I got an email from Spot a week or so ago with a rebate offer for upgrading from my original Spot.

Let me take a step back first. The Spot is a little battery-powered device that runs off a couple of AA or AAA batteries (depending on the model) and talks to satellites. Freaking satellites — from freaking batteries — from a device that hits in your pocket.

I had the first generation version of the Spot. It’s the one we took with us to Alaska back in 2008. It’s sent plenty of tracks and OK messages in its time.

The new one is smaller and lighter than the old one and can send tracks more frequently — and then at the same time have longer battery life. As an added bonus it can send two flavors of check-in messages instead of just one. How I’ll use that is something that I’ll have to figure out, but it’s a neat feature none-the-less.

What you don’t see is how much thinner it winds up being.

This is another in the set of things that are getting me ready to go camping next summer. It’s a strange thing. A drive. Questing to go someplace cool.

In case you’re wondering the old one is now in the hands of my co-worker who goes out in the woods often enough hunting. If you happen to put a foot wrong, there’s a good chance that you might need some help getting out of a tough situation.

– = –

We were talking a bit about it today.

The service is around $100 for the base stuff and a few extras on top of that can add up (including global search-and-rescue insurance). You have the cool factor of being able to show your buddies where you are. That’s cool — and it might even be worth that money.

Where it comes into its own is when you need it. The buttons, hidden under flaps on the new one, for help and SOS. The SOS button, essentially, will scramble a helicopter to pull you out of a tough situation.

Most people never press it.

I never want to press it.

But it’s a comforting thing knowing that it’s there.