PLB for backpacking

Although backpacking mainly focuses on the fun aspects, there are also risks involved. And of course these risks increase depending on the chosen backpacking destination(s). But even at the seemingly safest destinations, there are scenarios or incidents possible where emergency or emergency services may have to be called. Without a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) you need the range of a mobile network, and even in the Netherlands that coverage is not 100%. And we are one of the countries with the best mobile coverage. This means that you cannot always rely on your mobile phone in emergency situations. This is possible with a PLB. Satellite communication allows you to send an emergency signal everywhere, even in the most remote areas, if you are in a life-threatening situation.

Such a life-threatening situation can take many forms while backpacking. From medical problems to external factors such as severe weather, landslides or floods. But a PLB is also useful while backpacking in the event of equipment failure (which puts you in a life-threatening situation) or, for example, a robbery or kidnapping. In short, a PLB provides extra safety because you can call emergency services at the touch of a button and send your location.

| Handy for any backpacking trip

Why a PLB is useful for backpacking

A Personal Locator Beacon helps get you out of unforeseen life-threatening situations. With one push of a button you send out a powerful emergency signal that is received by a global system of satellites. So it doesn’t matter whether you are backpacking in Europe, Asia, South America or Australia. The satellite system forwards the emergency call to a network of aid organizations, directing the request for assistance to a local search and rescue organization. The PLB automatically shares your location so that the rescue operation can be initiated immediately.

The PLB uses a satellite system so you are no longer dependent on mobile network coverage. The PLB works globally and in remote areas*. It is therefore convenient to always carry a PLB while backpacking. Whether you go hiking, kayaking, kitesurfing or even horseback riding or biking. A PLB can get you out of any situation that may arise during these activities. To keep the choice clear, Safe Outdoor Shop only offers two satellite communicators. The Personal locator beacon (PLB1) and the Satellite Messenger (Bivy Stick). In our opinion, the two best options for sending distress signals.

*Works best with a clear view of the sky

Choose an Emergency Beacon or Satellite Messenger

The distress beacon (PLB1) is only for sending a distress signal. The Satellite Messenger (Bivy Stick) is also an alternative to the satellite phone and allows you to send text messages via satellite to friends and family. In addition, the EDF1 is a great addition to your Safe Outdoor kit. Because as soon as you are in need, you can use this LED emergency signal lamp to show everyone who is looking out for you where you are. The red LED light is so strong that you can see it at over >10km distance. For up to 6 hours.

| Call emergency services at the touch of a button

Satellite Messenger (Bivy Stick)


Do you also want to be able to send text messages to your friends and family via satellite and share your location? Then choose the ACR Bivy Stick (with subscriptions from €15). You can stay in touch via text message or email without mobile network coverage, even if there is no emergency. Of course, in the event of an emergency, you can send an SOS signal at the touch of a button.

The ACR Bivy Stick offers more functionalities than just sending a distress signal. The main features are:

  • Works in remote areas worldwide (Unobstructed view of the sky is required for a good signal)
  • Requires a subscription
    (view the subscriptions here)
  • 2-way communication possible
  • Iridium satellite network
  • Rechargeable batteries (up to 120 hours)
  • Connection with smartphone (Bivy App)
  • Also for non-urgent messages to family/friends (SMS/e-mail)
  • One-touch Check-in
  • Can also be used as a tracker
  • Waterproof, IPX7 rating

Personal locator beacons (PLB1)


The PLB1 can only be used in emergency situations and is very well equipped for this. A PLB is always ready for use, thanks to the battery that lasts up to 7 years without charging. This means you can use your mobile for more fun things, take photos, videos and send as many messages as you want. If you are in real distress, use your PLB and send an SOS distress signal via the officially recognized global search and rescue satellite network; Cospas Sarsat.

This satellite-controlled device sends an SOS signal to rescue services, along with your location. The main features are:

  • Works in remote areas worldwide (works best in clear view of the sky)
  • Dutch PLB permit costs approximately €40 per year
  • Homing signal (which allows a rescue helicopter to pinpoint your exact location)
  • No need to charge, the battery lasts seven years (or until use, it must be sent in for replacement)
  • No ability to send messages home or cancel an SOS call
  • Once activated, the device will continue to work for at least 24 hours, even at -20 ºC, even after it has been unused in the cupboard for (max.) 7 years (the PLB1 can be switched off yourself)
  • Stronger signal than a Satellite Messenger
  • Waterproof up to 15 meters

Increase your safety while backpacking
Satellite Communicator
| No more searching for signal

Successful rescues after using the PLB1

The PLB has already proven its added value during backpacking. Ideally, you only have it with you just in case, but you never use it. The fact that these backpackers were saved is largely thanks to a PLB.

During a two-day hike in New Zealand with her partner, disaster strikes when Mary suddenly dislocates her shoulder while climbing a mountain. Hours away from civilization and with no way to reach it on their own, the couple decides to press the emergency button on the PLB1. With 45 minutes the rescue helicopter is already hovering above them.

– Mary, experienced hiker

Take responsibility for your own safety and no longer be dependent on your mobile phone or casual passers-by.



When an experienced hunter and hiker from New-Zealand(70) ripped his Achilles-tendon while crossing a creek more than six hours from the nearest settlement he activated his PLB1. Within the hour a rescue helicopter with intensive-care paramedics hovered over him.


An experienced kite surfer went out to sea with two friends in wind force 6 without a contingency plan. When he fell into the cold water, released his kite and lost his board, disaster seemed inevitable. Fortunately, he immediately activated his PLB1, allowing the Dutch nautical rescue services to respond quickly and rescue him from the water.


Kevin had carefully prepared his motorcycle tour with two friends to cross the Simpson desert in Australia. However, when he fell over the front of his motorcycle and injured his back, his only option for rescue was activating his PLB1. Thanks to the PLB1, his friends were able to call for a rescue mission. A helicopter was necessary to swiftly carry him to the hospital for his grave injury.