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

The DeLorme inReach Explorer (left) and SE (right), which despite being the same size and weight have different hardware, which affects their functionality. My recommendation is still the SE, but there are two valid reasons to buy the Explorer.

The DeLorme inReach Explorer (left) and SE (right), which despite being the same size and weight have different hardware, which affects their functionality. My recommendation is still the SE, but there are two valid 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 two reasons to buy the Explorer instead of the SE.

Both units are widely available from outdoor retailers. If you wish to support informative content like this post, please buy from Amazon.com or from one of the vendors below.

Hardware differences

Despite being the same size and weight, the inReach SE and Explorer do not have the same hardware profiles, and thus have different capabilities. This explains why the inReach SE, which was released first, cannot be upgraded to Explorer-like functionality through a simple software update.

Specifically, the inReach Explorer has:

  • Digital compass
  • Barometric altimeter
  • Accelerometer
  • More memory

Due to these additional sensors and memory, the Explorer is a better GPS unit than the SE could ever be. It can find and apply bearings even if it is not moving. Its location accuracy is enhanced. And it is capable of recording a long track at 1-second intervals.

Two reasons to buy the Explorer

The inReach SE is a 2-way satellite text messenger. The inReach Explorer is a 2-way satellite text messenger plus a handheld GPS unit.

If you own the SE and want GPS functionality, you must either carry a separate handheld GPS unit like the Garmin eTrex 20x, or you must run an app like Gaia GPS on your smartphone. This latter option is my pick, and the primary reason why I recommended the inReach SE over the Explorer: an app is less expensive than the “upgrade” price to the Explorer, and at least currently offers superior layers, notably USGS 7.5-minute topo maps and Landsat imagery; and the phone has a better and more user-friendly screen — it’s larger, brighter, and higher-res, and allows for tapping, pinching, swiping, and rotating.

But why might the combination of the inReach SE plus smartphone app be insufficient? Why might you still want the Explorer? Two reasons:

1. If your phone fails (and your GPS app along with it), you have a redundant system.

Your phone’s battery may die. You may accidentally drop or submerge it. Or you may need to use it in the rain or while wearing gloves, which are challenging circumstances for a touchscreen.

In contrast, the Explorer meets the Mil-STD-810G standard for impact-resistance (shock) and has a IP67 certification for water exposure (submerged at one meter for 30 minutes). Due to its physical buttons, it is still operable in wet and cold conditions. And the inReach is less of a battery guzzler than most phones: when set in tracking mode at a 10-minute interval, the battery will last 100 hours.

2. If you want GPS functionality without needing a separate device.

The inReach Explorer is not a top-notch standalone GPS unit, as I have pointed out. Moreover, without a smartphone and DeLorme’s Earthmate app (free for inReach owners), your 2-way texting is essentially limited to preset messages — using the inReach’s virtual keyboard is painful.

Nonetheless, the Explorer has full GPS functionality: pinpoint location on DeLorme’s proprietary topo map; go-to and create waypoints; and follow and log (at 1-second intervals) tracks. For a hiker or backpacker who does not own a smartphone, or who wants to save weight by leaving their handheld GPS unit or smartphone at home, the Explorer may offer all the functionality they need.


Disclosure. I strive to offer field-tested information, insights, and advice, and I have a long-term incentive to be a trustworthy source. I do not publish sponsored content or native advertising, and I do not accept payments in exchange for reviews. I have no financial affiliations with or interests in any brands or products.

This website is supported by affiliate marketing, whereby in exchange for referral traffic I receive a small commission from select vendors like REI or Amazon, at no cost to the reader. This post contains affiliate links.

Posted in , on August 1, 2015
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52 Comments

  1. brian on August 2, 2015 at 8:33 am

    First off, pretty awesome you went back and added this info. This is what sets good product reviewers apart from others.

    I’ve gone back and forth between these two units for over a year. not buying yet due to inability to make a final decision.
    The Barometic altimeter for long mountain climbs, runs or skis, I think is worth it. I always double check altitude vs GPS mileage to confirm how far I am from end/ beginning of route- prob overkill but it adds piece of mind when I’m tired. Adding the digital compass and GPS just as backups to any navigation set-up (paper maps or another GPS), I think is worth a one time cost of $80. plus no weight penalty. Note that I won’t carry my phone cause 1) it costs way more than $380 to replace if broken and 2) I’m in the BC to escape my phone so happy to leave it home.

  2. Eve on August 2, 2015 at 9:23 am

    Andrew, Thank you for posting this article. It is very interesting to me as I have been dissatisfied with the locator systems we use for our field work on the Rocky Mountain Front in Montana for years and have been keeping my eyes open for a better solution. We’re due to purchase both new GPS units and upgrade our SPOTs this winter, since after 7 field seasons of hard use, they’re battered and probably becoming less than dependable. The Explorer sounds like it would be a great fit and might even save some money, except even after downloading DeLorme’s informational brochure, I cannot determine if created waypoints or routes can be exported as any type of GIS-compatible file, such as text or gpx. Also, do you know if you can add comments to individual waypoints and custom name them?

