Garmin InReach

Or maybe everyone already knows about this kind of thing

Looks like it could be useful for remote touring and emergency communication. Has anybody used one?

Wife and I just bought one for our hiking trips. The combo of GPS and two-way texting sold us, with detailed weather forecasts a bonus.

Pretty exy though… Hoping over time the Freedom plans that Garmin offer make it more affordable than other options.

A mate who does a bunch of XC/backcountry touring just posted a question about them on FB (vs spot etc) and I was interested in the responses. Some good feedback in it (and some differing opinions on when and how these things should be used).

TL:DR - the 2-way comms is useful for certain use cases, but mainly for those need interim/variable messages. i think it wont supercede most of my friends use of a spot. the fact you can switch the plans on/off and up/down vs the fixed price for spots seems good.

There’s a pretty good review on outdoorgearlab, including comparisons with Spots and other products.

We opted for the Explorer because:

  • we didn’t have a GPS already and wanted one
  • ditto on an SOS beacon
  • the two-way SMS seems much better than the Spot (don’t have to pre-program messages, get feedback that the message has been received, can get info sent to you).

If you already have a gps and Spot then it’s probably not worth the marginal upgrade to two-way messaging (at least not for $700). Though if you’re an infrequent user with a Spot subscription then the ability to switch Garmin plans on/off might make the cost of the Explorer lower in the medium term.