It’s a scenario that no one wants to imagine while being out in the backcountry. You and your pals are deep in that secret stash having an unforgettable day when suddenly, someone lands on a rock and fractures their femur. Now everyone is in rescue mode, and getting in contact with rescue personnel is more pertinent than ever. The thing is, backcountry adventures often take us to zones with either poor cell service or no connection at all.
While it’s optimistic to think that at least one person in your group has a satellite phone, that’s usually not the case. Sat phones are a great piece of equipment, but they’re not cheap and can be often heavy to pack along. Somewear Labs, however, offers a reasonable alternative to traditional sat phones with their Global Hotspot device. Originally designed in collaboration with our pal Jeremy Jones, the global hotspot is a hockey puck-sized gadget that turns your regular smartphone into a sat phone. “There is no reason not to have this on you at all time,” Jones says, who helped with product testing and initial prototype feedback. He’s never been a huge fan of satellite phones given the added weight they add to packs. But, the beauty of Somewear Labs is that it’s so lightweight that it barely takes up any room in your bag. “In my profession, you learn quickly that if something goes wrong in the mountains you need reliable communication with emergency responders. Cell phones rarely work in the mountains which is why Somewear has become a critical part of my backcountry kit."
The Somewear Labs Global Hot Spot essentially turns your phone into a versatile rescue tool. Max Ritter photo.
So you’re probably wondering by now, how does it work? The device works in conjunction with the Somewear labs app, which has three useful features: messaging, tracking, weather reporting. The communication component works seamlessly across WiFi, cellular, and satellite connectivity, ensuring that you’ll be able to reach whoever you need to contact. If your phone dies, don’t worry you’re not shit out of luck. The device also has an SOS feature. This feature does require a monthly satellite data subscription—which starts as low as $15 a month—but with that added capability the device becomes a stand-alone emergency transmitter. With the tracking feature, Somewear makes it easy for your friends and family to know where you’re going and monitor your journey along the way. Lastly, the device is more than a rescue tool, but a useful resource for keeping tabs on the weather. Conditions can change rapidly in the mountains, and Somewear can help you be prepared for the worst. And the device isn’t just handy for backcountry skiing/riding, it’s the kind of thing that makes sense for any adventure: backpacking, hiking, fly fishing, and anything that might have you off the grid.
To learn more about the Somewear Labs device, head to their website. The product comes in black and blue color options, and is $349.99.No phone? The SOS button works just like a stand-alone emergency transmitter. Max Ritter Photo.