When it comes to lustworthy gadgets, most satellite communicators can be found at the bottom of the list, near netbooks and external hard drives. Not the inReach Explorer, a compact global device with clean lines and an exhaustive feature set designed to keep you connected, collected, and safe. Overseas on risky business? Instantly transmit your precise GPS coordinates to anyone in the world via text message or email (and get a confirmation receipt). Novice orienteering trip? Create unique routes, drop waypoints (like virtual breadcrumbs) and never lose your bearings again. Weekend warrior-ing? Pair the Explorer with your mobile phone for unlimited access to topographic maps and U.S. NOAA charts. We took it car camping with the fam, and even though we forgot the air mattress we rested easy with real-time SOS and 24/7 search and rescue monitoring had an actual emergency gone down.
With annual contracts that start at $11.95/month, the Explorer can give you peace of mind for the price of an airport lunch. Throw in a waterproof shell and 100 hours of battery life in certain modes and you’ve got a potentially lifesaving device that fits in your pocket. If they’d just lose the orange highlights this thing would be worthy of a gadget cameo in the next Bond movie. [$379 plus subscription; inReach]