As adventure travellers, Mike and I often find ourselves travelling to off the beaten path destinations. Whether it’s engaging in all day treks in search of wildlife, or biking down the world’s most dangerous road in Bolivia, for some reason we’re drawn to a destination’s less explored places.
Getting off the beaten path has led to some incredibly unique and memorable experiences, but one definite hazard is that once you leave the main tourist route, you do put yourself at a bit of a risk in terms of safety.
It’s often the case that exploring off the beaten path means finding ourselves off the grid, without a means of communicating. But there’s one device that aims to change that, and become the ultimate device for outdoor networking, allowing you to stay in contact with friends and access emergency assistance without needing the internet or a phone signal.
The Ultimate Outdoor Networking Device for Adventurous Travelers
Despite often giving the advice that it’s important to stay with your partner or group when travelling remotely, Mike and I do tend to split up when we’re out exploring.
Usually this is because he’s keen to explore different parts of an area, and I’m good with my book in a hammock, or simply because I have trouble keeping up with him when hiking! ‘Meet you at the top’ is something I say quite frequently!
We generally stay in touch with one another by texting, but our smartphones become a lot less smart once they lose signals and connectivity. I’ve often gone to find out where he is to find zero signal strength and no way to contact him. Was I meant to take the right hand trail at the fork, is he hurt, or has he simply come to his senses and run away from me?
Here’s hoping that the last scenario doesn’t ever prove to be the case, but the fact is there are times when you need to communicate with your travel companions and using phones is not an option. We’ve recently discovered an outdoor networking device called GoHeart which has proved to be a Godsend.
The device is currently on pre order for shipment in August 2018, and gathering support on Kickstarter before mass production. But they have sent us one of the prototypes to review.
What It Looks Like
Super lightweight and portable – can you spot it in the above photo?
Why Walkie Talkies are a BAD option
You might think bringing along a nice set of walkie talkies would be a fine solution for travellers to keep in touch when there is no cell signal while hiking or exploring. Think again.
It is often illegal in many countries to use walkie-talkies without a license. You could be fined or have your walkie talkies confiscated by customs or officials.
Use of walkie talkies can interfere with international government operations and the walkie talkies you buy back home are generally not authorised for use outside of your country. In addition, the frequencies your radios operate on may not be compatible with the bandplan implemented in the country you are travelling to.
Even if your brand of walkie talkies is legal and allowed into a country, the use of them may be considered suspicious by authorities and attract unwanted attention. This happens in places like Africa and Asia quite frequently.
FYI for adventure travelers: It is often illegal in many countries to use walkie-talkies without a license. Click To Tweet
Why Apps or Emergency Beacons May NOT be a Great Option
Many adventure travellers travel with emergency beacons in case an emergency occurs where they are deep in the wilderness. Although this may eventually get you help, keep in mind that when you activate your beacon, it sends a message to the country it is registered to NOT the country you are currently in.
Should you activate it internationally, it could take a long time for help to arrive since your country needs to contact and coordinate a rescue effort with the international destination you are currently in.
There are numerous walkie talkie apps, GPS apps, and emergency apps but most require the use of data which may not be available or could cost you dearly in roaming data charges. Many emergency apps can get you help but availability of emergency services will be country specific and you still need a phone signal.
Why GoHeart is the Perfect Solution
GoHeart makes it possible for you to communicate with your partner or group when you find yourselves without a phone signal or internet access.
It works in coordination with your smartphone to give you the ability to communicate via text and voice with anyone else who has the app, as well as providing you with helpful SOS and GPS tracking features. All of these features are possible without a phone signal or the use of data.
Whether you can’t access your phone’s calling or data network or simply don’t want to incur expensive roaming charges, GoHeart is a perfect solution.
About the Device
So what exactly is GoHeart? It is basically a small remote control looking device that connects to your phone using Bluetooth technology. You download the GoHeart App and any maps you wish to use offline before your trip, and then turn on your phone’s Bluetooth to connect to the voice whenever you are ready to use it.
Your travel companions do the same with their GoHeart devices (everyone needs one) and then you can create an in-app Team by accepting each other’s invites to join into a network.
You can now send voice and text messages to each other, track each other’s location, share your location, communicate via a walkie talkie-like feature, and send SOS requests to each other.
GoHeart uses Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS) technology that makes it resistant to interference from conventional radio transmitters and gives you greater coverage range than your average walkie talkie would. This allows you to clearly communicate with your companions that are within a 2-5km range.
The device won’t allow you to call emergency numbers, contacts that are not connected to your Team group, or Team members that are out of the effective range like a cell phone with service would, but it does allow you to contact anyone within your Team group that is within range so they can find or assist you should you need help.
Although many of the incredible GoHeart features require you to have your charged phone with you, you will still have the handy SOS feature should your phone’s battery die.
As for the GoHeart device itself, its energy saving technology gives you more than 12 hours usage and even more generous standby time and is easily recharged via a USB cable. Its rugged water resistant design is able to cope with many of the outdoor conditions you may be faced with.
While GoHeart isn’t an option for solo travellers, it is the perfect solution for travelling couples or groups who love outdoor adventures. It’s perfect for all kinds of adventures including caving, kayaking, hiking, or biking, and allows everyone in your group to stay connected.
Useful Even if You’re Not an Adventure Traveler
Even if you aren’t the adventurous type, GoHeart can still be beneficial for ordinary trips. Instead of buying international SIM cards for your phone or paying expensive roaming fees, simply stay connected with your family with this easy to use device.
It works perfectly for staying in touch when staying at large resorts where you may need to get a hold of each other or keep each other informed about the day’s plans. It gives you and your friends or family the flexibility to go off and enjoy your own resort activities while still being able to stay in touch so you know everyone is safe.
This is also a perfect solution when you know you will be headed to a destination without cell service and no internet capabilities. It gives you a little extra piece of mind and a safety net in case something goes wrong while also giving you the flexibility to not have to stick close together at all times with your fellow travellers.
Support the Kickstarter Campaign
The company is in the middle of a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the project. The above review is based on the first model of the tech they sent us for review.
Backing their kickstarter campaign means access to early bird discounts once the device starts shipping out in August 2018. Visit their Kickstarter page, or head to www.goheart.net for more information.
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