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Spot Gen3 Satellite Tracker Review

SPOT Gen3 Review

The SPOT Gen3 is the latest generation of award winning SPOT devices, providing a critical and possibly lifesaving line of communication using 100% satellite communication…

Spot Gen3 Satellite Tracker Review WalkHikeClimb

 

 

 

 

 

When your adventures take you beyond cell service, SPOT Gen3 lets family and friends know you’re ok or sends emergency responders your GPS location, all at the push of a button. Add this rugged, pocket-sized device to your essential gear and stay connected wherever you roam. Long live adventure.  What’s not to like!

New Tracking Options

Unlimited Tracking Set it and forget it. Pre-set your SPOT Gen3 to send tracks at the speed of your adventures. Change your tracks to send every 5, 10, 30, or 60 minutes. SPOT Gen3 will send tracks at your chosen rate for as long as your device is turned on and moving (no need to re-set after 24 hours). Tracking doesn’t stop until you do.

Extreme Tracking Get all of the great features of Unlimited Tracking, but with the added ability to vary your track rate down to every 2 ½ minutes. Don’t miss a step with increased track rates!

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As well as new tracking options, the SPOT Gen3 has a longer battery life, effectively doubling that of the SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger.  Add to this three power options, it makes for ease of maintenance and flexibility.

Battery Options

  • 4 AAA Energizer® Ultimate Lithium 8x Batteries (L92)
  • 4 AAA Energizer® NiMH reusable batteries (NH12)
  • Line power with a 5v USB connection. (SPOT Gen3 is not waterproof when line powered.)

Still not convinced?  Here why you should choose a SPOT device

It’s neither cumbersome or weighty and certainly doesn’t get in the way of enjoying yourself, but does provide excellent peace of mind…

SPOT Gen3 provides location-based messaging and emergency notification technology that allows you to communicate from remote locations around the globe. It offers custom tracking interval options, motion-activated tracking, long-life battery and more.

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The SPOT product family uses both the GPS satellite network to determine a customer’s location and the Globalstar network of satellites to transmit messages and GPS coordinates to others. SPOT offers several ways to access off-the-grid communication:

  • Rescue – In severe emergency situations, users can send emergency SOS notification to GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Center (IERCC) using the SOS button
  • For less serious situations, reach out to family and friends for assistance using SPOT Help/Assist. (Available for Gen3 and GPS Messenger.)
  • Check In – With a touch of a button, users can let friends and family know everything is going as planned and there is no need for alarm. (Available for SPOT Gen3 and GPS Messenger.)
  • Track Progress – Allows the user’s GPS location to be transmitted in real-time via Google Maps™. (Available for SPOT Gen3 and GPS Messenger.)

So do you need a SPOT device?

Anyone who travels by land, sea and air! Since its launch, SPOT’s satellite technology has provided peace of mind by helping initiate more than 2,500 rescues and counting and providing GPS tracking services. Over the past five years, recreational outdoor enthusiasts, athletes, government agency employees, National Geographic explorers and photographers, and researchers are just some of the people that have benefited from using SPOT.

As SPOT continues to grow, we remain committed to offering affordable assistance to those who may need it. Now with the new SPOT Trace, everyone can benefit from SPOT’s satellite technology. Track valuable assets and receive a text or email when movement is detected.


Testimonials: Bill and his comrade...

Bill and his comrade

Rescue Profile: Bill and his comrade
Case #: 11936
Spot Gen3 Satellite Tracker Review WalkHikeClimb
Bill, current President of Ruby Valley Search and Rescue and a “retired” Army pilot, is an avid hunter and fisherman. Needless to say, Bill spends a lot of time outdoors; he jokingly states he knows most trees on a first name basis.

Several years ago, Bill developed a preparedness plan, which included having a SPOT device. He even developed a messaging system for friends and family on his contact list: (1) Check In message in the morning and evening to family and friends, (2) Check In messages back to back to let them know he got an elk, and (3) Check In messages back to back to let everyone know that he was headed out of the backcountry.

