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6 Best GPS Tracker without Cell Service in 2019

Love to explore the outside world? Here are 6 GPS tracker without cell service that can guide your way, communicate with others, and send SOS when needed.

By Cody | @Cody

Updated on Aug 05, 2019

Exploring new trails could be fun and also dangerous. As you know, there are many parts of the globe where you won’t have reliable cell phone coverage. If you want to know where you are and stay in communication while exploring outdoors, you should get a GPS tracker that works without cell service.

Satellite phones can be an option but they are expensive for most of the travelers. GPS trackers with messaging communication features are a better choice. Here are six gadgets that will help you communicate with your traveling companions or the outside world while keeping you on the right trail. Whether you are going to explore the outside world by car, by bike, or on foot, you will find a suitable GPS tracker device here. Some require a monthly fee, the others do not.

Bivystick - Simple, Affordable Satellite Communication

As advertised, Bivystick turns your cell phone into a satellite communication device. It weighs no more than 200g and has a water resistance rating of IPX 6. You can carry it with you to any adventures regardless of the bad weather.

Bivystick GPS Tracker

It has a micro USB port that can be used to charge the Bivystick and a regular USB port used to charge your phone using the internal battery, which is 5200 mAh.  

To use all its functions, you need to connect it to your phone via Bluetooth. Once integrated with Bivy app, you can communicate with any of your contacts when you are out of phone service. You can send text messages, share your location, track your path, send an SOS message, and get weather forecasts without cell service.

Bivystick uses the Iridium network, which is the closest you get to real global coverage, with satellites that are in polar orbits instead of geostationary. That means they cover 99 % of the earth, if not 100%. Basically, as long as you have a view of the sky, you can use Bivystick to communicate with others.

The satellite network plan starts at $17.99 per month including 10 credits. All the actions including a message (send and receive), location share, weather report, and GPS tracking you do will consume credits. You can cancel any time and activate it only when you needed.

Besides the high price of $349 and monthly fee, the only problem I find with Bivystick is it becomes useless when your phone is dead. There is no SOS button in the Bivystick device. All actions have to be done on your connected mobile phone.

Also read: Best Personal GPS Trackers with No Monthly Fee in 2019

Garmin inReach SE+ - Fully Functional without a Phone

The Garmin inReach SE+ is the latest device in the inReach line. Like Bivystick, Garmin inReach SE+ works on its own, so you don’t need to worry about your phone. It enables you to stay connected when no cell service is available. Besides two-way globe messaging, Garmin inReach allows you to plot your route and share waypoints on the built-in map with your companions. It is an ideal outdoor GPS tracking device you should have.

Garmin inReach SE

It also allows you to send an interactive SOS message in case of an emergency. Once SOS is triggered, the staff of the global monitoring center will respond to your message and track your device and notify the local emergency responders.

Unlike Bivystick, all actions like navigation, weather forecasts, and messaging can be done on your inReach device. As you can imagine, it is really hard to type messages on this device. You can set up a few quick messages or pair with a smartphone or tablet for a better experience.

Like Bivystick, inReach also uses the Iridium communications network and also require a subscription service, which starts at $14.95 per month.

Fogo – Best GPS Tracker for Biking

The Fogo combines flashlight, two-way radio (walkie-talkie style), and GPS receiver into one device.

Fogo Best GPS Tracker for Biking

First, it allows you to communicate with your companions who also has this device using the walkie-talkie style, which is better than just text messaging.

Second, it provides a 1200 lumens flashlight at its full power, which is fully adjustable. It can be easily fixed on a bike to light your way in the dark.

Third, it is the phenomenal GPS tracking capabilities. It can help you set up a trail course and make sure your stay on it. If you go off the course, the flashlight will blink the light.

You can also share your real-time location with others. You can also set it to automatically send an alert if you find yourself in trouble in the wild. You can also pair it with your smartphone via Bluetooth for sending text messages when no internet connection is available.

