Deep Survival: Brain Vs. Gadget - National Geographic ADVENTURE


Chris Bailey

In regard to the SPOT, as mentioned in the article, definitley do NOT depend on it! I have a SPOT and have used it quite a bit (luckily not to make a distress call). However, I am not very impressed with it, and while I will continue to use it, I will know to not depend on it. The problem is that things like dense tree cover easily prevent it from working. I live in Eugene, Oregon, and I take my SPOT on all my bike rides, both road and mountain. I continue to be amazed at how poorly it tracks me on road bike rides, where I'm on roads, and not in deep canyons, etc. But, there are apparently enough trees around to be a problem (SPOT has confirmed that this can be a problem, in an email discussion I had with them).

So, while I personally do believe you should absolutely carry a cell phone and a SPOT or similar device - anything and everything you can leverage in a life threatening situation is a good thing - I also know not to depend on it, and that simply pressing a button and hoping for rescue would be very dangerous. So, as Mr. Gonzales says, keep your wits about you, continue to use your brain and survival skills, as if you weren't able to make such a call for help, but at the same time, you migh as well leverage any communication devices you can.

Steve Casimiro

You guys need to take a closer look to the SPOT Satellite Messenger, with is a PLB with the ability to send an "I'm OK email", call for non-emergency help, or trigger 911 response. I have a review of it in the May issue of Adventure--it's inexpensive and soon to be indispensable.

Steve Casimiro, West Coast editor, National Geographic Adventure

A. Wannabe Travelwriter

Laurence, if I can call you that, I recently purchased an EPIRB, which by the way now does have a better name: Personal Locator Beacon, for a ocean sailing race. All my friends told me that I would be long dead before any rescue but the body recovery would bring "closure" to my family. Comforting. I think your comments about being "ambivalent" say it all. BUT I suppose I would be less ambivalent if the cell phone or PLB saved my ass.

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