I have an early memory of asking my dad about a mysterious two-liter-soda-sized orange canister on the boat we lived on. He said it was an emergency radio beacon (EPIRB), and if we ever got into some kind of trouble we couldn’t get ourselves out of, we could activate it and someone would come to rescue us.
Technology being what it is, that device has shrunk to the size of a pager, and now uses GPS and satellite communication to pinpoint your position and send that to rescuers. There’s also a full-featured nautical version. Coverage is virtually universal.
The SPOT Connect pictured above takes this functionality to a new level with the option to connect an Android or iOS device via Bluetooth. Among other things, this allows you to update Twitter and Facebook while out of cell range, as well as send text messages. Naturally there’s a small catch — aside from the device’s $170 purchase price, the service costs $100/year, messages must be purchased separately in packages, and their length is limited to 41 characters.
But Twitter aside, that’s cheap insurance if you regularly venture into the backcountry, or anywhere without cell coverage.