Backpacking trips are an essential source of fun and joy for most adventurers. Such trips are better when one packs all items they would need, even when in some of the world’s most remote corners. One item that most of these adventurers forget is a satellite phone. If anything, this should come at the top of the list of items that should not be forgotten. This is the reason why we compiled a list of the best backpacking satellite phones.
With the best backpacking satellite phone, your outdoor safety is enhanced, owing to the many features that support emergency communication. In this review, we shall look at the top 5 satellite phones that you can purchase, along with their pros and cons. If you cannot settle on a specific phone, you can look at our buyers’ guide to know the superior features to look out for.
In a Hurry? Quick Picks
….not that a backpacking satellite phone should be a quick decision.
Top Backpacking Satellite Phones: Reviews
1. Iridium 9575 Extreme Satellite Phone
The Iridium 9575 is definitely the most superior backpacking satellite phone that you will find in the market today. Its manufacturers have designed it to keep its users connected at any place and at any time. It also has outstanding voice quality that you can bank on if you need to communicate to anyone, even when in a noisy place. Furthermore, the SMS and voice services presented by this backpacking satellite phone give you more communication options. It can record and retrieve voice messages and short text messages.
If you are looking for a satellite phone with data access, you will not go wrong with the Iridium 9575 Extreme Satellite Phone. With the data access feature, you can access the internet from any place. This makes it possible for you to send and receive all relevant emails at any time you need to do so. Not forgetting that you can customize its GPS for easy tracking, as well as sending and receiving SOS. You will also love the fact that this phone has a military-grade build that is sturdy, dust-proof, and water-resistant.
What do we like about the Iridium 9575
- Dust and water-resistant
- Good battery life
- It is shockproof
What we don’t like about the Iridium 9575
- The call rates are expensive
Immarsat IsatPhone 2.1 Satellite Phone
- ✅ GLOBAL COVERAGE: NO ROAMING CHARGES – make and receive voice calls, SMS, track your position with GPS from anywhere on the globe – never pay roaming charges. Your coverage area is EARTH (except the extreme north and south...
- ✅ EVERYTHING YOU NEED WITH 18 MONTH WARRANTY: Inmarsat IsatPhone 2.1 satellite phone handset, Lithium-ion battery, International AC wall charger with international plugs, Automobile DC charger, Holster with belt clip, Hands free...
- ✅ RESISTS WATER AND DUST: SHOCK RESISTANT: TOUGH AND RELIABLE: IK04 shock resistance rating and an ingress rating of IP65: the IsatPhone2 can withstand dirt, dust and jets of water from every direction. It has a humidity...
- ✅ WORLD CLASS SUPPORT AND SERVICE: When you purchase your IsatPhone 2 satellite phone from BlueCosmo, you get a team of professionals who have been deploying satellite communications around the world for the most demanding...
The IsatPhone 2.1 is one of the most renowned products that the Immarsat brand has managed to popularize in the market. One of the main elements that make this brand quite popular is its excellent network coverage from even the most remote areas. It allows its users to communicate through 3 satellites positioned in space.
With this backpacking satellite phone, you will have to rely on a prepaid SIM to make calls and to use the SMS service. Customers get 100 units that are valid for 90 days. They can purchase more units from the Satellite Phone Store to keep using various services on their Immarsat IsatPhone 2.1 Satellite Phone. This device is a favorite amongst many people due to the low unit charges for calls and SMS. They also do not incur any roaming charges when tracking locations using GPS.
You can’t go wrong with this backpacking satellite phone’s lithium battery. A fully charged battery gives you 8 hours of talk time, close to 160 hours on standby. The phone comes with a charger, so you charge it when the battery is low.
What we like about the Immarsat IsatPhone 2.1
- Global network coverage
- Low unit charges
- GPS tracking with no roaming charges
- Long battery life
- Shock resistant
What we do not like about the Immarsat IsatPhone 2.1
- It is not ideal for data usage
- The units expire
Globalstar GSP-1700 Satellite Phone
- Ergonomic design and lighted keypad
- Long-life battery: 4 hours talk time, 36 hours standby
- Backlit color display optimized for outdoor daytime viewing
- 5.3"H x 2.2"W x 1.5"D and 7.05 oz
The Globalstar GSP-1700 is undoubtedly a star in the world of satellite phones. It is well-known for being a portable and compact device that you can carry around very easily. It has an impressive lightweight build and is the lightest device in the satellite phone series that Globalstar has produced so far.
The Globalstar GSP-1700 is one of the best backpacking satellite phones in the world. It boasts excellent voice quality, which makes it sound almost like a normal phone. You can access the internet with this satellite phone, though you will have to purchase a Globalstar Data Kit that comes separately. You can, with this kit, send and receive emails.
