Help from above…but they have to know they are needed and where.
I will spare you the full on post game film session ass chewing but I will say this as plainly and directly as I can. Some of you are playing way above your ability. You don’t have the gear, technical knowledge, or experience to do the things you are doing. I only want the best for you so I am telling you that you had better get your shit together. You also need to invest in a satellite SOS device, right now, and learn to be proficient in its use. If you don’t, your luck is going to run out at the worst possible time and you or somebody you care about will suffer the consequences. In the wilderness setting that usually means death.
That would be unfortunate and negligent in my opinion considering that it is now so easy and affordable to summon life saving emergency assistance to your exact location. All you need is the means to do it.
So, here are the three devices I think you should choose from. Note: All of these require an open view of the sky (or as open as you can manage) to beam a distress signal to the satellites above.
ACR ResQLink+ PLB – One trick pony. Idiot proof (as long as you properly register the unit) simple and dependable. Extend the antennae and push the button. It’s that easy but the communication is only one way and an emergency SOS message is the only one that can be sent. No subscription is necessary and once you purchase it there are no other costs. This is as basic as it gets and the minimum you should carry.
SPOT Gen 3 – More features means more interaction but the communication is still only one way. This one does more things which requires set up through your personal SPOT account and some practice to get the most out of it but the SOS function is still a one button movement that is easy to do no matter how stressed you are. In addition to an SOS distress signal you can choose to send a non-emergency HELP message, a pre-composed custom message, and an I am OK just checking in kind of message. It also has a TRACKING option that continuously transmits your lat/long coordinates. One thing I like about the SPOT is that it gives basic confirmation that the message has been sent and received. SPOT requires an annual subscription fee.
DeLorme inReach Explorer – The whole enchilada. Real time, two way satellite texting with electronic compass and full GPS capability. This is a multi-function, full featured navigation and communication device that requires set up, study, and practice to master. Although, again, the SOS is simply a matter of unlocking and pressing a button to activate. This is a very capable device but for many of you it is more than you want or need. Use it by itself or pair it with your smartphone through a dedicated app and you can communicate exactly what you want to whom you want from anywhere then get a response all in real time. Also, mark your position and navigate to coordinates or waypoints. It is an amazing device but you have to learn and practice to utilize the capabilities. The DeLorme (recently purchased by Garmin) Explorer requires an annual subscription and some additional fees for excessive text messages depending on the plan you choose.
Three choices. Basic, intermediate, advanced. Take your pick but be honest with yourself and then make it part of your every time process/system.
Now, if you are going to be adventuring out of the country, there is one more thing you need. A Medical and or Security membership package from Global Rescue. Think of it as Triple A for people that is run by former Navy SEALs. You call (via one of the devices above) and they haul for as long as it takes to get you somewhere safe.
Message received? Good!