Saturday, December 25, 2010

The best Christmas present I hope to never use. Rollin' with SPOT!

So here's what I got for Christmas, SPOT. This nifty little device locates or tracks you. In tracking mode (which I haven't tried yet) the SPOT takes a GPS waypoint every 10 minutes, which allows you to create a plot track for your movements, speed, distance (I'm not sure yet how user-friendly the plot-track interface is, but it sounds cool). The SPOT allows one to send up to 10 contacts a preprepared message via email & text message that can be customized to the recipient. For instance, I may say, "Doin' fine, happy, dirty, and tired. No problems." to several friends and send a more personalized message to my wife.
The real genius in this little gadget is it's ability to send an SOS anywhere in the world. When activated, the people at SPOT will contact the appropriate agencies to initiate rescue, and notify designated contacts. This service comes with a one year subscription of $99. For an additional $14/year a SPOT subscriber can purchase a $100,000 Rescue Insurance policy that covers costs associated with helicopter rescue, ground transport, and medical expenses. So, for $113/year I have a silent partner on my solo trips.
Those of you who know me are aware that most of my trail days are spent solo. I like being alone but I also realize that there is no safety net in the back-country. This device won't activate itself if I get brained by a falling rock (but then, I'd be a vegetable anyway), but it does provide a huge, potentially life-saving service. In many of my posts I have tried to relate that personal safety in the mountains is the hiker's responsibility and that if at all possible one has a responsibility to get oneself out of the jam they got themselves into. This SPOT is me living the line. I figure this gadget is a bit like a never need one until you NEED one. It's the best little Christmas present I hope to never use.

1 comment:

  1. This device won't activate itself if I get brained by a falling rock

    There's a setting you can enable that will send out the SOS alert if you don't check in at regular intervals. It's prone to having you forget to check in, but if you're trekking solo it's worth looking into.