[pct-l] Emergency Spot GPS vs. PLB devices

Katalina Jimenez katalinajime at hotmail.com
Wed Apr 1 15:05:26 CDT 2009

Thank you to everybody who wrote about the Spot device. I've thought about whether to take it. When my dad asked me to take a GPS device, he said, "so I can know where you are." And I automatically replied, "But I don't want people to know where I am- that's half the fun!" But, of course, these are my parents, and as they get older I feel more protective of their feelings and I don't want to cause them undue stress. (I think I aged my poor mother 5 years when I hitchiked southern/eastern Africa in 2000). If this will give them a sense of security, then I'll pack those extra 7 oz. with me.


I'm having a Spot sent to me (thank you Rabbit!!). So I'll be doing a gear review along the trail to let others know how it goes.


Thanks everybody! I'll see you on the trail!!


> From: milesbrandon66 at gmail.com
> To: pct-l at backcountry.net
> Date: Wed, 1 Apr 2009 12:31:28 -0700
> Subject: [pct-l] Emergency Spot GPS vs. PLB devices
> This may be useful…
> Emergency 911 / “I’m OK” devices
> SPOT vs. PLB (There are several important differences in the two Emergency
> 911 GPS devices. 
> Weight: Spot>7.3 oz (209 grams) PLB>12 oz. (340 Grams)
> Send for 911 Spot>Yes PLB>Yes
> Send “I’m Ok” Spot>Yes PLB>No 
> Ask Help (friends) Spot>Yes PLB>No
> Floats on Water Spot>Yes PLB>Yes
> SPOT GPS Specs Link:
> http://www.findmespot.com/en/downloads/SPOT_Product_Specifications_2007_11_2
> 1.pdf 
> PLB (Terrafix) Specs link:
> http://www.acrelectronics.com/terrafix/terrafixspec.pdf 
> Here is my personal reasoning why I WILL be carrying a SPOT GPS device. I
> don’t wish to be “on a lease” or be dependent on technology. However, I
> asked myself: Is my life worth $248 dollars? ($149 for SPOT device +$99 for
> Annual subscription). Is carrying an extra 7 oz. (less than ½ pound) worth
> it if I could help save a fellow hiker’s life (or my own!) in remote area
> where life hangs in the balance? Obvious answer for me: Yes. It’s cheap
> insurance. And It’s awesome when you add in the capability to 1) send a
> specific (Help or “Send next Resupply Box”) message to your Home Base (the
> msg is set up before PCT) or 2) just send the occasional / weekly “I’m OK”
> and Link to location on Google Maps or, 3) send for 911 help. But I like
> the purist’s ultra-light reasoning: Carry Only Absolutely Essential
> equipment to get to Canada! I struggled with this decision – It’s an
> individual choice.
> Miles Brandon 
> (818) 486-4492
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