Spot Gen3 Satellite Tracker Review WalkHikeClimb
As usual, Bill had his SPOT device with him on a recent elk hunting trip in Beaverhead National Forest, Montana. Having a SPOT device was especially important because the location was 20 miles from the nearest paved road and 40+ miles from cell coverage, with no other hunters or personnel within 800 to 1000 square miles.

Around mid-afternoon, Bill and his friend headed out on horseback after completing a communications check. However, Bill’s friend failed to mention he experienced battery issues with his radio-GPS and the two went their separate ways. Right before dark, Bill reached out to his friend. Nothing.

Four hours later, Bill’s friend still had failed to return to the cabin. As the night grew darker, Bill became more concerned about his friend’s safety, as the area was home to bears, mountain lions, and wolves. Bill honked his pickup truck’s horn numerous times and fired three shots in the air, trying to direct his friend back to the cabin with no results.

At 10 p.m., Bill decided that he needed assistance and activated the S.O.S. on his SPOT device. Within minutes, GEOS contacted Bill’s two emergency contacts, as well as the Beaverhead County Sheriff’s office. One of his emergency contacts called the uniformed MT FWP Warden responsible for the area, who in turn forwarded the latitude and longitude to the local warden. Simultaneously, GEOS was constantly on the phone with his daughter and friend searching for any information they could provide.

Even though the location was remote and the roads were covered in snow, the warden and SAR personnel arrived at the cabin within hours. Luckily, the situation was quickly resolved with no injuries to report.

Bill thinks GEOS’ response was great, “They kept my emergency contacts informed and also closed out with each when the issue was resolved.”


Check out the First Impression tabs for further details or visit the findmeSPOT website

It’s very easy to become complacent regarding the potential dangers of doing something simple like going for a walk, but if you take a minute to review the incident logs for your local Mountain Rescue Team, it makes for sobering reading.

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The Ogwen Valley, which is a particular favourite of the WalkHikeClimb team, provides some fantastic opportunities for walkers and climbers of all abilities.  Take a look at the Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue incidents HERE

They’re also remarkable compact and easy to attach about your person, or to your kit / rucksack via the supplied carabiner and strap.

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Once you’ve pried your device out of it’s box, setup is a very straight forward affair, simply go to the ACTIVATION pages and follow the instructions and setup your preferences.  This video provides a great insight into what’s required:

One point you need to be aware of!

Obviously there’s a great deal of behind the scenes activity which manages and monitors your progress, all of which comes at a price suited and tailored to your needs.  Don’t let this put you off, if you cycle, sail, fish, walk, climb or even travel on a reasonable regular basis, then I think it’s worth the small outlay.

Full details can be found HERE

So what are the services available (ONLY) with the Gen3?

Spot Gen3 Satellite Tracker Review WalkHikeClimb

SPOT Gen3’s customized tracking features takes your SPOT experience to the next level. Only with SPOT Gen3, is tracking motion-activated regardless of the level of tracking you choose (Basic, Unlimited or Extreme). A vibration sensor tells your SPOT to send track updates when you are moving and to stop when you do. (This is a great new battery-saving feature! And, you don’t have to remember to re-set your tracking after 24 hours.)

New Tracking Options:

Unlimited Tracking Set it and forget it. Pre-set your SPOT Gen3 to send tracks at the speed of your adventures. Change your tracks to send every 5, 10, 30, or 60 minutes. SPOT Gen3 will send tracks at your chosen rate for as long as your device is turned on and moving (no need to re-set after 24 hours). Tracking doesn’t stop until you do.

Extreme Tracking Get all of the great features of Unlimited Tracking, but with the added ability to vary your track rate down to every 2 ½ minutes. Don’t miss a step with increased track rates!

As we mentioned previously, some of the new features also include (and so they should) improved battery life.  This I feel is a basic necessity, although most GPS enabled devices don’t have a great “shelf-life” when it comes to battery power.  At least with this little devices, it’s easy to carry the required (and plentiful) power source.

Longer Battery Life SPOT Gen3 has approximately twice the battery life of the SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger!

