ACR Bivy Stick vs. Garmin Inreach Mini

GringoBling

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I think I'm going to purchase a satellite communicator soon. I have read reviews and know that the Garmin Inreach Mini is the most widely used device by far. I've been looking at the ACR Bivy Stick, as well. What I like about the Bivy Stick is that I can disable the service without having to pay any fees to reactivate. In reality, I will need the device 1 month in the fall and then probably 2 months in the summer. So maximum of 3 months out of the year only, otherwise I will almost always be close to cell service when I'm in my home state.

Would like to hear pros/cons from those that have used either device (or both).
 

Mighty Mouse

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I have no experience with a Bivy Stick, but FYI the inReach "Freedom" plans are month-to-month ($15-65/mo depending on number of prepaid messages) with no fee to disable/reactivate. There is a $35 fee charged annually regardless of how many months you have an active subscription though.
 

11boo

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I went with the Inreach mini, it was pretty much all Garmin back then. Now you have several choices. I bet more are coming.
my Inreach works as advertised, very well. You would not want to type a message out on it though. Tiny display and 4 buttons. Works well paired with my phone.
 
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GringoBling

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I just now purchased the ACR Bivy Stick. I opted for Bivy because the plans are cheaper and both use the same Iridium satellite. I chatted with an agent online and was able to get the Bivy for $299 with no tax and free shipping. That's about $80 less than the Garmin would cost after taxes. I have a buddy who bought one last fall and was happy with it.
 

280Ackley

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On our elk trip last year, 2 of us had Inreach’s and my buddies father in law had a Bivy stick. Once we left camp at a high my lake, he was not able to get a single message out. Even with the slightest obstruction above him it would not send a message. He ended up returning it after that one trip.
 
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GringoBling

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Thanks for the feedback. I guess I will test it out and if it fails on me, I'll return it.
 

Marble

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Thanks for the feedback. I guess I will test it out and if it fails on me, I'll return it.
And just fyi, you can get them off of Ebay for cheaper, well atleast that's what I did. I bought used.

There is an annual fee and then it's month to month as needed.

Battery lasts days depending on what you do with it.

Clips on my pack and I never know it's there unless I get a message.

Sometimes the pairing and transfer of a received message gets lost in the device to phone transfer, but thata easily solved.

Sent from my SM-G986U using Tapatalk
 

Marble

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Thanks for the feedback. I guess I will test it out and if it fails on me, I'll return it.
So with my mini, in the thick timber it may take awhile for a message to get through. If I have a pretty clear sky it goes through really fast.

Secondarily, the earthmates mapping ap you pair with is actually quite impressive. Between it an OnX we are good.

Sent from my SM-G986U using Tapatalk
 

Vandy321

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The Zoleo, FWIW has zero issues getting/sending messages in steep terrain or heavy cover. Veryucj improved messaging reliability over my precious inReach...not to throw a wrench in the plans, but it's worth adding to the conversation. My inReach gave me fits for 2 years (and my wife on the other end), loved the Zoleo this archery season as my replacement, zero complaints.
 

Joseph Floerke

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I have the in reach mini and it is great. I have seen a few new ones like zoleo. but i like the screen just if my phone fails.
 

Vandy321

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I have the in reach mini and it is great. I have seen a few new ones like zoleo. but i like the screen just if my phone fails.
Can still send canned check-ins and SOS dirwxt from the zoleo...if you're really injured, I doubt you'll be using the text function from the mini inreach device itself either, if phone is broken.

I personally feel more comfortable with the reliability I've seen with zoleo over inreach.

My two cents.
 

Joseph Floerke

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Can still send canned check-ins and SOS dirwxt from the zoleo...if you're really injured, I doubt you'll be using the text function from the mini inreach device itself either, if phone is broken.

I personally feel more comfortable with the reliability I've seen with zoleo over inreach.

My two cents.
Yea texting is difficult without a phone on the in reach.

what reliability issues have you had with the inreach?
 

