10 of the Best Epird for Hiking and Features

An EPIRB, otherwise known as an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon can help a search and rescue team find you in the case of an emergency while you are hiking. Nobody plans for things to go wrong. However, it is best to be prepared for an emergency before it happens as you go about hiking.

A quality EPIRB can help track your location anywhere in the world. Some come with the ability to text, while others offer weather data and charts. In this guide, we will be covering some of the best EPIRB for your hiking activities.

Ten Best EPIRB for Hiking, Buying Guides & Features

Choosing the right EPIRB means that you are putting into consideration your budget, your hiking location, and the adventures that you have planned. We will therefore be reviewing ten of the best EPIRB units available in the market. We will also be checking out some of their stand-out features.

1. Garmin inReach Explorer

Garmin inReach

Garmin inReach Explorer

Its display screen is easy to read in any condition or environment. It is a tough unit made to last long.

This inReach Explorer comes with complete iridium satellite coverage. It also features two-way communication messaging that you can use in texting anyone worldwide. This explorer is also durable, which means it can stand up to any abuse.

This Garmin Explorer also comes with a built-in share function. This means that whoever you decide to link your device with can access it. If you have companions you are hiking with; they can easily track your location too.

This device is fully waterproof, and it comes in lightweight. So, the device’s effectiveness can still be banked on if you are hiking around wet environments or in the winter. It also comes with unlimited cloud storage with purchase.

You can plan your entire hiking adventure with this device and get to access it whenever you want to. In the case of an emergency, there is an SOS button that you can press. The distress alert helps you share your location and an emergency message.

Highlighted Features:

  • Complete Iridium satellite coverage.
  • SOS button to share your location.
  • Allows two-way communication messaging.
  • Built-in share function.

2. Garmin inReach Mini

Garmin inReach Mini

Garmin inReach Mini

This satellite emergency beacon is ideal for hiking and other outdoor activities. It can also be used anywhere in the world.

The Garmin inReach Explorer is not a cheap unit, which means not everyone might be able to afford it. However, if you are looking for a cheaper alternative that will still model some of the features, the inReach Mini should be your pick.

The inReach Mini unit is a more affordable device with some great features. It also features complete iridium satellite coverage. This means that you can have two-way messaging communication with anyone anywhere.

So, if your cell runs out of battery, this device will still have your back. This unit features the Garmin Earth map that gives you access to charts, weather reports, and more. If you pair it with a compatible smartphone, you have no issues.

In case of an emergency, this inReach Mini device can also help you share your location, and you can send an emergency message. The SOS button is that feature of the device that comes in handy in such a scenario.

Highlighted Features:

  • Affordable.
  • Complete Iridium satellite coverage.
  • Two-way messaging communication.
  • Access to Garmin Earth Maps.

3. McMurdo Smartfind

McMurdo Smartfind

McMurdo Smartfind

A GPS-enabled personal locator beacon with a powerful signal to ensure your distress call gets through when you need it most.

The McMurdo Smartfind device automatically activates once it gets in contact with water. It also comes with manual features. This is the first EPIRB in the world to integrate an automatic identification system (AIS).

So, if you are hiking in a water-dominated region and there are AIS vessels around, they will be able to pick the signal of this device. This increases the possibility of locating you in case of any emergency.

The battery life of the McMurdo is another great feature, as it comes with ten years of life. This device also features a powerful strobe light. This means that it can also come in handy for nighttime hiking adventures.

To have some of the best coverage possible, the McMurdo is a great EPIRB unit to bank on. It will come as a lifesaver in the light of emergencies. It also has a five-year warranty plan adding to the already great features.

Highlighted Features:

  • Integrates Automatic Identification System.
  • Strong battery life.
  • Strobe light for nighttime adventures.

4. Spot 3 Satellite GPS

Spot 3 Satellite GPS

Spot 3 Satellite GPS

This is so easy to use. In case of an emergency situation, push the button, and help will be on its way.

This Spot 3 Satellite GPS offers you great services at a pocket-friendly price. It gives you the opportunity of a life-saving line of communication when you travel beyond the borders of cell communications.

It features an SOS push button that can send an emergency message as soon as you press it. It tracks your location, and this helps emergency services to be able to track you. There are also several methods for your family and friends to be able to monitor your progress.

You can upload your contacts with this Spot 3 device to help them see your location on Google Maps. There is also a check-in feature embedded in this Spot 3 device. This allows you to send a pre-programmed message to your friends and family.

This EPIRB unit is very durable and yet very lightweight. If you drop it accidentally, there will be no cause for worry as it should not break. This device also comes in waterproof. This means that it can go the length with you to those wet areas.

