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PVnRT
member (14)member
 
12/02/2019 08:08PM
I've been given the ultimatum to get a satellite communicator while traveling alone in the BWCA or else, so now need help. Garmin seems like the only choice. Read lots of negative reviews on product pages via REI. Shouldn't one expect a $500 device to work reliably? What am I missing? All suggestions most appreciated.
 
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12/02/2019 08:45PM
I have the DeLorme InReach, which is the older version, now they have been bought out by Garmin. I love it... it's been very reliable, even the battery life is very good. My battery lasts a full week when sending out tracking signals about 6 hours per day. I really like the message feature to send a custom message home... gives family members peace of mind, now that I am over 60. I even think the weather forecast is quite good too.
I don't use the InReach for GPS navigation... I have a standalone GPS for that. Maybe others here can give some feedback on that.
 
12/02/2019 08:47PM
My Delorme (now Garmin) Inreach works great. I send a preset text to my wife every morning and evening on my solo trips. That's the number one reason I got it. I can pair it with my phone to more easily send an actual text if I want to. I know they do much more, but I really only use it for my wife's piece of mind. She likes that she can see where I'm at when I send the text. $15 a month and no contract works for me.
 
12/02/2019 08:51PM
I have an inReach (older DeLorme model; now a Garmin company), and I have never had any issues with it. I only use it to send preset messages to my wife. Subscription I get is something like $14/month (the cheapest they offer), and it can be cancelled any time. Can send unlimited preset messages. There are various rate plans available.

Pretty sure you can find one somewhere for far less than $500 if you are ok with an older unit.
 
Northwoodsman
distinguished member(1249)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/02/2019 08:52PM
ghamer: "I have the DeLorme InReach, which is the older version, now they have been bought out by Garmin. I love it... it's been very reliable, even the battery life is very good. My battery lasts a full week when sending out tracking signals about 6 hours per day. I really like the message feature to send a custom message home... gives family members peace of mind, now that I am over 60. I even think the weather forecast is quite good too.
I don't use the InReach for GPS navigation... I have a standalone GPS for that. Maybe others here can give some feedback on that."

+1 on ALL points (except the over 60 part).
 
campnfish
distinguished member (221)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/02/2019 09:26PM
I purchased a delorme explorer used and like everyone else i find it works great as a SMS device, the tracking features are great as well. Think I paid 180 used, $24 a year and then buy a monthly plan that can be cancelled and restarted months later.
 
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(12832)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
12/02/2019 09:30PM
As far as the reviews on REI, I would take those reviews with a grain of salt. I have also read those reviews and some of them are reviews on the older unit, not the Garmin InReach unit.

I just bought the Garmin InReach unit and so far I really like it. I have tested it out quite a few times and it works flawlessly for sending messages. I can use the unit itself to send messages or use my cell phone paired to send messages. I really like the ability to get a weather report too. I have a Garmin Montana GPS for navigation, but the InReach unit is fine for a GPS in canoe country. You still will be using your map if needed anyway. Garmin also makes another Satellite communication unit called a GPSMAP 66i. The 66i does not have weather at this point but the engineer at Garmin said they will be adding it soon with a software install. I didn’t want to wait so I bought the Garmin Inreach unit.

What ever you decide any Garmin you choose it a fine unit. Many here can give you great advice because they know the industry, they will be helpful. We also have a GPS forum that you can read and join.
 
12/02/2019 09:41PM
I love the InReach. Like everyone else here, I use it to send messages to my wife that I am safe. While it wasn't an ultimatum, it has eased genuine concerns about safety or delay. It's worth the investment.
Highlights: flexible subscriptions (truly flexible and easy to configure), weather reports that have been very accurate for my locations (ymmv), dual-texting, pre-messaging. Lowlights: I guess I'd say taking this level of technology with me on a backcountry trip that used to be, "see ya' in a couple weeks - maybe!" But I wasn't solo on those trips and now I am. So there's that.

In a nutshell, if I was feeling pressured to make a voluminous decision, I wouldn't hesitate to create balance by purchasing a Garmin InReach in a timely manner. ;)
 
Ohiopikeman
senior member (100)senior membersenior member
 
12/02/2019 09:56PM
PV,

You can pick up a new Garmin for $384.99 on Amazon.

Garmin InReach Explorer+ Handheld Satellite Communicator with GPS Navigation, Maps, and Sensors 010-01735-10 and Wearable4U Ultimate Power Pack Bundle.

You will need to sign up for a subscription service to actually use the system. There are many plans, but the one that I use is called the "freedom plan" and runs $34.95 for a 12 month subscription. The benefit of this plan is that you can use it for a month and then freeze the plan. I figure it will take me 12 years to go through this plan taking one annual BWCA trip per year.

The device works excellent and allows one to communicate via text very similar to using texting on a cell phone. It's a pain to actually type in text on the Garmin, but you can pair it to a cell phone using Bluetooth and then actually type on your cell phone. The primary differences are that there may be a 5 minute lag on sending and receiving, limited to something like 256 characters per text, and no attachments are possible (text only). For communicating location and daily check-ups with home, it more than enough. The plan also allows for unlimited "basic" weather updates which proved to be very nice.

I've used my device once for two week remote Alaska trip, and then again a year later for our standard 10 day BWCA trip. The Garmin worked flawlessly both times.

