Flux wrote:I can guarantee I will have a SAT phone with me in the backcountry within the next 5 years. The change comes from how technology changes our society..
Recently I have come to the realization that I can afford a sat phone, that it does everything I'd ever need in the backcountry in an emergency. It also is useful when other people I may meet need help. So now my SPOT is on its last subscription cycle and may go on only one or two more trips before it ends up in the old gear bin.
My next trip will be a solo pre-winter hike after everyone else has left the Sierra for the most part. I may just get the sat phone before that trip. The newer models provide basic texting for unimportant chit chat with the folks at home, some even provide GPS coordinates in those messages, and you can batch messages to conserve airtime. The key for me is that with a sat phone I can voice call a doctor when I have non-life threatening situation, or call rescue directly so they know what's happening, or call friends about a detailed weather synopsis while I am stuck in a snow storm, or just call the kids when I miss them.
In the end, I've done 3-4 week backcountry trips in the days before even cell phones were available, nor bear canisters. Gore-Tex was the latest and greatest invention back then, while we still were unaware of things like "tech fabrics" and titanium sporks, and we had a great time while never spending much of a thought about how to stay in touch with the rest of the world. We went there to be out of touch. Things change, but you don't have to buy into all these trends just because somebody is selling something. For example, I refuse to own a "smartphone" because I feel they only add complication to my life, instead of adding much value.
But like you said, society is changing a and if in 2012 I want to leave work for 4 weeks, I really do have to give my boss a way to get in touch with me should everything I am responsible for back home come crashing down. I figure a daily text message check via sat phone would be what I can offer them.
I blow more on gas money to get to the Sierra and home on a single trip than it costs to own a sat phone and a few months of subscription time. So I made the call that this is the year I am moving to that technology. Everything else I've looked at just looks far too complex to have me feel comfortable with it. Anything that requires a smartphone to even work is just a silly solution, ironically adding points of failure to a system you choose to protect against failure.
And since I am not the UL weight weenie type, I don't really care about carrying a somewhat bulky phone and extra batteries.
Here's a pretty good blog I read to keep up with the developments in this track/send technology area http://tracknsend.com/