Garmin inReach Mini Review

Whether you’re hunting, fishing or backpacking, you’ll want to see this Garmin inReach Mini review. This satellite messenger is one of the best on the market and could save your life or someone one you know someday.

Why do I Need A Satellite Messenger?

We all think we’re invincible but the older we get the more we realize that’s not even close to true. I have been in many close calls in the last 30 years or more, including nearly getting bit by a large rattlesnake and a water moccasin, plus nearly getting altitude sickness high up in the Rocky Mountains when no one was withing 2 miles of me. Do I need to say more?

Rattlesnake

Now, I never leave home without a satellite messenger when heading outdoors when I hunt, fish or go for a hike.

Garmin inReach Mini Features

  • 2-Way Messenger
  • Maps
  • Waypoints
  • Tracking
  • S.O.S.
  • Weather
  • Global, Pole to Pole Satellite Coverage
  • Navigation
  • P.C. Map for Planning Your Trip
  • Earthmate App

What I Like Most

My favorite things about the Garmin inReach Mini satellite messenger is having the map displayed on my smartphone, setting up my trail and waypoints at home before hitting the trail, the 2-way messaging and having the SOS button at my finger tips.

Initially I thought I would like the Garmin inReach Explorer+ better as you don’t have to rely on having it synced to your smartphone to use the maps, however, as I started using both of them, I realized I love having the larger maps displayed on my smartphone, plus being able to message people just I would text them when in cell service. The convenience of having the small satellite messenger, that I don’t even realize is on my pack, plus being able to use my cell phone as I would when back home makes using this messenger extremely easy.

Garmin inReach Mini

The battery lasts for weeks, as long as don’t have tracking turned on, so it’s really easy to leave it on my pack and then turn it on when I get to the trail, then the Garmin Mini automatically syncs with my smartphone, and then I’m off on the trail.

Convenience is the word, because we all know how hard it is to get use to using new technology and having the Mini synced to my smartphone takes all the stress out of using it.

Topo Maps

The maps are really easy to use and there is a lot of useful information when you’re out in the mountains. Take a look at several of these screen shots.

Here is a screen shot that shows the route I created, the trailhead, a waypoint at the river and some tracks laid down near the beginning of the trail.

Earthmate App - Topo Map

This screen capture is of a trail with tracking turned on.

Earthmate App with Tracking

This last screenshot is of several trails, one with a route and multiple waypoints setup for several hikes I went on.

Earthmate App Routes and Waypoints

2-Way Messaging

The 2-way messaging is something I really like having but initially I thought I would hate it because people would always bother me when I’m out in the mountains, but that has turned out to not be true. The messaging has been a powerful tool as our team can stay in contact with each other when we split up. See one of the screenshots below.

2-Way Messaging

One important thing to remember is that you need to test the messaging out before heading into the mountains. You need to be comfortable with how the messaging works, do you have all the contacts you need in the satellite messenger and have you tested sending messages between different types of messengers, if some of your team members are using other brands.

S.O.S. Function

I have left the SOS function to the end but it is really the most important aspect of having a satellite messenger. You can see the SOS door on the side of the device. You open that up and depress the button for 3 seconds or more and help will be on the way.Garmin inReach Mini SOS Button

After you send the SOS message, they will contact you with a message and you can then give them more information about your emergency.Garmin inReach Mini SOS

You will also be able to see the messages and respond on your smartphone if it’s synced. Garmin uses the Iridium Satellite Network, that offers global, pole to pole coverage.

Final Thoughts

Rick Belden with Garmin inReach Mini

This Garmin inReach Mini is my favorite satellite messenger and I have bought seven of them and field tested all of them. I have spent more then 30 years on adventures in the outdoors and never had a satellite messenger, but I never leave home without mine these days.

I highly recommend you research these and get one to help you keep safe and have a greater peace of mind when you head outside.

See the YouTube video below.

Garmin inReach Mini, Lightweight and Compact Handheld Satellite Communicator, Orange Bundle with Garmin Backpack Tether Accessory for Garmin Devices
24 Reviews
Garmin inReach Mini, Lightweight and Compact Handheld Satellite Communicator, Orange Bundle with Garmin Backpack Tether Accessory for Garmin Devices
  • Product 1: Small, rugged, lightweight satellite communicator enables two way text messaging using the 100 percentage global Iridium¬†network (satellite subscription required)
  • Product 1: Trigger an interactive SOS to the 24/7 search and rescue monitoring center (satellite subscription required)
  • Product 1: Access downloadable maps, U.S. NOAA charts, color aerial imagery and more by using the free Garmin Earthmate app and compatible¬†devices
  • Product 1: Optional inReach weather forecast service provides detailed updates directly to your inReach Mini or paired device; basic and premium weather packages available
  • Product 2: Backpack Tether
  • Product 2: Durable nylon harness wrap

This product was presentation was made with AAWP plugin.

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Garmin inReach Mini

9.1

World Wide Coverage

10.0/10

2-Way Messaging

10.0/10

Navigation

8.0/10

Tracking & Sharing

10.0/10

Initial Cost & Subscription

7.5/10

Pros

  • Compact & Lightweight
  • Global Satellite Network
  • SOS Distress Call
  • 2-Way Messaging
  • Weather Forecasts

Cons

  • Must be Synced to See Maps
  • Initial Purchase Price
  • Shorter Battery Life than Explorer+

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