Technology Review: Contact 3.0 Hiking Package

Satellite broadcasting gets light, cheap, and trailworthy

Why: This packable multimedia setup ushers in a brave new world of adventure Webcasting. The sat phone/PDA/camera system, all powered by Contact 3.0 software, promises to revolutionize remote communications by offering an economical, portable, easy-to-use system for real-time text, photo, and video transfers from campsite to Web site.

Just shoot photos or video clips on the digital camera, or type dispatches into the PDA via wireless keyboard, and hit "send." Your dispatch goes out by satellite phone and appears on your designated Web site seconds later. We hauled this package through Glacier and the Canadian Rockies, and successfully broadcasted from isolated campsites, ridgetops, and glaciers. (View sample dispatches from around the world at www.explorersweb.com.)

All components are solar rechargeable, and you can use each of the pieces alone. A variety of packages are available, tailored to your media preferences; we particularly like the optional software that lets you plug in a GPS unit and automatically plot your position to an onscreen map.

Who: Would-be backcountry bloggers, plus outdoor clubs, sponsored expeditions, thru-hikers, and charity adventurers.

How much: $2,744 (as tested; includes server setup, software training, and Pelican case)

Weight: 2 lbs. 8 oz.

Contact: (212) 966-1928; www.humanedgetech.com.