’re not moving
  • Sync with the Garmin Explore app and website on your compatible smartphone for trip planning and topographical mapping, and create waypoints, courses, activities and collections you can sync to your device
  • Pair with Garmin devices, such as wearables and handhelds, and use them to send and receive messages and trigger an SOS (active satellite subscription required)

This product was presentation was made with AAWP plugin.

28 thoughts on “Emergency Radio Reviews”

  1. Thanks for this informative review,  I haven’t taught of the reasons to own an emergency radio until now, I got to understand with an emergency radio I’ll get all kind of weather update and emergency information if I’m in need to batten down or evacuate. Finding the perfect emergency radio can be a difficult task and I’m glad you made it easier to make choices, I honestly do find this post very helpful, thanks for sharing. 

    Reply
    • This seemed like an overwhelming task at first to research and write about all of these emergency hiking beacons but the more I research and write, the more clear it has become to me.

      I have my preferences now, based on the type of hiking I do, and I typically like the small and compact emergency locator devices that will make the SOS distress call if I really need it, but I want to buy the Garmin inReach Explorer+ soon as I want to see if all of the extra features and navigation is worth the price and the extra weight.

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. Make sure you bookmark this site and come back to learn more in the future.

      Rick

      Reply
  2. What emergency radio do you recommend the most? Have you tried all of these emergency radios? There are many options that you discuss, and it can be difficult to pick out the best one. Adding an opinion to your review would be very helpful for your viewers to decide, which product to go with. 

    Reply
    • I agree with you completely. I have refrained from giving my personal opinion because the emergency beacon I need may not be the one for you or many others. 

      I wrote a new blog today about the one I chose. It is my “What Emergency Beacon for Hiking Will I Buy” and it is located under my blog tab.

      I ended up choosing the SPOT Gen3 today as I had enough money to buy it and it was also important for me to have an emergency beacon on my pack, soon.

      When I have a little more money to spend, I will most likely be purchasing the Garmin Mini. This one has a reliable network, is light and compact yet has some additional features I would like to have access to on the trail.

      I hope that helps and I guess I just gave you my personal opinion as to my next purchase. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

      Rick

      Reply
  3. Hello; Am I to understand that there is a store I the mountain range that sells all these emergency Radios From the information given on each device I consider it a necessary input to mountain hikers life when they can find a store in the mountain where they can source necessary gadgets as such.

    DorcasW

    Reply
    • There are local stores here in Colorado that do sell emergency locators but if you plan ahead, even by just a few days, you can also find them online.

      I just ordered the SPOT Gen3 today (Friday) and it will be delivered to me in two days on Sunday. I am going out on two hiking trips this weekend so I will likely be going out without my new Gen3 but that means I just need to be a little more careful and it would also help to make sure I have cell service.

      Take a look at some of your local stores and see if they carry any emergency locators and if not, then just give yourself a little more time to order one.

      I hope this helps.

      Rick

      Reply
  4. I know an emergency radio is a must have gadget for every adventure lover. I would prefer a radio that is a bit light on weight and one that can fit the palm of the hand. The Garmini inReach Explorer does not seem to fit this specification.

    The Somewhere Global Hotspot looks like a great one for me. I love the size and the sleek design.I do not mind syncing my mobile phone to it. I could use an extra power bank for power emergencies. I like that I can easily text my location and situation for emergency rescue purposes.

    Thank you for presenting us with such a comprehensive comparison. This is a very useful article!

    Reply
    • The Global Hotspot can be the right choice for many people. That’s one of the reasons I am careful not to tell everyone that “this one” is the best. We all live different lives and have different needs but one of these will be the right one for someone. 

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing. It’s helpful to see people’s thoughts and opinions and it helps remind us all that there is not “one” perfect emergency locator.

      Thanks,

      Rick 

      Reply
  5. This are good radio responders I must confess. You have given a very good and detailed analysis of each of them. One thing I would like is one that is very durable and can also give good navigation and this is why after reading this review on all of them, I have chosen the Garmin inReach Explorer+ because it meets all the categories of all I want. Thank you for a good review here.

    Reply
    • Hey John, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I agree that the Garmin inReach Explorer+ is a great satellite messenger, especially if you want the built-in navigation.

      I just bought the SPOT Gen3 today as it fit my budget better and it was something I could put in my pack this week, but I will be looking to add either the Garmin inReach Mini or the Explorer+ in the next several months.

