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Garmin Rino GPS & Handheld Radio
When you go camping, a lot of times you're going to find that if you want to communicate over distances, your cell phone typically isn't a very good choice. Many campgrounds are in areas where cell phone coverage just isn't very good, and then you add in the fact that they're in heavily wooded areas or in mountainous areas and you've got a recipe for zero bars.
And sometimes when you go out hiking you just don't want to take a cell phone with you for concern you'll get it dirty or you'll get it wet and it just won't work.
So how do you communicate with other people you're camping with without cell phones?
Well, if you've got a healthy set of pipes, feel free to start yelling, otherwise you may want to look into other options.
One of my absolute favorite pieces of camping gear is my Garmin Rino. If you're familiar with the Garmin brand, then you're probably wondering how the heck a Garmin GPS is going to help you communicate with the other folks you're camping with.
Well, here's the cool thing - Garmin has built in a a FRS/GMRS radio into their GPS. And while it's bigger than you're cell phone, it's also waterproof and a heck of a lot more durable. And with the GMRS radio you'll get up to 14 miles of coverage although it'll be less if you're in heavily wooded or uneven terrain.
And there's one more feature that is my absolute favorite - the Position Reporting Feature. If you're with a group of people, and each of them has a Rino with them, you can report your location on a map so that everybody else can see where you are. And you can do the same to them - you can see exactly where they are so if you've wandered off and want to know where everyone else is, you can just push a button and you'll be able to see where they are on your screen. I've used this a few times when I was snowboarding in Colorado when I've gotten separated from everyone else just to see where they heck my friends were at.
And should you find yourself hopelessly lost out in the woods and you can't seem to reach anyone, there's no need to worry - you've got a GPS in your hands, just use it to help you navigate back to your campsite.
The one downside, all this technology doesn't come cheaply. The top of the line Rino 530HCx will run you $386.96 (if you get it through this link, you'll even get a $50 mail in rebate), but if you watch eBay and don't need some of the extra bells and whistles, you can get a cheaper model on eBay or Amazon for about $150.