    I’d appreciate any additional info or insights you might have.

    Thanks,
    Eve

    • Andrew Skurka on August 2, 2015 at 11:20 am

      My experience with the Explorer is limited, but my understanding is that it’s inter-platform functionality is limited versus a standalone GPS. This forum thread is a year old and may be outdated, but it implies that the inReach cannot handle GPX files. Not sure about naming and comments.

      Even if this functionality has been updated, I would not recommend the inReach for heavy GPS use. Small, dim, low-res screen and virtual keyboard — it’s not something that I would want to have to use much. If your GPS is attached to your hip, you’d probably be better off with a smartphone in a durable case with a Gaia GPS app, which offers the features you need. And then bring backup battery chargers for your team.

  3. Eve on August 2, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Andrew, Thanks for your comments. I will keep looking for other alternatives to SPOT and Garmin. I wanted to comment that I much prefer Topo Maps (Phil Endicott’s App) over Gaia GPS. I have found at least 3 mismatched topos on Gaia just in my local area of Southwest Montana which doesn’t give me great confidence that I will have the right map when I need it. Also, as a GIS specialist, the crazy symbology mismatches (weird greens) on their topos looks ugly and weird to me, and I really can’t figure how they got that way, as that is not the default symbology for USGS. I also like the fact that with Topo Maps, the entire quad (up to 20 quads at once) is downloaded, which greatly simplifies knowing exactly what areas you have covered by maps, and then, if you have a signal, you can open the location with imagery, screen shot it for later use, or simply build a cache by zooming around. Topo Maps can also be used in airplane mode, as long as you have the location services enabled in that app to save battery life. I do carry a little portable solar charger with me on backcountry multi-day work locations that has kept my iPhone charged with no problem, as long as I keep my smart phone on airplane mode and remember to turn off navigation after I check my location. I have found myself using Topo Maps far more than my GPS (which I just mark my documentation points with) because I dislike Garmin’s expensive, proprietary and non-descriptive topo maps. The downloaded maps in the Topo Maps app don’t seem to take up much room on a device; I have all of Western Montana, Greater Yellowstone (the park with all of the surrounding wilderness areas), the Winds, parts of the Pacific Northwest and some areas of the Sierras downloaded at high resolution on my 128GB iPhone a long with at least 20 botany, birding and astronomy apps, not to mention a generous supply of music, podcasts and photos.

    • GMcCaddon on August 17, 2015 at 5:34 pm

      Eve,

      Something to keep in mind with the inReach vs Spot, is the inReach devices can intercommunicate with each other. On the Explorer, you will also be able to identify where the other user is at, in relationship to your current position based on the location embedded message they sent you.

      Even though Andrew disparages the virtual keyboard for it’s usability, it is still useful at sending short messages to each other and to SAR resources when all else fails. There are different Enterprise level plans you can purchase from DeLorme which will accommodate your team’s needs. The app has recently been updated to allow setting down waypoints with symbols and include small descriptions among other things.

      Further, the Earthmate app can download USGS maps to the iOS and Android phones. I like those more than the other imagery right now because of the pinpoint accuracy of the abandoned service roads I’m currently exploring.

  4. Dave on August 3, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    The two-way communications feature is the reason why I splurged my hard-earned cash on InReach SE.

    A few years back, around 2007 or 2008, when I was living on Vancouver Island, we had a few bad rashes with false emergencies with SPOT. SAR and Coast Guard just basically started ignoring any SOS messages sent by a SPOT unit. So, the only option at that time was to rent satellite phones.

    InReach may be more expensive than SPOT, but at least there’s security in knowing that the local SAR team won’t ignore the message. So, I am glad DeLorme came out with these units.

  5. Gary on August 8, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    Hello Andrew – Is there an option for turning off the Tracking interval when at Camp to minimize battery life? I was interested in what your battery life was using 10 minute interval tracking, and did it include X amount of average daily messages to your spouse?

    Thank you,
    Gary

    • Andrew Skurka on August 9, 2015 at 7:46 pm

      My unit was not in tracking mode. Two or three times a day, I turned it on, received and/or sent a message, and turned it off. After 10 days of that, the battery still had a 70 percent charge.

      Without having much personal experience with the tracking feature, I can’t speak to it. Have you checked the owner’s manual? At a minimum, I suppose that one way to turn off the tracking is to turn off the device.

  6. Chip Noble on August 17, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Chip Noble from DeLorme here. Thanks to Andrew for writing these thorough reviews of the inReach SE and Explorer. I’ve been reading along with the rest of you and just wanted to add a few details to the answers Andrew has already posted.