      Please stop by again and let me know how you like the Garmin inReach Explorer+. I would love to hear your experiences with it and your opinions on it.

      Rick

      Reply
  6. I used to live in the high arctic in Canada and it just blew my mind how many people would go off on their snow machines and end up lost with no way of being tracked.  Many people have died this way and its often those that were very sure of their way but things just went wrong.  I think that the very least that a person should have on them is the Ocean Signal RescueME.  I like the long battery life and the fact that there is no subscription fee.  This would definitely save lives in the most desperate times.

    Reply
    • You are so right. I was just talking to a co-worker of mine to day and he was telling me of a buddy of his that was an experienced climber. One day he was climbing in Colorado, by himself, and fell. He crushed his hip and had to pull himself along the trail for a mile before he reached help.

      We never know when something could go wrong and sometimes it is the experienced people that need the help.

      Thanks for sharing about your experiences in Canada. We all need to learn from stories like these.

      Rick

      Reply
  7. Thank you for such an information packed and thoroughly researched review. I think it’s really important to highlight which ones need a mobile phone in order to work because I, like you, have had a smartphone die on me. Even if you think you have the most reliable smartphone in the world, it will never be as reliable as one of these devices.

    Reply
    • I have only had one or two hiking trips where my cell phone’s battery lasted the entire trip, without me putting it in battery save mode, and those few trips were day hikes.

      The biggest priority for me is to have a SOS distress call button plus the reliability of a battery that will last at least the length of my trip and we always have to keep in mind that an emergency could extend your trip.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your comments.

      Rick

      Reply
  8. There are so many emergency radios that can be obtained through online purchases. There is so much power range of radios to choose from as well. We should know what our requirements are so as to narrow down the radios we are going to choose from. The problem is there are many products that do not give what is indicated on the features and advertisement. Due diligence on the vendor and the source of the radio is very important. It pays to research on the credibility of the brand and the store who is selling the radios of your choice. It is a requirement for camping, out of town adventures. There are many choices. I want one that has a long battery life and lightweight with a built-in flashlight. Thanks.  Great info. for emergency radios

    Reply
    • Research is the key when looking at these but also making sure you know what is important to you. Everyone is different and has different needs, wants and priorities. 

      The top lightweight and compact devices would be the Ocean Signal RescueMe at 4.1 oz. which is a PLB and the Garmin inReach Mini at 3.5 oz. and the SPOT X that comes in at 6.7 oz. The last two are satellite messengers. There are others to choose from and more information can be found here:

      https://hikingemergencybeacon.com/which-hiking-emergency-beacon-is-right-for-me/

      None of them have a built in flashlight, which would add bulk and weight. As I mentioned above, there are others to consider but these are the three I would look at to start with.

      The Ocean Signal RescueME has the longest battery life at 7 years and may be the perfect one for you but remember that it is only a rescue beacon or what we refer to as a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) and does not offer the additional services, such as 2-way messaging that many of the satellite messengers do.

      I hope this helps. Feel free to stop by again and ask additional questions.

      Rick

      Reply
  9. I and a friend have decided to travel together around various locations around the world and we just got back from travelling through California. There were moments when we would occassionally and momentarily loose one another. I would get a bit anxious when this happened. So before we take off to our next location I think investing in a pair of Go Tenna Mesh would be ideal. It looks as though you could wear it on you person say on a belt or even around your neck?

    Reply
    • That would be a great idea for you and your friend and would actually be the ideal situation to use it in. The Go Tenna Mesh is 1.7 ounces and is 5.0″ tall by 1.2″ wide. It’s actually smaller than many smartphones and is super easy to hook on to your belt, purse, backpack and much more. I believe you would really get some good use out of having this on you plus I know that I would feel better knowing that I could get in touch with my friend when out of cell service.

      Stop back by and let me know how your next trip goes with the Go Tenna Mesh.

      Rick

      Reply
  10. Excellent article on emergency Radio review,the specification of these device is respectable and awesome,out of these product I prefer one device because of the special function of it;The advantage the SPOT X has over its competitors is the built-in key board and unique U.S. cell phone number that really will be an advantage if you need to communicate more information to your friends, family and rescue teams in a life threatening emergency,I really love to go for this,thank you for sharing this wonderful device.

