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Old 08-25-2018, 09:28 PM   #1
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Default Garmin In Reach Explorer

If I understand it correctly, the In Reach Explorer allows one to send and receive texts and emails via satellite, in addition to its GPS/navigation features. I'm interested in strategies for using it to get roadside help where there's no cellphone coverage.

How would you guys who have the device use it to summon help? Contacting a friend or relative immediately comes to mind, but do any of the roadside assistance services (AAA, Coachnet, FMCA, etc) monitor texts or emails? Are there other strategies that you might use?

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Old 08-26-2018, 01:34 AM   #2
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I can't answer your question BUT would also like to know that info. Used the Garmin throughout my trip to Glacier for routine contact with family in areas where there was no service. My guess is that you'd have to call the various insurance companies that you're considering and ask them directly. I haven't done that yet but plan to before my next outing. It would be easy to setup a preset text message for help but I'm sure that they would need more information as to the nature of your problem before they'd send help. Let me
know if you find out anything on your own. I'll do the same.
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Old 08-26-2018, 02:07 AM   #3
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Itís a little hard to find but the answer seems to be ďyes.Ē This comes from a product manager at Garmin so I suppose itís a fairly reliable answer.


https://www.amazon.com/ask/questions..._ql_psf_ql_hza


Yes, the SOS feature in the inReach SE+ and Explorer+ will connect you directly to GEOS Search and Rescue, our 24/7 emergency response partner. They regularly offer roadside assistance to users who are experiencing difficulties in remote locations and have no cellular coverage. The inReach is a beneficial tool any time you are outside of cellular coverage and need to communicate, whether you are climbing a mountain or driving on a country road!

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Old 08-26-2018, 04:51 AM   #4
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If you are not going to use the navigation feature, rather Google Maps for example, you might want to consider something like 'SPOT' also.

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Old 08-26-2018, 05:41 AM   #5
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I have the InReach model with the built in GPS but I have never used the GPS. It has only hiker navigation, no turn-by-turn or routing on the roads.

I like Giaia GPS on the iphone for hiking. Iím spoiled by the big touch screen.
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Old 08-26-2018, 06:19 AM   #6
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I'm actually beginning to lean in favor of a used satellite phone in good condition. The purchase price is comparable to that for the InReach, and one doesn't necessarily pay a monthly fee.

I'd appreciate it if someone corrects me if I'm wrong, but you can evidently buy a (SIM?) card that entitles you to the number of days and minutes of talk time of your choosing. Once the days or the talk time is used up, you can choose to recharge the card for a fee or just let it lie until you next need it.

This would work well for me, because I only need the phone for the odd month here and there. Also, I think voice communication would probably be more effective in getting roadside help. The GPS features of the InReach would just duplicate what I've already got.

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Old 08-26-2018, 06:48 AM   #7
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Garmin now has the Inreach mini that does not have the navigation but has the communication features. Can link with your cell/tablet to use with Earthmate navigation app.

There is a monthly fee though.
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Old 08-26-2018, 04:24 PM   #8
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If I was buying one today I would get the mini, barring a really good deal on he older models.

I pay 11.95 a month, 12.68 with all taxes and fees included.

The basic plan is really all you need. Emergency traffic is included no matter what plan you are on.

You set up a group of preset messages in your account. Things that you send on a regular basis. “Check in all OK”. “Camped here for the night” “Delayed 30 mins all OK”. These preset messages arrive at the email and/or text message locations that you designate in the account. An unlimited number of presets are included.

I get 10 non-preset messages in or out per month included, 50 cents per for each additional. You can compose these on the phone using a clumsy keypad with arrows or you can use a phone. Messages are 160 characters.

You have to school people on your message list not to respond. Every LOL and WFT costs you 50 cents.

I use it when I am hiking alone to keep my wife informed of my progress and location. I have a niece that does a lot of hard core hiking. The unit has been to Nepal and on the Pacific Crest Trail.
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Old 08-26-2018, 04:43 PM   #9
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I thought about a phone as well but felt the Garmin would be best for no service areas. I do a lot of hiking and, for me, roadside assistance was the least of my concerns. More like broken ankle, partner with heart attack, bear attack, etc. Have, thankfully, only used it for texting and in that respect it's been flawless. There are 2 different plan types. One, you pay a yearly subscription and an annual fee. The other you pay an annual fee and can do a month here and there with no reactivation fee. As was mentioned, the monthly/annual fee depends on, like a cell phone, the features. You want 10 texts/month.....or unlimited? So, for example, I pay $25 annual fee plus $15/month for every month that I want. I don't have the yearly contract. That one would cost me a $20 annual fee and $12 month.
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Old 08-26-2018, 09:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GallenH View Post
I thought about a phone as well but felt the Garmin would be best for no service areas. I do a lot of hiking.
For hiking, the InReach wins hands-down. There's no way I'd want to lug a sat phone while afoot.