The lighted keypad lets you view the keys quite easily, even on the darkest nights. This phone also has a backlit color display that makes the phone’s screen visible under sunlight.
A major drawback of this phone is that it comes with a proprietary battery charger. Thus you cannot charge it through a USB.
It does have a beast of a battery, and gives up to 4 hours of talk time 36 hours on standby when the battery is fully charged.
What we like about the Globalstar GSP-1700
- It is portable and compact
- It has a lighted keypad
- Good battery life
- Offers backlit color display
What we do not like about the Globalstar GSP-1700
- The data kit is sold separately
Iridium 9555 Satellite Phone
- Industrial-grade design for unparalleled durability
- Compact physical footprint for streamlined portability
- Intuitive User interface for out-of-the-box functionality
- Enhanced SMS and email Messaging capability
- Headset and hands-free capability
This backpacking satellite phone looks like an older 90’s phone (think Zach Morris). It also comes with that 90’s style simplicity. Anyone can pretty much use it right out of the box. This makes this a great choice for folks that aren’t tech-savvy out of the box.
The durability of the Iridium 9555 Satellite Phone is also something to like about it. Not forgetting that it is hand-friendly and comes in just the right size. These features make it easy for its users to type in text messages and emails as fast as they would like to. This is also facilitated by the simple user interface that any user can comprehend. If you are used to smartphones, then the user and start guides will provide enough information on how to use this backpacking satellite phone.
The hands-free headset that this phone comes with is also one feature that you will enjoy. It gets easier for you to communicate with even when you are moving around. With this phone’s lithium-ion battery, you can get 4 hours of talk time or 25 hours on standby. The phone comes with a DC Car charger, as well as an AC car charger, and you, unfortunately, cannot charge it with a USB.
What we like about the Iridium 9555
- It is easy to use
- Hands-free headset included in the package
- Excellent sound quality
What we do not like about the Iridium 9555
- No USB charger
Thuraya XT-Lite Satellite Phone
- Dual GSM & satellite voice calling through one SIM card*.
- Long-lasting battery life
- Ease of use
- Supported by the most robust and powerful satellite network
- Important: The Thuraya satellite network does not offer coverage in the US. It is not possible to use Thuraya satellite phones/SatSleeves or SIM cards in this region. Please check the Thuraya coverage map for details of countries...
This satellite phone deserves a spot on the list of the best backpacking satellite phones due to its very likable features. For starters, it is a lightweight device that has an ergonomic design that makes it easy to carry and use. Its build is still sturdy enough, despite being lightweight.
Sending short messages and making calls on this backpacking satellite phone is enabled by the dual GSM feature. Anyone using this phone has to purchase a Thuraya SIM card to get full functionality. This device stands out from the other satellite phones in that it has 12 programmable languages, which you can easily master by reading through the user manual that has carefully outlined instructions. The phone also supports speed dialing.
This satellite phone has a rechargeable battery. A fully charged Thuraya XT-Lite’s battery offers 6 hours of talk time and close to 80 hours on standby. You can charge your Thuraya XT-Lite Satellite Phone using a data cable that is usually included in the package.
What we like about the Thuraya XT-Lite
- Long-lasting battery
- Dual GSM
What we do not like about the Thuraya XT-Lite
- No coverage offered in the USA
Buying Guide: What Makes a Great Backpacking Phone?
Before hitting the “shop now” button, you should check to see that your backpacking satellite phone has the following features:
- Durability – a backpacking phone should be durable, owing to the nature of activities that you will be engaging in while on your adventurous trip. It should withstand consistent bumps and falls since you may not have the chance to keep replacing the phone regularly.
- Portability – a good backpacking satellite phone is one that is not too bulky. It also does not take up too much space. You can carry it around for long without getting tired.
- Battery life – most satellite phones will have a potential of more than 4 hours of talk time. If you, however, expect to talk for more hours during the trip, you should purchase one that offers more than a 6-hour talk time when the battery is fully charged.
- Coverage –Not all satellite phones have global coverage. You should confirm that the backpacking satellite phone does not have coverage limitations, regardless of your current geographical location.
- Price – It is always wise to spend within a set budget. Satellite phones are expensive, but you can always get a good deal that will not dent your wallet. You should also consider the cost of purchasing units since these expenses add up very quickly.
See Also: Backpacking Fishing Poles
Conclusion: Best Satellite Phone for Backpacking
Satellite phones are not popular communication devices in day-to-day life, but that changes when you purpose to go for a backpacking trip: they become an essential item. These phones are very reliable in remote locations and are at times the only means of reaching out to those in areas with good network coverage.
If you are planning for a trip that will involve you traveling to very remote areas, then you can choose the best backpacking satellite phone from the list above. You will not go wrong with the satellite phone that is durable, portable, has a long battery life and great network coverage, and is affordable.
Last update on 2022-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API