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I’m about to take a month long trip out west. Does anyone have any first hand experience renting a satellite phone or some other middle-of-nowhere communication device?
 

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I've used sat phones a number of times. Very handy if you need help and a lot of fun if you have a strong budget (ring, ring, "You'll never guess where I am ...")
If you are on a budget and are just interested in emergency coverage there are texting devices that you can rent. You can consider arranging your rental in advance for pickup when you get to the edge of nowhere. Shop around and negotiate for rates. It is still a bit like cell phone were in the beginning. Understand the contract and lok for the tricks.

Last but not least, insure it through your homeowner / renter insurance not the phone provider.
"Renters / homeowners insurance can also cover property when it’s not even in your home, like if your laptop is stolen while you’re on vacation; since it’s considered insured property, it’s still protected whether it’s inside your dwelling or not." Some times you have to tel your ins company in advance.
 

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I rented a sat phone for a trip. Other than a test call we never used it (so that's a good thing).

Then I got a InReach device. You can modify the plan ... so add in features for a big trip, then take them back off (and lower the monthly fee) when big trip is over. I think you can also freeze it for a period of time.

You can send pre-configured msgs for no charge ... like "Trip going well, no issues" or "Got to camp, all fine". Then you can text msgs, and different plans have different included number of text (can't remember, like cheap plan is 10 free text a month, then some cents for each text over that ... or get a plan that has 50 free a month, etc). And if you want, you can turn on the breadcrumb type feature that shows where you've gone and then share that out so certain people can see it. My wife & daughter admitted they would never look at the breadcrumb thing so I never used that.

Oh, when you send a msg out, the receiver gets your GPS coordinates of your location which is pretty cool ... they can click on it and a map comes up showing where you sent the msg from.

Texting from the device is fairly clumsy, but you can pair the device with your smartphone and then type away on the smartphone to send more detailed texts out.

And then you also have the SOS "send in the helicopter" button if someone gets hurt badly.

You can also rent these devices (or a SPOT) as well.
 

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I've used sat phones for work (iridium) which works well, but they are still expensive to use.

Worried about emergency comms or do you intend to use it daily? If just for emergencies an inreach mini paired with a cell phone does the trick. Plans can be suspended when not in use.


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