3 Best Satellite Messengers 2020
Beyond the classic 10 essentials, modern Satellite Messengers provide a larger boost to your overall outdoor safety than any other gear available. They offer peace of mind to your loved ones, and two-way communication with search and rescue teams, rangers, and medical professionals. Simply put, you should buy one, learn to use it, and bring it with you on every single wilderness adventure.
The Newcomers | Zoleo & Somewear
Revised June 2020: To include an extensive head-to-head field test between the Garmin inReach, and newcomers Zoleo Satellite Communicator & Somewear Global Hotspot.
We’ve been using Satellite Messengers since the first SPOT Gen 1 unit over a decade ago. Since then we’ve tested and used every subsequent version of SPOT and inReach all over the world. And until last year they had little competition. But a release of an inexpensive Iridium chipset has spawned some serious challengers to the inReach and SPOT. Read on to find out just how much of a challenge.
What is in This Guide
- How to Best Use a Satellite Messenger – Especially how to get reception in difficult areas, setup messaging, and how best to configure/use their tracking modes
- The limitations of Satellite Messengers – what they can’t do for you
- You Need a Trip Plan – If you’re carrying a Satellite Messenger, your work is only half done. To close the safety loop, you also need a trip Plan. So read Why You Should Make a Trip Plan and how to create one. It’s faster and simpler than you think and it may save your life.
Below are our top picks based on our recent-head-to-head backcountry field test. We tested the Garmin inReach Mini, Zoleo and Somewear on message send reliability, location (waypoints), tracking accuracy, weather reports, phone app features, physical unit features and ease of use, battery life, size/weight/ease of carry, and cost of data plans.
Garmin inReach, Somewear, & Zoleo Best of the Best
And just to be clear, after months of field testing we determined that these are the best three units on the market. They are all great and worth your consideration. Depending on your use and budget one may be a better fit for you.
Field testing Satellite Messengers