Beyond cell phone range, there are a couple of reliable satellite communicators that you can maintain contact with family and friends and, perish the thought, emergency response teams. I personally carry the Roadpost Iridium 9555 Satellite Phone and the inReach Explorer (which both have special debates offered if ordered before Dec 31 right now!)
The main reason why I carry them is to call for help if ever I need it when I’m out in the mountains snowmobiling. It’s a nice luxury to have as well to text your loved one not to worry if you are going to be late arriving back home because of that one last gnarly stuck you had on the way out!
Why a satellite phone and not just the inReach? Here are my views on the pro’s of a satellite phone… A satellite phone you can actually call the emergency response team and share details such as location, type of injury, patient information etc. This way the emergency response team is well prepared for what they need to deal with when they arrive and it improves efficiency of search and rescue efforts. The Satellite phone is also the most trust worthy, dependable communicator on the market. Unlike the inReach, there is an unmatched opportunity to exchange information, versus a pure SOS signal or a series of 160-character text messages.
Cons of satellite phone:
· They are expensive to buy and expensive to operate but they do have “rental options for a couple of months if your activities are seasonal.
· It can be difficult or impossible to have a conversation if only a weak connection can be made with the satellite
· Because satellites are constantly orbiting, conversations need to be kept short to avoid dropped calls
· A sat phone does not transmit GPS coordinates or offer tracking service. Location and route information can, however, be shared by voice
· It s a big bigger and heavier to carry in a pac
Some pro’s about the inReach device… It isa more affordable option compared to the satellite phone. The inReach is great for minimizing worries of those loved ones back home and being able to constantly check in throughout the day by text messaging (max 160 characters per text). Text messages can be exchanged even over weak signals and it’s a 2 way communicator. Yes it does have an SOS button and gets dispatched straight to the closest search and rescue team of where you are, but they have no idea what to bring to save you or what to expect. So that being said, if they don’t have the right gear to deal with your scenario when they get to you, rescue could get delayed a whole lot longer and if a life is on the line this might make it a “make it or not” kind of deal. Another cool thing about the inReach is that people at home can watch you travel throughout the backcountry on a home computer if they link into your mapshare option. It has a GPS coordinate locator too.
Con’s of the inReach:
· You can only text 160-character texts per message
· Can not communicate with search and rescue team as to what you need
· For ease and quickness of texting, it should be paired to your smart phone to do so. Sometimes smartphones don’t like the cold and die quickly so texting from the actual inReach device take a long time. Its like the old school cell phones where you have to type #2 three times to get to the letter C.