I’ve written about devices like SPOT, SPOT Connect, and the new InReach. But more recently I’ve packed a Globalstar satellite phone as well.
These things are so darn light that extra weight in your pack is not an issue. Reception for Globalstar has also increased dramatically since the fall of 2012. The cost to buy one is steep – running around $500. You could, however, simply rent one for a week for under $100. If you split the cost up with your trip partners its not bad. I did end up buying one myself, but I rent it out to friends when I’m not using it because the local outdoor stores don’t rent them for some odd reason. By the end of the summer I had paid for the phone and even made some pocket change. The big rule I have with the phone while on trip, however, is that it is only to be used for emergencies. I’ve had bad experiences being on trip with other people who had satellite phones. One guy phoned his wife every night, they argued on the phone every night, and when we needed the phone to call in a plane for an emergency evacuation, the battery was dangerously low.