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Gear Review: ZOLEO Satellite Communicator

You probably encounter times when you have zero cell signal if you spend a lot of time in the backcountry. Have you ever wondered what you would do if you were seriously injured? Do you have a game plan if you can’t call for help?

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The ZOLEO Satellite Communicator is an affordable solution to this problem. It allows you to send text messages via GPS satellites anywhere on earth. We put it through the paces, and here’s what we thought. 

Setup was a snap

The ZOLEO Satellite Communicator is incredibly easy to use. We set up our account online, downloaded the app, and we were up and running. We were given a dedicated number, so our friends and family could text us the same way they’d text anyone else. There’s no need to download an exclusive app to get in touch with us. 

We could send updates with the press of a button

This was a feature we appreciated. If we’re on a long hike, we’d rather not by fussing with devices, but at the same time, people like to know that we’re ok. The ZOLEO Satellite Communicator has a one-touch check-in button that sends a short message along with our GPS coordinates. This made it easy to focus on enjoying the hike while still staying in contact. 

The battery lasts a long time

We were impressed by the battery life on the ZOLEO Satellite Communicator. At 200+ hours, it is more than enough for most explorers. In a real-world scenario, you wouldn’t be using it 24 hours a day, so it will provide several weeks of connectivity with the outside world. Also, it charges in two hours, so if you’re carrying an external battery, you can easily top it off if you’re using it heavily. 

You can get weather updates via satellite

We’ve been on many multi-day trips where we didn’t have cellular reception. While we don’t mind the disconnect (that’s why we’re out there), there’s one thing we do miss: weather reports. Planning day hikes and storing your gear is easy to do when you know what weather is coming. The ability to get weather reports anytime, anywhere, is a beneficial feature of the ZOLEO Satellite Communicator.

The SOS button literally saves lives

Like many hikers, we suffer from “not going to happen to me” syndrome. The reality is that no one who becomes critically injured on the trail thought that it was going to happen on that day. Tragedy can strike at any second, and knowing that we could press one button for help brought us peace of mind. When you push the SOS button, the GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Center finds out that you are in serious trouble immediately. It’s a great feature to have, especially if you are solo hiking. 


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