Adventure Travel Travel Technology

GoTenna Review: Portable Communication Device

GoTenna is a portable device that allows you to communicate with people nearby without a signal or Wi-Fi connection as long as the other person has their own GoTenna and is in within range.

GoTenna is a portable device that allows you to communicate with people nearby without a signal or Wi-Fi connection as long as the other person has their own GoTenna and is in within range.

GoTenna Review

Price and Where to Buy GoTenna: $199 per pair on the GoTenna website. GoTenna also offers a payment plan at $18 a month for 12 months. GoTennas can only be purchased in sets of two or four.


  • Communication in areas with little or no connection is made significantly easier.
  • Maps are free to download and provide accurate GPS location.
  • Being able to share your exact location makes it easier for people to find where you are and vice versa.
  • It uses radio technology that integrates easily with your smartphone
  • You can monitor the GoTenna’s battery life on your phone.
  • It’s very lightweight and portable.
  • It easily attaches to your bag or backpack.
  • It’s easy to set up the GoTenna app on your phone.
  • The “shout” feature lets you send a message to anyone with a GoTenna in range.
  • The “emergency” feature lets you send a call for help on a channel specifically designated for emergencies.


  • It’s ineffective indoors or even in cities
  • Range on varied terrain is about one mile.
  • If the message doesn’t go through, you’ll have to keep trying until you are connected again.
  • The GoTenna must be out in the open and can never stray too far from your phone, otherwise it will lose the connection.
  • At the time of writing, you cannot use the app to send photos or voice messages.

How GoTenna Rates:

  • Usefulness: 7/10. When you’re traveling to an area with very little connection, GoTenna will definitely come in handy, especially if anyone in your party wants to split up. However, it won’t work over extremely long distances or in big cities. GoTenna is most useful in outdoor scenarios where there is less to interfere with the radio waves.
  • Value: 6/10. For $199, a set of GoTennas is certainly much more expensive than your average walkie-talkies, even if ‘there’s nothing else on the market like it. If you spend a lot of time camping and hiking, it may be worth the investment.
  • Portability: 10/10. Extremely lightweight and so easy to attach to your backpack, you’ll forget it’s there.
  • Cool Factor: 9/10. Being able to communicate without Wi-Fi or phone signal no matter where you are in the world is a cool way to keep in touch and stay safe.

Final Verdict:

If you’re traveling abroad to a big city, GoTenna won’t replace the value of buying an international phone plan. But if you’re hiking or planning on spending most of your time outdoors, especially if in a big open area, GoTenna is great way to stay in contact with your traveling partners. It’s an exciting product and certainly one to watch as the technology grows and expands.

(Photo: GoTenna)

Editor’s Note: Reviews are based on usefulness, portability, durability, value, and “cool factor.” Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product. If you have any questions or comments concerning our reviews, or would like to suggest a product for review, please email us at

By Jamie Ditaranto

Jamie Ditaranto is a traveler in a love triangle with writing and photography. Follow the drama on Twitter @jamieditaranto and Instagram @jamieditaranto.

Ditaranto joined SmarterTravel in 2015. She loves ecotourism, cities with history, and discovering local hangouts. Though she likes all the continents equally, she holds a special place in her heart for rainy little islands.

Her work has also appeared online at USA Today, Huffington Post, Business Insider, and other publications. You can check out her photography on her website.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "My instant camera comes in handy for giving instant gifts to new friends."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "Befriending penguins in Antarctica."

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