Are you happy with your SPOT?

Discussion in 'Mapping & Navigation' started by bluegroove, Aug 22, 2017.

  1. yangins

    yangins Been here awhile

    Sep 23, 2014
    Green Bay WI
    No getting rid of it as soon as my year contract end. Going to Garmin Inreach.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  2. Reidy008

    Reidy008 I,m in if we go fast

    Jan 6, 2010
    Peoria, AZ
    I would recommend it, I know the Inreach is an option but you can get the new gen 3 model cheep and easy as many are selling them and the service is cheep insurance if something happens. I was upset at their renewal increase and when I called they offered me the same price I have been paying to not cancel. I stayed.
  3. bluegroove

    bluegroove Motorcycle junkie

    Feb 24, 2008
    Sacramento, CA
    Thanks for the great info guys. FYI right now spot wants $150 for the device and $200/yr service. I might just go for a PLB and skip the whole communication thing... not sure yet. My wife would like it tho. I gotta lookup the Inreach now I suppose.

    I will often be in wooded canyons, etc. my old Garmin 60 GPS works fine in those places, so why not one of these devices?
  4. istephens

    istephens FJR Pilot

    Oct 8, 2010
    Cochrane, Alberta
    My wife and I have been using Spots for a few years now. Tracking works great and the custom pings have always worked for us. I still have the Gen2 and my wife has the Gen3.

    I was able to verify the 911 functionality in June this year when one of the guys in our group slid off the road into the trees on a road a bit north of Medford OR. Since we're all from Canada, our cell phones would only connect with AT&T towers, and there were none in range, so no cell coverage. I hit the 911 button and about 40 minutes later the ambulance arrived from Medford. Later it took us 35 minutes to ride back to Medford so I'd say the response was pretty good.

    The annual subscription is going up but I still renewed for this year. While I'm pretty happy with the performance and service, especially with the situation in June, I too am considering moving to a DeLorme unit at some point for the ability to send and receive text messages.

    Based on my experience, I'll always have some sort of tracking device and emergency contact device when riding alone or on a multi-day trip - it's good insurance and peace of mind for those back home.


  5. motokeith

    motokeith Been here awhile

    Mar 29, 2012
    Falcon, CO
    The Gen3 SPOT device is on sale for $75 until Sep 4th.

    Your Garmin 60 GPS is a GPS receiver listening to signals from a bunch of powerful satellites. Devices like the SPOT and InReach are using their little antennas and little batteries to transmit a signal to satellites in orbit. The weakness is not receiving a GPS signal, it's the sending of messages/tracks when there is not an unobstructed view of the sky.
  6. dustin2

    dustin2 VFR800

    Dec 18, 2011
    Vancouver, BC

    This is exactly my experience. Very happy with my gen 3, if only for the peace of mind the tracking gives to my partner. I love the map tracking you get with the Spotwalla service.

    Mine has been great with keeping a solid connection for my travels around western Canada and the USA. It has missed a few pings like @shu has mentioned but that's quite rare in my experience.
  7. Sobiloff

    Sobiloff Been here awhile

    Mar 30, 2005
    Reno, NV (USA)
    I'm still using a Gen2 SPOT, so my annual service fee is only $150. (The Gen3 devices require the $200/year service plan.) Like @shu and @dustin2 said, it doesn't always successfully reach the satellites immediately, but it does get through eventually. The Gen3 doesn't seem worth the extra $50/year for me. Similarly, the additional functionality of the Inreach devices doesn't really appeal to me, especially for another $50 or $100 a year. I just want the same three things @shu listed.
  8. RJAMT

    RJAMT Who remembered the winch?

    Aug 9, 2014
    Belleville, IL unfortunately
    Same here. It works fine for me but the cost keeps going up, there is no easy way to delete extra services (adding is easy) and I really, really hate auto-renew. I plan to ditch it for an InReach when this contract is up. I can pay by the month which is actually cheaper for me since I don't venture far in the winter.

    NHTOTEROAD Been here awhile

    Apr 1, 2012
    Center of the 603
    Your needs/wants may vary. Keep in mind the difference between the Spot and the InReach. Spot is a GPS "locator". InReach is a GPS "communicator".
    A few years ago I picked up my Gen 2, brand new, from a major retailer's outlet store (during a sale) for $30. Annual service is $149.99.
    I use it riding and hiking (which I do a lot solo). My needs are the same 3 things that shu mentioned above. So the Spot serves me well.
    No, the tracking feature doesn't always work so well in steep valleys and under the trees.
    But, for the price, if it can save my ass, it's worth it.
    dustin2 likes this.
  10. XRman

    XRman Long timer

    Dec 9, 2006
    SW Victoria Oz
    Cheapest option is the PLB route, where you can press the SOS button and the emergency services know your co-ordinates.

    I have a Spot 2 which works pretty well. The advantage of the Spot over the PLB in my experience was the ability to check where I was on the website page. My wife could direct the emergency services to my location a full hour before a helicopter located me.

