Which Garmin InReach

Ive used a Delorme InReach in the past: Garmin brought the company out and now have three units. (well 5, but 2 I’m interested in.)

I do some hikes and travel out the range of mobile communication and don’t want to pay for a Satellite phone, SMS will suffice for me for emergency comms and feeding back to the Tour Operators and Travel Agents that all is good.
Last year I had an incident in Hoanib river bed, where comms were a cock up and don’t need a repeat of that. Ultimately all was sorted and the back and forth of SMS messages may not have been anything but a costly exercise and slower than Satellite phone.

So whats peoples Ideas: In Reach mini or the in reach Explorer+

My thoughts are that the explorer has longer battery life, and is also GPS (can you load Tracks 4Africa onto them?) but its more expensive.
Once its all gone wrong and you’re walking out, at least the InReach has a GPS on it, and is mildly better for typing out messages once your phone battery’s died, or am I just over thinking things? where the mini will suffice?

Grateful for peoples opinions and feedback.

Get yourself the new Garmin GPSMAP 66i. It sounds like it will be better suited to your requirements. If weight is an issue, and you don’t need the features of the 66i, then get the Mini. The Explorer+ and the SE+ are old technology.

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Guys, maybe the pros can give us some more advice on this topic?

I am happily corrected if misinformed or uninformed but I simply could not understand the reason behind a hand-held GPS device in the last 10 years?

Battery life? Specialised maps?

Arno, a gazillion reasons:

  1. If you’re unfamiliar with the area - a sense check against maps and features that don’t look like you imagine them to be. particularly on valleys or desert environments.
    1a) Nothing worse than being lost in Atlantis Sand dunes and trying to find your way out following the tracks on the stupid GPS

  2. On multi day trips with guests I like having a trip log to cross reference where we went if I get questioned I can prove that we did go there.

  3. If you’re not as fit as others Its great to have a reality of time and distance covered so as to comprehend how things are going.

  4. When the weather changes, direction finding can become impossible to do accurately, also when you’re tired, hungry and cold You make mistakes, a GPS can keep you focused.

  5. One of my Tour Operators insist I have one.

Back to my question re the Mini vs the explorer - the GPSMap66i seems like the solution, but is expensive. the mini is my way forwards.

In case you missed it, the InReacha re communication tools, ie they send SMS messages via Satellites and are independent of mobile phone networks
6) Reliable communication with the outside world.

Hey Graham. Drop me an email (kemitche at gmail dot com). I am a dealer for InReach products, and can probably get you a Mini at the old price - there will be local Garmin price hikes on May 1st.

Update: I finally had to use one!

I borrowed a friends InReach mini and went into the Kgalagadi, and eventually onto the Nossob 4x4 Eco trail, in total we were 6 days out of mobile reception. I sent out the tracking link to a handful of everyone who knows me and set off.

From about 3 km outside Tweeriveren there is no mobile coverage and the Radios are sketchy at best.

I had a problem with the Air-conditioning pump bearing which eventually seized and I ended up routing the windscreen washer fluid directly onto the bearing case to keep it cool so as not to melt the fan belt (its one belt for Power steering, Fan, Water pump, and AC.) Sensing that this was potentially actually quite a problem, I communicated with the owner who coordinated parts necessary for me to replace the unit. all whilst out in the middle of the Kgalagadi - We were most surprised when the new AC unit arrived at the camp site at 08:00 the morning after we arrived back in TweeRivieren.

Bottom line its an awesome comms tool for those that are going out of communication coverage. I am absolutely sold on the concept and with 3 x 6 days hikes this year two Kruger off trail and a Fish River as well as two more trips to the Kgalagadi

At this stage all I know is that I am getting an InReach device.

Back to my original question mini or 700i or 66i? Im swaying towards the 700i
On the motorbike if you crash you’d want it in your jacket pocket - mini (but 700i’s perfect for navigation)
In the Landy all three are perfect. The big screen wins
On foot the 66i with better battery life and basic text wins closely followed by the mini

I use a Montana 680 currently so am used to the format, Ive had the 62 in the past, and feel that the benefit of the Montana is the reduced connectivity requirements. If you break your phone the mini is not great.
On the other hand if you break the Montana you loose your GPS comms as well as satellite SMS device.

Keeping these all charged whilst on the foot trail is a schlep hence keen to go with one device and just leave the phone switched off.

For this still curious or interested that conducts multi day hikes and travel out of coverage, these are an awesome option. if you’ve got guests its a no-brainer.

Im still in a quandry as to which one!

Tarriff wise its pretty simple, most of us dont need an annual subscription and only use the 30 day freedom plan, its R1070 for unlimited messaging and R500 wish for 40 sms’s and unlimited 10min tracking interval points.

All I can say is that the system works so well provided you have a good coordinator on the other end unless you have unlimited SMS’s

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Review to follow once Ive used it:

I was on the fence between the InReach mini and as it turns out the Montana 700i.

Fate stepped in and I brought a second hand Montana for a very reasonable price (less that Id care to admit to and I did feel bad, but its all the funds I had, and needed one for next week and I couldn’t get stock of the mini (where I was offered trade price)

In short the Montana is huge. (probably too huge) But the primary deciding factor being that power wise it is completely stand alone and Im taking a GPS one way or another, this way I only need to worry about keeping one battery charged, not the inReach mini, my phone and my GPS

Also the Montana (unlike the 66i) has interchangeable batteries (Not that I ve seen one yet) and took my T4A memory card

Account set up and will have the tracking option active