These phones operate like regular phones but are used best in the middle of nowhere. This means that satellite phones work where there is no cell network, making it paramount to have during your adventure. In this article, we will be reviewing the 5 best satellite phone for backpacking.
With a functional and affordable satellite phone in your backpack, things could get a lot easier. Satellite phones have an amazing reception, even in the most dreaded and obscure place.
They are unanimously the first and best thing you should have in your backpack while planning your backpack trip to remote places. If you have had a bad experience of backpacking without a satellite phone on your next trip, it should never escape your mind.
Best Satellite Phones for backpacking Comparison Chart
|PRODUCT||GARMIN INREACH||BLUECOSMO IRIDIUM||BLUECOSMO INMARSAT||GARMIN GPSMAP||SPOT GEN3|
|BATTERY||480 HR STANDBY||30 HR STANDBY||160HR STANDBY||16HR STANDBY||48HR STANDBY|
|DISPLAY||1.27 INCHES||2.4 INCHES||2 INCHES||2.6 INCHES||N/A|
|PRICE||CHECK PRICE||CHECK PRICE||CHECK PRICE||CHECK PRICE||CHECK PRICE|
5 Best Satellite Phones for Backpacking in 2020 Reviews
This list is compiled according to research based on durability, network coverage, power and portability.
1. BlueCosmo Iridium Extreme Satellite Phone – The Best Overall
Iridium Extreme satellite phone has the capacity to serve your needs at any time. Calls, messages, GPS tracking, emergency SOS are all that this BlueCosmo Satelite phone comprises, so you are not out of options. With both prepaid SIM cards, monthly plans, and easy online activation, all coming at no additional charges, your safety is guaranteed with this rugged device.
Schedule your backpacking trip, hiking or hunting anywhere in the world and get complete global pole-to-pole network coverage.
Are you worried about running out of airtime in the middle of nowhere? This device allows you to set up automatic refills whenever you are low in airtime.
You will also get text messages and alerts whenever you are low in airtime. The company made sure this exclusive offer is affordable for its users, convenient, and provides value.
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Global coverage: make and receive calls, send messages towards the earth’s ends at no hidden or additional roaming charges. When needed, request help with GPS tracking and emergency SOS buttons from anywhere in the globe and receive help quickly.
Amazing technical support service: Don’t be left out of options. Request technical support from BlueCosmo when the need arises, and a team of professionals would cater to your needs.
Rugged: Don’t get bothered about your phone falling off your pocket because iridium extreme is tough. It is resistant to dust, water, and extreme weather conditions and gives a good feel in hand.
Affordable prepaid and monthly plans: Purchasing airtime or monthly plans and activation is easy from BlueCosmo. Log in to the site and get everything done in minutes.
18-month warranty: With an 18-month warranty from BlueCosmo, you get extended coverage and exclusive services from the manufacturer.
What I Like
- Configured SOS button for emergency response service
- Flexible and affordable prepaid and monthly plans
- No roaming charges
- Global network coverage
- Water and shock-resistant
What I don’t Like
- This product is a bit expensive, but it’s worth it considering all the features it has.
- Data usage is not good.
2. Garmin InReach Mini – Best for Battery Backup
Garmin InReach Mini is a portable satellite phone that easily fits in your palm. So if you are adamant about taking a satellite device that won’t drag you down the hills, this device is likely your ideal choice. It’s one of the best satellite devices for hiking.
Garmin inReach Mini lets you send and receive messages, track your journey, and is fast in reaching out to SOS in emergent situations. So you can always stay in touch with family and friends with this compact device.
You can share your awesome experience via your linked Facebook or Twitter account to your friends and family.
The best thing about this device is its compatibility features for air pilots. When a compatible device running the Garmin Earthmate app is paired via Bluetooth, it’s easy for your satellite device to send and receive messages to the connected device while in the air.
In case you don’t know where you are, you can easily check the map on your portable device. Air navigation also becomes easy because the GPS functionality will help direct which air route to take through the intelligent map display on your paired smartphone or tablet.
Besides that, this satellite device has access to aviation services like LMFS and ACAS. These services enable you to reports for any flight emergency or any condition that may affect your routing.
The Earthmate app also provides premium and basic weather update so that weather conditions can update you. The system provides automatic monitoring that responds to these emergencies once a signal is gotten.
This rugged and water-resistant device has a rechargeable lithium battery that lasts up to 50 hours of use and up to 20 days in standby mode. The small display is designed for use in both bright and dim conditions. This is likely the best satellite device for hunting.
