Close banner

Support Outside Online

Love Outside?

Help fund our award-winning journalism with a contribution today.

Contribute to Outside
AdventureExploration & Survival

What personal location beacon do you trust most?

What personal location beacon do you trust most? The Editors Santa Fe, New Mexico


I recommend only one brand: the PLBs made by ACR Electronics. These are the most reliable PLBs available today and have been extensively field-tested in maritime, desert, and mountain environments. These transmit on 406 MHz, and with some models you can download your GPS coordinates into the PLB.

You can also operate these one-handed, and they are constructed to be impact- and water-resistant, unlike other PLBs out there. ACR just released a smaller version, which runs around $350.

There are less-expensive brands available, but I have not found them to be nearly as reliable as the equipment put out by ACR. I've tried out some of the other brands under a variety of field conditions and experienced only a 50% success rate. If you are going to pay for gear, make sure it has quality construction and is totally reliable. Survival gear is life insurance, so make sure you can indeed stake your life on it!

Do I carry one with me on a day hike in the forest with my dogs? No. But on a long canoe trip or remote trip in the Grand Canyon, I wouldn't be without one.

Support Outside Online

Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.

Contribute to Outside
Filed To: Survival GuruSurvivalGPS Devices