    Eve, you can manage all of your inReach Explorer user data – waypoints, routes, and high detail track lines – from DeLorme’s Explore web portal. You can import GPX or KML files from 3rd party sources and view the data in Explore then sync that data to your Earthmate app on your phone and to your inReach Explorer for field use. Any data that you create in the field gets automatically sent over the Iridium satellite network back to your office so people could actually follow your field work in real time. You can also export the data from Explore as a GPX or KML for use in other applications. While we don’t have a Field Notes option you can change the symbol and label for each waypoint.

    Gary, you can expect 120 hours of battery life if you use the default 10 minute tracking interval and don’t stop moving. When the inReach sends a track point it first looks to see if you’ve moved at least 100 meters. If you haven’t moved from your last location – eating lunch, stopped for the night, etc – then the inReach switches to a resting interval of 4 hours to conserve battery and to reduce traffic over the Iridium network. As soon as one of the 10 minute location checks show that you’ve moved more than 100 meters tracking starts back up at the 10 minute interval.

    It’s great to see Andrew’s interaction with his readers via the comments on his blog. Feel free to reach out to me as well if you’re wondering about the inReach/Earthmate/Explore system. I’d be glad to help.

    Take care,
    Chip Noble
    Product Manager
    DeLorme
    [email protected]

  7. John Dennis on August 18, 2015 at 4:07 am

    Hi Andrew and Chip,

    I used the Explorer on and expedition I did around the Hardangervidda Nation Park in Norway back in April ahead of my exped to Antarctica later this year.

    Only ever having used the Explorer, I am unable to comment on the SE. I found it a fantastic tool and it synced perfectly with my Galaxy S5 throughout my 16 days on the ice alone. I was a great companion and a lifeline essentially. I risked not taking a sat phone to trial the efficiency of its coms systems. It passed with flying colours.

    10 mintue intervals, for me, seems excessive, so I increased it to 30mins. My friends, family and exped followers managed to follow my tracks seamlessly through the website.

    Receiving messages from the outside world was a wonderful thing, with the pricing of my plan it was perfect. I opted for the top tariff, that way, I had piece of mind my tracks and messages would always be sent.

    Sending messages via my S5 was my preferred option, not because it was painful via the hand-piece, mainly because I was tired and cold.

    In all, without writing and essay, its a good solid product, connecting people in remote locations.

    Regards,

    John Dennis
    http://www.dare2express.org

  8. Justin Elias on September 10, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    My thoughts on why one should go with the Explorer over the SE is simply redundancy. I just purchased my Explorer to replace a Pn60 paired with a Spot. I used to be a fan of the Spot system, but the lack of being able to have positive confirmation that my message was sent always left me a bit worried.

    Getting back to why I chose the Explorer, I just thought it made sense from a backup systems point of view. I love using the system through the phone app. It is so intuitive and simple. This means that my phone is going to be exposed to more potential damage than my inReach. If/when my phone is broken out in the back country. I do not want to be stuck without navigation capabilities.

    What is even better is that this redundancy does not come with a price increase in terms of weight. The increase in cost seems like a worthwhile investment to me.

  9. Dean on January 8, 2016 at 11:50 am

    One important point is that when the Explorer is not activated NONE of its functions work. By that I mean, if you have not activated it you can’t even use it as a GPS. It isn’t just the messaging that is activated by the paid subscription. This is incredibly dishonest of DeLorme. There is absolutely no reason for it- having the unit work as a GPS even when messaging is not activated costs DeLorme nothing, and no other GPS on the market requires a paid subscription. Hopefully the next generation will correct this egregious wrong. Until then, I refuse to buy either unit.

    • Kate on May 12, 2016 at 12:46 pm

      Dean,

      Thanks for this. I was trying to find this exact information about functionality sans subscription. The lack of information about this on the Delorme site led me to suspect that the device was only functional under subscription. Even a smart phone without a data plan can still get on wifi (and most on gps). I agree that this was an gross oversight on Delorme’s part not to allow GPS functionality when not paying for a subscription. This makes me much less likely to buy. Thank you for highlighting it and confirming my suspicions.

  10. Ron on July 3, 2016 at 9:50 am

    To DEAN and KATE-

    “One important point is that when the Explorer is not activated NONE of its functions work. By that I mean, if you have not activated it you can’t even use it as a GPS. ”

    Seems a bit of a silly comment to me. I mean why would you buy a fairly expensive unit like the Explorer and not activate it if you are going in some remote place where needed.

    The primary reason for the device in my view is as a rescue device if needed–and combined with two way communication via text using iridium–it makes the device one of the tops out there for the price.

    If you don’t care about being able to communicate in an emergency situation –any GPS system would be the way to go. Cheaper for sure!

    I’ve found for myself that the two way communication via the Delorme Explorer–provides piece of mind for not only myself but for family when I go on back country trips solo! If you find another device that has GPS full time without activation and allows for the same messaging system as the Explorer please let us know!

    Only thing better would be a SAT system–way to pricey in comparison!

    Just my thoughts on the subject!

