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Hiking Safety: Emergency Locator Beacon vs. GPS Device

Living in Australia, we’ve been blessed with a lot of beautiful nature, and with that, a lot of beautiful places to hike to. As of recent years, hiking has been growing in popularity, with many fresh hikers joining the sport and visiting some of our country’s stunning trails and camping spots. If you’re an experienced hiker, you’ll already know all about the necessary safety gear you need to take with you on any camping trip. However, if you’re new to this field, you might be missing a few key pieces.

source: outdoortravels.com

Special Hiking Gear

We all know to take enough food, travel light, bring flashlights and proper clothing, but what about the more intricate things that don’t exactly come to mind from the get-go?  I’m talking about things like, for example, a portable water purifier to ensure you have fresh and safe drinking water at all times or a personal EPIRB, aka emergency position indicating radio beacon to help you stay safe. Have you heard of these?

It’s alright if you haven’t, not all of us are experienced hikers and to become one you need to take baby steps first, so in this article, I’d like to go over the personal locator beacons as a necessary item every hiker should have with them, especially when taking on trails that are a bit more adventurous and explore the differences between them and GPS locator devices.

Communication Gadgets

While a GPS locator can only show you where you are on a map, an emergency personal locator beacon can do much more. You can buy an emergency personal locator beacon at well-stocked hiking stores as well as stores that sell technology and similar gadgets. Your personal ELT isn’t only good for showing you where exactly on a map you’re located, even though it does this extremely well, it can also be used for communication and not the simple things.

Since the personal emergency beacons are operating not through a cell service, but a satellite network you subscribe to, you’re going to be able to contact basically anyone anywhere. No phone reception or cell tower is needed for the beacon to work, so even when your phone isn’t able to get through, your beacon definitely will be. The satellite network covers territory worldwide, so you’ll have no issue reaching anyone.

With the beacon, you’ll not only be able to call any number or send text messages to them, but you’ll also be able to connect to the internet and send e-mails, post on social media, check live weather updates, track your position, and so much more.

source: walkingdroid.com.au


You know the old saying, hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst? This is what personal locator beacons have at the core of their design and functionality. Completely able to show you simple things like your location or the weather in the coming days, they are also able to call for help when and if you end up needing it. This is done by a special SOS button that’s installed on the beacon itself that you can press and alert someone of your situation.

However, you won’t be alerting a family member or just anyone, but a special company that’s a world leader in emergency response solutions and monitoring. These guys are available 24/7, all year round, so no matter which time of day it is, there will be someone to answer your call for help.

Experienced and highly skilled, they will be able to locate you through your device and contact the proper authorities quickly and efficiently to ensure your safety. You’ll be communicating with them via text, so while help is on the way, they will be providing you with crucial and life-saving tips and information until first responders reach you.

Mind you, Australia has a lot of different climates throughout and not everyone knows how to handle these situations, so having someone have your back is vital.

Even though some GPS trackers have SOS options similar to this one, the personal emergency beacon is by far superior when it comes to response as well as accuracy. Most GPS trackers alert authorities, while the beacon allows you to have a skilled middle man in the process that will assure you help is on the way so you can stay calm and preserve your energy for the time being.

source: andrewskurka.com

Additional Items

Alongside these functions, the personal beacon also allows you to share your location with loved ones through an internet portal designed to work specifically with your beacon. This way, the people you choose will be able to know exactly where you are and how your journey is going, so even if you’re not able to hit the SOS button yourself, they’ll be able to alert someone for you.

In addition, you can connect your beacon to your phone, no matter if it runs on iOS or Android, so you can access maps, reports, and even messages and social media with fewer strokes. This is a highly useful feature as you’re basically adding the beacon’s performance to your phone, something that will make things a lot simpler.

Finally, the beacon is built much like old cell phone models, which makes it pretty easy to transport and hold, while its design is optimized for any kind of weather and assures complete functionality on rough terrains and under different circumstances.

The beacons also come with unlimited cloud storage and an opportunity to plan your trips in detail, which GPS trackers just never do. A colour screen and a long battery life also separate the beacon from a GPS tracker and place it on the winning spot when it comes to locator devices for hikers and campers.


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