Spot Gen 3 Satellite Messenger

by Kirsten Armleder

Orange and black Spot GPS device in the snow.

The Spot Gen 3 is the latest version of personal location devices from Spot LLC—a company based in Covington, Louisiana. Like its predecessor, the Spot Gen 3 uses the Globalstar satellite network to send messages, track your route and request emergency assistance from anywhere around the world.

Out of the box, the Spot Gen 3 weighs only four ounces (113 grams) and fits in the palm of your hand. On the front are five buttons. The Check-In feature allows you to send a pre-programmed text message, such as “Having fun” or “All is well” to friends and family members. The Help feature can be used to alert your personal contacts of a non-life-threatening situation and let them know of your whereabouts. The SOS button is for life-threatening situations and when pushed, it sends your GPS coordinates and information to 911 responders in your area. There’s also a Custom Message feature, and it can be used in addition to the Check-In feature to send a pre-programmed message to your contacts.

You can also let your contacts know where you are by using the Tracking function. By going online to your shared pages, they can follow your progress on a Google map. The Spot Gen 3 even allows you to set the rate at which it sends your tracks, and if you stop, it does too. The tracks resume once you start moving again. The tracking feature has come in handy for me and my riding partner, especially when exploring new terrain, because we are able to review our tracks back at home and see exactly where we went—and where we should’ve gone.

I’ve tested the Spot Gen 3 as well as the Spot Connect on my snowmobiling, ATVing and hiking adventures and found that while both are great products, the Spot Gen 3 has a much longer battery life and it is easier to use. It also has more power options.

The Spot Gen 3 is also rugged, waterproof and surprisingly well equipped to withstand the rigours of backcountry travel.

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