    • james on December 16, 2016 at 8:35 am

      Seems a bit of an arrogant comment to me Ron

      Not every adventure is a back country adventure, and not everyone is going to use the unit year round. Delorme offers a freedom plan which is around $14 a month. If you are not going to use it for the month you don’t re-up that month.

      After paying $350, it would be nice to use the unit as a stand alone GPS without subscribing for messaging for the month.

    • Walt on March 9, 2017 at 9:26 am

      you say silly because you have not thought about it perhaps. so, let’s say you purchase the inreach for a trip in the grand canyon that lasts a month and you pay the approx. $60 monthly fee for that level of functionality. now fast forward 6 months and you want to use your inreach as a gps in your local park, but oh wait, that would cost you at least $15 per month….woops. having to pay that would be silly.

  11. Jaime on July 8, 2016 at 9:11 am

    I upgraded my SE to Explorer only to find out the GPS was subscription only! Basically eleven months out of the year when I don’t use Inreach messaging (Which is excellent) I have a BRICK! which I still have to pay the yearly fee even without the messages.
    There are many times i am not in the backcountry or expedition that I wished to use the GPS.
    I discourage my friends on the Explorer. There is no reason for a device that cost $380 to block their GPS service.

  12. Bill Brasier on July 18, 2016 at 10:34 am

    Andrew, a critical MIS-Statement by you in this article and your original article on SE vs Explorer is “The inReach SE is a 2-way satellite text messenger. The inReach Explorer is a 2-way satellite text messenger plus a handheld GPS unit.”

    The SE IS A GPS UNIT. It SE contains a GPS receiver in. It provides lat and long info just as accurate as the Explorer (same chip). However, the SE IS NOT a mapping device and provides no map features. The SE provides numerical lat and long via internal GPS receiver which one would need to overlay onto your paper map or enter on your electronic map (or gps device) if the device and software allow.

    Thanks for all your great stuff.

    • Andrew Skurka on July 18, 2016 at 10:51 am

      Not sure it’s critical or a misstatement. If you define “handheld GPS unit” to be any device that can spit out its lat/long, yes, the SE is a handheld GPS unit. Fifteen years ago, that’s all that some of these devices could do. Now, the expectation is that a handheld GPS unit have mapping functions (even the least expensive models at REI do), and based on that standard the SE does not meet the criteria.

  13. Bruce Carter on August 24, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    Do your homework before buying an Explorer people. These glitchy devices are prone to failure and limitations that may make the device about as useful as a paper weight. What’s worse is that the customer care staff won’t care. I learned this the hard way.

    Like others, I too experienced an inability to sync the Explorer to my iPhone. Delorme staff told me to “…buy a new phone.” Yeah right, I’m gonna spend $600.00 so I can use your $350 device? As if that was the problem. The truth is, DeLorme has a serious glitch that prevents users from actually synching the device. They know this. It’s all over their online forum and is the number 2 issue on their Help page. Then there’s review sites such as REI (https://www.rei.com/product/877499/delorme-inreach-explorer-satellite-messenger) where consumers have had their Explorer replaced multiple times and each time, replaced again for the same glitch I experienced. I guess the QC department at DeLorme is nonexistent.

    So fine. The Explorer I bought is a glitch mess and won’t work and the customer care is pathetic. I bought a paper weight. After months of paying for their service and getting nowhere I cancelled the charge card they were debiting monthly and tossed the explorer into the junk drawer. A year later I get a letter from a collection agency (The Thomas Agency) for the balance of the annual service fees. This is the same service is was unable to ever use because of the glitch. I was stunned.

    I contacted my attorney who explained to me that by failing to resolve my technical issues, DeLorme was in material breach of their own agreement and I could not be held accountable for the fees because the services were not being rendered by DeLorme. Moreover, because the issue is well documented and well known to DeLorme, any collection activity (extortion) to enforce collection of the contract would be malicious. If you have been turned over to The Thomas Agency for similar issues, you should advise them that Delorme has failed to uphold their end of the contract and therefore not entitled to any fees and that is The Thomas Agency pursues collection they will be in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act which protects consumers from wrongful collection practices. All you need to provide them is correspondence with DeLorme to demonstrate the existence of the problem and thus, the reason you refused payment. I suspect there are a lot of people who are experiencing this problem and perhaps enough for a class action lawsuit. I guess it depends on how many people they are trying to force to pay for services they denied.

    So when I heard that DeLorme was purchased by Garmin I was delighted. Garmin is a great company and I have been a custom of their for eons. Never had a problem with their products or support staff. So I wrote to them, explained the problem and made a simple request…replace my Explorer with a unit that actually works and credit me for the months I paid for service but could not access it. Simple right? I even offered to prepay for the year of service if they would just credit me the months I paid for service but could not use it due to the faulty device.

