SPOT Gen3 Personal GPS Locator/Messenger/Tracker Review

IMG_4249I have used SPOT products for many years now and it was time to upgrade my old SPOT Messenger to a new SPOT Generation3 Device.  I upgraded just before undertaking the 18 day Larapinta Trail and for using on other day hikes and adventures.  If you’re after a small portable device to activate in an emergency for call-out assistance. That also has the capability to message family and friends as to your status, then this is worth a look at.  This device works over satellites using GPS giving you the ability to use across the globe in very remote places (you can check out the coverage map on the SPOT website).

My Requirements..

  • Ability to send an SOS message to the emergency services with my location for rescue.
  • Informing family and friends that all is well as a status update or to inform them that I am running late but not to worry.  This will be via email or text message.
  • Tracking is a nice to have but not on the top of my list.  This is the ability to track my position on a map at set intervals.  Quite useful if at an event where friends/team members can track your progress.

The SPOT Gen 3..

IMG_4248The SPOT Gen 3 meets all my requirements in a small rugged device with lots of functionality to configure how you want it to work.  Let’s have a look at the main features and how I have been using them..

SOS Message

Fortunately I have not had to use this functionality, however to do so it’s as simple as turning the device on, uncovering the SOS button and holding it down until the SOS light starts flashing.  This will inform the SPOT emergency response centre that you are in trouble and they will coordinate a rescue with the local emergency services.  There is also an option to cancel this request if you need to.

Status Messages

IMG_4250There are two buttons for sending customised messaged to whoever you want.  One is an OK button, usually used for checking in when you arrive somewhere and want to inform people via text message and or email that you are there.  On the SPOT website you can configure the telephone numbers and email addresses you want these messages sent to.  The second button you can customise the message to whatever you want such as I’m running late but all is ok, I need help but not emergency services etc.  To send the ok or other customised message you simply turn on the device and hold down the right button and let spot do it’s thing.  It takes a while to get a message sent ok as it sends it to the SPOT network 3 times to ensure it has been received by SPOT and then onwards once to your contacts.  The messages also come with a link to a google map to show your location to friends.  I used the ok message every night on a backpack after arriving into camp and have also used it on other adventures where we have had no mobile reception. It provided much appreciated peace of mind to our Mum’s.

Tracking

IMG_5892SPOT Gen 3 can track you as you undertake your adventure.  This is not a function I normally use but have used it on a different SPOT device I use for tracking my camping trailer.  Other people we have found using the SPOT Gen 3 have been using the tracking and do like it for a number of good reasons especially when solo walking.  There is a movement sensor within SPOT and when you are moving you tracking messages are sent via satellite at configurable intervals (5,10,30 and 60 minutes).  These messages are then plotted on a map on the SPOT website where family/friends/support team can login to see your progress.  There is also a smart phone app that I have been using which shows all the messages coming from your SPOT device plotted on a map.  I have multiple SPOT devices and can see all my messages/locations in one place.  If you are after more extreme tracking of every 2.5 mins then SPOT do offer a more expensive subscription service for this.  Just remember the more tracking the less time the tracker will last on one set of batteries.

Conclusion

I am finding the SPOT Gen 3 is easy to use with all the features I need and a bit more.  If not using tracking and only checking in once a day then the batteries will last a long time.  I like the rugged case and the easy to use buttons as well as the strap and Carabiner for clipping onto a rucksack.  The downside is that to gain access to all the features of the SPOT Gen 3 you need to have a subscription service which is paid anually and includes unlimited messages for $220 USD.  There is an extreme tracking option which is $346 USD but suspect most people will not require this.  This may seem like a lot of money each year however it ensures you have the ability to call for help when needed and inform family and friends of your status.

Check Out the full Specs and price for the SPOT Gen 3 here…

Review Transparency…A bit of info about this review as I get asked this many times so like to make it clear… This review is for a product I purchased myself and use on my adventures.  I am not sponsored by the brand or by anyone else.  This is a genuine review of what I use and hope you find this useful.  I do have an affiliate link from an outdoor store (Wild Earth) I use for most of my gear and find their prices really good as well as their customer service.  If you find this review useful then you can use my link to connect through or you can head off and do your own research on where to buy etc. My main aim is that you find this useful and if you do buy it by clicking on my link I will get commission on it at no cost to you.

Richard.

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