Battery Options Now there are more options for how you power your SPOT:

  • 4 AAA Energizer® Ultimate Lithium 8x Batteries (L92)
  • 4 AAA Energizer® NiMH reusable batteries (NH12)
  • Line power with a 5v USB connection. (SPOT Gen3 is not waterproof when line powered.)

The Battery compartment, which is located at the rear of of device is accessed via a small panel

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and two twist-lock fixings, allowing the rear panel to be completely removed:

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Underneath the sealed rear panel you’ll find the power source, or batteries:

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Basic features included with your SPOT Gen3:

Spot Gen3 Satellite Tracker Review WalkHikeClimb

S.O.S.: With the push of a button, GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Center provides your GPS coordinates and information to local response teams – for example contacting 9-1-1 responders in North America and 1-1-2 responders in Europe The S.O.S. button is for emergencies only.

HOW IT WORKS:

Once activated (to prevent false alerting, the SOS  button is covered and recessed)

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SPOT will acquire its exact coordinates from the GPS network, and send that location along with a distress message to the GEOS International Emergency Response Center every five minutes until cancelled or until the batteries are depleted. The Emergency Response Center notifies the appropriate emergency responders based on your GPS location and personal information – which may include local police, highway patrol, the Coast Guard, our country’s embassy or consulate, or other emergency search and rescue teams – as well as notifying your emergency contacts about the receipt of a distress signal.

IMPORTANT NOTE:
Even if SPOT cannot acquire its location from the GPS network it will still attempt to send a distress signal – without exact location – to GEOS, which will still notify your contacts of the signal and continue to monitor the network for further messages.

9-1-1 EMERGENCY SERVICES POWERED BY GEOS Search and Rescue

Spot Gen3 Satellite Tracker Review WalkHikeClimb

Check In: Let family and friends know you’re ok when you’re out of cell phone range. Send a pre-programmed text message with GPS coordinates or an email with a link to Google Maps™ to your contacts with your location. With a push of a button, a message is sent via email or SMS to up to 10 pre-determined contacts and your waypoint is stored in your SPOT account for later reference. Your stored waypoints can be easily integrated into a SPOT Shared Page or SPOT Adventure account.

HOW  IT WORKS:

Once you have activated your SPOT Messenger and set up your account, you can change your contacts and customize your message at any time. When you push the Check-in button, you send one pre-programmed message to your contacts. Your contacts will receive an SMS text message including coordinates, or an email with a link to Google Maps™ showing your location.

 
Spot Gen3 Satellite Tracker Review WalkHikeClimb

Help: Alert your personal contacts that you need help in non-life-threatening situations.

HOW  IT WORKS:

Once activated (again, to prevent false alerting the Help button is covered and recessed)
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SPOT acquires your location from the GPS network and routes it along with the HELP message through the SPOT satellite network every five minutes for one hour or until cancelled. Your contacts will receive an SMS text message including coordinates, or an email with a link to Google Maps™ showing your location.IMPORTANT NOTE:
Even if SPOT cannot acquire its location from the GPS network it will still attempt to send a HELP message – without exact location – to your personal contacts.

Spot Gen3 Satellite Tracker Review WalkHikeClimb

Custom Message: Stay in touch while off the grid by sending your custom message. Set up a message before leaving to send to contacts with your GPS location. Use this feature as a secondary OK message or transfer your personal help alert to this message function if you are using a SPOT Assist service on your Help button.

The Custom Message functions exactly like your Check In message You can also have access to your waypoints in your SPOT account so you can review your route at a later date. Or link your SPOT account to SPOT Adventures and save a map of your adventures using your SPOT waypoints, and enhance the story with photos and a blog.

HOW  IT WORKS:

Once you have activated your SPOT Messenger and set up your account, you can change your contacts and customize your message at any time. When you push the Check In button, you send one pre-programmed message to your contacts. Your contacts will receive an SMS text message including coordinates, or an email with a link to Google Maps™ showing your location.
Having recently completed a trip which took me the length and breadth of Norway, into Finland and Sweden through very remotes areas, I should in hindsight have invested in one of these.  If for no other reason than to allow loved ones to track your progress and location, in addition to creating a memorable journal of events.

