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The SOS button is well protected with a cover.

Preview: SPOT X || 2-way messenger with physical keyboard

SPOT revolutionized backcountry communication in the late-2000’s with its original device, the SPOT Personal Tracker (my review), which retailed for $170 (plus an annual service plan) and which could send three one-way messages: Okay, Help, and SOS. The Tracker was less expensive to own and operate than a satellite phone. It was more functional than […]

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The SPOT Gen3 wins the weight and size award, with the ACR PLB just behind. The inReach units and satellite phones are comparable in weight and size.

Comps: inReach Mini vs SE+/Explorer+, SPOT Gen3, and PLB’s

For Outside I have written a piece on the primary differences between the new Garmin inReach Mini, which was released last week, and existing satellite communication devices like the inReach SE+, inReach Explorer+, SPOT Gen3, and personal locator beacons like the ACR Electronics ResQLink. Here’s the link: The Garmin InReach Mini vs. the Competition If […]

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The new Garmin inReach SE+ (yellow) and Explorer+ (orange) are best described as conventional handheld GPS units with satellite text messaging.

Garmin inReach deep dive: Default & downloadable maps & imagery

Overnight I received this question from reader Bob B.: This question — and just about any other that you can imagine — has been answered previously in my previous posts about the Garmin inReach SE+ and Explorer+: Preview: New Garmin inReach SE+ and Explorer+ 12 FAQ’s: inReach SE+ & Explorer+ || Incl, Will old devices […]

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Aquamira tablets (left) and drops (right)

Tutorial: Methods to purify backcountry water || Pros, cons & my picks

How to purify water from backcountry sources There are four basic techniques for treating water: Boiling Filtration Chemicals Ultraviolet light Boiling is time-tested, but impractical as a regular treatment: it consumes time and fuel, and hot water is normally unsatisfying to drink. I rely on this method only when I’m heating up water anyway for […]

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Because cats are too good for concrete.

Review: Sierra Designs Animas Pillow || Comfortable 2.1-oz inflatable for $25

Last summer I used a prototype of the new Sierra Designs Animas Pillow ($25, 2.1 oz) for about 30 nights. It was a similar experience to when I first used a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite (instead of foam): it’s hard to imagine reverting back to my old approach, which included sleeping on my: Soft-sided water bottles (full […]

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Hoka Challenger ATR 4

Review: Hoka One One Challenger ATR 4 || Easy singletrack + mixed runs

My shoe-de-jour changes with the season and the training cycle. Last summer while training for 100-mile mountain ultras and undertaking high routes I was most excited about the Salomon S/Lab Sense Ultra (my review) and La Sportiva Bushido (my review). In the lead-up to the Houston Marathon in January, I put hundreds of miles on the Hoka […]

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