    Well apparently Garmin failed to clean house because I got the same treatment from their customer care staff that I had experienced before pitching the Explorer in the junk drawer. Monica Goodhue was the kind of copy & paste corporate droid you hope you never encounter. Multiple email exchanges resulted in this message:

    Hello Bruce,
    Thank you for your reply. As we understand your frustration regarding this matter and for this reason we have supplied you with our final offers regarding this request, neither of which contain credit for service. Please see the below offers:

    1. Submit payment in the amount of $127.94 to inReach for the past due balance on account DL313741. Once payment is received inReach will ship a replacement inReach device to you at no additional cost along with a paid shipping label to ship the old unit back to us.

    2.Submit payment in the negotiated amount of $75.00 to inReach to resolve any and all past due balances associated with account DL313741. Your service will remain terminated, we will notify any corresponding agency of payment being received and no further action will be taken.

    We understand your request however InReach is unwilling to negotiate further. We apologize that we are unable to meet any type of agreement and are prepared to address any action that you feel necessary in taking.
    Kind Regards,
    Monica G.
    InReach Billing Supervisor
    DeLorme, a Garmin Brand
    Phone: (800) 511-2459 or Internationally at (207) 847-1165
    Many answers can be found at our on-line knowledge base within the link below.
    http://support.delorme.com

    So this is Monica’s idea of a fair solution. Pay the balance of the year for the service I never got and get a replacement unit without service. Hey, that’s great! Can I get a punch to the face with that? Now here’s the thing, all I requested was replacement of the defective unit and credit me for the months they charged me for service but was unable to use. To put it another way, I wanted to pay exactly what any new customer would if they bought an Explorer and signed up for new service. Fair right? Oh and I wanted em to call off The Thomas Agency too. Sadly this was not the outcome. So now I have a dusty ole DeLorme InReach Explorer in a junk drawer, a collection agency hounding me for money for services I could not access and a customer care department that doesn’t care.

    I cannot allow DeLorme to extort funds from me this way and I will not bend over for wrongful collection activity even if it means litigation. Fortunately I own two businesses and have eight attorney friends so I am prepared for the worst.

    My advice is simply this…do your homework before purchasing any DeLorme product. Read their reviews, learn the limitations of the device and and any known glitches and DO NOT EXPECT THE SAME CUSTOMER SERVICE YOU WOULD FROM GARMIN. Garmin’s people are great but apparently were not given control of DeLorme after the buyout. The DeLorme staff is useless and apparently lack all common sense. They could have easily preserved my business and goodwill but instead, chose to be “…unwilling to negotiate…” an acceptable resolution. That’s when I started writing this review. Caveat emptor…let the buyer beware. I’m now buying a Sat phone. Garmin, if you’re reading this, get some of your people on the phone pretending to be consumers and see what DeLorme’s staff is saying to people. Send em some emails and read their responses. Then fire those who harm your reputation and have someone review all the claims sent to The Thomas Agency. I am certain there are a multitude of angry customers like me there.

    • Will on November 23, 2016 at 11:07 am

      Haha, this cracks me up because I got into a dispute too on my original delorme device. Its on a freedom plan but every time I tried to use it I had to sync with my computer. Well it quit syncing and Delorme customer service only works office hours not the weekends when people use their device. Bottom line they tell me my device has crapped out (~4 years old) and I have to buy a new one. No refund on the annual fee for the device which doesnt work and it was pulling teeth to get a refund for the monthly fees.

      • Craig on December 10, 2016 at 3:24 am

        Interesting. I was almost going to buy one of these, but I think this review has scared me off. Think i’ll look into a sat phone instead. I can’t stand companies with crap customer service

        • Andrew Skurka on December 10, 2016 at 7:54 am

          Service from a sat phone company will not necessarily be better.

          Also, I think there are lots of happy inReach customers who simply don’t feel as compelled as Bruce (and to a lesser extent Will) to share their experience with the device.

  14. Michael on September 20, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    Lots of interesting stuff on this thread, I own an SE and I use it extensively in the back country of Idaho and Nevada paired to my old Samsung S4. It has preformed flawlessly in extreme and adverse conditions. The main reason I purchased it was for 2-way communication but has proven itself a winner paired with the S4 as a mapping, navigation and communication device in conjunction with the Earthmate app. My phone uses virtually no battery when paired with the SE in airplane mode and I have it (the phone) in a waterproof case. I’m pretty sure (but not certain) I could use any old smartphone even if it didn’t have a service plan as long as it could still use wifi to sync the updates, maps, routes and way points thus keeping my primary phone out of harms way. The service plans are reasonable and I only have to use them during months I’m actually using the device. I can suspend the service plans at any time with no penalties or additional fees. The 2-way communication has been very helpful, I received an urgent message on my last trip that I wouldn’t have received for days otherwise. And while archery hunting a remote mountain range in Idaho with my son we were able to change the plan, and contact our friend to pick us up at a different location, time and date than originally planned.
    As with other GPS devices it can have a little trouble in heavy timber or anywhere it can’t see the satellites. The DeLorme website is helpful, allows me to plan trips and sync them to my devices though for my purposes they certainly could upgrade allowing me to designate trips and allowing more file types to be added, I’m hoping Garmin will improve on all this. Overall I’m extremely satisfied with the SE, though I’ve been considering purchasing an Explorer for the purpose of having a communicator that doesn’t require a separate device for GPS because some of the people I’m out there with don’t have a smart phone, and yes trying to send a message with just the SE keypad is enormously painstaking. Other than that the SE is perfect for my use. Thanks for the useful information, I hope I’ve added some helpful input.

