Gear Reviews

The 4 Best Satellite Communicators for Backpackers

The latest generation of satellite communicators is better than ever, ensuring that you can stay informed, connected, and safe wherever you go. Here are our favorites.

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Do you need a satellite communicator to go hiking? Not usually. But when trouble strikes and you’re out of cell service, one of these devices can mean the difference between a relatively quick rescue and a long, difficult wait. 

The latest generation does more than just issue SOS’s: From weather reports to text messages, they also help you get and stay out of trouble in the first place. After months of testing, these are our four favorites.

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Somewear Global Hotspot


Though beholden to your smartphone, the Global Hotspot has an easy-to-use, functionable app for messaging and reading weather reports. You can send an SOS and initiate tracking from the actual device. Right now, you can get it for $100 off with the promo code STAYSAFE. Buy Somewear Global Hotspot for $249 (29% Off) Now / Read the Full Review



The most affordable device in the test is one step up from a basic personal locator beacon: It can initiate an SOS and send messages using either your phone (the latest version has Bluetooth) or its own keyboard. Buy SPOT X for $200 (20% off) Now / Read the Full Review

Garmin inReach Mini


The Mini combines the best of a GPS unit and satellite messenger into a tiny, dental floss-size package with an LCD screen. It doesn’t require a phone to operate, and offers the best offline maps of the bunch. Buy Garmin inReach Mini Now / Read the Full Review



Centered around an app, the Bivystick is totally reliant on your phone for everything from messaging to sharing social updates to initiating an SOS. It does have a 5200mAh battery that will charge your phone twice. Buy Bivystick Now / Read the Full Review

More: Gear 360 Reviews the ZOLEO Satellite Communicator


Stay connected anywhere with this affordable, easy-to-use text and email messenger. Read the Full Review