Garmin InReach Review

As summer approaches, many of you are planning your next big adventure.  While you may not have cell service or if you rather leave all the electronics at home, it is wise to always have some type of communication device with you.  You never know!

At the top of the sat communication devices is the Garmin InReach (formerly Delorme, 2016).  Garmin recently upgraded their InReach device to the SE+.  The new device is an excellent upgrade from their dinosaur looking and feeling predecessor.

The jungle environment is pretty harsh on...well, everything we have.  The Garmin InReach SE+ has held up well thanks to is rigid, well built design.             

InReach Pic.jpg

What we like about the Garmin InReach SE+

  1. Its heavy and secure - ever held tech devices that just feel cheap?  Yeah, not this guy.  Solid build...natural feeling design.
  2. Easy to Use - the layout and operating system is fool proof.  This is good because if someone that has never used on can easily power on the device and send a message or distress call. 
  3. Solid Battery - the battery life is legit.  Generally, I keep mine powered on during expeditions (3-6 days) and I will still have 20-30% battery left.  This, of course, depends on usage.
  4. Tracking Capabilities - this is a cool feature.  Since you are already having to carry this guy around, beats having to carry around another GPS device.  Can get costly if you go over your usage and can kill the battery.  But still...a nice feature. 
  5. Protected SOS button - we know guys who have sent an SOS and had no idea.  Yikes!  The new unit has a secure, hard to open, SOS button cap.  Well done, Garmin.
  6. Fall and Water proof - this speaks for itself.  Pretty much an absolute requirement for the jungle.
  7. Subscription - this word always seems to scare folks.  The last thing we want is another monthly subscription, however Garmin has made their plans somewaht cheap and flexible.  There are several add on features, like weather and tracking.
  8. Receiver Information - for those back at home who are getting the message, Garmin allows for the receiver to respond via online, email or phone (depending on how the message was originally sent).  Furthermore, they can see on a map where their beloved mountaineer is located.  

What we don't like about the Garmin InReach SE+

  1. Keyboard - yeah, we get it.  That isn't much that can be done on a unit like this.  But sending a long message takes a long time.  For us, we have codes that we send back to base.  On a positive note - the new keyboard software has lots of options and presets to type faster.  While typing, every button on the device acts as some type of input for letters, delete, select presets, etc.  This is a positive!      
  2. Floatation - this would be a super cool feature if the device floated.  Sure, you can purchase at floatation sleeve, but its bulky and cumbersome.  Because most of our travel is on the river, this would a cool feature.
  3. A Bit High $$ - the price tag for this little guy can be a bit steep.  You can find them online for around $400.  And that is just for the unit.  However, on the flip side...in the event you actually need one for an emergency, $400 is not that much.  Right?

 

On this cool graphic below, you can see just how many different satellites are in orbit and their altitude.  What is super cool about InReach is that Iridium (not the chemical, you chemistry nerds...the satellite company) recently teamed up with SpeceX and will be launching new satellites.  They hope to have all new satellites (more than 80 total)  in orbit by 2018.  What does this mean for you and me - better and reliable coverage.  The most recent launch of satellites was this week - yeah, pretty cool right?  

Sats in Orbit.jpg
Bryan Randolph