Deep in the Elk Mountains of Colorado, it won’t stop snowing. Far away from the nearest cell phone signal, you and your crew are scheduled to leave the hut, but since the avalanche danger is skyrocketing and several ripe avalanche paths lie between you and your car, the best safety option is to stay at least another night. If only there was a way to let everyone back home know that no one is hurt, but you need to wait out the storm...
Enter the new device from Somewear. The upstart brand's pocket-sized, wearable and lightweight satellite hotspot can connect from anywhere in the world to send and receive text messages, plus it can update users with location info, condensed weather reports, and local alerts through an app on any Bluetooth-connected iOS or Android smartphone. In case of emergency, users can also transmit an SOS message directly through the device, no phone required.
While SKI Magazine is still anxious to test the device to see how well it actually performs in the field, Somewear has tested the IPx7 waterproof device all over the world, from North America’s West Coast to Greenland and beyond. According to the company, with a full charge, the device's rechargeable lithium polymer battery reportedly can last for up to 1,000 text messages. With a $450 price tag and various data subscription packages starting at $15 per month, Somewear’s device is smaller and competitively priced with Garmin’s InReach or the Iridium GO! offerings, and does much more than a basic SPOT device.
During beta testing, Somewear's satellite hotspot proved to be capable enough to impress snowsports icon Jeremy Jones. “Somewear basically turns your cell phone into a global communication device,” said Jones in a press release, “In my profession, you learn quickly that if something goes wrong in the mountains you need reliable communication with emergency responders. Cell phones rarely work in the mountains, which is why Somewear has become a critical part of my backcountry kit.”
Next winter, when you find yourself snowed in without a phone signal, you can put your friends’ and family’s minds at ease with a text message, rather than attempting an exit in risky conditions. The product will be on store shelves and available for purchase online in July 2018, but Somewear’s Kickstarter product launch is offering steep discounts and early shipping options to make it available sooner. The Kickstarter ends on May 2, 2018.