Whether you’re out backpacking through the wilderness by yourself or headed out on the trail with a group of friends for an afternoon, communication and the ability to call for help is extremely important for not only your safety, but the peace of mind of your loved ones. One of the more popular devices for this has always been DeLorme’s inReach devices. As one of DeLorme’s bestsellers, inReach provides the ability to not only call for help, but also communicate with others, track your location, and provide peace of mind.
Early last year, Garmin purchased the faltering DeLorme and folded it into Garmin’s expansive GPS empire. And, as with any business acquisition, it shed some doubt on what would happen with DeLorme’s product line. However, fans of DeLorme’s inReach devices will be pleased to hear that Garmin recently introduced two new devices at the 2017 CES. The inReach SE+ and inReach Explorer+ are the first Garmin devices with satellite communication technology, courtesy of DeLorme.
Similar to previous inReach devices, the inReach SE+ and inReach Explorer+ both are able to send (and receive) text messages to any cell phone, as well as email and other inReach devices, whether or not there is adequate cell reception. The devices also feature a range of other safety features including high sensitivity GPS with basic navigation, location, and tracking data so users can drop waypoints, and navigate routes. It also allows for location sharing and SOS emergency communication with GEOS, a search and rescue organization. Importantly, users can communicate back and forth with GEOS to notify personnel about the situation and hear when help is on the way.
Additionally, both devices are compatible with the MapShare program which sends trip data and location information to friends and family at preselected intervals, allowing loved ones to follow along with the trip. The devices also support the Earthmate app, which provides access to unlimited maps, aerial images, U.S. NOAA charts, and USGS Quad Sheets for free. Hunting and weather information is also available for a small fee.
Both devices are impact resistant and have an IPX7 rating, which means that they are waterproof, but not dust proof. The device batteries are expected to last around 100 hours (about 4 days) in tracking mode, and around a month in power saving mode.
As is standard with these kinds of devices, the main communication use of the device requires a subscription. Users can set up a monthly or annual payment depending on how often the device will be used. Annual payments range from $11.95 – $79.95 per month (plus activation fee) while monthly plans range from $14.95 – $99.95 per month.
From what I can see, the primary difference between the inReach SE+ and the inReach Explorer+ is that the Explorer+ features more navigation options incluidng prelaoded DeLorme topographic maps, a built-in digital compass, barometric altimeter, and accelerometer, which would make tracks and navigation even simpler, and probably also make the location send to emergency rescue more accurate as well.
Both devices, of course, come with high-sensitivity GPS capabilities, but there is no GLONASS compatibility or anything similar. I couldn’t find whether it had WAAS or anything similar, but I’d think they’d advertise it so I’m going to say likely not.
The Garmin inReach SE+ and the inReach Explorer+ are not released yet, but should be sometime in the first quarter (which means anytime between now and the end of March). There isn’t a specified date set yet. The inReach SE+ is expected to retail for $399.99 and the inReach Explorer+ will be just a little more at $449.99. Personally, it seems to me like the $50 would be well worth the money, considering the additional hardware that you get out of it, but I suppose that depends on what you would be using it for.