Top

Archive | Satellite Communication

The new Garmin inReach SE+ (yellow) and Explorer+ (orange) are best described as conventional handheld GPS units with satellite text messaging.

Preview: New Garmin inReach SE+ and Explorer+

The new inReach SE+ and inReach Explorer+ were announced days after the New Year, immediately prior to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Last week I was able to inspect them first-hand and discuss them with representatives at Outdoor Retailer (OR). The original manufacturer of the inReach, DeLorme, was purchased by Garmin a year ago. So […]

Continue Reading
Ascending the snowfield on Thunderbird's north ridge. So long as the snow has not frozen hard overnight, it could be done comfortably in trail runners. But the precipice below the run-out is good motivation to wear crampons.

Notes for next time: Gear, logistics, & snow travel || Glacier Divide Route

For my next trip on the Glacier Divide Route, what should I remember from this past one? Logistics The drive to Glacier National Park from Colorado is intimidating — about 15 hours, depending on the final destination. But it wasn’t terrible, and it’s eye-opening to know that I can reach Glacier in 1.5 days even if I’m […]

Continue Reading
website-traffic-featured

My most popular & favorite posts of 2015

To close out 2015, I’d like to share my most popular posts. My method in creating the list was only partially scientific — I started with total page views for 2015 in Google Analytics, and then I loosely accounted for publishing dates, since posts released earlier in the year have had more time to be viewed than those released […]

Continue Reading
The SPOT Gen3 can send three preset messages plus one customizable message. Communication is one-way; it cannot receive messages. Due to its limited capabilities, instruct your contacts how to interpret each message.

Best practices: Definitions & protocols for SPOT messages

The SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger can send three preset messages (OK, Help, and SOS) and one Custom message that can only be modified through SPOT’s website. Communication is one-way: it cannot receive messages from family and friends, emergency response teams, or SPOT. In this regard, the Gen3 is most similar to a personal locator […]

Continue Reading
Alan Dixon on the SPOT Global Phone, getting a water level update for Alaska's Yanert River. In my experience, the Global Phone has had excellent call quality and service throughout the lower 48 and in central Alaska.

FREE: SPOT Gen3 Messenger & SPOT Global Phone

Through December 31, the SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger, SPOT Trace, and SPOT Global Phone are FREE after mail-in rebate. These devices normally retail for $150, $100, and $500, respectively. Product commentary For starters, read my in-depth comparison of PLB’s, satellite messengers, and satellite phones. Last month I published a long-term review of the Gen3 Messenger. It’s ideal […]

Continue Reading
The SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger. The $150 device weighs 4 oz (with batteries) and can send 1-way emergency and non-emergency messages.

Long-term Review: SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger

My mother has requested only once that I buy an outdoor product. It wasn’t an uber warm sleeping bag, a highly engineered stove, or a rain jacket that was guaranteed to keep me dry. No, it was a SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger. She was not shy about her motivations. While a messenger would allow me […]

Continue Reading
The SPOT Gen3 wins the weight and size award, with the ACR PLB just behind. The inReach units and satellite phones are comparable in weight and size.

Pros, cons, & my picks: PLB’s, satellite messengers, & phones

Beyond the reliable range of cell phones, there are three types of satellite communicators that can make or maintain contact with family, friends, and — God forbid — emergency response teams: Personal locator beacons (PLB) Satellite phones Satellite messengers In this post, I will detail each device, identify its pros and cons, and share my buying […]

Continue Reading
The DeLorme inReach Explorer (left) and SE (right), which despite being the same and weight have different hardware profiles, which affects their functionality. My recommendation is still the SE, but there are a few reasons you might go with the Explorer.

DeLorme inReach Explorer vs SE: Two reasons to buy the Explorer

After my first post about the DeLorme inReach Explorer and SE, in which I recommended the SE over the Explorer, I was contacted by a DeLorme Product Manager who wanted to share additional information about the devices. While I stand by my SE recommendation, I would like to add nuance to the conversation: hardware differences, plus […]

Continue Reading
The inReach Explorer and SE both weight 6.9 oz. The battery is not replaceable.

Which one: Delorme inReach SE or Explorer? Key Differences + My Recommendation

In advance of my thru-hike later this month of the Kings Canyon High Basin Route, I purchased a DeLorme inReach Explorer and Delorme inReach SE. I bought both so that I could evaluate them in-person before returning one, and I thought I would share my assessment and my buying recommendations. The inReach will replace my […]

Continue Reading