The battery is claimed to last 60 days for Breadcrumbs Mode and 7 days for tracking mode. With this long battery life, you can also use it to recharge other devices via USB cable.  The device sells for $300 and you need at least 2 packs to work.

GoTenna Mesh – Lightweight Device

The GoTenna Mesh is another great option for travelers who want to use their phone to send text messages and GPS locations on your phone without cellular reception or satellite. You can download the GoTenna app, which is available both in Android and iOS, and connect with your device via Bluetooth. After that, you can communicate with your team members when traveling abroad even without cell service by using a personal peer-to-peer network.

GoTenna Mesh

Compared to its previous product GoTenna Pro, goTenna Mesh extends the available communicating range and flexibility by using mesh networking. GoTenna supports up to 4 miles of point-to-point range. With a mesh network, which allows messages to be forwarded from one goTenna to another device until it reaches a destination, the available range will be extended significantly.

As mentioned, this device does not rely on the cell, Wi-Fi, or satellite, so there is no subscription fee. This device is priced at $179 with 2 units included.

GOFINDME – Best GPS Tracker for Hiking

GoFindMe is a small yet powerful GPS Tracker device with some awesome features including real-time tracking, SOS, Off-line Google Map, Messaging, Geo-fence, etc. GOFINDME is suitable for hiking, camping, and any other outdoor activities.

GPS Tracker No Monthly Fee

It works totally off the grid. You need to download the GoFindMe app beforehand, which is available in Android and iOS. Once pair it with your device, you can create a group with the GOFINDME app and invite all your companies to join in. All the group members can send text or voice messages, real-time location, GEO trace, or SOS in case of emergency. All the communication messages are encrypted and only your group members can see. Of course, you can also send private messages to one member.

Should your phone run out of battery, you can still use the GoFindMe device to receive voice messages and trigger SOS. If you worry about someone in the group, you can set up a GEO Fence. Once the member leaves the targeted location range, you will receive a real-time notification.

GOFINDME provides up to 8 km communication range in open field or 5km in a dense area. You can also enable the mesh mode to expand the range significantly. Mesh mode is disabled by default to save battery. The battery will last 72 hours in tracking mode.

GoFindMe GPS Tracker Real-Time Tracking for Outdoors and Families
  • • Track, locate and find people in real time
  • • No SIM card, no subscription and no monthly fees
  • Learn More >

Sonnet – Connect to Your Phone over Internal WiFi

Sonnet is a very new GPS tracker device that requires no cell service. You can connect your device with your smartphone wirelessly and then you can send text, voice message, images, data, files and share GPS locations to any other Sonnet users within range. Sonnet offers a very good point-to-point range, which is up to 15km/9 miles away with a line of sight, or 5km/3 miles with no line of sight. You can also enable Mesh network to extend the range even larger.

Sonnet GPS Tracker 

Unlike other devices, you don’t have to download an app to pair the GPS device. When your phone is out of cell service, just connect the Sonnet internal Wi-Fi network and then you can open your web browser to send one-on-one private messages, private group messages, public messages, locations to any Sonnet users in range. Sonnet is priced at $179 for 2 packs.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are two types of GPS tracking without internet. One is using a satellite with a monthly fee, and the other using limited range radio communication without 3rd party interference. If you travel alone or want to communicate with other people not on the trip, then you should choose a satellite GPS tracker like Bivystick or Garmin inReach SE+. As you know Bivystick requires a working phone to use its features. If you are going to someplace with a serious condition, then Garmin inReach SE+ is recommended even though the Bivystick device is durable enough.

If you want a GPS Tracker without a monthly fee, then GoFindMe is overall the best in this kind consider its functions and price. It allows you to point-to-point communicate within a range up to 8km. The device also works without the phone, which is important because your phone is not as durable as the GPS tracker. That’s all the 5 GPS trackers without cell service. What’s your pick on these devices?  

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