Rugged and lightweight: InReach easily fits in your palm and tough to withstand any fall.
Global network coverage: Stay in any part of the world and communicate with your friends and family in a two-way text using this small device.
Optional weather forecast: Get optional detailed updates concerning the weather and stay in charge of the premium or basic package.
Emergency Services – With just a text, a response team will come to your aid swiftly.
Access to maps: Get detailed charts and imagery of your flight routes using the Earthmate app and a compatible device and stay afloat with air monitoring.
What I Like
- Portable and fits perfectly in the palm
- Rugged and lightweight
- Excellent global network coverage
- Provides aerial information through the Earthmate app
- Provides optional weather forecast
- Good battery
What I don’t Like
- Customer service support isn’t that great.
- The lack of a virtual keyboard makes the device difficult to type and send messages.
- Does not support the call function. 😦
3. BlueCosmo Inmarsat IsatPhone 2.1 Satelite Phone – Best for Network Coverage
As the name suggests, this outstanding satellite device from BlueCosmo is best known for its amazing network coverage. With three satellites positioned in the air, this device enables you to stay anywhere in the world to communicate without restrictions.
Airtime services are topnotch. You get the best value out of your activated sim with an easy-to-use online portal that allows you to manage your airtime usage and airtime plans.
With its affordable monthly plans, you never get to run out of airtime because you are given the opportunity to plan ahead.
It’s also not lacking in battery backup. The battery lasts over 8 hrs during talk time and up to five days on standby, which means that you shouldn’t be acrid of you running out of power when the need arises.
No Roaming or Additional Charges: Receive and make calls, send SMS, use GPS, and you will ever get to pay for any roaming or additional charges irrespective of your location in the world except for extreme north and south poles.
All-In-One Service Options: You don’t have to go through complex processes of activating your prepaid SIM and setting up your monthly service plan. Go to the BlueCosmo website and get everything done in minutes.
Comfortable: This device is shock-resistant, so you won’t feel any distress while using it. It’s totally safe to use anytime.
Dust and Water Resistant: This device can withstand dust and moisture coming from any direction.
What I like
- Tough and reliable
- Safe to use
- Easy to use
- No additional or roaming charges
- Good global network coverage
- Water and dust resistant
What I don’t Like
- Reduced coverage for extreme north and south poles
- Data usage is not so good.
4. Garmin GPSMAP 64 Satelite Phone – Best for GPS Functionality
The best feature in this device is its portability and amazing GPS functionality and GLONASS receiver. You can literally see the ends of the earth with this device and explore places where you have never been before.
Navigation is easy, and you can download thousands of geotagged pictures from the internet and store them either in your internal memory or microSD card.
This device features a 2.6 bright, readable color screen with a built-in world map that can help you navigate with ease and comfort. The screen may look so small, but the bright color screen made up for it, so you won’t have to strain your eyes looking for your position on the map.
Garmin GPSMAP 64 has a quad-helix antenna that immediately pinpoints your location even in the deepest woods or snow. If you seem lost and unable to find your way, you can count on this device to provide you with easy navigation.
For better imagery, this device supports BirdsEye Satelite Imagery that enables you to load satellite images onto your device and integrate them with your existing maps. You will need a BirdsEye subscription to access this feature.
Portable, lightweight, and good battery life are other features this small device possesses. Plan your next fun outdoor activity with your friends and family and have this amazing satellite device accompany you.
Readable screen: Sunlight readable 2.6 inches screen color display allows you to see images clearly despite the small screen.
Portable and lightweight: This device fits perfectly in the hands and weighs about 100 g.
Expandable memory: Store your pictures in the available 4GB internal memory with the option of expanding via an SDcard if space is not sufficient.
BirdsEye satellite imagery: Download and load satellite images to your device for better imagery.
High-sensitive GPS/GLONAS receiver: lets you stay on top of your current location.
What I Like
- Easy map navigation
- Portable and lightweight
- Bright, readable screen
- Accurate GPS satellite navigation
What I Don’t Like
- This device has a low battery life, so you will need to charge constantly.
- Outdated user interface
5. Spot Gen3 Satelite Phone – Best for Budget
With a simple push of the button, you can reach emergency response service, keep in touch with family and friends and track your adventures with the GPS messenger on the Spot Gen3 satellite device.
Let your friends know where you are by sending custom messages, save your tracked location from allowing your contacts to have access to your location via Google maps. This device is one of the best for hiking.
Dedicated SOS button: Send an SOS message in emergencies with a push of the button and have geos launch a rescue operation.
GPS tracking: With GPS software, track your adventures and share coordinates with your contact to know where you are.
