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Thread: Garmin inReach mini

  1. #1
    Senior Member B the Hiker's Avatar
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    Garmin inReach mini

    They’re on sale at REI. A buddy is thinking of buying one, but they are not highly reviewed. I told him I would inquire with this group.

    Anyone have thoughts or experiences, good or bad, that they would be willing to share?

    Thanks!


    Brian

  2. #2
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Not a direct answer but I recently bought a Zoleo messaging device and feel it blows the doors off any of the InReach devices I have had (or Spot for that matter). I would highly recommendand. Has SOS and Check In features directly off device but primarily works on your cell phone. It works in airplane mode with bluetooth and is very friendly on battery use of both devices. And they actually provide swift and responsive customer service when you email them. I have yet to email Garmin support and ever be contacted with a reply or answer. That company sucks in my opinion.

    Andrew Skurka had a pretty comprehensive review of Zoleo vs InReach awhile back which was a good feature for feature comparison:https://andrewskurka.com/review-zole...ess-messaging/. Another thing I like is other people without a Zoleo can download the app (for free) to communicate with Zoleo users for larger message size and location sharing. It is just like texting but works over WiFi, cell service or satellite depending on what is active so you can leave the unit on for an entire trip with seamless messaging. I've only had mine about 6 months but really like it. I turned my InReach subscription off about a month after I got my Zoleo.
    Last edited by DayTrip; 11-19-2021 at 04:25 PM. Reason: clarified point
    “Sometimes when you’ve lost something in your life that matters, the only thing left to do is go and find it.” Renan Ozturk

  3. #3
    Senior Member Rhody Seth's Avatar
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    My buddy I just hiked with has one. He likes it. You have to sync it to your phone in order to send messages but he finds it much easier to do so from the phone than from his previous inReach.

  4. #4
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhody Seth View Post
    My buddy I just hiked with has one. He likes it. You have to sync it to your phone in order to send messages but he finds it much easier to do so from the phone than from his previous inReach.
    I don't know if this improved with newer models but I found it extremely glitchy. On one of my trips to Baxter I was messaging with my wife and there were huge lags and in some cases she would answer my questions but I wouldn't see the reply. Was highly aggravating. This was not the latest model though.
    “Sometimes when you’ve lost something in your life that matters, the only thing left to do is go and find it.” Renan Ozturk

  5. #5
    Senior Member Rhody Seth's Avatar
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    He's got the newest one as far as I know.

  6. #6
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    The Zoleo is very popular with backcountry canoe campers deep in the wilderness... where there isn't cell phone service within miles and miles.

    Tim
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

  7. #7
    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    I have recently upgraded to Garmin inReach Mini from Spot 3. I haven't used enough yet to have any firm opinions about this device. Since I typically send preset messages I can't really say anything about phone connectivity, which I think is actually a big selling point for a lot of people who want to stay in touch while hiking in remote places who no phone signal. It take a little bit of time to figure out the menus and how to send preset message and make sure that they actually go out after you select recipients but the nice thing is that you get a confirmation once the message goes through which I was missing with Spot 3. The tracking points seem accurate, pretty much perfectly on top of my Garmin eTrex 30x tracks. One drawback is that the battery is built-in, so I worry a bit that over time it won't hold the full charge and I will need external battery pack on extended backpacking trips. I find Garmin Explorer Web site much easier to navigate then the equivalent site for Spot. Finally, Spot had this automatic plan renewal about a month ahead of plan expiration and a lot of people complained that the company would refuse to refund the early renewal charges if they wanted to cancel. On the other hand I set up inReach with monthly safety plan so I pay reasonable monthly fee and can suspend it w/o penalty. I do have to pay per use if I send a lot of messages which I don't mind as I set the tracking frequency to 30 minutes that I reason is sufficient when locations are accurate.

  8. #8
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    In my experience, Garmin does just short of the bare minimum when it comes to software. I have owned a few devices in my lifetime which have worked well, but have never been a "pleasure" to use. I am a software engineer and I see the shortcomings in all apps/applications.

    Tim
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  9. #9
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish View Post
    In my experience, Garmin does just short of the bare minimum when it comes to software. I have owned a few devices in my lifetime which have worked well, but have never been a "pleasure" to use. I am a software engineer and I see the shortcomings in all apps/applications.

    Tim
    Totally agree. My InReach was accurate and I could rely on the messages transmitting. It was definitely clunky and felt "old" relative to other devices out there. Their customer service is non existent. They act very much like they are the only game in town but there are new devices and apps out there that are changing this. Will be curious to see if they finally react or go the way of the dinosaur....
    “Sometimes when you’ve lost something in your life that matters, the only thing left to do is go and find it.” Renan Ozturk

  10. #10
    Senior Member CaptCaper's Avatar
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    As you probably already know PBL like ResQLink is more reliable then any inreach or other devices using the commerical satellite system. I have one and don't care about texting someone or calling etc. I want something that will work anywhere 100% and get me help. Those commerical systems can't do that. These are the facts out there if one just spends some time searching for them. Plus I talked to rescue personal and told me that as well.

  11. #11
    Senior Member iAmKrzys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptCaper View Post
    As you probably already know PBL like ResQLink is more reliable then any inreach or other devices using the commerical satellite system. I have one and don't care about texting someone or calling etc. I want something that will work anywhere 100% and get me help. Those commerical systems can't do that. These are the facts out there if one just spends some time searching for them. Plus I talked to rescue personal and told me that as well.
    I have never owned ACR ResQLink and don't have any personal experience with this device but according to this story https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2...r-in-the-wild/ that's what Kate Matrosova had. When I was buying Spot 3 several years ago two significant factors that I was considering were: 1) ability to independently verify transmitted locations both in terms of accuracy and frequency, and 2) ability to use tracking mode since I wanted to make sure my device was transmitting even if I fell or had some other mishap that would make it difficult for me to reach for the device and turn it on.

  12. #12
    Senior Member CaptCaper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iAmKrzys View Post
    I have never owned ACR ResQLink and don't have any personal experience with this device but according to this story https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2...r-in-the-wild/ that's what Kate Matrosova had. When I was buying Spot 3 several years ago two significant factors that I was considering were: 1) ability to independently verify transmitted locations both in terms of accuracy and frequency, and 2) ability to use tracking mode since I wanted to make sure my device was transmitting even if I fell or had some other mishap that would make it difficult for me to reach for the device and turn it on.
    dI too was concered why her plb left pings those spots on that mountain. So I searched and found Kate turned it on and the first ping was were she was and was sent correctly. She then put it in her pack cause she was being frozen and wanted to move out and put the plb away in her pack thus causing all the pings around the mountain. These are the facts published by the rescue party that bisected her and her gear. Again it was found in her pack.
    As I know GPS systems fairly well dating back to 1994 understand totally how the goverment bands combined with gps signals (resqlinks now use galileo as well) properly used give the most accurate fix one can get in many places commerical can't do. Inside airplane hangers, deep canyons etc. all kinds of weather just to mention a few.

    The facts are out there on 100% rescue or contact to be had with the usa goverment with these devices and the resqlink type's (resqlink is just a small version)that use this usgov system is the one that gives that. All others again using commerical satellites are not as reliable. Evidence is out there for this it's not made up or my opinion.
    Last edited by CaptCaper; 11-20-2021 at 03:22 PM.

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