Staying in touch with teammates while traveling off the grid can sometimes be a real challenge, particularly when you’re visiting a place with no mobile network or simply don’t want to pay large fees to keep your cellphone working in a foreign country. Fortunately, over the past couple of years we’ve seen some interesting gadgets that can help us overcome this issue, creating peer-to-peer networks that allow us to stay in contact, even in remote destinations. Today, a similar product is launching on Kickstarter, bringing a few unique options with it.
The Bivystick comes our way via Bivy, a website built to help us find good outdoor adventures across the U.S. The owners of the site know the importance of getting outside and exploring the wilderness, but they also know how important it is that we stay in touch while doing so. The device allows users to send text messages and their GPS coordinates to one another even when they don’t have a network connection. This makes it a great option for travelers, explorers, mountaineers, and anyone else who wanders on a regular basis.
The gadget can also track your location and share your path with others. It also offers weather alerts, the ability to send an SOS should an emergency situation arise, and it allows users to post updates to Facebook and Twitter. The Bivy app (iOS/Android), which is used to interact with device, even offers offline maps for navigating the backcountry. The device even comes with a 6000 mAh battery to keep it running for extended periods of time, but to also help keep your smartphone charged as well.
So what sets the Bivystick apart from the competition? Well for starters, unlike similar products that have been popping up on the market recently, this one actually connects to a satellite network to send its messages. That’s right, instead of creating a mesh network of nearby users, it actually incorporates satellite communications technology, making it a device that is more akin to a SPOT than say a goTenna.
This extends the versatility of the Bivystick much further but means you’ll be required to pay a fee to use it in the field. There are no contracts or services to pay however, as Bivy is actually selling “credits” for how you want to use the device. Send a text message, that’s a credit. Share a GPS location, that’s a credit too, and so on. In this way, you only need to buy credits for what you want to use the device for, giving users full control of how much they spend.
To get the new device into production, Bivy is hoping to raise $35,000 via Kickstarter. If successful, they plan to start shipping the Bivystick in September for about $299. Early-bird supporters can purchase them now at a small discount however. If interested, you can find out more here.