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Garmin inReach Mini Satellite Communicator

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Garmin inReach Mini Satellite Communicator

Old 06-01-18, 11:10 AM
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Garmin inReach Mini Satellite Communicator

I'm surprised this hasn't been covered yet. Seems like it could be useful especially for gravel and MTB riders. Garmin bought DeLorme and acquired their InReach technology, a SEND. Now there's a smaller version that allows 2-way text messaging and live tracking anywhere on earth, integrates with high-end watches, and has an SOS button to call in the cavalry.

https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2018/05/...th-review.html
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Old 06-02-18, 02:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I'm surprised this hasn't been covered yet. Seems like it could be useful especially for gravel and MTB riders. Garmin bought DeLorme and acquired their InReach technology, a SEND. Now there's a smaller version that allows 2-way text messaging and live tracking anywhere on earth, integrates with high-end watches, and has an SOS button to call in the cavalry.

https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2018/05/...th-review.html
It appears from what I have seen pretty much an update of the Delmore product, the Delmore inReach which I have. My InReach only lacks the watch integration which is not an issue for me. That said I have had a good run with mine so this newer model if smaller would make a nice replacement if I ever need to gone down that path.
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Old 06-04-18, 09:54 AM
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I have a PLB, and this is the last year its battery is good.
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Old 06-04-18, 12:22 PM
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Garmin finally got all that tech they bought Delorme for in a nice package. It doesn't do much stuff that I'd find useful that other's such as SPOT have been doing for many years. The integration of it to other devices such as wearables so you can manage it through their UI is maybe the only unique thing about it.

While text messages are attractive, they are mostly preset messages you create ahead of time. You can make a custom message, but the UI is so clunky, it will take a lot of effort. AND, you have to maintain a subscription service to use them. But maybe the integration into other devices will let you get a better UI to modify and create text messages quicker.

Garmin's got a big sales force and marketing machine and has the potential to get this into the hands of more people than the other companies that have been doing it longer. But I wonder how many will push the emergency button just for a flat tire on the highway.
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Old 06-04-18, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
While text messages are attractive, they are mostly preset messages you create ahead of time. You can make a custom message, but the UI is so clunky, it will take a lot of effort. AND, you have to maintain a subscription service to use them. But maybe the integration into other devices will let you get a better UI to modify and create text messages quicker..
I can only comment from the perspective of my Delmorne InReach but this is simply not factual. That was my experience with the Spot Messenger I had previously. With my inReach I can and do compose texts on my phone and send and receive them via the inReach.
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Old 06-04-18, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Aushiker View Post
I can only comment from the perspective of my Delmorne InReach but this is simply not factual. That was my experience with the Spot Messenger I had previously. With my inReach I can and do compose texts on my phone and send and receive them via the inReach.
How was my post not factual? Are you able to easily compose the messages on the inReach? In my opinion, No. Did I not say that because it is able to integrate into other devices that you might be able to compose messages with another device easier? Yes.

So where is the not factual part? Or am I wrong about not having to have a subscription to send message via satellite?

Otherwise you confirmed something I suspected but didn't know for certain that it could connect to a smartphone as well as other garmin devices.

Spot recently introduced SPOT X a two way messenger/tracker that has a full keyboard and is cheaper than the inReach for the hardware. I have not compared the subscription cost or functions on it. Battery life is one area the other Spot's shine. Don't know for the new one though.

