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Preview: New Garmin inReach SE+ and Explorer+

By Andrew Skurka / January 15, 2017 /

Garmin announced two new inReach devices shortly after the New Year, immediately prior to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES): inReach SE+ inReach Explorer+ 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 the inReach+…

Best practices: Definitions & protocols for SPOT messages

By Andrew Skurka / December 31, 2015 /

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…

FREE: SPOT Gen3 Messenger & SPOT Global Phone

By Andrew Skurka / November 3, 2015 /

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…

Long-term Review: SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger

By Andrew Skurka / October 6, 2015 /

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…

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

By Andrew Skurka / October 4, 2015 /

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…

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

By Andrew Skurka / August 1, 2015 /

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…

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

By Andrew Skurka / July 2, 2015 /

[highlight]Update, January 2017. Garmin, which bought DeLorme about a year ago, just released two new inReach devices, the SE+ and Explorer+.[/highlight] [highlight]For a preview, read this post.[/highlight] [highlight]For all posts related to the new units, go here.[/highlight] In advance of my thru-hike later this month of the Kings Canyon High Basin Route, I purchased a…

Product Review: SPOT Satellite Messenger

By Andrew Skurka / December 23, 2011 /

My mother is not a backpacker or a hiker, and “outdoorsy” is definitely not among the Top 10 adjectives I would use to describe her. But, as a mom, she gets gravely worried and concerned when her hyper-outdoorsy son goes into the backcountry, usually alone, regardless of the season, and almost always with the intention…