I took my SPOT Gen3 and SPOT Global Phone on a recent trip to Yellowstone National Park. Read on to see how they performed.
Yellowstone National Park is a beautiful and magnificent place containing thousands of miles of untouched wilderness. This fact also makes it an ideal place to have a SPOT device to be able to call for help in case of an emergency.
Portions of the park are extremely remote and there is even one spot far in the far southeastern corner where you can hike and be more than 30 miles from a road in any direction. In case you were wondering, this is the furthest you can be from a road anywhere in the lower 48 states.
While this is great for enjoying the park in all of its natural beauty, there are also some downsides that come with it. One of those downsides is the fact that the vast majority of the park is outside of cell phone service. This only really becomes a problem if you run into trouble and need help. Luckily, there are two devices that can be used to call for help in such a situation: the SPOT Gen3 Satellite Messenger and the SPOT Global Phone.
You can learn more about the details of the two devices by checking out the previous reviews I wrote about them. Click here for my review on the SPOT Gen3 Satellite Messenger and click here for my review of the SPOT Global Phone.
I took both devices with me on my recent trip to the park and tested them out to see how they worked. All in all, they both did very well. I carried both of them with me during my trip in case of an emergency and tested them each at multiple different spots in the park. I never once had any difficulty using them and my messages and calls got through every time I sent one. Fortunately, I did not have a problem that required the use of the S.O.S. function on the SPOT Gen3, but I tested some of the other functions.
I clipped the SPOT Gen3 to the top of my backpack and carried it with me everywhere I went in the park. In addition to using the “check in” function, I also tried out the “tracking” function. This function saved my location every 10 minutes and kept a good record of my path. The footprint icons in the photo below were spots saved using the tracking function. The other icon (#1) is a “check in” icon.
In addition to providing interesting information for you to look at when you get home, the tracking function could also theoretically help someone find you if you suffered an accident but were unable to call for help. In this case, they could “follow the breadcrumbs” that you left using the tracking function on the SPOT Gen3 and give rescuers a better idea of where to look.
Keep in mind, though, that nobody receives notifications when using the tracking function and someone would have to have access to your SPOT account map in order to find you in the event of an emergency. This does somewhat limit its usefulness as an emergency assistance function, so keep that in mind. The S.O.S. function is a much better tool for that (that’s what it’s designed for).
The SPOT Global Phone also worked well in the park. Every time I checked, it had service and I never had an issue making a call with it.
The quality of the calls with the phone in the park was comparable to what I had experienced on prior trips. There were still some problems with the phone dropping calls after several minutes on the line or if you move around too much, but those aren’t necessarily deal breakers to me. Remember: this is a satellite phone designed for short, emergency phone calls, not a cell phone.
Overall, I was pleased with the performance of both my SPOT devices on the trip and I would recommend them to anyone taking a trip to some of the more remote locations in Yellowstone National Park or another place like it.