Are you thinking about making your way into the Colorado backcountry this season? Knowing where to go and bringing along the right gear are important to ensuring a successful trip.

Maybe you plan to float the Rio Grande or explore the miles of smaller creeks in the southern San Juans and Sangre de Cristo mountains. If biking is more your speed, the single and double track across the San Luis Valley is some of the best in the state. Whatever your destination, one thing is certain: limited cell service. 

Connectivity is important to many of us, so when we heard about the SPOT X 2-Way Satellite Messenger, we decided to give it a test run on several adventures this spring. 

If you’re looking for a way to stay connected to family while out of cell phone reception, the SPOT X may be the answer.

Here’s why:

Staying connected is easy

The SPOT X doesn’t rely on tradition cellular/radio towers. Using satellite communications, users can send messages from anywhere in the world. Users can either pre-load contacts and messages on the device or online via “My Account” on the SPOT website or input both directly into the device while in the backcountry. 

Additionally, not only can you send messages via text/email but if updating your socials is important to you, users can also direct post to social media accounts (without getting sucked into scrolling). And if you need to reach multiple contacts, a custom pre-loaded “check in” message can be sent to a group, providing everyone with a check-in/update, with just one click.

Peace of mind

The device includes options to auto-track your location (like dropping GPS point breadcrumbs). This allows users to share travel progress, including GPS coordinates and elevation details. While many of us who explore and play in limited-reception areas tend to give friends and family a heads-up on our whereabouts for the next “x” number of days, the SPOT X allows users to actually stay in contact with people. If issues come up at home that need your attention or you just want to give your loved ones an update that you’ve made it to a destination or are heading back to the vehicle, the SPOT X can make it happen.

Emergencies happen

The SPOT X – and any SOS satellite communication device – isn’t necessarily designed for our typical back-and-forth texting. Rather, the primary purpose of a tool like this is to have a means to get help if an issue comes up and though we were discouraged from pressing/demoing the SOS function (as Search and Rescue teams would be immediately deployed), we appreciated the ease of finding the “SEND HELP” SOS button. Thankfully, though, the SPOT X just happens to have an awesome additional feature: two-way communication. This means users can exchange messages with any cell phone number or email address to share updates, location, etc. and respond to replied messages.

The SPOT X device retails for $249.99 and service plans range up to $200.00/year, a price tag that is rather easy to swallow (in our opinion) in exchange for connectivity. 

In a world where we have become so accustomed to instantly sharing information on social networks and with friends & family by text and email, we forget that not all the places we play have that level of connectivity. Thanks to the SPOT X, you can disconnect from your cell phone while maintaining some connection to the people that need to know where you are and get help if an emergency should arise.