PRODUCT TEST: Spot Trace GPS Tracking System

Big Brother, the eye in the sky or whatever you want to call it—having a satellite tracking your every move is probably not something you want to be a part of. However, when it becomes a matter of safety for loved ones, we will definitely consider it. One option, the Spot Trace, allows you or a family member to do so easily.

This computer screenshot is what you will see once the Spot Trace alerts you of its movements. You can watch its movements for days or even weeks. If you are using the Trace as theft protection, you can alert the authorities and show them the link to your machine’s location.
This computer screenshot is what you will see once the Spot Trace alerts you of its movements. You can watch its movements for days or even weeks. If you are using the Trace as theft protection, you can alert the authorities and show them the link to your machine’s location.

TRACE YOUR STEPS
The $99 Spot Trace is a small cookie-sized locating device you can carry or mount on your machine and was originally designed to alert you if the machine it was installed on moves. We see more value of it in allowing those important family members to keep tabs on you while out riding. Considering the remote, off-the-map areas we like to travel in, we thought the product was worth looking into.

In addition to the purchase price, you also have to pay a $99-per-year subscription fee in order for the Spot Trace to work. To activate the system, you go to FindMeSpot.com and set up an account. Then you type in the e-mail addresses of the people who you want to know where you are at. After setting the account up, they then get an e-mail from the Spot customer service center with a link to a map of your current location. Family members can check in as often as they want. Say you wanted take a week and explore the entire Hatfield-McCoy Trail System. Well, folks back home could check in at any time and see what trail system you are on and your exact location. The info box also shows current and average speeds. The user sets how often (five minutes up to every one hour) the system reports movement depending on your rate of travel. For ATV riding, we suggest as often as possible.

To try the Spot Trace out, we mounted its cradle to the cargo area of an XP 1000 and entered a local desert race. Our crew was then able to monitor our exact location for the entire four-hour event. Spot claims that four good AAA batteries will last up to 4 1/2 months. You can wire the unit into the machine’s on-board battery as well. In both cases, the unit is waterproof. Our crew used smartphones and laptops, both at the track and at home to monitor the race machine’s movement. It was interesting that back home our spectators were able to see us creep to the starting line, then wait the 15 minutes or so to start the race, then the locater beacon started moving right at the start time. They could also tell that we had a brief stop at the two-hour mark when we stopped to change drivers and refuel. The crew at the track used the system to make sure we were still moving and where on the course we were, and when we got close, they could ready themselves for a pit stop. There is nothing more frustrating than being in the pits watching your team’s competition drive by and not knowing if your team is still moving or broken down somewhere. The Spot Trace takes the guesswork out of that equation.

CONCLUSIONS
The Spot Trace worked exactly as advertised. We saw total value in being able to not only monitor someone on a trail ride, but in a racing situation too. We can see devices like the Spot Trace becoming very popular in race series such as the GNCC. After our initial track and trail testing with the Spot Trace, we can’t see a reason not to use it. If you have someone to track, visit www.findmespot.com to activate any new Spot product. You can buy them at Bass Pro Shops, West Marine or REI.

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