Highlighted Features:

  • SOS push button feature.
  • Access to Google Maps.
  • Check-in feature to send messages to friends and family.
  • Waterproof and lightweight.

5. ACR GlobalFix Pro

ACR GlobalFix Pro

ACR GlobalFix Pro

This Wireless EPIRB Unit is a self-contained, automatic, and portable unit used to signal sea distress to locate vessels in trouble.

When it comes to emergency features, this ACR device is top-notch. It acquires the GPS signal automatically and reads accurately for up to 100 meters. The signal is sent out at 406 MHz to achieve better accuracy than other devices.

There are other additional features it comes with that help it direct emergency services to your location. It has an LED strobe light that can be used as a powerful indicator. This light will always be visible and can be used as a homing beacon.

Once this device comes in contact with water, it automatically comes on. Although, this does not mean you can’t turn it on manually. It features a test function to help you ascertain whether the device is functioning properly. It also comes with very good battery life so you can bank on this ACR device. Once you have it activated, it can transmit signals for up to 48 hours. This ACR device also comes with a replacement guarantee.

Highlighted Features:

  • Acquires GPS signal automatically.
  • LED strobe light for better visibility in case of emergency.
  • It can be used as a homing beacon.
  • Test function feature.
  • Good battery life.

6. Ocean Signal Rescue Me Unit

Ocean Signal Rescue Me Unit

Ocean Signal Rescue Me Unit

Comes with an impressive battery life of up to 5 years, and you’re never left without help when needed.

With 10 years of battery life, this Ocean signal unit has enough battery capacity to give you peace of mind for a long time. This is also a great consideration when space is a top priority. This means you can easily fit this unit in the smallest spaces.

It comes in at 30% smaller than most EPIRBs out there. This unit is all about space management. So, if you are hiking and want to conserve as much space as possible, this Ocean Signal unit should be your pick.

It features a retractable antenna and two strobe lights. The lights will come in handy for easy visibility by rescue services. Once activated, the battery pack is reliable enough for up to 48 hours of consistent use.

Highlighted Features:

  • Small size to help in space conservation.
  • Two probe lights for easy visibility.
  • Strong battery life.

7. ACR 2880 ResQ Link

ACR 2880 ResQ Link

ACR 2880 ResQ Link

This is a compact, rugged, and lightweight personal locator beacon. It is very easy to use and quite efficient.

This small, rugged, and lightweight unit is buoyant and comes with different attachments like a belt clip, straps, lanyards, and oral inflation tube clips for easy wearability by hikers.

It comes with global satellite coverage that helps to send distress messages to search and rescue emergency services. It does not require a monitoring service center to send these emergency messages.

This ACR device comes with a bright LED strobe light and an Infrared strobe light that helps with visibility so that rescuers can locate you easily. So, you can always trust this unit to rescue you wherever your adventure takes you.

This device also features a digital display to view live beacon status and GPS coordinates throughout the rescue process.

Highlighted Features:

  • Small, rugged, and lightweight.
  • Attachments for easy wearability.
  • Strobe lights for easy visibility.


SPOT 3 Satellite GPS Messenger Personal Locator Beacon


Allows you to easily program your own custom message that will be transmitted to the rescue authorities when you activate it.

Add these rugged and essential pocket-sized devices to your hiking gear, and you will not regret it. It gives you a lifesaving communication means when you hike in areas beyond cellular communication.

This device has an SOS feature that alerts GEOS international emergency coordination center. The feature relays your GPS location and information to local rescue teams that can come in to get you to a safe place.

With this EPIRB unit, you can also send messages or emails with any contact number from virtually anywhere in the world. This device also gives you the opportunity of setting your tracking intervals. The SPOT X device also comes with a check-in feature that you can use to easily and swiftly let everyone know you are in good condition. It comes with a built-in compass and programmable waypoints that you can use for your hiking adventures.

Highlighted Features:

  • Rugged and pocket-sized.
  • SOS feature that relays your information to rescue services.
  • Check-in feature.

9. SPOT Gen 4 Nexus Wireless EPIRB Unit

SPOT Gen 4 Nexus Wireless EPIRB Unit

SPOT Gen 4 Nexus Wireless EPIRB Unit

This is an improved EPIRB unit that provides so many great features. It’s durable and can withstand drop after drop. 

This EPIRB unit was designed for hiking enthusiasts who usually go off reliable cell coverage. It comes in a very rugged fit, and you can view the maps in light or dark mode. The maps can be viewed as satellite, street, or terrain maps.

This unit lets you set up custom messages before your next hiking adventure. You can set up messages for your pre-determined contacts and use this feature for your help alert.

With the SOS push button, you can contact the emergency coordination center. The device will send your location and information to them so they can readily reach you in case of unforeseen circumstances

This Nexus Wireless unit has a customized tracking feature that helps take your adventure to a whole new level. You can set up motion-activated tracking with a motion vibration sensor. The device will send you track updates as you move.