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Old 06-05-18, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Garmin finally got all that tech they bought Delorme for in a nice package. It doesn't do much stuff that I'd find useful that other's such as SPOT have been doing for many years. The integration of it to other devices such as wearables so you can manage it through their UI is maybe the only unique thing about it.
SPOT messengers are one-way, right? You can send a message out, but you can't confirm that it arrived, or get a reply?
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Old 06-05-18, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by AlexanderLS View Post
Most people in the U.S. are better off with Verizon.
GPS services can be very expensive. Unless you are living in a sailboat and sailing on the open ocean all the time, it doesn't make tons of sense to get any sort of satellite device outside of GPS.
I live in a rural area, you can get service pretty much everywhere with Verizon. I've lived in other rural areas in the past, it's the same way. Verizon is the best option if you are going cycle touring.
We're talking about places that don't have cell reception. Like vast swaths of the American West.
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Old 06-05-18, 09:27 AM
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If you don't believe there are areas without cell coverage, you should probably leave this thread to people who visit those places regularly. A bunch of posts about "use a tool that doesn't work" really aren't helpful.
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Old 06-05-18, 05:18 PM
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We used an inReach communicator when my daughter was in the boonies in Bolivia. There was a health issue involved with one in the group and the communicator is just about one step better than morse code nor did if feel like it was all that reliable to me. For that sort of application where she needed to have her position tracked and for communication in an emergency, it worked ok and did what we needed it to do. There is a LOT of latency to the messages - it takes a long time for a message to go up, come down to the unit and then the response to come back. And it's pretty expensive too - a satellite phone might have been more functional. I'm not sure that inReach is a great option for poor cell phone coverage. I'd view it as a last resort as in be prepared to spend a lot of time waiting to coordinate rescue. If you're in an area that is accessible by motor vehicle, you might be just as well off having someone come look for you on your route when you don't get back by a particular time.

My view, after using this, is that the perfect application for this is being in very remote wilderness areas that are not easily accessible, being in lightly populated areas of third world countries, or at sea. We were in the second of those use cases and it was still borderline marginal.

Something to look into might be UHF (ham radio) repeaters. I was looking at some tiny UHF radios for a bike tour with a group and one of the videos I was watching, the ham demonstrated hitting repeaters at significant distances. Be worth looking into where you'll be riding and the repeater coverage. Getting a ham license now that the morse code requirement is gone, isn't all that hard. I'm not an amateur radio operator but I did find this website that shows the availability of repeaters by state. Might be worth checking into - maybe find a ham that could help you with that.

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Old 06-05-18, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
There is a LOT of latency to the messages - it takes a long time for a message to go up, come down to the unit and then the response to come back.
I have been using mine now for a number of years and until my last trip, last December the messaging was pretty good. Not much worse than what I can experience with the mobile service here in Australia, however on that last ride there was a noticeable lag. That is concerning if it is becoming the norm. Still for me riding in remote areas of Australia where phone coverage can be non-existent for large periods of time, the inReach is still the best option me short of going with a satellite phone.

I have a plan where I pay AU$6.00 a month to suspend it and then whatever I need per month when I want it activated. Not sure if Garmin offer something similar or not.
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Old 06-05-18, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
We're talking about places that don't have cell reception. Like vast swaths of the American West.
Where I live, we don't get cell phone service. With reluctance I ditched my ATT land line and use internet phone, but if the cable internet goes down, we cannot communicate in an emergency. (This is not uncommon in the Santa Cruz "mountains" in the winter.) This might be worth getting (and using in the more conventional manner in between natural disasters).

Thanks for posting the info!
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Old 06-05-18, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Aushiker View Post
I have been using mine now for a number of years and until my last trip, last December the messaging was pretty good. Not much worse than what I can experience with the mobile service here in Australia, however on that last ride there was a noticeable lag. That is concerning if it is becoming the norm. Still for me riding in remote areas of Australia where phone coverage can be non-existent for large periods of time, the inReach is still the best option me short of going with a satellite phone.

I have a plan where I pay AU$6.00 a month to suspend it and then whatever I need per month when I want it activated. Not sure if Garmin offer something similar or not.
I guess I wasn't impressed that much with the service. when we were trying to relay medical information back and forth, the latency was long enough that sometimes we were overtaken by events. So, in actual practice, when we had to actually have a conversation, it was not the greatest. As well, using just the unit itself for composing a message is slow - similar to those days of 10 key cell phones and texting.

It's been a bit, but I seem to remember that it was about $35 a month while it was activated. That struck me as a lot for what you got. But, in those particular use cases of being in the boonies in a third world country, being in very remote area not easily accessible by motor vehicle, or at sea - then the choices are limited and this is one of them.

In our case, when we needed it to work, did it work? Yes but I don't think I'd say it worked "well.". Was it effective? Yes, but..... It has worked ok for tracking movement and I presume it would work well for that when coupled with an SOS. We've also used it backpacking in the mountains and found that when down in valleys that the location tracking would get wonky. I suspect that has something to do with latitude and satellite visibility. It's better than nothing but it's not a slam dunk success either. I'd probably give it a 2 to 2-5 out of 5 stars if I was forced to get it down to user rating.
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Old 06-06-18, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
Where I live, we don't get cell phone service. With reluctance I ditched my ATT land line and use internet phone, but if the cable internet goes down, we cannot communicate in an emergency. (This is not uncommon in the Santa Cruz "mountains" in the winter.) This might be worth getting (and using in the more conventional manner in between natural disasters).

