A few years ago, I was wandering around southeast Utah, which happens to be the last place in the lower 48 states that was mapped. I left civilization at Escalante and headed southeast toward Hole in the Rock, 120 miles of unimproved road away. This is where Mormons lowered their wagons down to the Colorado River and crossed it to build a settlement in land they couldn’t get to any other way. If you ever go there, you’ll be stunned that they did this when you look down Hole in The Rock to the river.

After getting there and spending some time—it took about 6 hours to make the 120 or so miles—on the way back, my clutch partially burned out just as I got to the paved road. I was able to continue driving in third. So I had to drive over a hundred miles in third gear without ever stopping. Which, oddly enough, is possible in that part of Utah on a two-lane road, to get to a town big enough to get repaired. It got me thinking. Which my wife always says is dangerous. But what if that clutch had gone out at Hole in the Rock? I as definitely out of cell phone range and a long way from help.

There are a lot of places in this country without cell phone coverage. In the east, going up into the Appalachians exposes you to a lot of dead zones. There are stretches of Interstates I’ve been on with no coverage. So many people were caught unaware in Kentucky during the recent floods because there is very little cell phone coverage in that area. I’ve driven through it several times. Not only were they caught unaware, they had no way of calling for help.

If you’re a Wanderer like me, you often end up someplace for the night without coverage. I like to check in every evening and let some people know where I am. I can also make sure I can get messages at any time.

After looking at options, I went with the Spot-X Satellite Messenger. Every system has advantages and disadvantages. There are systems that sync with your cell phone, but for me, that presents the possibility of problems. It requires two charged systems. I like to keep it simple. Right now it’s 20% off on Amazon at $199.95.

Every night, even if I have cell phone coverage, I send a Check In message from Spot-X because it automatically gives my grid coordinates. There is also a way to automatically check in as you are moving on a regular interval. It also has an SOS option.

Yes, the keyboard is tiny. But you only use it if you actually want to send a message. Most of the time I’m sending a pre-set check in message. It also gets messages. Either it saves them if the device is off and you can download, or if it is on it beeps and alerts you.

Be aware, of course, that a service plan is required. It ranges in amount depending on how many messages you plan on. Right now, I’m on a monthly one for $19.05 per month. I’d up it if I was going for a long boondocking trip.

Having this satellite messenger with me at all times is fantastic stress relief. I am never out of touch. For those of you who wander, I highly recommend it.