April 16, 2016
Garmin InReach Explorer +
I recently picked up a Garmin InReach Explorer + and am very happy with it. The device allows a person to communicate on the same SAT Network as Sat Phones with Text Messaging only. All you need is a clear line of sight with the sky and it will work virtually anywhere in the world. There is a monthly fee that you can turn on and off as needed. It cost me about $34 a month and I get 40 text messages. When Paula and I were on the Rubicon this past weekend we were able to stay in contact with our kids and family etc. Not only that if they wanted to they can actually track where we were on the trail as it is updated about every 10 minutes. Last of all in the event of an emergency there is a button to push that sends out an SOS. You will be immediately put it touch with emergency services where you can explain via text the nature of your situation. I carry this when my son and I go into the backcountry on our motorcycles and mountain bikes as well. It is nice to have peace of mind knowing that you can get in touch with people if you need to. If anybody is interested in looking at it I will bring it to the meeting this week. The unit that I bought was $450. It has better mapping and some additional features over the lower priced unit that cost $400. I am aware of the Spot and other products for much less money. The reason I went with the InReach is that it allows 2 way texting and communication with family, friends and emergency services. Based on what I was able to find the other units don't allow the same extended communication functionality.
Handheld Satellite Communicators with GPS Navigation
- 100% global Iridium satellite coverage enables 2-way text messaging from anywhere (satellite subscription required)
- Trigger an interactive SOS to the 24/7 search and rescue monitoring center
- Track and share your location with family and friends
- Pair with mobile devices¹ using the free Earthmate® app for access to downloadable maps², U.S. NOAA charts, color aerial imagery and more
- inReach Explorer+ device adds preloaded DeLorme® TOPO maps with onscreen GPS routing plus built-in digital compass, barometric altimeter and accelerometer
Website below for your reference:
July 14, 2016
We have a Spot device but I would have gotten (and still may) the InReach because of its advantages. The Spot device has two communication buttons plus an emergency button. You can pre-program your two communication buttons with predetermined messages. My son has one which says "I'm ok" (he sent us one last weekend because he was in a severe thunderstorm and wanted us to know his GPS location and that he was fine) and the other one that says "I'm coming out tomorrow" so we know when he should be back within communications. The annual fee is $220 and you can't turn it off in months when you don't need it. So potentially, the annual subscription cost of the Spot might actually be more if you only use your InReach device periodically. Being able to send text messages with the InReach is a huge advantage in my opinion and well worth any additional cost.
Years ago my sons were backpacking with friends and went in on the eastern slope of the Sierras near Bishop. We had a contingency plan that if there was an emergency they might need to exit on the western slope to Florence Lake, which is east of Shaver Lake. We were able to tell from their Spot tracking that there was a problem and that they were headed out to the West Slope. I jumped in my truck and headed to Florence Lake not knowing what was wrong or who might be in trouble. After driving for five hours I got a call from my son an a satellite phone at a basecamp that his buddy had altitude sickness (high altitude pulmonary edema or HAPE as it known) and that they had to carry his pack and get him to lower elevation at Florence Lake ASAP. Had we had an InReach device we could have communicated with him and would have know what exactly was going on. Fortunately I was carrying a portable oxygen machine and got his friend on O2 and drove him back to Sacramento. His wife took him to the hospital and he spent two days there. I think Jeff just convinced me that I need to get the InReach device.
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