Thanks for posting the info!
I'm glad to finally post something useful for a change!
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Old 06-06-18, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
We used an inReach communicator when my daughter was in the boonies in Bolivia. There was a health issue involved with one in the group and the communicator is just about one step better than morse code nor did if feel like it was all that reliable to me. For that sort of application where she needed to have her position tracked and for communication in an emergency, it worked ok and did what we needed it to do.
A friend of mine spent her 50th birthday hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. The whole summer really. This was before Garmin bought them, she had a DeLorme, and used the same tracking feature. It worked great.

Last weekend I got a puncture I wasn't able to repair, and did the road walk of shame back to my car. In an area with more bears than people. We had agreed on a time for Beth to hear from me before she worried, but I was late. It took me half an hour to walk back to the car, an hour to drive to the pavement, and then another hour to drive back to the freeway where I got reception and could pull over and send a message. Being able to send a "I had a mechanical problem, I'm going to be late but everything is ok" message would have saved a lot of grief.
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Old 06-06-18, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
SPOT messengers are one-way, right? You can send a message out, but you can't confirm that it arrived, or get a reply?
They started off one-way. But they've had two way for a while.

Garmin had no-way till their release of inReach. AFAIK of course.
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Old 06-06-18, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I'm glad to finally post something useful for a change!
I always learn something from your posts, and enjoy the photography. Don't let the pessimistic naysayers and incorrigible vultures of ill-omen make you think otherwise.

BTW, this is less than 30 miles from San Jose and less than 10 from Santa Cruz (and shares the same zip code) -- just the other end of the bay from where Ray was testing his.
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Old 06-06-18, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
A friend of mine spent her 50th birthday hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. The whole summer really. This was before Garmin bought them, she had a DeLorme, and used the same tracking feature. It worked great.

Last weekend I got a puncture I wasn't able to repair, and did the road walk of shame back to my car. In an area with more bears than people. We had agreed on a time for Beth to hear from me before she worried, but I was late. It took me half an hour to walk back to the car, an hour to drive to the pavement, and then another hour to drive back to the freeway where I got reception and could pull over and send a message. Being able to send a "I had a mechanical problem, I'm going to be late but everything is ok" message would have saved a lot of grief.
Sure. I just found the whole thing clunky and kind of ad hoc. After having used it and needing it to work in a fairly serious medical situation 200 miles away from an urban center in the boonies of Bolivia, I'd have to say that I'm less confident in it than when I bought it. I'd have to say that the promises their advertising makes are marginally accurate. YMMV, but I'd look for more local solutions that may be more workable. For example, there is a very Baofeng tiny UHF radio that has been pretty good about hitting repeaters far away. If you are in range of a repeater, I could see that working pretty well. Different methods probably make sense for different geographies.

When my wife and daughter where on a backpacking trip last year in the Enchantments, the track was all over the place and after looking at it when they got back, not accurate and wildly inaccurate at times. So....... don't know what to say except that it didn't meet my expectations.

But, it did sort of work. I just didn't feel that having that as a lifeline in case of an emergency it was anything better than tenuous at best. Not exactly confidence inspiring. Like I said before 2 to 2.5 out of 5.

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Old 06-06-18, 03:23 PM
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You don't mean the Enchantments in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness???
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Old 06-06-18, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
You don't mean the Enchantments in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness???
Yes, I believe so. They were there last year when one side was on fire and there were concerns about needing to evacuate.

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Old 06-06-18, 03:48 PM
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Small world!

I spent a few nights in the 'Chants in the fall of 2012. There was a fire in the upper basin. Rangers were flying in in helicopters, collecting car keys, sending people out via the Snow trail, and moving cars from the trailhead into town.

