$250; 7 oz.; findmespot.com
OUR TAKE A time-tested emergency tracking device gets an upgrade in the SPOT X. The original SPOT was a one-way messenger, allowing you to send preset outgoing texts, but no one could text back. The new version is built for two-way messaging; it’s not as feature-rich as the Garmin inReach Mini (left), but for $100 less it’s a great choice for adventurers who just want to stay in touch in remote locations and not much else.
THE DETAILS Service plans start at $12 per month for 20 custom texts and unlimited S.O.S.; use the Blackberry-like keyboard on the housing and text away. The SPOT X uses the Globalstar satellite network, providing coverage anywhere in the United States (only one-way messaging in Asia and Oceania, though, and no coverage at extremely north and south latitudes). As with the original SPOT, folks at home can track your location, and you can use the “check in” feature to quickly send updates. You can also post to Twitter and send an S.O.S. (hopefully not in that order).
OUR TAKE “When my party got sick on the John Muir Trail, the SPOT X was crucial in devising an early exit strategy with help from folks at home,” one tester says.