We did recently take this little beauty with us up into the mountains however…

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It’s neither cumbersome or weighty and certainly doesn’t get in the way of enjoying yourself, but does provide excellent peace of mind

Spot Gen3 Satellite Tracker Review WalkHikeClimb

Tracking: Allow friends and family to follow your progress online in near real-time and save waypoints so you can review your entire route at a later date.

HOW  IT WORKS:

Once you activate the tracking mode, SPOT acquires and sends your GPS coordinates to your SPOT account and, if you choose, Shared Pages. Creating a SPOT Shared Page allows you to share your GPS route with your friends and family easily in near real-time on the web through a personal link. You can make your Shared Page private or public. Your choice! Just share that URL with your friends and family and they can easily track your adventures. Upload your tracks to SPOT Adventures, a social portal, where you can set up a profile and blog with others sharing their SPOT Adventures.

The SPOT Gen3 is a fantastic device, very compact, rugged and simple; from the power button:

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to the main controls:

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Everything is just a single button depression away…

Also on the rear of the Gen3 is a Mini-USB connector for syncrhonisation, updates etc. with your home computer:

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I was really taken with the thought, design and ease of use of the SPOT Gen3, it’s a fantastic piece of kit which ultimately might just save your life.


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  • Height: 3.43″ (8.72cm) Width: 2.56″ (6.5cm) Thickness: 1″ (2.5cm)
  • Weight: 4oz (114g) with Lithium Batteries
  • Operating Temp: -30c to +60c (-22F to 140F)
  • Operating Altitude: -100m to +6,500m (-328ft to+21,320ft)
  • Humidity Rated: MIL-STD-810F, Method 507.3, 95% to 100% cond.
  • Vibration Rated: Per SAE J1455
  • Battery Type:
    • 4 AAA Energizer™ Lithium Ultimate 8x
    • 4 AAA Energizer™ NiMH Rechargeable

Included with your SPOT Gen3:

  • Strap
  • USB Cable
  • Quick Reference Guide
  • Carabiner
  • Batteries

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Even thought the SPOT Gen3 needs a clear view of the sky to give reliable location information and obviously won’t work if you spend your weekends deep underground, it does have numerous features aside from the obvious lifesaving characteristics.

Whether you’re cycling on busy roads or off travelling / trekking in remote areas on your own it’s a fantastic way to reliable stay in touch and alert emergency services if (and fingers crossed that’s a BIG if) required.

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If like me you invest reasonable sums of money in waterproof clothing, equipment etc. without too much thought (subject to sufficient funds of course!) then in reality this isn’t a large investment for a product that really could make a massive difference to your own life as well as those around you.  In addition to that if you like to record your journey, thereby allowing those you’ve left behind to monitor progress, this is a great fuss-free way of doing so.  Even if you do need to subscribe for the privilege.

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Check out the manufacturers website for further details: findmeSPOT

Spot Gen3 Satellite Tracker Review WalkHikeClimb

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Cotswold Outdoor started life in 1974 as Cotswold Camping, selling a range of basic camping accessories from a small outbuilding in the Cotswolds. 40 years later, the company is an award winning multi-channel retailer with stores throughout the UK.

With four decades of experience in outdoor retail, we offer one of the most extensive and comprehensive ranges of outdoor clothing, products and equipment. Selecting from over 250 internationally recognised brands allows us to bring you the latest in outdoor technology and styles. Not only this, but each product is carefully selected and tested to ensure a high level of quality and value for money for our customers.

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Spot Gen3 Satellite Tracker Review WalkHikeClimb

We share your passion for the outdoors. From climbing the Old Man of Hoy to cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats, our staff are brought together by a love for anything and everything outdoors. In our spare time, we are walkers, climbers, cyclists, trail runners, skiers, hikers, swimmers, kayakers – you name it, we do it…

As a company, we invest in expert training for our staff, to make sure that you get the best help and advice when you are choosing kit for your next adventure. We offer a range of expert in-store services including boot-fitting, rucksack fitting and kit talks.

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Spot Gen3 Satellite Tracker Review WalkHikeClimb

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