Spot Global Phone – Long Term Review
For the past two winter seasons I have utilized a Spot Global Satellite Phone and, just like always wearing a helmet, I don’t think I’d travel the backcountry of Newfoundland without it. Has this phone meant the difference between life for death? Thankfully, it hasn’t and I personally hope I never find out. I just know it’s great to have it when I’m deep in the backcountry where a cell phone is good for taking a picture but that’s it. The reality is, if you ride the backcountry, you should have a Satellite Phone. If you’re hiring a guide, ask if they have one and if they don’t, ask yourself if you are willing to take that risk?
For this season, I’ll continue to use the Spot Global Satellite Phone. In fact, this past fall when I travelled to South Africa, I brought the phone with me and even though it remained in my backpack during a 15 hour layover in Ethiopia, I felt better having it there. Maybe it’s the psychology of having it there, but over the past two years, the phone has come in handy.
I remember the first time we used the phone while deep in the backcountry. I had rolled my sled and the handlebars accidentally met a tree and the bars didn’t win. Having the phone allowed me to call several vendors on the west coast of Newfoundland. I found a replacement set from Adam Ball (Deer Lake Home Hardware) and having the phone allowed me to set the repair in motion. More importantly, it allowed me to be on the snow the next day.
On multiple occasions, I have used the phone to call the lodge to let them know we’re running behind schedule or we’ll be a few hours later than expected. That’s what I simply consider being courteous, but also your lodge (or accommodation provider) need to know your plan, or your rough timeline, even if you’re staying at a hotel.
Now most of your are probably thinking…no problem Goldsworthy, but how much is the Satellite Phone going to set me back? Well, Globalstar has a current promotion that will get you the actual phone unit for free! Like your current cell phone, you simply commit to a one-year contract. The monthly cost will run you approximately $65 and that will get you 100 minutes per month. However, no price can be put on safety. So this year, if you’re hiring a guide, please ensure they have the ability to communicate in the deep backcountry. That simply means, if they don’t have a Spot Global Satellite Phone, you probably shouldn’t book with them.