While going off the grid is often the best part of any trip outdoors, it’s still a good idea to have some form of backup communication – preferably satellite. There’s no shortage of good options for satellite communication devices out there, but the Bivystick is the newest one on the block, and perhaps one of the most convenient and easiest to use.
How does the Bivystick work? First, by connecting to your phone via Bluetooth. From there, you can open the Bivystick app, which lets you send texts, receive weather updates, alerts, share locations and track yourself on the map, via satellite reception (found in the Bivystick itself). There are over 45,000 trails already uploaded into the app for you to view, so you don’t have to carry a separate GPS unit. And, you can share your location with others back at home, who can keep tabs on your location anytime from anywhere. If you need help, you can send an SOS signal and GPS beacon, and even communicate with emergency services top ensure they find you on time.
Since it’s powered by satellite, there is virtually no worries about lack of cell reception. It’s rated to IPX6 for dust and water-resistance, and even works as a portable charger for your phone, thanks to the 5200 MAH backup battery built right in. Bivystick says that’s enough for 2-3 full charges of your typical iPhone.
And, unlike some other handheld satcom devices, it doesn’t require a subscription or contract – or even an activation fee. You’ll have to purchase a series of credits in order to use it, however – and they can be somewhat expensive.
Prices start at $279 for a single Bivystick and is currently available on Kickstarter. You can expect to gets yours this September.