Adventure brands around the world are adopting RECCO® radar reflectors in their outdoor gear. These tiny reflectors help locate missing individuals in search and rescue situations, which could be ideal for your next off road camper trip or trek.
How does it work?
Only weighing in at 4 grams, the passive reflectors do not require a power source or means of activation. The RECCO® SAR detector sends a radar signal which bounces off the reflector that is installed in your clothing.
RECCO® originally used handheld detectors with active radar signals, but has recently created a device that sends a stronger signal from a helicopter. The new device scans one square kilometre in 3-6 minutes. RECCO® also works in extreme weather conditions and dense overhead coverage typical of backcountry areas.
Why does a camper need it?
The original RECCO® technology was created for avalanche rescue. They hope their updated RECCO® SAR detectors expand to year-round search and rescues.
Outdoor clothing brands for year-round adventures (like ORTOVOX) have started to include RECCO® reflectors in their gear: hiking and climbing boots, harnesses, backpacks, helmets, and waterproof jackets. RECCO® reflectors add an extra level of safety when climbing, hiking, and camping in the backcountry.
Where does RECCO® work?
The company hopes to expand their reflectors worldwide to create a singular integrated search and rescue system. Over 800 rescue systems currently use RECCO® radar signals, primarily in European countries of Switzerland, Italy, and Norway. However, the expansion of clothing brands including these reflectors in their design has kick-started the movement for year-round applications.
Has there been a successful rescue using the technology?
RECCO® technology has been successful since its inception. On January 11, 2006, a German woman buried in an avalanche while backcountry snowshoeing was rescued from under 1.5 metres of snow, 45 minutes after the incident.