  15. Michael Bozarth on September 21, 2016 at 9:35 am

    One other thing about the SE and Explorer I’m sure, is tracking. When I take off on a hike I can enable tracking which pinpoints my location on a map at designated intervals , 10 min, 20min etc. If I send a message to one of my contacts it allows them to see my exact location on a map via a website connected to the message (this can be disabled if desired). They can also find my location on the MapShare site and follow my journey with me. It’s also pretty handy for backtracking and going back later and seeing where I’ve been. No, I’m not a Delorme rep, I’m just pleased with the device and wanted to share it. Like I said in my other post, there is some improvements that could certainly be made, mainly on the Delorme site and Earthmate app. But overall I think it’s the best combination of GPS and Satellite communicator for the money.

  16. Reg Munro on January 7, 2017 at 5:35 am

    I bought an SE a few years ago as I am a group of 70 plus guys who love to walk the paths of the Table Mountain National Park where there are several wide areas without cell coverage. Because if our age, the ability to call rescue was the critical issue, so far not used.
    We also use it when someone is away on a road trip. My son and family are currently finishing a trip that went as far north as the Kunene River, I.e. The Namibian border with Angola. It is great to be able to track their progress from afar, especially when they had vehicle problems that was twice on this six week tour.
    The SE has revolutionized our travel reporting also!

  17. Dale George on January 10, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    I have a remote cabin in Idaho that does not have telephone or cell phone service. I purchased an SE about 4 years ago because my wife worried about me traveling to and from the cabin late nights, operating chain saws, hunting alone, ATV’s, shoveling snow off roofs, etc. I’ve loaned it to my son & son-in-law for hunting trips & my brother for rafting trips to coordinate pickup times and places. The wives all appreciate it greatly. I set them up with their own profile and re-sync so their family members and contact know it is them (great feature). I bought my son and son-in-law their own SE’s for Christmas this year. Now we can text directly between us while hunting together. I’ve reported 2 separate emergencies to local Sheriffs (a forest fire and down powerline & a motorcycle accident). Responders were able to reach the scenes much faster because both incidents were out of telephone and/or cell service. I can only imagine how much faster emergency response would be on back country raft trips or if I had an accident and was alone. I’ve also just texted my wife and had someone else (that was coming up the next day) bring up peanut butter for the grandkids. Wouldn’t travel without my SE. Oh, all of us have Garmin GPS’s that we also carry to do Geo-cashing, crop insurance acreage measurements and geo-taged photos. (I don’t think the Explorer does those functions).

  18. Jared on February 28, 2017 at 10:17 am

    Hey as Andrew. I am thinking about getting the explorer mostly as a gps reciever for my iPad to be used with both gaia and the earthmate apps on an iPad. I don’t have the iPad or the Inreach yet because I’m still trying to figure if they will work the way I want. I’ve heard from others that the Inreach will not share location data via Bluetooth to an iPad for apps other then the earthmate app. Is this true? I really like the explorer because when I get to my location I can park and take the explorer with me hiking or mountain biking but this non-data sharing could be a deal breaker for me. Also if it’s only an iOS limitation because like I said I don’t have the iPad yet either so I’d rather change the tablet then the gps receiver.

    • Andrew Skurka on March 1, 2017 at 5:25 pm

      The inReach will work only with the Earthmate app, as far as I know.

      What is the nav system that you are working towards? I do not understand it. If you are curious, here is mine, plus a magnetic compass and an Ambitious watch.

      https://andrewskurka.com/2015/backpacking-topographical-maps-types-sources-formats/

      https://andrewskurka.com/2016/long-term-review-suunto-m-3g-global-compass-adjustable-ultralight/

      https://andrewskurka.com/2016/suunto-ambit2-gps-sport-watch-long-term-review/

      • Jarex on March 1, 2017 at 8:10 pm

        So most of my travels are vehicle based(overland). I want to replace the factory nav screen with a tablet to be able to run gaiagps apps as well as earthmate app. I like following an already planned route using earthmate but if I have to vere from course at all I prefer using gaiagps. So far at least. I also will use Google maps intermittently to ether get to the trail head or in between trails. I know I can use gaiagps with an overlay but prefer just to swap to google maps usually.

