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Posted: 8/9/2018 10:23:50 PM EDT
I'm heading out west in Oct for a solo Antelope hunt in Montana. A GPS locator is a must in my mind before I go. In my younger days I would've headed out into areas with no cell reception without a thought in the world, but at 32 and a career in emergency services I know the bad shit that can happen when you are way out of the way. I figure a good GPS messenger is a wise investment at this point.

I wanted to go through the pros and cons and see if anyone had any thoughts.

Garmin InReach Explorer
https://explore.garmin.com/en-US/inreach/

Pros-
Functions as a GPS with moving map display as well as a GPS messenger/emergency locator.
I wouldn't have to carry a separate handheld GPS, it would effectively replace my Garmin 62s (which has been awesome btw)
Being able to text friends is a huge plus. I can ask for help without sending the cavalry in situations that are emergent but not worth the 10k bill of a true emergency response (stuck truck, etc)

Cons-
Battery life- If I am using it as a GPS, I am probably going to burn through battery pretty quick. I would probably run out of battery when I really needed it knowing me.
Subscription- Not a huge deal, they have month to moth subscriptions. Just an added expense.

SPOT X messenger
https://www.findmespot.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=5&products_id=49

Pros-
Mostly the same as the Garmin, minus GPS moving map display
Slightly better battery life than the Garmin

Cons-
Would have to carry a separate GPS
Subscription required as well

ResQlink
https://www.acrartex.com/products/resqlink-plb

Pros-
No subscription
Extremely long battery life

Cons-
All or nothing. If I get my truck stuck and use it I'm in for a huge bill. No messaging.

Right now I am leaning Garmin. It's the most expensive, but I like having one device to keep track of. My biggest worry is the battery life issue. It's a built in rechargeable battery, so carrying spares isn't an issue. I guess using a portable charger is an option?

In for any details, experience or recommendation.
Link Posted: 8/9/2018 11:53:02 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/10/2018 1:21:41 AM EDT
My father uses a Garmin in reach to text me from the back country, it works great. Used to use a spot when they first came out. Was fine too.

That being said.. GARMIN. Last summer my father used his Garmin to have me kick of a search and rescue and for me to act as the liaison between the hikers in the back country and the rangers leading up the SAR operation as they were doing their thing. The garmin had excellent battery life and no issues connecting with satellites and was extremely reliable when it was needed.

The incident lasted three days, and hours before they launched an all out operation the morning of the third day he self rescued.(old man had a senior moment in the back country compounded by a head injury) The garmin did its thing.
Link Posted: 8/10/2018 1:49:23 AM EDT
Garmin also just came out with an InReach mini. That + dedicated GPS or inReach + Goalzero if you are concerned about battery life.

I have used the inReach explorer+ and it works great.
Link Posted: 8/10/2018 4:48:27 AM EDT
I go solo backpacking quite often and my GF doesn't like it so I use the spot GPS. It works if you keep it updated and it is good for check ins etc.

I recently purchased a Ping device which i have been testing. It isn't as fast to pick up location like the Spot but it is 1/10th the size. I can track it in my car inside a parking garage. Two things I do not like about the Ping is it forces one to use the App for any function and the proprietary charging cable.

Both work well and I am happy with both.
Link Posted: 8/10/2018 10:28:20 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Conju:
Garmin also just came out with an InReach mini. That + dedicated GPS or inReach + Goalzero if you are concerned about battery life.

I have used the inReach explorer+ and it works great.
View Quote
I've been giving serious consideration to the mini, I like everything but the price
This guy did a good review of the mini's features:

Garmin InReach Mini Satellite Communicator In-Depth Review
Link Posted: Today 9:30:14 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Conju:
Garmin also just came out with an InReach mini. That + dedicated GPS or inReach + Goalzero if you are concerned about battery life.

I have used the inReach explorer+ and it works great.
View Quote
I’ve been using the mini for about a month now.

Any of the devices using the iridium satellites needs a clear line of sight to the satellites. That’s pretty much the big limitation. Most of my hikes are with a heavy canopy and it can be spotty in its 10 minute pings. Messages don’t send instantly.

It’s good piece of mind for loved ones. The big reason I got one was so I could stay out longer without people at home worrying.
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