The SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger keeps you connected and in touch during your far-flung adventures. Using satellite technology, SPOT maintains communication almost anywhere on the globe.
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Rated5out of5byWasatch snowshoe nutfromThe new SPOT Gen3 works like a charm.After hearing about all the problems with the earlier generations of SPOT, I had some hesitation about buying the Gen3 but my family insisted I have it for my travels into remote country. Was I ever pleasantly surprised. The Gen3 worked great for a week-long backpack trip in Canyonlands and a 10-day raft trip down Desolation Canyon on the Green River. Getting the account set up properly on their website was a little slow for me, but eventually it got set up fine without customer service help and it ensures that messages get sent to the people who want them. Using the Gen3 in the backcountry was easy. I just read the directions and followed them to the letter and all was good -- the device acquired satellite connections quickly, sent the message without delay, no strange warning lights came on, and in every instance my message was sent without fail in under 5 minutes. It worked fine even in my tent during a storm, with sparse tree canopy cover overhead, and in deep (not narrow) canyons. I set up the account to send a message to my email address so I could later see if each message was properly sent, and now 15 messages have been sent with no problem.
Date published: 2014-04-15
Rated5out of5byFlynntasticfromWorks Great (from a skeptic)After reading the reviews for a couple of years in regards to the Gen1/Gen2 and Communicator, I wasn't inclined to buy any Spot product. But then the Gen3 came out and I decided to give it a go. I am so glad that I finally did.
Set-up was easy. You head over to Findmespot.com and click on Activate Device. It walks you through step by step. This is also where you set up your custom messages, device preferences, and emergency contact information.
The device itself is very easy to use. After turning it on, you simply hold down the button you want for about 5 seconds, and the lights flash to tell you its working. A light on the top will confirms that the message was sent. I haven't taken it "Backcountry" yet, but on hikes and mountain bike rides it hasn't failed yet. I was in a valley area in Auburn, CA where there was zero cell reception and lots of trees, and although I didn't try sending a message, when I returned home it showed that it had kept my tracks. I send OK messages at the trailhead before/after the trip, and it hasn't taken more than 2 minutes to send the message.
The service is a bit pricey. I stuck with the "Basic" plan, because I don't need to see my tracks every 2 minutes. That's a "fluff" feature, and I can think of a few times to maybe use it (it would be neat if a bunch of teams had them in an adventure race), but for my "use it in emergencies" and "to check in at the trailhead" use, Basic is more than enough.
I don't use the web interface much. I return home and download the tracks to view in Google Earth, and even then it's just to see if it was working and how accurate it is. As far as accuracy is concerned, the marks are right on top of my Garmin 62s tracks.
Having this gives my wife a peace of mind. She can see where i'm at if she wanted to, but she mostly just likes receiving the texts when i'm at the trailhead (at the start and end).
I'm very happy with this purchase. The only thing i'm going to "modify" is a piece of velcro on the back and on my various packs. The instructions recommend having it on the top of the pack. It comes with a clip, but when mountain biking it swings around. Velcro is an easy fix.
Hopefully I won't need it for the Emergency side of things, but so far it hasn't given me any reason not to trust it.
