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Words to the wise: Ride with a buddy

Nov. 16, 2011, 8:57 a.m.
Posts: 13930
Joined: March 15, 2003

Riding with a buddy is good, but minimum I do when going solo is let someone know the trails I plan to ride and an expected check in time. If I miss the check in, they know to contact SAR with my last known whereabouts/route.

this is exactly what i do. having suffered a few major concussions in the past, you just never know what can happen out there

Nov. 16, 2011, 9:49 a.m.
Posts: 319
Joined: Aug. 7, 2009

To the Spot users: I've been thinking about one for a while, particularly since my snowshoeing adventures often include my son on my back. The one thing that's been holding me back is some anecdotal comments from retail folks that Spot 911 "calls" are often prioritized lower for SAR, due to the units propensity for going off accidentally (apparently the SOS button is easy to hit). Anyone have experience?

we use a spot, and a lot of friends use them in the states. Have never heard that they receive a lower priority. The spot2 do have a second button, one for emergency (SAR) the other for non-emergency but stiull come and get me. I don't see how they can have a propensity for going off accidentally, there are a few well-documented stories of spot abuse (google the losers in the grand canyon last year that were unprepared to be out of range of a strip mall and used their spot 3 times in 24 hours)

They're also good for peace of mind for loved ones :) and allows you to set up spot-trackers to follow you on your extended adventures.

We totally recommend buying the insurance to help reimburse SAR rescues. we hope to need one, but like to donate to SAR when we can.

Nov. 16, 2011, 10:03 a.m.
Posts: 9747
Joined: Nov. 20, 2002

I was going to pick up a spot but I think after researching it im going to invest in an inmarsat sat phone with prepaid cards instead. more upfront cost but better sat coverage than the spot and the prepaid cards expire every two years.

Nov. 16, 2011, 10:05 a.m.
Posts: 10077
Joined: Nov. 19, 2002

Nice.. website is kinda confusing. Do you have to pay a yearly fee to use this? Or is that extra-fluff that one doesn't need?

Yes, there is an annual service fee.

The basic service plan is fine, you don't need the extra options.

My brother also has one he uses for motorcycle touring (lots of areas with no cell connnection). He showed me a web site that takes the Spot data and overlays it on to Google maps with a decent interface. When I get home I'll post a link.

Nov. 16, 2011, 10:09 a.m.
Posts: 10077
Joined: Nov. 19, 2002

Suggestion to SPOT users (I have carried one since they day they hit the market) - play with it and try sending messages from time to time. You might be surprised how poorly it does when under heavy tree canopy. The newer units appear to have a bit better transmit power (and suck batteries correspondingly faster) but they are still pretty variable at getting a message out when you below the treeline. Same as with the reserve chute when flying, it's not a second chance, it's a LAST chance.

When riding I use the "I'm okay" message when I leave the vehicle [HTML_REMOVED] I send out another "I'm okay" when I get back. While riding I have it tracking. I use the custom message to send out a "I'm staying here tonight and turning off Spot" at the place I'm camping for the night.

It helps keep families on both sides happy and less stressed.

Nov. 16, 2011, 10:12 a.m.
Posts: 10077
Joined: Nov. 19, 2002

To the Spot users: I've been thinking about one for a while, particularly since my snowshoeing adventures often include my son on my back. The one thing that's been holding me back is some anecdotal comments from retail folks that Spot 911 "calls" are often prioritized lower for SAR, due to the units propensity for going off accidentally (apparently the SOS button is easy to hit). Anyone have experience?

Maybe on the older models, on the newer one in the pic above, you have to remove a cover to access the SOS or "send help" buttons.

Nov. 16, 2011, 10:16 a.m.
Posts: 10077
Joined: Nov. 19, 2002

I was going to pick up a spot but I think after researching it im going to invest in an inmarsat sat phone with prepaid cards instead. more upfront cost but better sat coverage than the spot and the prepaid cards expire every two years.

