Garmin inreach mini

Fadetoblack188

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Jan 14, 2020
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Thinking about ordering a garmin inreach mini.

what are your thoughts? I do a lot of off shore fishing where service is non existent for sending a text if needed.

also would be good for when I head out west.

how about the color? Haha I don’t love the orange. I guess it’s easier to see then black but could put one of the colored silicone skins on it when in woods

thanks
 

BBob

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Jun 29, 2020
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Southern AZ
They aren't perfect but work well. Mine gets clipped into whatever pack I grab and goes with me anytime I leave the truck. IMO It's just about a must to pair it with the Garmin Earthmate APP if you want to text with it. Trying to text without the APP isn't really feasible for regular comms. If you are fine with sending the pre-programmed mesages then you can skip the app. I don't like bright objects either but after many years of hard-headedness I finally realized bright objects like orange buried in the pack are easier to find and get lost less often. If you do some searches you'll find many discussions on the Mini and other brands.

Add: I don't use the GPS functions for much of anything day to day, I use onX and Gaia for that.
 
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BBob

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The Earthamate app makes texting pretty easy. The app has mapping and other features like weather. I have never had an issue pairing the unit with iOS. A friend uses Android and he's never said anything bad so I assume it's fine there.
 

chukwithak

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Oct 15, 2020
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I love the mini. It's a reliable source of communication and and EXCELLENT "Oh shit" SOS source. I've been using it for years now and dont go in the mountains without it. I dont always use it, but it's a piece of mind and easily rechargeable if needed. I'm currently considering the Montana version for GPS purposes too and to save the battery on my phone. The other nice thing about it that GPS mapping from phone/tablet devices can piggy back the GPS location from the inreach.

I went orange to make it easy to find if I drop it for some reason.
 

StinkyPete

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I know this is a bit of reviving a quiet thread, but a few of my buddies had a very, very bad experience with the InReach Mini's SOS button on two different devices last year where there was almost a fatality. After that, our whole group uses the InReach Mini for the texting (is great for that) and tracking but use a dedicated COSPAS/SARSAT device for the SOS function. 50/50 split of guys using the ResQLink and the RescueMe.

I was not there but have now heard the story from the guys several times and it's a trip I have been on with them before. A few of my friends were freediving/spearfishing carp on a river in a well populated canyon. One of the guys was dispatching a fish with his knife and the blade slipped out , dug into his leg and nicked his femoral artery. Fortunately, one of the guys on the trip is a paramedic and used his thumb and a lot of pressure to save the guy's life.

Point of the story is that they had an InReach Mini with them and used the SOS button in the canyon...It did not connect and they left the device there to keep trying. That guy then paddled down to try to find help, found a group of kayakers and used their InReach Mini's SOS button. It also did not work so he then ran up the canyon wall with their device and used the device's SOS button AGAIN, and after about 15 minutes it sent a response back to contact the local ranger station with their phone number. Fortunately, he brought a cell phone up, had enough service to call, and the cavalry came out on powerboats. An arterial stitch and several internal stitches later, he's good as new. My buddy who used the devices called their support about it after the trip to figure out why that happened and they gave him the run-around about why it did not get help.

With that said, I still use the InReach Mini to check in with the wife while I'm out adventuring, but I'm now using the ResQLink for my SOS button.
 

Dos Perros

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Lenexa, KS
I've had spotty comm in heavy timber, and when I was butted up against a steep face that blocked half the sky. I could see how being in a canyon could cause issues.

Is the technology in the ResQLink and the RescueMe much different than the Garmin?
 

Vandy321

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CO
I've had spotty comm in heavy timber, and when I was butted up against a steep face that blocked half the sky. I could see how being in a canyon could cause issues.

Is the technology in the ResQLink and the RescueMe much different than the Garmin?
406mhz to the SARSAT network (PLB) is a much much lower frequency than In-Reach transmits to its Iridium in (606 to 1610 or so) , so the PLB (406mhz) is generally going to be MUCH better at transmitting through cover and foliage that the In-Reach. The higher frequency waves will reflect off trees/branches etc much easier than lower freq waves...thus why they have a bit more trouble in deep cover.

Neither will be great in a canyon...they do after all need to have LoS to a satellite.

406mhz devices are great...but you won't be able to communicate with any of them, beacon only.
 
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dla

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Jan 3, 2019
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Oregon & Idaho
I know this is a bit of reviving a quiet thread, but a few of my buddies had a very, very bad experience with the InReach Mini's SOS button on two different devices last year where there was almost a fatality. After that, our whole group uses the InReach Mini for the texting (is great for that) and tracking but use a dedicated COSPAS/SARSAT device for the SOS function. 50/50 split of guys using the ResQLink and the RescueMe.

