Note- as of 2020, our rentals for SPOT units are limited to monitored events for tracking/monitoring by race or other event organizers. For single or small group satellite communication use, we rent only the Inreach communicators. SPOT rentals require a minimum of 5 units, intended mostly for race or other group tracking events. Call us for large group pricing.
We have rented these for many years for use as a "tracker" for competitive events, such as mountain bike, adventure running and other wilderness trail races. Whether for an obstacle course on a muddy day, or for a perilous hilly single-track for world class bikers, our SPOT device offers a great way for race coordinators to be aware of each participant's position on the course, and to also detect if someone possibly needs assistance. For the participant, it offers the peace of mind of being able to seek assistance, even if outside of cell phone range.
If you are a wilderness trail race organizer and are recommending or requiring your event participants to carry a tracker while on the course, then you can direct them to the link above for the InReach, or, become our direct customer and you can distribute SPOT units to participants under whatever arrangement works best for you - usually assigned for an additional fee beyond the entry cost. Through a partnership with another company, we also offer monitoring service so the organizer and audience can see the location of all racers on a single screen at the same time. Just give us a call for more information on that service.
The SPOT we rent -typically their "Gen3" unit - uses the GPS satellite network to acquire your current latitude and longitude coordinates, and then sends its location with a link to Google Maps that can be viewed by your designated friends and family and the race organizer. Find more pictures and instructions on this satellite communicator, but know from the trail or other adventure you can:
The SPOT is a great idea and nifty little device that we've rented for many years, but there are a couple of important considerations before you go out with it:
Since it works off of satellite signals, reception and transmission can be affected by terrain, heavy overhead foliage, and the then-location of satellites. Fall in a mine or cave, for example, and SPOT probably won't be much help. It will keep trying however. SPOT will not protect you from risky or stupid choices, and on occasion there can be failures in a message transmission. To keep folks at home happy, you should send multiple OK messages a day AS THE PRACTICAL REALITY IS THAT WHILE NEARLY ALL MESSAGES WILL GO THRU EVERY TIME, "NEARLY" MEANS "NOT LIKELY 100%". WE DO NOT GUARANTEE THAT ANY ONE MESSAGE WILL BE SUCCESSFULLY RECEIVED. SPOT is no substitute for careful planning and common sense.
It runs off of 4 AAA lithium batteries, that we don't supply - we want you to buy your own to make sure you have the best you want to buy. PERFORMANCE WILL BE DEGRADED OR NONEXISTENT WITH ALKALINE BATTERIES;USE LITHIUM ONLY. For most trips, one set is enough - it's relatively easy on battery juice.
If you want a satellite device that you can communicate both ways - that is, the folks back home can get a message to you, then rent the Garmin InReach instead. The InReach also allows custom texting from the field, if the preset message approach isn't adequate. It is a bit pricier, and you have to pay attention to data usage, unlike this SPOT.
For more information, see the manufacturer's web site, and we have compiled a series of articles on detailed pieces of its operation:
How to Use the Check-In/I'm OK button on your SPOT Messenger
How to Send a Custom Message on your SPOT Messenger
How to Send a Help Message on your SPOT Messenger
How to Send a SOS Message on your SPOT Messenger
How to set your SPOT Messenger for Automatic Tracking
Understanding the LED lights on your SPOT Messenger
Between April and October, supply is always tight, so be sure to order as early as possible to ensure availability.