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Old 08-27-2018, 03:07 PM   #11
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We recently purchased an InReach Mini and used it on a week long hiking trip to GA last week. It was very intuitive to set-up. Sent a few folks a text (said save and do not respond unless an emergency) and felt good to be able to be reached by family if we have an emergency with either sets of parents.

We looked at "Spot" but read it is not on the same Sat System as InReach and is not quite as reliable. I have no first-hand experience though.

We did stumble across a black bear on the trail. Although we got this for family to be able to reach us, my wife had a sudden appreciation for knowing she had an SOS button as well.
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Old 08-27-2018, 08:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lmittell View Post
I'd appreciate it if someone corrects me if I'm wrong, but you can evidently buy a (SIM?) card that entitles you to the number of days and minutes of talk time of your choosing. Once the days or the talk time is used up, you can choose to recharge the card for a fee or just let it lie until you next need it.
I don't know the current situation but when I looked into this years ago with Iridium and Globalstar, I think that the minutes purchased had an expiration date, sort of like airline miles.
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Old 08-27-2018, 08:45 PM   #13
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I don't know the current situation but when I looked into this years ago with Iridium and Globalstar, I think that the minutes purchased had an expiration date, sort of like airline miles.
For the InReach there are annual and MTM plans. Because we are not traveling extensively till next spring I just got the minimum monthly which was $14 versus $11 for an annual. Only includes 5-10 texts but as a bare bones essential it works. If you need to send texts frequently you would probably be on the $25-$35 plan. I didn't see anywhere about expiring with the InReach/Iridium plans.
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Old 08-27-2018, 11:00 PM   #14
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FWIW: Details regarding the different InReach plans can be found on their website. As was pointed out, there are 2 types: Annual and MTM. Within each category you have varying options/costs depending on how much data you expect to use (i.e. 10 texts vs. unlimited). Each type has an annual fee. I believe it's $20 for the Annual plans and $25 for the MTM. The clock starts ticking on those when you first subscribe. MTM plans begin on any day (my first one ran from July 23 to Aug 23). At any time up to Aug 23 I can suspend service. Then reactivate on, say, Nov 11 for another month. The charge to reactivate is $0; or, depending on the way you look at it, contained within the annual fee of $25. If you choose the cheapest plan (I did) and need more than 10 texts, you get charged a straight per text fee. Keep in mind that 10 texts include both sent and received. There are also what they call "preset" texts where you type up to 3 texts on your webportal to InReach. These send for free. So you can set up texts that say "On schedule, all is fine" to as many recipients as you wish. SOS emergency service communication is also free.

BTW: I have no connection to Garmin or DeLome. Just an ordinary user.
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Old 08-27-2018, 11:04 PM   #15
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Forgot: Texts sent include your GPS location and emails (you can send texts to email addresses) have a link the recipient can click on to see your location on a map and another link to click on if they want to reply. Their replies always count as a regular text which is why one poster said he/she warned recipients of the free texts not to respond unless there was an emergency.
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Old 08-28-2018, 08:22 PM   #16
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I am so appreciative of this thread. I had not heard of the Mini, but one is now on order. It should be perfect for our needs.
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Old 08-28-2018, 08:30 PM   #17
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Awesome. Honestly all this tech will in our cell phones in a few years. The cell app is great so no need to ever use the mini screen. Just hook to your backpack and forget it.
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Old 08-29-2018, 03:11 AM   #18
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MsNomer: That's the nice thing about the forum. I first heard about the Garmin here, on another thread. Sharing is good. A lot of nice thoughtful people here.
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Old 08-29-2018, 03:50 AM   #19
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Backpackinglight has an excellent analysis of the plan options with graphs at the end of its review.

https://backpackinglight.com/garmin-...h-mini-review/
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Old 08-29-2018, 06:47 AM   #20
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Default If you are really off the grid... check out the insurance for SAR ( search and rescue

Quote:
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MsNomer: That's the nice thing about the forum. I first heard about the Garmin here, on another thread. Sharing is good. A lot of nice thoughtful people here.
They offer an insurance premium ..not expensive...if you have to call them in an emergency... the SAR team will extract you from wherever you are and bring you to safety.... even a helicopter lift.....

Again.... depends on how you use it.... especially if you are very adventurous...and go into the wild.....

Once you push the red button..the SAR will text you and they will know your exact location... since it's satellite... you could be anywhere....

The Iridium satellite network is the most comprehensive network on Earth.... there's multiple satellites orbiting the globe and new ones get launched regularly.......

As far as I know there is no service to compare to this...and their satellite phone is extremely expensive.... we're talking over $1 per minute... The In Reach Explorer uses the text only portion of the network ....

I had the service and didn't see myself using it ...so, I took back my device and cancelled the service......

Really depends on what you want to do..... it's very cool for sure....... but only get if you are certain to use it...if it is just another dust collector...no point.....

We mainly stay in more populated areas closer to cell phone coverage.....my initial thought was to get it when cellphone service is not available.......

Your call and tolerance for risk...

Good luck....
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