Expo this, expo that, exp
All things considered, I've settled on SPOT Gen3 with the basic plan, plus save our vehicle option, plus GEOS option, for a total of $200USD/year. The unit itself can be had for $130USD shipped on eBay, and there are a few cheaper ones available on the local Craigslist.
For me, the winning features came down to this:
- ability to send "all okay" messages (once or twice per day)
- 5-min interval tracking for the last ~22 hours (older data points get erased unless you subscribe to a more expensive service plan)
- SOS button
- no hidden fees (other than auto recurring subscription + needing to cancel recurring subscription before being billed for the next one - fairly reasonable); I absolutely hate hidden fees and will avoid them out of principle
- device is half the cost of InReach
- a full year of service is cheaper than any plan combination with InReach Canada/USA (after accounting for hidden fees) for the 1-month spring and 2-month autumn trips I've got planned for this year; an added bonus is that I can give this device to family members when I'm not using it, as the service is active year round
- dedicated "save our vehicle" feature; this is a big one, as car trouble can happen to anyone, anywhere, and being in a "no tow service" area would be a problem; activating SOS in that scenario doesn't seem appropriate (unless you can't walk out); SPOT promises to recover vehicle from anywhere; although the 50-mile tow limitation is a bit of a bummer
Being reachable via two-way messaging would be a plus if an emergency happened on the other end and needed my assistance, but that's a very, very low possibility. The reality is that family would abuse this messaging functionality to send me "how are things going?" messages 5x per day . I don't expect I'll ever be out of cell service for more than 3-4 days at a time, so this won't be a real problem.
Congrats on your purchase!
I hope it works well for you.