Garmin Inreach Mini

Discussion in 'Communication & Navigation' started by CV Kurt, May 11, 2018.

  1. CV Kurt

    CV Kurt

    Messages:
    343
    Likes Received:
    91
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Location:
    Carson Valley, Nevada
    I've been looking at getting a 2-way satellite messenger for a while now... but didn't like the bulk/weight of the Garmin InReach SE+/Explorer+ models or even the older DeLorme models. I wanted something that was small/light enough that I'd have little excuse to leave it behind while fly fishing and wanted a good IPX rating. Of course, needs to have enough battery for a long day out. Pairing with my GPS-less iPad would be a nice plus.

    Garmin has now come thru with a mini version! Lists for $350. Introducing inReach® Mini from Garmin® - Garmin Blog

    Got my pre-order in... should arrive in time for my next native trout hunt (4 days in Elko County, NV). I'll write up a field review afterwards.

    Edit: Review below
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2018 at 9:42 AM
    ewillis, NateMob, LC4LIFE and 2 others like this.
  2. Dharma Dude

    Dharma Dude

    Messages:
    319
    Likes Received:
    143
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2016
    Location:
    Palo Alto, California
    I have the old DeLorme InReach model. It's been a great device! The mini looks even better. Hope to hear about your experience soon.
     
  3. CV Kurt

    CV Kurt

    Messages:
    343
    Likes Received:
    91
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Location:
    Carson Valley, Nevada
    My mini finally arrived a couple of days ago... So far, I'm quite happy with it. However, I have yet to use it in field conditions, nor have I learned how to use all of its functions. I have a few excursions planned over the next month and will write a full field review afterwards.
     
    Dharma Dude likes this.
  4. CV Kurt

    CV Kurt

    Messages:
    343
    Likes Received:
    91
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Location:
    Carson Valley, Nevada
    Just returned from Knott Creek Reservoir... my first field use of the Mini. Tracking updates while driving, whether on highway or off, were uploaded fine with the mini setting on the dash. On the way home, I left in the center console where it worked so long as nothing was covering it (as expected). Sending preset messages from the mini itself is quite easy. Confirmation was given generally within a few seconds. Sent one custom message to everyone's spouses (8 in total, we had a large group) using my paired iPhone. Here the hardest thing was getting all the phone numbers/email addresses into my iPhone contact list. The Earthmate app itself is easy to use. In addition to using it to send the custom message, we used it a bit for off the grid navigation... where it worked just as well as apps I regularly use for this purpose. My wife liked having MapShare to check up on my whereabouts. The terrain on this outing was quite open... no deep canyons, no dense forests.

    My next outing, into the Jarbidge wilderness solo, should be a more severe test. I'll post a more complete review afterwards.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2018
    DancesWithMutts, Fj81 and Dharma Dude like this.
  5. BMThiker

    BMThiker I aim to misbehave Moderator SILVER Star

    Messages:
    8,438
    Media:
    50
    Albums:
    2
    Likes Received:
    6,996
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    Location:
    Atlanta
    I'm pretty sure the second R in Jarbidge is silent ;) Just ask @FJ60Cam
     
  6. FJ60Cam

    FJ60Cam Supporting Vendor SILVER Star

    Messages:
    8,719
    Likes Received:
    10,167
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    Haha!

    37AAA37F-1851-4F22-850C-0E6A5E3371B6.jpeg
     
  7. CV Kurt

    CV Kurt

    Messages:
    343
    Likes Received:
    91
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Location:
    Carson Valley, Nevada
    Recently got back from my NV native, wild fish hunt... 1500+ miles in White Pine and Elko counties, Nevada; 4 target trout (Bonneville Cutthroat, Yellowstone Cutthroat, Inland Redband, and Bull), lots of two track roads and bush whacking in the wilderness, etc.. This trip included driving, hiking, and fishing is fairly rugged country including river gorges and thick forests.

    When driving on highway, I generally kept the device on my dash. While off-highway, I tended to move it to my center console to keep it from sliding about. Worked fine in both locations. While fishing, I hooked it to my chest pack waist strap. It never got in my way. While hiking about without my chest pack, I clipped it onto a belt hoop. The carabiner is appropriately sized. At 4oz (including carabiner), it's light enough to always have it with you.

    I relied on my Garmin InReach Mini heavily for tracking and 2-way communications. The device worked quite well. GPS acquired lock quickly and maintained it even in the gorges and forests, with track points were uploaded to Garmin's MapShare website in a timely manner. Sent messages were acknowledged quickly.

    I kept the device on a USB charger when in the auto ensuring that I had a good charge for the start of each day. I was able to get 50hr+ (as advertised) of use on a charge with 10 minute tracking interval and 2 minute logging. Once plugged in, it began working immediately (didn't need to wait for some minimum charge level to be obtained). For those going on multi-day hikes, one should use 30-minute tracking in power save mode which should give you up to 20 days of battery life.... and/or carry a suitable USB battery pack.

    I note that if you attempt to send a message before the device acquires GPS lock, it will give you the option to send the message immediately without location or to send it automatically once your location has be determined.

    You can customize the preset messages to meet your needs via the InReach website. I decided, for this trip, to have Okay (moving), Okay (parked), and Caught target fish! with appropriate recipients, whether email addresses, phone numbers for SMS, or MapShare. I used custom messages for messages I'd send less frequently, like "Camping here".

    I didn't have to use the SOS feature... but it was great to know it was there if needed.

    Garmin offers a wide range of plans, including both Annual and Flexible (per Month) ones. Low end annual plan is $12/mo with 10 custom text messages (0.50 for each extra), unlimited presets, and 10+ minute interval tracking at 0.10 each. The next level plan is $25/mo with 40 custom text messages, (0.50 for each extra), unlimited presets, and unlimited 10+ minute interval tracking. I expect to constantly use 10 minute tracking, so I opted for the $25/mo plan. If you didn't use tracking or used it infrequently or at tracking at a greater interval, you likely could get away with the cheaper plan.

    The Flexible are a bit more expensive per month and require an annual $25 fee, but if you only use the device a few months per year, they'd be cheaper. For instance, a cheap ("Safety") annual plan is going to run you $180 for the year. If you use the device only 10 months of the year, you'd save a few bucks by switching to a flexible plan. If you used it only for half the year, the savings would be more significant. For the "Recreation" plan, if you use it 8 months or more, the Annual plan is cheaper.

    I fish every month... often solo and out of cell phone coverage. I don't want to think about wether I currently have active service. So, for me, the annual Recreation plan best fits my usage. $300 per year is pretty cheap price to pay for my wife's peace of mind.

    I recommend the Garmin InReach Mini to anyone who spends significant time outdoors without cell phone coverage.
     
    db3, RTaylor and Dharma Dude like this.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.