Having the right communication device can be a lifesaver in an emergency.

Your mobile phone may not be enough with New Zealand’s sometimes spotty coverage in the outdoors. Even on some short tracks. You should consider carrying a second communication device if you know coverage will be unreliable or if you are unsure.

Two devices could be a mobile phone and a satellite device, or a personal locator beacon (PLB). There are a range of devices available. Some device types are listed below. Do research into what works for you.

Remember – if you have a device, learn how to use it. 

Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your equipment is also important. For example, a mobile phone is easy to use, and you may already have one, but it will be no use if there is no coverage.

Evaluate functions such as coverage area, type of message or signal sent, capabilities of receiving messages, costs vs benefits and lifespan of the device.

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Why take a communication device?

There are a number of reasons you'll need to be able to communicate to others. 

  • You might get lost and need rescuing
  • You could change your route and need to alert a friend
  • You could be running late and need to stay an extra night
  • You might want to get updates in the weather along the way
  • You could get injured or be in an emergency situation and require rescue.  

What you need to know

  • How to leave your intentions with a trusted contact - Read the 'tell someone your plans' section of our website to make sure you leave your intended trip correctly.

Watch Tell Someone Your Plans

  • What form of communication to take - Some devices will only provide your location to emergency services, and some will provide two-way communications. Consider your choice of device carefully and know how to use it before you leave.

Watch Communicating in the NZ Bush 


Communication Devices

Explore the various options below:

How we can help 

Learn from our resources

Outdoor Safety Code

The first thing to remember is that every trip needs a plan. A few simples steps to take before you head out can make all the difference if something goes wrong.


Helpful Links

How to tell someone your plans

Find out more

Find what else you need to take

Find out more 

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