    When my Garmin 62S dies I will visit the GPS/ locater device issue again. Maybe we won't need satellite phones anymore if we can send text messages. That will be a saving on trips into cell phone black hole areas.
  11. worthydog

    worthydog Shosholoza

    Sep 15, 2007
    Santa Barbara, California
    I have a first gen Spot. It didn't work at all near the poles (Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego, Alaska). I would say it works 75% of the time. I use it at the end of day to update the Mrs on my location. If I leave it in the clear operating for 15-20 minutes it almost always works. I think I will look into another product. It is expensive.
  12. trc.rhubarb

    trc.rhubarb ZoomSplat!

    Nov 15, 2011
    Concord, CA
    I have a gen 2, had it for a lot of years now.
    Love it and the price is good. Missed a couple tracks here and there when deep in canyons or forests but it's to be expected.
    Used exclusively in USA and Western Canada.
    Cost me $90 this year to renew because I called and told them they were too expensive, just like I did for years with XM before I gave up on keeping it.

    I don't want or need 2 way messaging, this is so my wife knows I'm safe when travelling well out of cell range, and for me to call for emergency services in the same scenario.

    I get about 7-10 days @ 12-16h/day out of batteries. I once went to Vegas for a work convention, left it on in the garage for a week, came back and still got 5 more days out of it.
    It had no signal, so I guess went into low power mode.

    Whatever way you go, if you use tracking, I suggest using over the manufacturer sites.

    If you plan to always be in cell range, Glympse is free and works great.
  13. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority

    Oct 29, 2007
    Omicron Persei 8
    I've had a Gen 2 for years and am very happy with it. I see no reason to "upgrade" just because there is some latest and greatest available.
  14. EnduroRdr

    EnduroRdr Woods Racer & D/S Rider

    Feb 15, 2008
    Formerly South MS, LR-Ar, Houston-Tx, now BR-La
    This week with cell service out in many places for folks in Houston, those who have an inReach (WITH 2 WAY COMMUNICATIONS) via satellite are probably glad they upgraded from spot!
    Just saying!!! it may not be a big deal to some of you but in that moment when you need it - it could be real important to let family know more REAL details on how things are with you rather than just a (hello text).

    I'm in the group that thinks an extra $10 a month is worth the extra feature of 2 way texting in dead zones.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  15. Motor7

    Motor7 Long timer

    Sep 16, 2013
    East Tennessee
    Its not just a hello txt. It's any pre loaded response and you can choose from several that you typed yourself. One of mine is , " just checking in, all good", another is "camped for the night" etc.
  16. SteadyStare

    SteadyStare Adventurer wannabe

    Mar 26, 2015
    New Mexico
    I ran with spot for 2 years. Got rid of it and switched to the inreach and haven't looked back. Spot messages did not consistently go through, only about a 75-80% success rate, would you trust your life on that? Not to mention the customer service sucks, and the pricing was downright dishonest. Inreach isn't much more expensive and far better service. Not a single message has been dropped on me yet and the two way communication is a huge bonus. Don't go with the spot!
  17. Bill 310

    Bill 310 Poser Emeritus

    Dec 4, 2002
    Hopefully Upright
    We had Spot I and 2's the years we went to Inuvik and Prudhoe and it seemed that at least one of the three units would be visible.Spot 1's were more sporadic above the arctic circle ,my wife had a Spot 2 and it worked reasonably well.the whole rime. my friend and I had less luck with our spot 1's.

    I bought an Inreach and spent hours on the phone trying to get it to work.

    There call centre was not much help. I put the Inreach away and got it out again last year. This time with help from Tech Support we got it working and immediately it went to sending an SOS signal. I called Inreach on this and they had no emergency signal shown because we learned my Inreach was defective.

    They sent me a new unit (reconditioned) and within a week the waterproof plug sealing the power plug inlet fell off. At least the Spot units held together.

    The problem with the PLB is you have to be able to engage it, the problem with the INReach and Spot is that you have to trust them to work. We still travel with a sat phone.

    Solo riding is a crap shoot it seems as you have to be able to engage the better technology and if the technology fails you have lost the security that you had wanted .

    When I was 12 I started taking solo canoe trips for a few days.

    I am now back to riding alone without being tethered to technology, this thread had made me decide to warm up my Spot 2 again and give it another try.

    In the Iron Butt Rally all riders have Spot or inreach units. They seem to work well in keeping track of the riders.
  18. Klrhani

    Klrhani Been here awhile

    Dec 20, 2014
    I’ll happily take it

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  19. Schmokel

    Schmokel I got peed on today.

    Jun 29, 2015
    Up. And to the right.
    Man, that really irked me too. They auto charged me and I had to call in. I explained to them a hundred times that I had a new born on the way, and I would not be travelling to remote locations for a few years. After repeating myself several times that I just wanted my refund, I got ok you cannot afford nice things. I understand. Sorry you don't make money. I wanted to reach through the phone and stab that lady in the eye with a soldering iron.
  20. Woody2627

    Woody2627 Grey Wobbler

    Nov 11, 2008
    I'm happy with mine, just got my 2nd one. 911 worked for me. No complaints.