By Contributing Editor Steve Casimiro, editor of Adventure Journal. See more of Casimiro's gear recommendations in our Ultimate Hiking and Camping Gear Guide >>
Technology is about to take another step toward ubiquity in the backcountry. This October, you’ll be able to buy DeLorme's inReach ($250) satellite texting device, a product that trumps the SPOT Satellite Messenger because you’ll be able to send AND receive texts instead of just texting.
This has obviously huge benefits for emergency situations, where rescuers can stay in communication with someone who’s lost or injured and can learn more about the extent of a victim’s condition. Two-way satellite communication has the potential to revolutionize search and rescue by providing critical information that SAR folks can use when allocating resources, which are almost always limited.
And of course, two-way satellite texting opens the door to much more mundane applications, like tweeting what you had for breakfast deep in the Kalahari Desert.
The handheld inReach is quite adaptable: It pairs with DeLorme’s PN-60w GPS (the unit that works with SPOT for one-way texting) or with Android phones and also can be used on its own to send prewritten text messages. And, unlike the SPOT device, it has a signal indicator that tells you if your SOS message has been received by search and rescue, so you don’t have to keep signaling for help.
Pricing is $10 a month for the minimalist texting plan, which DeLorme calls the “safety plan.” There are two plans above that, with larger bundles of texts included, but per-text cost has not been announced.