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06/12/2024 11:27AM  
I'm taking a group of people to Voyageurs National Park in August, and thinking that maybe I should have the ability to contact help if needed.

I haven't looked into this in a number of years and am hoping for some guidance.

Spot? InReach?

I'm probably using this once a year so hoping to not break the bank!
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distinguished member (407)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/12/2024 02:02PM  
Satellite communicators aren't cheap. If you wanted just a PLB, they are less but lack messaging functionality. You're going to hear advocates for both but inReach is widely considered the best available currently, albeit the annual and monthly fees drive a lot of people towards the more simple PLB. The inReach Mini 2 is the best bang for buck in the smallest package, and are on sale right now from REI for $299. The inReach messenger will also do what you need it to do but lacks some features that I personally feel are useful. Annual fee is $35 and midrange freedom plan is $35/month, which you can activate and suspend at will if you want to just use it for a month now, then again in the Fall or winter, or whenever. The Spot plans, last time I checked, were about 1/2 the price or less of the Garmin plans. I don't think you could go wrong with a Spot or an inReach though if you're doing one trip a year.

When I go up, I activate it the day before I leave and deactivate it when I get back. Then again in the Fall, which means I pay around $100/year each year for services.
distinguished member(1471)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/12/2024 02:41PM  
If you read review, Zoleo is quickly becoming the most popular. It has two way messaging, SOS, weather. But most of all it has interactive medial assistance for situations that don't require exfil. Also far cheaper then the Garmin. Tyically on sale for $150 and plans start as low as $15 per month.
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(14448)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
06/12/2024 03:15PM  
I have the InReach unit and really like it. Let’s me text message or email someone, SOS, weather forecast, mapping, compass, you can get various plans, turn on and off when you want. I would not travel without one.
distinguished member(1995)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/12/2024 03:58PM  
Really depends on what you need in terms of features and whether you are likely to get more use out of it than just this trip. If just need something for this trip and are using an outfitter, ask if you can rent something. Just make sure you know how to use it.

If getting your own, the cheapest is Zoleo which can be used as an SOS device or tethered to your phone to send messages anywhere you don't have cell coverage (my sister uses it at her cabin).

I have been using the basic SPOT Gen3 as just an SOS device and it can send up to 3 preprogrammed messages. Other SPOT devices can have 2 way messaging.

This year, I'm switching over to a Garmin GPS Map67i that can be my GPS and offers SOS, 2-way messaging, weather, etc. all wrapped up in one device.
distinguished member(1471)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/12/2024 04:06PM  
I have a Zoleo. You are correct that it needs to work with your phone for all the apps to work. When tethered, it also has weather, mapping, tracking, two way messages, etc. Plus it has the interactive medical assistance.

One of our team has a Garmin Inreach. He struggles with it due to it having such a small screen. Particularly when texting.
06/12/2024 04:20PM  
distinguished member(8695)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
06/12/2024 06:05PM  
I've converted to Zoleo. Easy to turn on subscription for a month and then off with a very low monthly fee for keeping your number and email address.
06/12/2024 07:12PM  
If this is a one-time need, consider a rental from an outfitter who helps support And get your rental in time to get comfortable with the unit.

06/12/2024 09:21PM  
Edit: Nevermind; answered my own (dumb) question, lol.
06/13/2024 01:44PM  
inReach mini user here. You can pick them up used for half the price of a new one. I prefer to have the full capabilities of the device without having to tether to my phone, which can be a battery drain on both devices.

Also worth noting that Garmin now has a Zoleo-like device, so if you like the Zoleo style but the Garmin reliability you can go that route.
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