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Adventurers, take note: There’s a way to stay connected when there’s no phone service. It’s called goTenna Mesh. The goTenna Mesh is a lightweight device that you can hang on your backpack or bag and it allows you to stay connected with text and GPS, ideal for international travel or remote locations. You pair it with your phone and then that’s it. You can stay in communication off-grid.


The goTenna Mesh works with iOS 10.0 and above devices and Android devices 4.3 and above. You also need Bluetooth. Mesh uses mesh networking privately, and goes through other devices to relay your message or GPS locations. You get delivery confirmation when your messages go through completely and it’s all through your own private network. All messages are encrypted and not centrally-stored meaning your data is safe.


How it works

You set up your goTenna Mesh by pairing it with your device using the system app. Then you can send texts (single or group) or GPS locations to all of the users in your area. The bigger the network, the bigger your reach.  The transmission are done on transmit on UHF frequencies to give you 40% more range than using a walkie-talkie, which means you get up to 4 miles of sending range in an open area. The mesh part comes when there’s another mesh user in your area, and their phone gives you more range. Drop one of the devices in your area and use stationary relay mode to relay messages as needed. There’s a mesh community map on the goTenna website to show how many users there currently are in the world. You can also browse the community forum.

Gotenna Mesh

You can purchase your goTenna Mesh devices in packs of 2 ($179), 4 ($329), or 8 ($579) in a variety of colors. They come with matching micro-USB charging cables. You have the option of subscribing to goTenna Plus, an annual subscription service. It’s ideal for big groups and comes with the following:

Topographic maps

SMS network relay

Group chat delivery confirmation (up to 6 members)

Location tethering

Trip statistics

A subscription to goTenna Plus is on an introductory offer of $9.99/year, discounted from the regular $29/year. It’s available as a 30-day free trial in the newest goTenna app.


I can definitely see the application of this type of technology. After Hurricane Michael, I had several family members without phone service — they weren’t able to text or call, and waiting for to hear from them was a little agonizing. With a goTenna Mesh, people in the way of disaster could at least get a message to their family and loved ones in the area. That’s one of the benefits that goTenna Mesh touts on their website as well. Reviewers on the goTenna website have noted its application on a cruise ship, snowboarding, backpacking, or engaging in other activities. You can also discuss other uses in the goTenna Mesh community. If you’re heading into the mountains or anywhere else in the great outdoors, you might want to pick up a goTenna mesh to keep in contact.


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