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Old 06-06-18, 04:04 PM
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Yep. That sounds like what they went through last summer. My understanding - on the other side of the ridge from them, that's exactly what was happening. If you were through hiking, you got sent back to your trailhead to move cars or had to stay on the side where it wasn't burning. The rangers were also evacuating people who got cut off. For my wife and daughter, it meant a lot of ash coming their way and a lot of smoke. Still had a great time though. Beautiful area.

Anyhow, in that terrain, the inReach stuff had a hard time with position reporting. So that might give you some sense for it's performance if you're familiar with the geography of the area.

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Old 06-29-20, 03:25 PM
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I'm looking for some updated information about this topic. I have moved to a rural area where cell coverage is poor: more than 50-70 percent of my rides are with no or 1 bar cell service. Also, the area is relatively sparsely populated and traffic is infrequent on many of the roads I am now riding. I have some medical issues that worry my wife when I am riding. In the past she could track my rides using a cell-phone based app, but not now and she worries. It is stressful for her and it adds a layer of tension for my rides that I wish was not there.

So, if I go off in a ditch and I am unconscious, I can't press a button and send a text or make a satellite telephone call. I need a device that my wife can know my location and preferably track my ride at any point when she chooses to see where I am. It seems that some of the Garmin products might do this, but I am unclear if devices such as the InReach Mini or Explorer will actually show my location when my wife queries an app or some website. Is there a product that does this or are they all "push this button" if you are in an emergency type devices?
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Old 06-29-20, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by metalheart44 View Post
I'm looking for some updated information about this topic. I have moved to a rural area where cell coverage is poor: more than 50-70 percent of my rides are with no or 1 bar cell service. Also, the area is relatively sparsely populated and traffic is infrequent on many of the roads I am now riding. I have some medical issues that worry my wife when I am riding. In the past she could track my rides using a cell-phone based app, but not now and she worries. It is stressful for her and it adds a layer of tension for my rides that I wish was not there.

So, if I go off in a ditch and I am unconscious, I can't press a button and send a text or make a satellite telephone call. I need a device that my wife can know my location and preferably track my ride at any point when she chooses to see where I am. It seems that some of the Garmin products might do this, but I am unclear if devices such as the InReach Mini or Explorer will actually show my location when my wife queries an app or some website. Is there a product that does this or are they all "push this button" if you are in an emergency type devices?
We have an inreach Mini that we use for off grid activities. It will transmit your location to the inReach website where you or your wife can follow your progress. You can set the reporting interval which is a tradeoff against battery life. In addition, you can send text message back and forth through the satellite network and there is a panic SOS button that you can activate if you need help. That transmits your position to local rescue authorities and they will then go looking for you.

The caveats are that you have to have clear sight to the sky to hit the satellite so if you're in a cave or building, it may or may not work. My wife is a fan of through hiking on long backpacking trips. I've been able to follow her continuously and send her weather updates and fire warnings throughout the trip. Her last trip was over a week and that worked on one charge with the mini with a judicious selection of the update interval.

We've also used it when one of us wanted to go skiing in (for example) the back bowls of Vail and they other wasn't up for the skiing that day. Not the smartest thing, but makes the skier findable in a large area like that.

There is a monthly charge of around $35 a month (at least for our plan).

So short answer, yeah, it should work for you.
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Old 06-29-20, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by metalheart44 View Post
I'm looking for some updated information about this topic. I have moved to a rural area where cell coverage is poor: more than 50-70 percent of my rides are with no or 1 bar cell service. Also, the area is relatively sparsely populated and traffic is infrequent on many of the roads I am now riding. I have some medical issues that worry my wife when I am riding. In the past she could track my rides using a cell-phone based app, but not now and she worries. It is stressful for her and it adds a layer of tension for my rides that I wish was not there.

So, if I go off in a ditch and I am unconscious, I can't press a button and send a text or make a satellite telephone call. I need a device that my wife can know my location and preferably track my ride at any point when she chooses to see where I am. It seems that some of the Garmin products might do this, but I am unclear if devices such as the InReach Mini or Explorer will actually show my location when my wife queries an app or some website. Is there a product that does this or are they all "push this button" if you are in an emergency type devices?
Yes you can have the device send a tracking point automatically to the Garmin mapshare website as often as every 2 minutes. When your wife logs in she will see all of your tracking points. You can also request the location of the device from the mapshare page as well.

https://support.garmin.com/en-US/?fa...Kf60kr4BnAWU4A
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