Highlighted Features:

  • Maps can be viewed in light or dark mode.
  • Allows you to set up custom messages for help alerts.
  • SOS push button feature.
  • Customized tracking feature.

10. ZOLEO Satellite Communicator

ZOLEO Satellite Communicator

ZOLEO Satellite Communicator

It has an easy-to-use interface and intuitive controls make it simple to use even in an emergency.

The ZOLEO Satellite Communicator is a game-changer for outdoor enthusiasts and travelers seeking reliable communication in remote areas. This compact and durable device provides a lifeline to connectivity even when traditional methods fail. Its standout feature is seamless integration with your smartphone via the ZOLEO app, allowing you to send and receive messages, check weather updates, and share your location with friends and family. Thanks to the Iridium satellite network, the device’s global coverage ensures you stay connected regardless of location.

One of the most impressive aspects of the ZOLEO Satellite Communicator is its impressive battery life, lasting up to 200 hours on a single charge. The device also boasts an IP68 rating, making it dustproof and waterproof, perfect for rugged outdoor adventures.

While the ZOLEO Satellite Communicator has a subscription plan, it’s reliable performance and robust features make it worth the investment. Whether hiking, camping, or embarking on an expedition, this device is a reliable companion that keeps you connected and safe in even the most remote areas.

Highlighted Features:

  • Good battery life.
  • Iridium-based satellite.
  • Check-in feature.

How Long Does EPIRB Battery Last?

An Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) is a critical device to alert authorities in an emergency at sea. The battery life of an EPIRB depends on the specific model and manufacturer. However, most modern EPIRBs are designed to operate continuously for at least 48 hours.

It’s important to note that EPIRB batteries have an expiration date, typically marked on the device. The expiration date signifies the estimated lifespan of the battery before it needs to be replaced. This is usually around 5 to 10 years from the date of manufacture, depending on the model.

Regular testing and maintenance of the EPIRB are crucial to ensure its battery functions properly. This includes periodic battery checks and inspections, following manufacturer guidelines.

What to Do If EPIRB Activated Accidentally?

If an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) is accidentally activated, it is important to take immediate action to prevent unnecessary rescue operations and false alarms. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Remain calm: Accidental activations can happen, so staying calm and focused is important.
  • Contact the appropriate authorities: Immediately notify the local maritime or aviation rescue coordination center and inform them about the accidental activation. Provide them with your EPIRB’s unique identification number and any other relevant details.
  • Cooperate with authorities: Follow the instructions given by the rescue coordination center. They may ask for additional information or request you to provide any necessary documentation.
  • Disable the EPIRB: If possible, deactivate the EPIRB to prevent further signals. Some EPIRBs have a manual switch or a button to be pressed to turn them off.
  • Inform the EPIRB owner or operator: If the EPIRB does not belong to you, notify the owner or operator about the accidental activation and the steps you have taken.

Remember, accidental EPIRB activations can lead to unnecessary search and rescue efforts, which can be costly and divert resources from genuine emergencies. Taking swift action and cooperating with the authorities will help minimize any potential disruptions caused by the accidental activation.

Can I Replace the Battery in my EPIRB?

Yes, you can typically replace the battery in your EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon). EPIRBs are designed to have replaceable batteries to ensure their effectiveness and longevity. However, it is important to note that replacing the battery should be done by an authorized service center or a qualified technician.

EPIRB batteries have a limited lifespan, typically 5 to 10 years, depending on the model and manufacturer. It is crucial to adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines and recommended maintenance schedule to ensure the EPIRB remains in proper working condition.

Regular battery checks and replacements are essential for the reliable operation of your EPIRB. Regarding battery replacement, it is best to consult EPIRB’s user manual or contact the manufacturer directly to obtain specific instructions and to purchase the correct replacement battery.


When choosing the best EPIRB for hiking, several top-notch options are available. These devices offer crucial features that enhance safety and provide peace of mind during outdoor adventures. From GPS capabilities and long battery life to rugged and waterproof designs, these EPIRBs are built to withstand the demands of hiking in remote areas.

The top contenders are the ACR ResQLink View, Garmin inReach Explorer+, and McMurdo FastFind 220. Each device offers unique features such as two-way communication, built-in navigation, and compact designs that can easily fit in your backpack.

Remember, when selecting an EPIRB for hiking, it’s important to consider factors like reliability, battery life, range, and ease of use. Additionally, it’s crucial to register your device and familiarize yourself with its functionalities before embarking on any hiking trip. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a novice explorer, investing in a reliable EPIRB is essential to ensure your safety in the great outdoors.

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