Vandy321

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Yea texting is difficult without a phone on the in reach.

what reliability issues have you had with the inreach?
Failure to send/receive under moderate cover (aspens and or pine mixed witb bettle kill). Also, even from the tent, the wife would sometime ls not get messages until the following day, causing her some anxiety.

It worried me onnthe chance I ever needed a message from home, family emergency or something. And made me question the reliability of the SOS function.

The zoleo has worked flawlessly in the same locations.
 

Joseph Floerke

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Failure to send/receive under moderate cover (aspens and or pine mixed witb bettle kill). Also, even from the tent, the wife would sometime ls not get messages until the following day, causing her some anxiety.

It worried me onnthe chance I ever needed a message from home, family emergency or something. And made me question the reliability of the SOS function.

The zoleo has worked flawlessly in the same locations.
My dad has a zoleo with him in BC right now i may take it on my deer hunt in Co this year and compare it to my in reach.

How is the Zoleo battery vs the in reach?

Does the app work well with the Zoleo. I find the Garmin app to be junk.
 

Bailer

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Can still send canned check-ins and SOS dirwxt from the zoleo...if you're really injured, I doubt you'll be using the text function from the mini inreach device itself either, if phone is broken.

I personally feel more comfortable with the reliability I've seen with zoleo over inreach.

My
Can still send canned check-ins and SOS dirwxt from the zoleo...if you're really injured, I doubt you'll be using the text function from the mini inreach device itself either, if phone is broken.

I personally feel more comfortable with the reliability I've seen with zoleo over inreach.

My two cents.
Yes, the zoleo has a button to send your check in message and coordinates without the phone. There’s also a button for the sos under a cover so you don’t bump it accidentally.
 

Vandy321

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My dad has a zoleo with him in BC right now i may take it on my deer hunt in Co this year and compare it to my in reach.

How is the Zoleo battery vs the in reach?

Does the app work well with the Zoleo. I find the Garmin app to be junk.
I prefer it in every way over the Garmin, app function, device function, battery life, etc. I never saw less than 90% at the end of a day...charged every night in the tent.
 

Joseph Floerke

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I prefer it in every way over the Garmin, app function, device function, battery life, etc. I never saw less than 90% at the end of a day...charged every night in the tent.
awesome im going to give it a try. Ill probably end up selling my garmin.
 

Venom One

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Pretty good review of satellite messengers here:


Choosing the cheapest option for a life saving piece of gear is an interesting choice IMO. The InReach is far from perfect, but it's ability to send messages, SOS, send tracking updates every 10 min and provide basic navigation makes it the best choice for me. I used to not use the tracking, but realized that if I became disabled somewhere (knocked myself out), the InReach would pinpoint my location without my need to intervene. Now I turn it ON as soon as I leave home.
 

Marble

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Pretty good review of satellite messengers here:


Choosing the cheapest option for a life saving piece of gear is an interesting choice IMO. The InReach is far from perfect, but it's ability to send messages, SOS, send tracking updates every 10 min and provide basic navigation makes it the best choice for me. I used to not use the tracking, but realized that if I became disabled somewhere (knocked myself out), the InReach would pinpoint my location without my need to intervene. Now I turn it ON as soon as I leave home.
That's interesting to think about it that way. I may start doing that.

I know they ( law enforcement) can ping it if you fail to check in and circumstances dictate it. But it would sure be easier for the wife to just look and see what's up.

Sent from my SM-G986U using Tapatalk
 

mtwarden

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Montana
Pretty good review of satellite messengers here:


Choosing the cheapest option for a life saving piece of gear is an interesting choice IMO. The InReach is far from perfect, but it's ability to send messages, SOS, send tracking updates every 10 min and provide basic navigation makes it the best choice for me. I used to not use the tracking, but realized that if I became disabled somewhere (knocked myself out), the InReach would pinpoint my location without my need to intervene. Now I turn it ON as soon as I leave home.

the point about turning it on was driven home this year with the case of a missing hiker in the Beartooths, she had an inReach but turned it on when needed to send messages, the same mo I used to use

she died in a rockslide, so it wouldn't have saved her life, but they would have found her in a day vs weeks

with the inReach on (and not tracking) the battery lasts a looooong time
 
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