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Preview: New Garmin inReach SE+ and Explorer+

By Andrew Skurka / January 15, 2017 / 204 Comments

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+…

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

By Andrew Skurka / July 31, 2016 / 10 Comments

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…

My most popular & favorite posts of 2015

By Andrew Skurka / December 31, 2015 / 0 Comments

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…

Best practices: Definitions & protocols for SPOT messages

By Andrew Skurka / December 31, 2015 / 10 Comments

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 / 2 Comments

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 / 46 Comments

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 / 53 Comments

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 / 52 Comments

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 / 107 Comments

[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 / 25 Comments

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…