    Reply
    • That built-in keyboard and having a unique U.S. cell number is a really great selling point. This is one that I really want to try out. I have been concerned about typing out unique messages on a screen if I really were in a life-threatening situation or even a non-life-threatening emergency. You know how difficult things can be when your struggling with an injury or maybe dealing with something else, like altitude sickness. So, I agree that this is a great selling point for the SPOT X satellite messenger.

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing that with me.

      Rick

      Reply
  11. Thank you for this article and all the research you put into it! I have been considering a skiing/snowboarding trip to Sweden or Norway. The bad thing is, I only speak English. I have a few questions.
    1. For the devices that require sync with a cellphone; what happens if the battery in your phone dies? Having a dead phone is bad enough, but if the location device needs it, what happens then?
    2. One of the things that has me somewhat paranoid; what if there is an avalanche and I’m buried under the snow. Sorry to bring up something so unlikely, but it would be comforting to know.
    3. Okay, this question seems so weird to ask, but what if I happen to bring along a dog? I just wonder if there is a device I could attach to his harness that would work if he disappeared? Obviously, it wouldn’t be one that requires cell phone usage.
    Okay, those are my questions. I hope they’re not too far-fetched. Thanks in advance for your help!

    Reply
  12. I like the fact that you reviewed sever products but I’ll like to ask which product you best recommend because they all look so good to me and i wouldn’t want to purchase what isn’t quality. I love the article, its really nice to surf through, as soon as I get an answer from you, I’ll get one because I’m planning on going on a vacation in one of Africa’s rain Forrest and I think the emergency radio will be very useful for me and others. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hi Jones. You’re right, there are many great ones to choose from.

      The one I would recommend for you in Africa’s rain forest is the Garmin inReach Explorer+.
      https://hikingemergencybeacon.com/garmin-inreach-explorer/

      Not only does it have global, pole to pole coverage, it also has the SOS function, Navigation, 2-way messaging and weather forecasts.

      The only thing I will caution you about is that the heavy foliage from the tress can restrict your view of the skies at times which could impact your satellite connection. You will still have connection most of the time  but you may want to take advantage of clearings and vistas to make sure you are pinging the satellites. 

      I would still make sure I had the Explorer on a trip like this because you will surely be out of cell coverage. One person left me a comment this last week that she was on a safari and their bus got stuck after a rain storm and they had no way to call for help as they were outside of cell coverage.

      You know what they say…don’t leave home without it.

      Let me know how you like the Explorer after you take it on your trip.

      Rick

      Reply
  13. I can remember when I was a small child a friend of mine had a walkie talkie set, how amazed and jealous I was at the time but at least he would let me have a go, it seemed unbelievable that we could talk to each other over these little hand held radios, even though the distance was limited I found them fascinating, it wasn’t until the early 1980s that the first mobile phones came onto the market, and the early ones wasn’t exactly what you would call mobile, you had to carry around a battery which was as big if not bigger than a car battery, however, technology has really come on leaps and bounds since then we now have the high tech emergency radio devices using satellite technology and your post here gives all the information anyone would ever need when it come to choosing which one to buy, these devices really do save lives so they are very good value and well worth the money, thank you for sharing.      

    Reply
    • Hey Russ. It is funny thinking back to the past when we only had rotary phones, never wore a helmet and the seat belt was tucked down in between the seats. The other thing is to think how affordable these have gotten. I know that some of these will still cost some good money, but the costs have really come down on technology like this.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. 

      Rick

      Reply
  14. Hi Rick great review! Personally I am no expert in either hiking or emergency radios, but to me the most important aspects of an emergency radio are battery life and coverage. A dead radio is a useless radio, when it comes to life and death situations a fully functioning radio is so critical, and since a lot of these have shorter battery life than personal locators, I think it’s never a bad idea to invest in some reliable power banks or external power sources to go with the radio. 

    Also you mentioned some radios have smartphone integration, my question is why do we want to pair our phone with the radio? I mean if we are hiking, it’ll be some place remote or without phone reception, so what’s the point of have a phone interface? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hi Tim. I couldn’t agree with you more on the battery issue. This is something to keep in mind and depending on if you only take day hikes or if you go on multiple night backpacking trips, will give you an idea of the type of emergency locator beacon you should buy.

      About your question with syncing the smartphone; the smart phone isn’t accessing cellular data when synced, your phone is using the satellite data and information coming from the satellite messenger? Does that make sense?

      Please leave me additional questions if you have any more.

      Rick

      Reply

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