Date published: 2014-02-19
Rated5out of5bySamTrainfromPiece of mind for my familyI use the SPOT Gen3 for hiking and backpacking during the winter months. Last winter I had an incident where my cell phone succumbed to the cold (was -5 deg F on the top of the mountain in the Catskills, NY). My wife was worried sick about me since she hadn't heard from me all day. Enter in the SPOT Gen3. As I was gearing up for the winter hiking/backpacking season, my wife was worried about me again and not having contact. I looked at a personal locator and the DeLorme model that's similar to the SPOT. PL was no good because it didn't tell my wife I was "OK". DeLorme subscription was too expensive. SPOT was just right. It tracks my position and sends it to a SPOT tracking page every 10 minutes so my wife can see where I'm at. It also allows me to send 2 custom pre-set messages to my wife (or anyone else) via email and/or text message. My wife understands when I send "I'm ok" that I have to physically press and hold the button and activate. One minor item is I have no idea if the satellite picked up either of the custom messages or not. So far, my wife has gotten every message I've sent her. I've had the unit in cold down to -5 deg F with no problem with the batteries or the unit shutting down. A little about me - I usually hike and backpack in the winter by myself...my friends are fair weather weenies who won't hike in the cold. If you buy the unit, I'd definitely recommend putting the unit on the top of your pack, with the antenna facing up. I've used it on the top of my pack (on a daisy chain) and on the back (another daisy chain). On the top, it didn't miss 1 tracking point or message. Hanging from the back, it was spotty...maybe 65% managed to get through. I'd definitely recommend this to someone who hikes alone, or a group who wants some piece of mind. It does have an "SOS" feature that calls in SAR. I can't comment on this as I have never (and hopefully NEVER) use it. But it's nice to know SAR is not far away.
Date published: 2014-01-25
Rated2out of5byBillishfromWouldn't trust it in an emergencyThe web interface for Spot devices is simply horrible. I think a high school student could design a more intuitive interface. Too many issues on the site to list here, but the largest is what happened after downloading past check-ins. I used it to keep track of my 6 weeks of travels around New Zealand. And since the website will only store up to 30 day of info, I had to download the data before it was lost. As soon as I did that, everything else stopped working. Check-in emails, Facebook postings, etc. It doesn't work well in overcast weather, canyons, etc. And tends to be inaccurate GPS wise. In a 6 hour basically zig-zag vertical hike set to tag progress every hours, it only checked-in once because not enough distance was covered....I'm assuming. I'll be returning the unit.
Date published: 2014-01-17
Rated3out of5byCulfinfromWaaay better then Gen2I get more security from carrying this device, nobody can have total security but this helps and it is very light weight and rugged with long battery life.
Date published: 2014-01-09
Rated1out of5byORbackpackerfromPoor customer service, terrible companyThe device works most of the time as advertised, although sometimes message needs to be sent again. I've never tried the emergency service.
My major concern is the company has an "auto-renew" policy regarding the service. they take your credic card number and then make it very difficult to cancel the auto renew so your credit card will be charged yearly without authorization. They also increase the cost of the service without telling you and charge the higher rate. When I asked to cancel the auto renew, they said it was not possible and there was a narrow 30 day window during the year when I could do this. The "customer service" reps were very rude and unhelpful.
Unfortunately the bulk of Spot's business plan is a scheme to trap you in a difficult-to-cancel, auto-renewing charge rather than provide a useful service.
Date published: 2013-12-11
Rated4out of5byLaurieOfromGreat ProductI purchased this product for a week long backpack on the Pacific Crest Trail. I often hike alone or just with other women. I use it for checking in with my husband and other family members at the beginning and end of every hiking day. Once I learned how to use it, it worked great every time. The tracking application works great and my family could see where I was throughout the day, and had GPS Coordinates for every location it tracks us at. It tracks about every 30 minutes throughout your adventure, and leaves a nice bread crumb trail. It also has a send help application, and an emergency SOS for emergency aid. I have not had to use that, but feel better while out that it is there. Only one time on the PTC did the tracking not send locations, and that was in a deep walled canyon. Once out of the canyon, signal could send again. Battery life for tracking for about 5 days was fine. Great product for those of us who like to adventure outside in remote areas where there is not cell service. I do think you have to play with it before you do a big outing, do small hikes, bikes, or rides, and test it out first, so you can get familiar with it. That gives you time to call the help line and work out any bugs. I only had to call once, and they were really helpful. It gives a piece of mind for both adventurer and those at home. Worth the money.
Date published: 2013-11-28
Rated3out of5byOwyhee RiverfromSpot users manual needs help.Specifics concerning setup are not provided in the Sport online manual and I did not find the setup process intuitive. The differences in the setup and application of each function is somewhat confusing and sadly not addressed in the owners manual. That said, the unit appears easy to use once one masters the setup process.
Date published: 2013-11-17
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