Custom message: Check-in on your contacts at any time and let them know where you are with a programmed message.
What I Like
- GPS provides accurate location
- Good battery life.
What I don’t Like
- Device setup is complicated
- Subscription service is expensive
- Poor customer support
What to Consider When Choosing a Satelite Phone for Backpacking
A good number of people are often confused about which type of satellite phone to purchase. It’s natural to feel this way, especially if you are buying for the first time.
While most satellite phones have certain features in common, there are distinctive ones that have peculiar characteristics. Before you decide to purchase a satellite phone, consider the following factors;
While hiking or climbing up a hill, you wouldn’t want something heavy that would pull you down. Size is very crucial during a backpacking trip. In that case, your satellite phone must be as lightweight and compact as possible.
Overall, its best, you carry the one that is more convenient for you. The Garmin InReach Mini wins easily in this category.
Ease of Use
The basic function of a satellite phone is communication, and by doing that, its ease of use shouldn’t be so complicated. Since every satellite phone comes with a user manual, it’s recommended you use it for familiarity’s sake. Again, the BlueCosmo Inmarsat IsatPhone 2.1 Satellite Phone excels in this department.
Weather elements such as rain, storms can easily affect the functionality of your device. Backpacking is an outdoor activity, so you will need a satellite phone that is sturdy enough to withstand those weather elements. Also, you will need a satellite phone that can withstand breaking when it lands on the ground. An example of such a device is the BlueCosmo Iridium Extreme Satellite Phone.
Budget is what every buyer worries about. However, most of these devices are not cheap, so you will have to spend to buy your pick. Some devices do cost more than others, so consider buying the one that fits your purpose and budget. In this case, the Spot Gen3 Satelite Phone is likely your ideal choice.
This factor is crucial if you are on the quest to buy a satellite phone. Not all satellite phones have extensive network coverage. Some only have regional network coverage and would be impossible to use outside the designated region. Ensure you check if your device’s network is available at your destination. In this category, the BlueCosmo Inmarsat IsatPhone 2.1 Satellite Phone is likely your best product.
There is nothing better than a satellite phone with good battery backup. You won’t have to charge it all the time because it will last for a good number of days and hours, both on standby mode and during talk time or tracking mode. The Garmin InReach Mini Satellite Phone excels in this aspect.
GPS Tracking and Additional Features
While you are enjoying your adventure, some additional features in a satellite phone could be advantageous and prove useful to you. Such features include; SOS, GPS, GLONAS receiver, etc. If any of these advanced features tinkles your fancy, consider choosing the BlueCosmo Inmarsat IsatPhone 2.1 satellite device.
FAQS About The Best Satellite Phone For Backpacking
Can satelite phones work indoors?
It can’t work indoors. Satellite phones have an antenna. This antenna work under a clear view of the sky for you to get a good reception. Trees, forests, and even a hazy sky can block network signals.
Can satelite phones replace regular cell phones?
The big answer is no, but it depends on the person’s pocket and location. A person with an average monthly budget has no business using a satellite phone as a replacement for a regular cell phone. Yet, if you spend most of your time in areas with no cellular network, satellite phones would prove to be more useful than a regular cell phone. Otherwise, cellular phones are the ideal set of phones to use where the network is available.
How does a satellite phone work?
Satellite phones work like cell phones. There is a physical button, power button, dedicated SOS button, and volume button in most of them. Most of them, like the ones from BlueCosmo, comes with a prepaid SIM card.
Other satellite phones allow you to choose between postpaid and prepaid plans. You use airtime for calls and text messages like cell phones, buy airtime through the network provider’s website, and use it by extending the antenna’s length.
How do you make calls with a satellite phone?
It is not difficult at all to make calls with a satellite phone. The process of making calls, receiving calls, and dialing numbers are like regular phones. Press the answer button to receive incoming calls and input country code, followed by the number, and press send if you want to place a call.
How good is the call and internet bandwidth?
When it comes to speed, you shouldn’t expect it to perform more than cell phones. Satellite phones are average on call and internet speed levels. Sometimes, they could be slower than normal, pending factors like extreme weather conditions.
Final Thought- Best satellite phone for backpacking
After reading this review, you may consider taking a satellite phone with you on your next backpacking trip. It’s necessary because it has wider network coverage and works in places where normal cell phones don’t work. Communication is important and totally necessary in emergencies where you need help. There is no best satellite phone on the market. Individual needs vary, so ensure that your pick fulfills all your requirement.
What’s your take on satellite phones? Do you think they are still necessary for backpack travelers?