Having been on a trip in the Chilcotin a couple of years ago where there were 2 sat phones, I wasn't impressed with their reception. It sometimes takes a while for the phone to grab a connection. With a Spot, from off to sat connection is only a min. or two.

Spot now has a model that can be hooked up to a smart phone to send text [HTML_REMOVED] emails.

Nov. 16, 2011, 10:37 a.m.
Posts: 0
Joined: July 21, 2006

I have a Spot2 and I’ve tried mine in different terrain and find the messages have come through. Not sure how off it is on the time to be honest but looks close when I review the time of the messages. I also have different messages set-up like CraigH.

When I was road trippin' and hiking in the Yukon and AK alone, I had no cell service in parts, so it was good to have and then in the Chilcotins with biggles604, we sent messages to Fluid to let her know we were OK, esp when we got back to our camp, and she appreciated that.

For what I do, it has worked fine for me.

I have no filter …

Nov. 16, 2011, 10:37 a.m.
Posts: 5635
Joined: Oct. 28, 2008

I'm finding Craig H's descriptions a hell of a lot easier to follow than the website. What a poorly designed site!

Looks like a good product tho.

Wrong. Always.

Nov. 16, 2011, 10:56 a.m.
Posts: 10077
Joined: Nov. 19, 2002

Anyone remember this North Shore Rescue from the summer? The guys set off a Personal Locator Beacon but the story doesn't name the brand. It might have been Spot or one of the other similar devices.

http://www.northshorerescue.com/2011/08/3-stranded-hikers-rescued-by-nsr-hfrs-team/

Nov. 16, 2011, 11:28 a.m.
Posts: 5635
Joined: Oct. 28, 2008

[Pirate voice: ON]

Aha! That Fools Gold trail again. It's taken many an adventurer. Yar.

Wrong. Always.

Nov. 16, 2011, 11:46 a.m.
Posts: 9747
Joined: Nov. 20, 2002

you can send texts with the sat phone and from what I understand inmarsat has way better consistency than globalstar which is what spot runs on. you can also send your gps coords like a spot.

two reasons that I want to buy some form of sat device

1. emergency
2. to let my family know where im at when I eventually spend the night in the woods or on a glacier. to me the OK button dosnt cut it so the spot connect is the only option. I want to be able to communicate my situation.

spot connect 150 bucks and 150 a year
Inmarsat is 600 bucks and 50 bucks for two years assuming you only use it for what what I have listed. the sat phone gives you two way communication in an emergency and the ability to use it as a phone.

if you send the OK on the spot and it doesn't go through (which happens a fair bit apparently) you have no way of knowing. same with the sos

at least thats the way it measures up to me

Nov. 16, 2011, 11:49 a.m.
Posts: 207
Joined: Oct. 29, 2003

Spot looks cool.
Do any of the GPS devices work well for emergencies? I want to geek out on GPS mapping (elevation etc.) and have a reliable locator.
Glad you are OK mfreeman. Food for thought for sure.

Nov. 16, 2011, 12:16 p.m.
Posts: 10077
Joined: Nov. 19, 2002

He showed me a web site that takes the Spot data and overlays it on to Google maps with a decent interface. When I get home I'll post a link.

Found the link on my work laptop:

http://www.spotwalla.com/

If people are interested I could post a link to one of my trip pages.

If I still have them, I could post examples of the emails that I send out from my Spot.

Nov. 16, 2011, 12:51 p.m.
Posts: 531
Joined: Jan. 31, 2005

this is exactly what i do. having suffered a few major concussions in the past, you just never know what can happen out there

I leave a pad and paper in the car. When I head out for my ride I write down the time I left, the approximate time I expect to be back, my planned route, cell#, and someone to contact on my behalf.

In most places where I might park before crashing, say the top of Mtn Highway, Quest University, base of Cypress, people would recognize a car that shouldn't be there.

It's not much, but it's something.

There's nothing better than an Orangina after cheating death with Digger.

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