SPOT Tracker in action.  It's the small orange item on the saddle bag.

Some Overland Base Camp events require participants to use SPOT tracking devices.  Check the event's rules to see if your OBC ride requires a tracker.

We offer three general ways for you to access a SPOT:

  1. Rental:  Overland offers SPOT rentals.  For single day rentals they typically cost $50.
  2. Purchase:  You can buy a SPOT through Overland or Directly from SPOT.  The Gen 3 unit costs about $170 and the basic subscription service is about $150 per year, or $15 per month.  SPOT tends to change their offerings fairly frequently so check the program before purchasing.
  3. Team Sharing:  For some events we offer team classifications.  If that's true for your event, you can save money by sourcing one SPOT for your entire team.  However, the ma jority of OBC events do not have team classifications, and the team rules are sometimes restrictive.  

If you already own a SPOT, we'll ask for some information and we'll provide you some information; see the bottom of this page for details.

If you rent a Gen 3 from OBC for one of our events, here's what's included:

  • A Gen 3 unit with the tracking service included.  We provide you the unit on the morning of the event; 30-minutes prior to the start.
  • Use of the unit for the entirety of the event regardless of how many days the event lasts.
  • A mounting clip, or zip ties, for secure saddle bag attachment.  Your preference.
  • Brand new batteries that will last for days.  We only cover the cost of the first set of batteries; for rides lasting more than a week, you are responsible for battery management and replacement.  We do not expect you to return the SPOT with new batteries; we will take care of this.
  • We teach you how to use the Gen 3.
  • We include a pocket sized instruction sheet that clearly describes all the important functions of the Gen 3.

Here are the fundamentals and important safety instructions on how to use a SPOT Gen 3:


The following requirements mean we usually mount the unit on the bike's saddle bag.  There aren't many other options that meet these real criteria: 

  • When on, keep the unit at least 12" away from any other GPS unit; signals can interfere with each other.
  • The unit requires a clear view of the sky.
  • Orient the face of the SPOT unit skyward.
  • Try to keep the unit from jostling; this is pretty much impossible on mixed-terrain riding.

Using the SPOT to track your location:

It requires two simple steps:

  1. Turn the unit on:  Press and hold the Power button while all the green lights blink in succession creating a clockwise motion.  The unit is on when the "Power Light" is blinking green.  The unit is not yet tracking you at this point.
  2. Begin the Tracking  function:  Press and hold the "Track" button until the light above the button shows a steady green.  One you let go of the button the unit will begin the process of constantly tracking your location.

Note:  If you don't move the SPOT unit for an hour it will shut down.  So, keep the unit with you at all times, and don't not move for more than an hour.

Using the special buttons on the SPOT

Normally you won't do anything other than the two steps above:  turn the unit on and begin tracking.  However, there may be instances when the SPOT's other functions are important.  The buttons are:

  • "Check In":  This is the "OK" button.
  • "Help or SPOT Assist":  The image of the hands reaching toward each other.  Press and hold the button until the light blinks green.  Sends a message every 5 minutes for 1 hour.  To cancel, press and hold the button until the light blinks red.  This feature should be used in a non-life threatening situation, i.e. your bike breaks down and you can't continue.
  • "S.O.S":  Only to be used in life-threatening and critical situations.   Press and hold the button until the light blinks green.  Sends a message every 5 minutes until cancelled.  To cancel, press and hold the button until the light blinks red.  Activation of the S.O.S. button goes directly to the GEOS International Emergency Rescue Coordination Center and should only be used in critical, life threatening situations.
  • "Custom Message":  Not relevant for our adventure.

Other Buttons and Lights on the SPOT

  • Power Light:  Green means the batteries are good.  Red means change the batteries as soon as possible.  The unit takes 4 AAA Lithium 8x batteries (L92)
  • GPS Light:  Green blinking means the unit is sending and receiving GPS signal.  Red blinking means the unit cannot find a satellite signal; therefor move to a location with a clearer view of the sky.
  • Message Sending light:  The image of the envelope traveling:  Notifies you whether your most recent outgoing message was transmitted.  Blinking green for 5-minutes means the message was sent.  Blinking red means the message didn't send.  Find a clear view of the sky and send the message again.

Turning off the device:  We typically don't recommend doing this while an event is in progress - even our multi-day events.  Leave the unit is tracking mode for the entirety of the event - even while you're sleeping.  A new battery set lasts for days so you won't have to worry about running out of batteries.  To turn off the Gen 3, hold the power button until the green light flashes in quick succession, then let go of the button.  Remember that when you turn the unit back on, it isn't tracking your progress; you have to set it to track - see those instructions above.

Batteries:  SPOT recommends 4 AAA energizer Lithium 8x batteries (L92)

Live Tracking of Riders

When we use SPOT devices we track them through the fantastic website called Trackleaders.   You can follow rider progress on their site.  It's a way for us, and your loved ones, to keep up to date on your progress and safety.  Trackleaders is a great site that tracks all kinds of endurance cycling events and other sports. 

Own A SPOT Already?

Great!  You'll have to do two simple things in order to use your own SPOT on an OBC event:

  1. Add OBC to your SPOT contact alert list:  We'll provide you the Overland Base Camp contact information.
  2. Send us your link tracking information so we can add you to Trackleaders.  We'll email you regarding the details of this process.

Important:  Safety & Reality

Overland Base Camp relies on the SPOT Company and local and federal law officials for all aspects of safety and reliability.  Having a SPOT tracker does not guarantee your safety in any situation.  Overland Base Camp offers no implicit or explicit promise of safety or assurance that the SPOT will work properly, that help will arrive in a timely manner, and that you are 100% safe in all situation.  Overland Base Camp makes sincere effort to ensure your safety.

Questions?  Contact us.