Page 1 of 6

try to avoid disturbing your family back home

Posted: Sat Jul 28, 2018 11:14 pm
by bobby49
A bunch of Boy Scouts and three adults were headed south on the JMT. One of the adults had a Spot device and started using it to send "OK" messages back home to wives and families. Then the adult lost his Spot device off his backpack. I'm sure that caused some anguish. I ran into them around Crabtree Camp, and the adult explained to me about his loss of the Spot device. So, I set him up. We used my inReach device (which sends and receives text) to send a message to his wife explaining the loss of the Spot device and not to worry. They were almost to Mount Whitney, and they were on schedule, and not to reply since I would have had my inReach device going the other way, and they probably didn't want to reply to me anyway.

Re: try to avoid disturbing your family back home

Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:58 am
by oldhikerQ
I wish that it was that simple for me. Even though i'm traveling with a group totaling between 3 and 6, my wife insists that i carry a sat phone and check in every day at camp. i text her that everyone is ok and that we are in our planned campsite. She emails the remaining spouses with the good news. Wish that i didn't have to drag a d*mn phone along on every trip, but she insists. Happy wife, happy life.
sigh....

Re: try to avoid disturbing your family back home

Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:48 pm
by bobby49
Why do you need a sat phone? A text message saying that you are OK at the end of the day should be sufficient. I have one preset message "I'm OK" that I send at the end of each trail day. If family did not receive that by 9 p.m. or felt curious, they could inquire to me. Then if they did not get a reply from me, they could start an escalation.

Re: try to avoid disturbing your family back home

Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:46 am
by oldhikerQ
Started out with a Gen 1 Spot. That did not provide the functionality that i needed to keep the wife happy, plus the annual fee was on its way to obscenely expensive. That led to the sat phone rental, and the 12+ ounces of weight that i hate to carry.
Just curious, what do you use for communicating?

Re: try to avoid disturbing your family back home

Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:16 am
by JayOtheMountains
oldhikerQ wrote:Just curious, what do you use for communicating?
Smoke and mirrors.

I make a phone call or a text once I'm back in cell range at the end of the trip. It is my opinion that there is too much technology in the back country.
I'm in my late 30's and could have all the fancy digital stuff. However, an experienced mother knows to call SAR if we don't check in on our scheduled "out" day. I go into the backcountry to get away...

Re: try to avoid disturbing your family back home

Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 11:01 am
by Cycleboy
I've used an InReach for a number of years and it is nice because you can send texts back and forth. We originally got it when my grandmother was in poor health in case my dad needed to boogie home on short notice. It's nice to be able to tell the family the status.

We did find a drawback to it when a friend borrowed it. People get used to seeing your tracking each day and follow along. One day he stopped showing tracks and didn't respond to messages. I got a text from his wife asking about it and tried to get in touch, to no avail. The next day (after she was getting a bit worried), we finally got a message. He had some AMS symptoms and had forgotten to turn it on while he was dealing with not feeling well.

Tracking and communicating can be good, until it isn't. I like to have the device in the event one of us needs emergency help and can't get out on our own.

Re: try to avoid disturbing your family back home

Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 11:06 am
by AlmostThere
The reality is of course that all of them will fail you. I took a sat phone as an experiment and it wasn't the "fix" advertised.

People at home need to understand what to do if the device fails, and that it can in fact fail, for a variety of reasons. Otherwise you end up with very panicked family who trigger an unnecessary SAR. It has happened, and it will happen again.

I have an InReach Mini, now. Uses the phone to do a lot of the legwork. It recharges from the same Anker battery pack I use for the phone, texts and has the SOS and map app... plots my movements on a map if I care to do that. There are a variety of plans for it and I can suspend service for months I don't intend to take it with me anywhere (there are no months that I do not hike). I'm sure it will have delays (there are often delays in communications with any of these devices) and that it is not 100% reliable. But, it is a backup to the high band radio issued by the Forest Service which I take when out on trail crew. And I intend to take it on longer backpacking trips that my sweetie does not go with me, not that he wants me to, but because he will probably drop me off and if I come out early, I can text him to pick me up instead of hitching if the friend's car doesn't start.

Leave an itinerary always, and make sure folks at home understand the limitations of the device.

Re: try to avoid disturbing your family back home

Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 11:39 am
by rlown
There is also this thread on how to communicate: http://www.highsierratopix.com/communit ... reach+spot

Re: try to avoid disturbing your family back home

Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 11:59 am
by oldhikerQ
Long ago, i didn't have anything to communicate with. Just a call at the end of the trip, letting everyone know we were on our way home. Those are fondly referred to as the good old days. Once i approached 60, a fuss was raised about being able to check in daily, in spite of the group size. i responded with "yes, dear" and continued my trips. Now that i'm in my mid 60s, there is increasing pressure to 'act your age' and find a less strenuous way to visit the mountains. At this point, the sat phone appears to be my price of admittance for week long backpacking trips in order to preserve domestic tranquility.
The wife enjoys the mountains and will be soon going with my oldest daughter and her daughter for a one week camping trip in Yosemite. I'm not going, as it was either camping or backpacking, as determined by available vacation time. Backpacking won out. So, she enjoys the mountains. Just doesn't understand my need to take extended walks there.
YMMV

Re: try to avoid disturbing your family back home

Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:01 pm
by Wandering Daisy
I leave a detailed route plan, stick to it, usually get out a day early because I build in contingency to the route plan. I call home once in cell range. My family really does not worry about me because I have been doing this for so many years. Yes, they would probably like in-reach, but I need more convincing. I am going with a fellow on my next trip who is using an in-reach. It will be interesting to see how it works. His wife wants daily communication. The part I would like to see is the weather reports. The weight has come down to reasonable, price still outrageous. I am on the fence- maybe this trip will convince me.

What I do not like is that you buy a very expensive item, and then get stuck with unpredictable monthly fee increases. Or the item is then obsolete in a few years.