Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Gear Reviews

What Our Members Are Testing Now: Zoleo Satellite Communicator

This simple backcountry messaging device was a hit with our tester.

Lock Icon

Become a member to unlock this story and receive other great perks.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

All Access
Fall Sale
$1.52 / week*

  • A $500 value with everything in the Print + Digital Plan plus 25+ benefits including:
  • Member-only content from every title in the Outside network like Outside, SKI, Climbing, and more
  • Annual gear guides for backpacking, camping, skiing , climbing, and more
  • Gaia GPS Premium with hundreds of maps and global trail recommendations, a $39.99 value
  • Premium access to Outside TV and 1,000+ hours of exclusive shows
  • Exclusive discounts on gear, travel, and race-entry fees
  • Annual subscription to Outside magazine
Join Outside+
Backpacker

Print + Digital
Special Price
$0.50 / week*

  • Annual subscription to Backpacker magazine
  • Access to all member-exclusive content and gear reviews on Backpacker.com
  • Ad-free access to Backpacker.com
Join Backpacker

*Outside memberships are billed annually. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details


None

The White Mountains of New Hampshire, my home range, are a rocky and wild slice of mountains despite their relative proximity to civilization. Their weather is legendarily unforgiving, and their trails rough. Having a backup plan if things go awry on a hike in the Whites is always a good idea, and that includes a communication strategy. On recent hikes up Mt. Pierce, Mt. Jackson, and Mt. Webster, where the notches and ravines of this area make cell service frequently nonexistent, I enjoyed the confidence of knowing I could stay in touch with the outside world via the Zoleo Satellite Communicator.

Pairing the Zoleo with my iPhone was simple—with both devices powered up, just turn on Bluetooth and open the Zoleo app. This seems like a good time for a confession: I don’t use manuals and quick-start guides usually get a cursory look at best. This device is so user-friendly and intuitive that you could save the reading material for treating your insomnia. The check-in function worked as advertised and delivered an ‘I’m OK’ notification to my designated contacts, along with latitude and longitude coordinates. Delivery was completed within a couple minutes, both sending and receiving. I was also able to check detailed weather forecasts for my location.

The device doesn’t have buttons to send messages itself, save for an SOS button, and the app doesn’t include maps. But for the price—it costs $199 and has reasonably priced usage plans—there’s no reason comms capability and SAR services can’t be at your fingertips on every hike. –Brian McElwee 

Buy The Zoleo Satellite Communicator Now