I highly recommend the Garmin InReach Explorer+.

Dave
 
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(12832)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
12/02/2019 10:41PM
I forgot to mention about the service plans. I chose to get the Recreation plan at $24.99 a month. My wife and I travel a lot with our camper and go to remote out of the way spots with zero cell service. I think I could use this unit in one way or another year round.
 
mjmkjun
distinguished member(2527)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/03/2019 07:07AM
(my input deleted. OP wanted info on satellite communicator, not a GPS. )
 
AmarilloJim
distinguished member(1867)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/03/2019 08:14AM
I like my In-Reach as well.
 
mike2019
member (11)member
 
12/03/2019 09:38AM
As others have said, the garmin InReach works perfectly, I wouldn't trip without it (I go solo). For GPS, I use my iphone and Gaia app. You can download campsites and portages from this site. Download offline maps on Gaia and it works without cell service. There are modest subscription costs for both InReach and Gaia, but well worth it IMO
 
12/03/2019 10:01AM
PVnRT: "I've been given the ultimatum to get a sat communicator while traveling alone in the BWCA or else, so now need help. Garmin seems like the only choice. Read lots of negative reviews on product pages via REI. Shouldn't one expect a $500 device to work reliably? What am I missing? All suggestions most appreciated."

May want to edit your title to be more accurate. Reads GPS, but you are looking primarily at a sat-communicator (and there are more makers than Garmin). 2 different items available singly or with the Inreach 2 in 1.
Sat-Com can also be subdivided into 2 categories, communicator and personal locator beacon (only transmits an emergency signal. no 2 way).

The GPS forum has a bunch of followers and experience.

The other thing is a reliance on internet sales reviews. They aren't worth a so called "tinkers damn". Disappointed folks who cannot read a manual, or item specification, bitching to the world at large. Much better source of product info is available from actual users and user groups. Even REI review are often laugh-able, and more entertaining than informative.

butthead
 
PVnRT
member (14)member
 
12/03/2019 07:15PM
Thanks for input. Much appreciated! Learning from knowledgeable members. I am a complete luddite...barely can use my cell phone...a purely theoretical scientist.
 
TipsyPaddler
distinguished member (158)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/03/2019 08:32PM
mike2019: "As others have said, the garmin InReach works perfectly, I wouldn't trip without it (I go solo). For GPS, I use my iphone and Gaia app. You can download campsites and portages from this site. Download offline maps on Gaia and it works without cell service. There are modest subscription costs for both InReach and Gaia, but well worth it IMO"

+1

I am very happy with an InReach Mini paired with an IPhone running the Gaia app.
 
brulu
member (11)member
 
12/03/2019 11:01PM
I've been happy with my inReach, but for some reason texts occasionally won't make it through to my phone. I think the issue might be with my cell carrier (Net10) rather than with the inReach. Based on that experience I always send emails as well as texts, the emails have always gone through.
 
12/04/2019 09:53AM
PVnRT: "Thanks for input. Much appreciated! Learning from knowledgeable members. I am a complete luddite...barely can use my cell phone...a purely theoretical scientist."
Hence your screen name! Gotta love it!
 
singlebladecanoe
member (46)member
 
12/04/2019 06:17PM
I'm glad I saw this get posted and all the responses. I wound up canceling my 2 week solo trip the night before I was supposed to leave. My wife was uneasy about me going away without being able to get a hold of me or me check in with her. I was involved in a pretty bad fire/explosion where I was life flighted to Duke Burn center in 2018 and ever since she has been a wreck anytime I plan on leaving even for a day without being able to call her to check in. Maybe this will be an option I can talk to her about in order to get back out in the woods and on the waer
 
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(12832)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
12/04/2019 09:55PM
singlebladecanoe: "I'm glad I saw this get posted and all the responses. I wound up canceling my 2 week solo trip the night before I was supposed to leave. My wife was uneasy about me going away without being able to get a hold of me or me check in with her. I was involved in a pretty bad fire/explosion where I was life flighted to Duke Burn center in 2018 and ever since she has been a wreck anytime I plan on leaving even for a day without being able to call her to check in. Maybe this will be an option I can talk to her about in order to get back out in the woods and on the waer"

I bought the middle of the road service plan with my InReach unit. I can have up to 40 free messages a month. If I need more messages in the billing period it is $.50 a message. Your wife can view a map link that you set up before hand. Your InReach will send out a update location every 10 minutes so she can see your location. Then every night you could send her a text message or two to reassure her.
 
mpeebles
distinguished member (229)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/05/2019 10:53AM
I bought the InReach Explorer+ last year. I used it on two canoe trips last year, one in Q and one in WCPP. The unit works very well and had no problems with texting at all. However, I do pair it with my iPhone which makes it a little easier to see with these old eyes.

OT.....As far as the rest of the device goes, the GPS functions well (being a map and compass guy I'm weak in that department), the preloaded maps are great and the battery life is as advertised...100 hrs. at normal usage. I also like the weather function. I used it for three weeks in WCPP and the battery only went down to something like 70% +/-. I also like the Earthmate app that comes with it and have used it while traveling to other parts of the country.

Full disclosure.....this unit was bought mainly for the communication aspect. I had previously rented a sat phone for that purpose. That being said, the Garmin has more than paid for itself already.

So far, so good.
 
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