        The tablet I’m getting doesn’t have data or gps as far as I know. Either iPad mini 4 non cellular or galaxy tab 4 7″ non cellular. I want to use the explorer gps as a reciever for the tablet. If I have to I’ll get a second gps reciever for other apps outside of earthmate and then just use the explorer mainly for communication and for when navigating by foot or mountain bike.

        Hope that all makes sense.

        I checked out your setup, I think I’m more of a tech gadget kinda guy. I use paper maps last and gadgets first. Even though I’m probably more efficient with a paper map also(former active duty marine).

        • Andrew Skurka on March 1, 2017 at 8:21 pm

          Most tablets and all phones have a GPS chip. An inReach might be more efficient with batteries, but it’s not necessary to pinpoint your location on another device.

  19. Erwin Cipriano on March 3, 2017 at 3:38 am

    Hello guys, is there anyone who knows if you can install the new inReach Explorer the OSM maps???
    Tanks in advance 😉

    • Andrew Skurka on March 3, 2017 at 3:55 pm

      For North America the only permitted dataset is TOPO NA. For Europe and elsewhere, I think you can load OSM maps to the device.

      On the Earthmate app, you can have many more data sets, e.g. USGS quads, Landsat.

      • Erwin Cipriano on March 7, 2017 at 7:54 am

        Hi Andrew, ok but inside there is a microSD card???

        • Andrew Skurka on March 7, 2017 at 8:05 am

          It’s probably not a SD card, but inside the device there is some memory storage for route and mapping data.

  20. Jonathan on June 12, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    If you had two devices, could you view the tracking info from one on the other, or would you just have to keep sending messages to update each other’s location?

  21. advlust on August 1, 2017 at 4:22 am

    I have a new in the box InReach Explorer which I purchased last year for a trip I couldn’t go. I’m going this year and I plan to activate it. What are the best plans for someone like me who uses it for a month in a year? Which is the most economical and bang for the buck?

    Also I was thinking of upgrading to the Garmin InReach Explorer + but your reviews pointed that if it’s only for communicating and not for navigation the older unit is good enough. Although the fact that the new unit does not require an active subscription to use the GPS while the Delorme one requires an active subscription.

    Your inputs will be of great help.

    • Andrew Skurka on August 1, 2017 at 8:26 am

      The Freedom plans allow you to only pay for the months you’ll need the device, although there’s a $25 annual fee to keep it active. The most appropriate package depends on the length of your trip and your intended use. Personally, I mostly only use it to send nightly texts, and normally use the presets, so my needs are fairly minimal and I just get the basic package.

    • NAC on January 7, 2018 at 6:54 pm

      I’m sure I’m to late but don’t buy the Garmin in reach pay twice as much for it and everyone I talked to said the GPS is as useful as tits on a bull! Most had to carry an extra GPS on them!

      Really the way I see this is that if your not going to use your inreach once a year your better off renting a SAT phone for a month get a pre paid card and only enter the card number if you have an emergency or enter it and use all the minutes before your rental is up. Spend the money on a good GPS that you can use all year around and for years to come. Just my $0.02 on that issue!

      I don’t see why people buy a unit that collects dust 11 months a year! Also don’t know why people spend $2k+ on a hunting rifle that shoots less then 10 rounds a year.

  22. Nathan Shoutis on September 19, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    Hi Andrew,

    I recently had a failure in the lock switch of my inReach SE and am wondering if you have heard of or seen similar incidents? The short story is we were on a trip in Russia when a rescue helicopter showed up following an SOS signal. It was from our inReach, though the lock switch was fully locked. Upon later investigation, we realized that lock switch does not work as a lock–with normal pressure on the SOS button for 5-10 sec., the SOS signal is activated. Delorme/Garmin has been extremely unhelpful in the face of this defect which in our case, and maybe others, has put rescuer’s lives at risk. I am looking for other examples of this taking place, and have found several people’s whose inReach SE also has a faulty lock switch, and several people’s whose SE does not trigger an SOS. Please let me know if you’ve had any experience with this, and maybe if you have the ear of someone at Garmin/Delorme you could talk to them about it? Here is a more complete version of the story with some video examples: https://packrafting.blogspot.com/2017/09/inreach-fail.html?showComment=1505780437239#c1025834892860988776

    Thanks for any help!
    Nathan

  23. NAC on January 7, 2018 at 6:43 pm

    So I have been looking at buying the SE for my job I work as a Park Ranger at a National park and cellphones don’t work around the area also your radio signal does not always get out.

    Have not bought it yet as I find one thing that bugs me about the whole subscription that is people who use this unit for a public service to save other’s lives like Search and Rescue do not get a discount on the subscription!! Sent an email to Garmin and was told pretty much that they don’t give any discounts on monthly or yearly subscription!

