Satellite Communication

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Long-term review: Garmin inReach Explorer+ || Sat comm + GPS unit 2-in-1

By Samuel Chaneles / November 28, 2018 / 3 Comments

For different trips, I often wear and carry different gear. But some items are so vital that they end up on every trip — and my Garmin inReach Explorer+ is one of them. Since its release in early-2017, I have used my inReach Explorer+ on many trips around the globe, including on the southern Appalachian Trail,…

Review: SPOT X Satellite Messenger || I’ll keep my inReach, thanks

By Andrew Skurka / October 23, 2018 / 24 Comments

Exactly one week after Garmin announced the inReach Mini in May, SPOT released its first new device in five years and its first device with two-way satellite messaging. The SPOT X retails for $250, weighs 6.7 oz, and features a 2.7-inch dot matrix illuminated screen and physical QWERTY keyboard. It looks like an orange Blackberry with an over-sized antenna.…

Preview: SPOT X || 2-way messenger with physical keyboard

By Andrew Skurka / June 6, 2018 / 20 Comments

SPOT revolutionized backcountry communication in the late-2000’s with its original device, the SPOT Personal Tracker (my review), which retailed for $170 (plus an annual service plan) and which could send three one-way messages: Okay, Help, and SOS. The Tracker was less expensive to own and operate than a satellite phone. It was more functional than…

Comps: inReach Mini vs SE+/Explorer+, SPOT Gen3, and PLB’s

By Andrew Skurka / May 11, 2018 / 33 Comments

For Outside I have written a piece on the primary differences between the new Garmin inReach Mini, which was released last week, and existing satellite communication devices like the inReach SE+, inReach Explorer+, SPOT Gen3, and personal locator beacons like the ACR Electronics ResQLink. Here’s the link: The Garmin InReach Mini vs. the Competition If…

Preview: Garmin inReach Mini || 2-way satellite messaging for 3.5 oz!

By Andrew Skurka / May 3, 2018 / 78 Comments

Garmin dropped a big surprise this morning: a new addition to its popular inReach line, the inReach Mini. This new device is noteworthy for two reasons: 1. Size The inReach Mini weighs just 3.5 oz (100 grams) and measures 4″ x 2″ x 1″ (5 cm x 10 cm x 2.5 cm), making it about half…

Are Garmin’s inReach Units Accidentally Calling SAR?

By Andrew Skurka / April 2, 2018 / 0 Comments

By applying normal pressure to the SOS button on my inReach, I can initiate a SOS message despite the lock switch being properly engaged. Can you?

Garmin inReach deep dive: Default & downloadable maps & imagery

By Andrew Skurka / March 28, 2018 / 27 Comments

Overnight I received this question from reader Bob B.: This question — and just about any other that you can imagine — has been answered previously in my previous posts about the Garmin inReach SE+ and Explorer+: Preview: New Garmin inReach SE+ and Explorer+ 12 FAQ’s: inReach SE+ & Explorer+ || Incl, Will old devices…

Garmin responds: S.O.S. lock switch failure on inReach SE & Explorer

By Andrew Skurka / October 8, 2017 / 33 Comments

Last month on Roman’s blog you may have read a report by and plea for help from Nathan Shoutis, about his experience with faulty S.O.S. lock switches on the DeLorme inReach SE and Explorer. He also shared his experience in a comment on this blog. The short story is that while on an 18-day packrafting…

inReach+ U/I and features || Topo NA, test tool, quick type & weather

By Andrew Skurka / February 2, 2017 / 24 Comments

The $400 and $450 retail prices on the new Garmin inReach SE+ and Garmin inReach Explorer+ probably causes many prospective customers to balk. Like the second-generation inReach units, the inReach+ models can send and receive text messages and emergency signals even if outside of cellular range. But the inReach+ units are more than just that. They…

12 FAQ’s: inReach SE+ & Explorer+ || Incl, Will old devices be serviced?

By Andrew Skurka / January 31, 2017 / 71 Comments

My earlier preview of the new Garmin inReach SE+ and Explorer+ prompted as many reader questions as it sought to answer. So I followed up with Garmin to dive deeper into technical matters, clarify product functionality, and discuss future product roll-outs. If you’re not yet familiar with the inReach+ units, read the preview first, then return…