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02

Dec

2010

DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w with SPOT Communicator review
Written by Jason Elliot   
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DeLorme PN-60 with SPOT Communicatorimages/DeLormeThe Earthmate PN-60w with SPOT Communicator is DeLorme's latest award-winning GPS. Delorme has integrated SPOT communication technology in the Earthmate PN-60w to send satellite-powered text messages when cell-phone coverage is unavailable.

The DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w can post messages to Twitter and Facebook besides its text messaging service. The satellite-enabled messaging service can be used for letting family and friends know when a checkpoint on your trek has been reached. Or it can be used in dire circumstances when you or another person has been injured and a rescue team needs to intervene for lifesaving measures.

The barometric altimeter adds to the features for survival. The altimeter forecasts short-term weather and can give notice of an approaching adverse front.

The DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w is constructed to handle rugged and extreme conditions. It carries the IPX7 waterproof standard that makes it protected during water immersion for 30 minutes in water up to one meter deep. The rubberized housing passes the military standard for resistance from vibration and shock (MIL-STD 810F Method 514.5 and MIL-STD 810F Method 516.5).

One of the greatest strengths is the mapping that DeLorme is well-known for. The Earthmate PN-60w comes with street and topographic mapping for North America. Topographic maps is a feature not always offered with comparable GPS units from competing brands.

The DeLorme Earthmate PN-60 was tested in normal conditions and some not-so-normal. The accuracy was exceptional even under dense tree cover. When geocaching, it pinpoints the location of caches within a few feet. The accuracy is expected, because the GPS has a 3-axis electronic compass.

The paperless geocaching feature is another plus on the Earthmate PN-60w. No need to printout a cache listing or carry a smartphone to look up a cache listing on the net. With a membership from geocaching.com ($30 per year), all the details needed for a successful cache hunt can be synced to your Earthmate PN-60w.

The unit takes two AA batteries and an optional rechargeable Li-Ion battery pack manufactured by Moyoto is available. The DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w integrates an upgraded power-conserving feature compared to previous Earthmate models. The power-saving mode is touted by DeLorme to double battery life.

With the Earthmate PN-60w design, the buttons to the unit can be locked to minimize enabling the GPS when it's in the power saving mode. This is handy when the GPS is on but stowed in your backpack. The GPS can get tossed about without wasting any precious battery life.

The DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w has a bucketful of advantages that make it a superb GPS, but the SPOT Communicator is the most impressive. The SPOT Communicator is a separate unit from the GPS. It's small and squarish and equipped with a clip to attach to your pants or pack. It's powered by two AA batteries and needs to be paired with the GPS.

What is Geocaching

Geocaching.com says...

Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online.

The Spot Communicator does take some time to get used to since its operation modes are indicated by lights on the front of the unit. The Spot Communicator can operate together with the GPS unit or independently by an SOS button on it. The SOS button can send an emergency message immediately. The SOS button is positioned on the SPOT Communicator so it cannot be accidentally pushed. Plus DeLorme has built in the ability to cancel SOS messages if one is accidentally sent.

Thre are a few disadvantages to the DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w. It does not have a touch screen like some comparable GPS models from other brands. The Earthmate PN-60w can be used as a GPS for driving. It does not have robust driving navigational features as a GPS especially designed for automobile.

The DeLorme Earthmate PN-60w with SPOT Communicator is the ultimate piece of gear for survival in the backcountry. It will track your trek, determine oncoming inclement weather and summon emergency services when it's needed.

DeLorme LogoThe DeLorme PN-60w with SPOT retails for $550. The basic services for the SPOT Communicator are an additional $99.99 per year.


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Jason Elliot

JElliotJason Elliot is the Editor and Publisher of OutdoorInformer.com. Elliot has established a respected following with the top industry professionals and gearheads for his nonbiased reviews of outdoor gear and apparel. Elliot is a regular contributor to Examiner.com, Trails.com and other publications on top of his editorial and writing role with OutdoorInformer.com.

Elliot left a successful fifteen-plus year management career that he worked at Fortune 500 and S&P 500 companies to pursue his passion for writing about the outdoors. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Clarion University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree from La Roche College.

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