  24. Toby on January 16, 2018 at 7:49 am

    My device did bot sync and I am stuck with a 1000+ Bill. No support or reasoning from inReach staff (now garmin) other than threats to send me to collections. I’ve been a user for 4 years and this has been an issue 5 times already. Unfortunately in the past I just paid it. I don’t understand why they would treat a long term customer both of inReach and marine equipment this way. It’s gross enough that I will never purchase another Garmin product. I will also quit selling Garmin from my distributors because I want none of my customers to go deal with the same unwilling to negotiate support staff.

    • NAC on January 16, 2018 at 10:07 am

      So why not cancel your account or the service when it was not in use? It seems like there are a lot of people who would have been better of renting these items then buying them!

      So it’s the Garmin fault that YOU did not suspend the service YOU signed up for during the time YOU where not using your device? Let me guess you have a dead Christmas tree you would like to return also?

      • Toby on January 16, 2018 at 1:37 pm

        My device was in use and did not upgrade properly to the unlimited plan when trying to use it. So instead of using it as intended with the unlimited plan, when internet was not available to me for 3 months, I learned that I had bills exceeding $1000/mth. There is no recourse for Delorme or Garmin to redact this bill because they say they pay iridium network in advance as you change your plan.

  25. Bruce on January 16, 2018 at 11:28 am

    Not all plans allow for suspension NAC and it is clear you have never done battle with the billing dept. Deplorable service would be accurate. I imagine a room of menopausal women with heat flashes in a room watching the The View between phone calls.

    • Andrew Skurka on January 16, 2018 at 2:09 pm

      Will publish this comment because as a general policy I err on publishing, not hiding. But please try to keep it a bit cleaner, thanks.

  26. NAC on January 16, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    So you don’t read the contract that tells you that it can not be suspend and that is who’s fault? I read the service plan for the Inreach and it will allow you to do a month by month and can suspend anytime after the month is done I can also upgrade or downgrade! I have done the leg work sent emails and made calls to find out this information!

    Not supporting there customer service at all I’m sure they are not fun to deal with but being a well knowledge consumer is what helps me keep from having to use there customer service! If you have a complaint and it’s just report them to the BBB! If your in the right they will help clear it up or advise you to seek legal action!

    Again not going to support bad customer service but I will not also support consumer that has not research there purchase!

    Iridium network are a bunch of Jack holes they will not even give a discount on there service to search and rescue teams and park service. I for one being in park service and have to search for people in the Southwest Texas desert feel EVERYONE who comes to the park I’m at NEEDS to have an InReach or Spot, GPS not your cellphone as they don’t get a signal here map and compass skills.

    • Toby on January 16, 2018 at 2:49 pm

      I am well aware of the contracts with Delorme (Garmin) inReach. I was on a monthly subscription which allowed upgrading and downgrading month to month. My issue is that I upgraded to unlimited, knowing there was a potential I would use texting and 10min tracking intervals. However, the system did not take the change, I did not double check to see if it had updated. My recollection was the device also needed to sync with their systems but was unable to do so for whatever reason. I was told this need to sync the device wirelessly to change plans ended in 2016 which I believe (someone help me out) was still in effect in 2017. If this is the case someone please speak up because that is their only defense towards my dispute. Is that this couldn’t have been the issue.

      Thanks so much for hosting this forum. There is such little community support for their products.

  27. Bruce on January 16, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    Anyone else think NAC should apply to work in DeLorme’s billing dept? He’s certainly qualified…self-righteous rants just like those condescending bitches in accounting. Seems like a perfect fit. LOL

  28. NAC on January 16, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    Bruce attack the argument not the person! When you attack the person and not the argument makes you look like the little person! 😘

  29. Bruce on January 16, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    Emojee, exclamation marks but no CAPS this time…good for you. Might wanna back off on the caffeine a bit.

  30. NAC on January 17, 2018 at 10:25 pm

    Yep! Because simple minded people like you can’t understand issues!

    You attack me because your lame and a reject! You sounds like Joe Biden talking about firearm’s! Don’t know WTF your talking about but just talking!

    Want to be a big boy then please talk to me like one! As a police officer I look at law and contract’s! You sign a contract you!!!! Need to pay!!!!!

    Reminds me off the people who cried ” I enlisted for college. I should not have to go to war!” You signed the contract and because you did not read it or do research on it I guess it’s everyone’s else fault not yours right??????

    Your the type of person who stands up for someone who returned a dead Christmas tree! You did not read or have knowledge that a living tree would die after so long!! If that is so then maybe go back to school! Reading most of us can do it by 1st grade!

    Lack of reading all of what you need to read is your problem! You want to read what you want to hear! Who cares about the other words they mean nothing to you!! Until it’s time to pay! Problem with this world is no one is responsible for anything just like you Bruce!

    As for the gentleman who said that his subscription was changed. Facts are your key have them and file with the BBB! Best you can do as I said before they will help you with your problem and most companies don’t blow them off as they want there rating high with them! They also give you information and say if you should take legal action!

    Or go with Bruce who knows nothing! It will never get it’s money back and be a dumb suck for it,!

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