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Old 09-14-2018, 11:27 AM   #1
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New SAT toy....

Had an older SPOT device which I used to use in the backcountry as a simple hey I am here and oh crap I need help device. A little piece of mind. Went to reactivate it and then saw the new Spot-X. Read a few reviews and then decided on the Garmin Inreach Mini


https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/592606


350 for the device and 33 to set up with the cheapest yearly plan. Got 5 extra texts per month when I activated it, so that was cool. 12/mo plan. The best thing is it integrates really nicely with my iphone. The earthmate app downloaded a basic map of North America and then a high res map of California and I suspect it would do the same if I enter another state. The app works with my phone when I am in cell range and the map seems much better than your standard google or apple map.



The biggest thing for me is the two way texting from the Sat. Worked well in my back yard last night and you can type from your cell phone when paired. You can send presets from the device as well as type out custom but it's a tad cloogey. But it works!! i head out with my 5 year old boys and so I will teach them to use the SOS just in case.



The unit is tiny and very well thought out. A little funny to use but fairly intuitive. Good purchase for the piece of mind. Although I hear rumblings of a better Sat network going in and would certainly upgrade to a full phone when prices are a tad better.


Cheers. Thought some might find this useful. Will report back with functionality on the road.
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Old 09-14-2018, 11:52 AM   #2
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I have the SPOT, too. I have been debating about getting something like this.



Interested to hear how it goes!!
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Old 09-14-2018, 11:56 AM   #3
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I will be purchasing a satellite phone here very shortly. They are not cheap (about $800 for the first year and $55/mo after), but the ability to call for help off the grid is essential. I have an insurance policy through Reach Air Med that will cover medivac services as long as you can call for help. I don't consider something like this optional for the types of offroading activies we regularly do.

https://satellitephonestore.com/cata...-phone-kit-322

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Old 09-14-2018, 12:45 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by REDOVAL View Post
I will be purchasing a satellite phone here very shortly. They are not cheap (about $800 for the first year and $55/mo after), but the ability to call for help off the grid is essential. I have an insurance policy through Reach Air Med that will cover medivac services as long as you can call for help. I don't consider something like this optional for the types of offroading activies we regularly do.

https://satellitephonestore.com/cata...-phone-kit-322

Scott



I went back and forth with just getting the phone and totally agree. This thing seems to be a happy medium. When Sat phones come down, and I think they will, my next device will be full on. Two way texts and a very simple SOS alert is pretty darn good. Bluetooth to my iphone with sat navigation.....not too shabby. We are pretty basic and never that far out....yet...


Cheers
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Old 09-14-2018, 01:38 PM   #5
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When I'm hunting or fishing by myself or in the backcountry even with others, I carry an ACR Resqlink personal locator beacon. It doesn't have any text or voice capability, but it will get you found if you really need to be. There is no service fee, so the only cost is the initial outlay for the unit. You register the beacon with NOAA.gov, and only activate it in an emergency. It gives Mrs. V (and me) some peace of mind when I'm out in the middle of nowhere.
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Old 09-15-2018, 07:41 PM   #6
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I have been using the Garmin Mini now since it was introduced earlier this year.Prior to that I was using the Delorme (Garmin)Explorer.I am on the trails a lot by myself and it definitely gives piece of mind to my wife as there have been times when it has definitely come in useful.
I am on a plan that is $25 a month which gives you 40 texts I think and tracks every 10 minutes.
It works out well as I am able to send a link to family members around the world
,where they are able to track me.
Have been very happy with the product and have been using them for a couple of years now.The only reason I changed to the Mini is the fact that it is smaller and fits in my running vest better.The drawback there is that it is rated for 50 hours where the Explorer is 100 hours.
I still have the Explorer and was going to put it on Ebay but if interested pm me as I would rather sell it to a forum member.Just be aware though that it does not work unless you sign up and join a plan.
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Old 09-15-2018, 09:18 PM   #7
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We have the Delorme now Garmin inReach. It was great for sending text messages to the spouses and significant others on three week Arizona and Mexico trip. The S and Sís really appreciated following along with our route on the InReach map that showed our route and breadcrumbs.
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Old 09-17-2018, 11:15 AM   #8
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Mini worked amazingly well over the weekend. It's functionality when paired with the iphone and the eathmate app is well worth the extra 100 bucks over the spot-x. Maps are pretty great on the iphone but lack elevation numbers. There might be even higher resolution that what I have though. As a standalone device it's exactly what I need to make sure I can get out of a jam. You can text through the app straight from your phone and it tells you when the message went out. With the mini on and looking at sky, you can do everything straight from your phone. Really nice little device. Battery life is tough though. If I was in the backcountry I would adjust the settings and certainly keep it off and definitely have a backup charger.


Great piece of mind when bushwhacking out of cell range with the kids in the sierras.
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Old 09-17-2018, 02:59 PM   #9
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I went from SPOT to inReach back in '13 after getting stuck and needing help but not SOS type of help. Sent the SPOT message to eddywife and she called the appropriate county sheriff's office to send the sheriff on a good will check up. Dispatcher was told not emergency but also asked if I had any heart conditions which I do but minor and not an issue that date. Anyway... ambulance and fire rescue dispatched to help and thankfully they got the ambulance turned around half way there and I got pulled out of the mud with a tow strap. Got an inReach right after that and never looked back.

Wifey uses it on her solo backpacking trips and keeps in touch and even had to have me come and extract her as she got really sick. Great to have real time texts and be able to set up a meet up point for that one. Another time she said she was craving a burger and I met her next day in the van and had a BBQ with beers all set up when she showed up. Nice surprise.

SPOT-X is having a lot of issues right now per other forums but they are working on it. The fact that you can pair your phone to the inReach is awesome as the unit's keyboard function is not QWERTY which is a royal pain to me. Using the phone side by side is awesome. YMMV
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Old 09-17-2018, 03:05 PM   #10
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... Another time she said she was craving a burger and I met her next day in the van and had a BBQ with beers all set up when she showed up. Nice surprise...
Husband of the year, right there. Nice move!


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