This tool has been UNRECOMMENDED and is now in the DEAD TOOLS category. See the FAQ for more info.

McMurdo Fastfind Plus

It’s not that often you run across a piece of gear that can actually save your life. Whether you’re backpacking, backcountry skiing, scuba diving, or flying in the wilderness, the McMurdo Fastfind Plus is a must-have in the event you find yourself in a serious emergency situation. Up here in Seattle every year hikers, mountain climbers, and backcountry skiers get lost and don’t return. Whenever I read about them in the paper I kind of sigh and think of how easy it would’ve been to be rescued.

When a person activates the Fastfind Plus, it uses its integral GPS to provide a 406 MHz alert signal via the COSPAS-SARSAT satellite system. You see a visual indicator of GPS acquisition. Fastfind Plus also transmits on the International Aircraft Emergency Frequency of 121.5 MHz providing a homing signal for the Search And Rescue (SAR) services. With the combination of an integral GPS and satellite transmitter, Search and Rescue authorities can be notified of your emergency along with your pinpoint location within minutes, anywhere in the world.

The Fastfind only weighs 10 oz, which isn’t bad considering that it can save your ass. For scuba divers, a waterproof aluminum canister is also available. I might mention that these devices are only to be used in the most dire, life-threatening emergency. It is a violation of Federal Law to misuse the device and is subject to a $250,000 fine.

-- Curt Nelson  

[Since this review posted in 2005, similar products with cheaper price tags have been released. If you have any experience with the SPOT, please do let us know.]

McMurdo Fastfind Plus
$750

Available from Amazon

Manufactured by McMurdo