When you’re lost, alone in the wilderness, a GPS personal locator beacon is the little piece of technology that you really want to have with you. A survival kit will help you survive, but unless you have something like a GPS personal locator beacon, chances are no one is going to be coming to your rescue. Still, most people will never use their GPS personal locator beacon, but then a big part of why a person buys something like this is for the peace of mind it provides both them and their family and friends back home.
GPS Personal Locator BeaconWhat to look for when you want a GPS Personal locator beacon.
- Test Mode – Most GPS personal locator beacons are extremely well made pieces of technology that you can depend on. But even the most durable of technology does occasionally fail, which is why it is helpful to have a test mode on your personal locator beacon, so that you can make sure it’s functioning properly before you go and depend on it.
- I’m OK – Many of the higher end GPS personal locator beacons will give you the ability to send an “I’m OK” message. Part of the reason people buy a personal locator beacon, after all, is peace of mind, and so the ability to send a message telling friends and family that you’re ok helps to give them that peace of mind.
Best GPS Personal Locator BeaconSome of the best GPS personal locator beacons for when you get well and truly lost.
- SPOT GPS Satellite Messenger - First up, the cheapest option on the list, from SPOT. The low price, however, is offset by what you might consider to be the greatest flaw of this device, which is that you need to subscribe to SPOT's service if you expect the device to work. So over the years, the $99 per year fee will add up, whereas with most other GPS locators, all your costs are up front. But it's small, lightweight, at just 5.2 ounces, or 147 grams, and will send "I'm OK" messages, along with GPS data, so it will likely appeal to some people.
- McMurdo Fast Find 210 Personal Locator Beacon with GPS - Another relatively cheap GPS personal locator beacon, this time from McMurdo. You cant send any "I'm OK" messages with the Fast Find, but you can test the device, which is certainly a nice feature to have. And like most other personal locator beacons, it uses the Search and Rescue satellite, which doesn't require any sort of subscription to use, so after you buy the unit you don't need to pay anything else. It weighs 5.3 ounces, or 150 grams, which is just slightly more than the SPOT above.
- ACR SARLink View 406 GPS Personal Locator Beacon - The View 406 is a more feature rich personal locator beacon that has a cost that reflects the extras. For starters, it uses the same basic Search and Rescue satellite, so there are no subscription fees. You can also send "I'm OK" messages, along with GPS data, so that loved ones have a good idea where you are. There's also a test mode, so that you know it's working properly before you leave the house. But it's features like a strobe light that get's automatically activated that are what set the View 406 apart. The whole thing does weigh slightly more than the other options, however, at 8.9 ounces, or 258 grams.