On the Outdoors Stack, there is this question from a member with high reputation asking:

Looking for Technical Information on a Gadget with Fall Detection and Reporting Capability

I am old enough to plan ahead on fall detection, but vigorous and stable enough not to need it in everyday life now. However, I no longer feel comfortable hiking alone, and would like a gadget that would detect a fall and report it, and would like a gadget that would detect a fall and report it, preferably where there is no cell signal;...

...Please Note: I am not asking about price. I don't care if something better is coming down the pike. I am asking about what is available with the above specs now.

There's quite a bit more information in the question about why they can't/won't use a fall-detection pendant and why an Apple watch/other smart watch might not be suitable.

I don't see that this is personal medical advice; but it could be construed as a shopping-request, though they seem to be asking purely to know if such a device exists rather than asking which one might be the best to buy.

  • I think it would be on topic, but the best answer would probably be a few frame challenges: What is it that OP wants to secure themselves from? A „normal“ satellite phone should be sufficient to call for help in case of a fall. Or is the scenario that the falls is so bad that OP is rendered unconscious / unable to ask for help? Would an automatic, electronic „mayday“ signal even increase survival rate if the hiking area is sufficiently remote? Why not travel in groups of 3?
    – Narusan
    Sep 3, 2022 at 11:30
  • 1
    @Narusan good point. I guess the point is an automatic trigger of alarm. Something that a personal locator beacon doesn't cover - as those need to be triggered manually.
    – bob1
    Sep 3, 2022 at 11:39

1 Answer 1


I think it's a shopping request. Any answer given today is likely to be invalidated by next year, or next month. And of course it will lead to reviews of which device is better, and that's all just opinion.

I also think such a device would be a terrible idea. There are very good reasons why you don't hike alone, particularly in true wilderness areas where access is difficult. If someone chooses to hike in remote areas alone, I think they are foolish and the risk rightfully belongs entirely to them.

Fall detection devices are intended for the elderly and infirm who do fall in their homes and lay there for hours or even days. As a former EMT I've seen that many, many times so the need for such a device is legitimate. But a healthy, robust person who's capable of hiking in the wilderness and simply neglects to use common sense and hike with a companion, preferably at least two? (One to seek help, the other to remain with the victim.)

If such a device exists and doesn't have a way to cancel an alarm, it would be a nightmare for SAR groups. It's one thing to dispatch a cop to drive over and see if Mr. Jones is okay in his apartment, and quite another to mount a SAR response miles into the wilderness. A false alarm in the first case costs almost nothing, but in the latter case it could cost quite a bit and put rescuers in danger. I wouldn't be surprised to see some jurisdictions refuse to respond to such alarms. Simple events like unknowingly dropping the device or dropping it somewhere you can't access it to cancel the alarm could result in expensive, dangerous rescue efforts.

Bad idea in general.

  • 1
    This is what I tried to hint at with my comment as well. Fall detection devices are a lot less necessary if one has their mobile phone with them. If a contingency is wanted for the scenario hiking alone in the wilderness, fall, unresponsive, then… I‘m not sure by how much such a device would increase survival chances at all
    – Narusan
    Sep 3, 2022 at 20:20
  • @Narusan Probably won't. If you've suffered an injury that incapacitates you to the extent that you can't even use a satellite phone or personal locator beacon, and you're in a truly remote location, I don't give you good odds of survival even if the rescue squad is alerted.
    – Carey Gregory Mod
    Sep 4, 2022 at 0:44
  • Excellent points Carey.
    – bob1
    Sep 4, 2022 at 5:09

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