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Satellite texting- Garmin inReach or others

Satellite texting- Garmin inReach or others

Old May 12, 19, 2:10 pm
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Satellite texting- Garmin inReach or others

We are doing some off the grid travels in the next year. I was looking at satellite phones etc, but they just didn't spike the value meter for me. I talked to a female co-worker who hiked the Appalachian trail solo for 3 months last year, and she loved her Garmin inReach mini. I took a look, and decided it was probably worth it, considering where we were traveling. It turns out my son who drives a lot in rural New Mexico/Colorado, and is a new pilot has the Explorer in his travel gear all the time. It needs an unobstructed view of the sky, but it absolutely works. I like that you can share a password protected map showing your pings of the satellites every 10 minutes or so. It has an expected lag, but I am ok with that considering the price. Anyone else used these?
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Old May 12, 19, 11:18 pm
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While I rely on the simpler personal locator beacon for backcountry safety I've met others on the trail who have the Garmin or Spot units, they do like them. Search and rescue prefers them to PLBs because they know what the situation is--a beacon ping gives them no indication of whether the person is actually in immediate danger or simply unable to get out. If were spending more time further from the crowds I probably would get the inReach mini.
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Old May 20, 19, 10:43 am
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I have the SPOT X Messenger and the Garmin inReach SE; I'm trying to decide which to maintain next year, the SPOT is probably leading at the moment.

I use them when I fly SEL airplanes on cross countries; both are perfectly adequate for quick messages or map tracking. Note the SPOT uses the Globalstar network, and has a limited coverage area if your adventures take you to remote corners of the world; the inReach uses Iridium and has much better global reach (especially polar regions).

The SPOT X includes a US phone number for people to be able to send you messages. It works well in my experience.

Last edited by AussieExPat; May 20, 19 at 11:10 am
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Old May 20, 19, 10:53 am
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Originally Posted by boerne View Post
We are doing some off the grid travels in the next year. I was looking at satellite phones etc, but they just didn't spike the value meter for me. I talked to a female co-worker who hiked the Appalachian trail solo for 3 months last year, and she loved her Garmin inReach mini. I took a look, and decided it was probably worth it, considering where we were traveling. It turns out my son who drives a lot in rural New Mexico/Colorado, and is a new pilot has the Explorer in his travel gear all the time. It needs an unobstructed view of the sky, but it absolutely works. I like that you can share a password protected map showing your pings of the satellites every 10 minutes or so. It has an expected lag, but I am ok with that considering the price. Anyone else used these?
I have used Sat phones in the past but not the Garmin inReach. Would love to see a report if you do get one as it looks like it would be a good option for me. The reviews look positive.
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Old May 20, 19, 11:34 am
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Garmin InReach mini is $50 off at REI during the anniversary sale https://www.rei.com/product/140110/g...e-communicator
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Old May 20, 19, 4:20 pm
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darn it, should have waited a week or 2. I will be using the inReach Mini, in the Arctic next month so will try to report. The reviews I read about the spot and the inreach indicated that the InReach used the lower orbital Iridium, and the Spot used the higher altitude satellite system. This apparently explains the availability of the InReach in the poles. Lots of reviews, here is one.

https://andrewskurka.com/2018/review...ite-messenger/
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Old May 24, 19, 7:57 pm
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Originally Posted by boerne View Post
darn it, should have waited a week or 2. I will be using the inReach Mini, in the Arctic next month so will try to report. The reviews I read about the spot and the inreach indicated that the InReach used the lower orbital Iridium, and the Spot used the higher altitude satellite system. This apparently explains the availability of the InReach in the poles. Lots of reviews, here is one.

https://andrewskurka.com/2018/review...ite-messenger/
If you bought it at REI they will price adjust when something goes on sale--IIRC it's two weeks.

(However, I'm not at all sure the sale actually means much--if you're a member you would get a dividend equal to the sale discount of the inReach. You don't get the discount on sale stuff, though.)
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Old May 24, 19, 11:28 pm
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Could you give someone else access, could they track your location (10 min interval) or where you are when you go hiking/camping? We started doing hiking and some of those places have 0 cell signal. This seems very handy and affordable.
Wonder if sms works on a cruise if you go on top deck. $15 one time for 1 month gives you 10 sms + only $0.50 each extra... that's much cheaper than any internet/txt plan that cell phone company or cruise would offer for contacting home from the ship.
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Old May 25, 19, 6:17 am
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Originally Posted by Need View Post
Could you give someone else access, could they track your location (10 min interval) or where you are when you go hiking/camping? We started doing hiking and some of those places have 0 cell signal.
yes, it's a main purpose of this device. Device can be configured to upload GPS every 10 min, plot it on mapshare website and someone else can access website to see it

https://support.garmin.com/en-US/?fa...qh71P06VifrQE7

You need line of sight to sky, unlike a cell phone
a cruise if you go on top deck. $15 one time for 1 month gives you 10 sms + only $0.50 each extra... that's much cheaper than any internet/txt plan that cell phone company or cruise would offer for contacting home from the ship.
You could use it for txt(you have to start the conversation, other person cannot).... no internet though

Might take a while for device to send/receive messages. Useful for emergency or short msgs (daily check-in to friends that you are ok), annoying for longer conversations

Note that some countries ban such devices
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Old May 26, 19, 4:10 am
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I've had one for a year and it works well for me. I take it on remote hikes and when traveling to countries/places where I am not certain I'll have a connecction.
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Old May 26, 19, 9:38 am
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Originally Posted by Need View Post
Wonder if sms works on a cruise if you go on top deck. $15 one time for 1 month gives you 10 sms + only $0.50 each extra... that's much cheaper than any internet/txt plan that cell phone company or cruise would offer for contacting home from the ship.
Many cruises explicitly outlaw devices like these. If that's why you're buying it, be sure to check out if it's allowed first...
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Old May 26, 19, 9:50 pm
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Originally Posted by Need View Post
Could you give someone else access, could they track your location (10 min interval) or where you are when you go hiking/camping? We started doing hiking and some of those places have 0 cell signal. This seems very handy and affordable.
Wonder if sms works on a cruise if you go on top deck. $15 one time for 1 month gives you 10 sms + only $0.50 each extra... that's much cheaper than any internet/txt plan that cell phone company or cruise would offer for contacting home from the ship.
The whole point of such things is they work without cell service--the primary purpose is those going into the backcountry.

They do, however, require clear access to the sky--on a cruise ship you would have to be up on deck, not in your cabin. Even tree cover can block them.
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Old May 27, 19, 12:13 pm
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just fyi, the text lag was about 3-5 minutes. I have not found a cruise where such a device is prohibited or not allowed on search, so if someone finds one please share. Also the mini is very small, so might be hard to find.

I did find the countries. bummer, thailand
  • Taliban controlled Afghanistan
  • Crimea region of the Ukraine
  • Cuba
  • India
  • Iran
  • North Korea
  • Myanmar
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
  • China
  • Russia – For more information about using inReach in Russia, see the following related article: Using inReach in Russia

Last edited by boerne; May 27, 19 at 12:16 pm Reason: added data
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Old May 28, 19, 6:13 am
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Originally Posted by docbert View Post
Many cruises explicitly outlaw devices like these. If that's why you're buying it, be sure to check out if it's allowed first...
How would they know?
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Old May 28, 19, 10:19 am
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Originally Posted by Jimmie76 View Post
How would they know?
Cruises do search bags, typically for alcohol or banned stuff (eg clothing iron, they don't want you to overload the electrical circuit on the ship)

Whether they find it and/or confiscated it? Your risk
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