I was not there but have now heard the story from the guys several times and it's a trip I have been on with them before. A few of my friends were freediving/spearfishing carp on a river in a well populated canyon. One of the guys was dispatching a fish with his knife and the blade slipped out , dug into his leg and nicked his femoral artery. Fortunately, one of the guys on the trip is a paramedic and used his thumb and a lot of pressure to save the guy's life.

Point of the story is that they had an InReach Mini with them and used the SOS button in the canyon...It did not connect and they left the device there to keep trying. That guy then paddled down to try to find help, found a group of kayakers and used their InReach Mini's SOS button. It also did not work so he then ran up the canyon wall with their device and used the device's SOS button AGAIN, and after about 15 minutes it sent a response back to contact the local ranger station with their phone number. Fortunately, he brought a cell phone up, had enough service to call, and the cavalry came out on powerboats. An arterial stitch and several internal stitches later, he's good as new. My buddy who used the devices called their support about it after the trip to figure out why that happened and they gave him the run-around about why it did not get help.

With that said, I still use the InReach Mini to check in with the wife while I'm out adventuring, but I'm now using the ResQLink for my SOS button.
Bad logic.

How do you know the ResQLink works in the canyon? (Correct answer: you don't)

If I read your post correctly "it" (the 2nd mini), received a response to call the ranger station? That certainly doesn't make any sense as formerly GEOS is supposed to contact the appropriate SAR for your area. Something is fishy with your story.

And this how FUD starts. A partially correct story is posted on a forum by a drive-by "member". Then the gullible prattle like turkeys and repeat their new information every chance they get.
 
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TTT

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Jan 24, 2020
Messages
152
Location
Oklahoma
Thinking about ordering a garmin inreach mini.

what are your thoughts? I do a lot of off shore fishing where service is non existent for sending a text if needed.

also would be good for when I head out west.

how about the color? Haha I don’t love the orange. I guess it’s easier to see then black but could put one of the colored silicone skins on it when in woods

thanks
Same question came up for one of the guys on our upcoming extended offshore trip. He wants to be reachable when his grandchild is born. Can any of the inreach devices be set to check for messages frequently, perhaps every 10 min, over a 3-5 day period? We will have at least 5 powerbanks between the group, so recharging would not be an issue.
 

StinkyPete

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Joined
Oct 22, 2016
Messages
11
Location
Bay Area, CA
Bad logic.

How do you know the ResQLink works in the canyon? (Correct answer: you don't)

If I read your post correctly "it" (the 2nd mini), received a response to call the ranger station? That certainly doesn't make any sense as formerly GEOS is supposed to contact the appropriate SAR for your area. Something is fishy with your story.

And this how FUD starts. A partially correct story is posted on a forum by a drive-by "member". Then the gullible prattle like turkeys and repeat their new information every chance they get.
Hm. Well, I can appreciate a snippy response against a new poster as much as the next guy, and I can certainly agree with a few points here, namely that we don't know if the ResQLink would have worked since they only had the InReach Mini on hand and that SAR should have come out.

Since you did make some valid points, I went ahead and called two of the members from the trip, namely the paramedic and the diver who used the InReach Minis. The guy who used the Garmins said that the first one in the canyon got the response "SOS in Progress" on the screen and that it never changed from that screen or confirmed anything went out. With the second device, the same thing happened, but once he was able to get up the canyon wall, the device sent, and the response that eventually came back was to call the emergency services and it gave them the contact number. He called with the cell phone, and Rescue Group came in.

The paramedic spoke with the rescue team while the transfer to the power boats was happening and during the ride out, and they said that they get false alarms with some frequency, so when possible, they try to get groups to confirm that it is a real emergency. The response from the paramedic then being "if we had a working phone, why the f**k would we have used the Garmin instead of just calling?" That got him a shrug.

When the guy who used the Minis called customer service about it, the response he got after some verbal sparring is that their job is to connect with the emergency services group, and that by contacting them, they did their job and they have no responsibility for the rest of it.

Hopefully that can clarify any confusion there. Happy to continue the dialogue with the guys.

I wouldn't say it's so much FUD as it is YMMV with the SOS tech and the Garmin isn't perfect.

Lastly, in terms of the signal going out, my guess is that, like mentioned above by Vandy123, odds are that the PLB's would work better. In addition, the SOS on those devices is one way, so there is no "send us a message again to clarify status" possibility, so one would think that that would mean they come out. But, like you said, this is purely speculation.
 
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Vandy321

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Hm. Well, I can appreciate a snippy response against a new poster as much as the next guy, and I can certainly agree with a few points here, namely that we don't know if the ResQLink would have worked since they only had the InReach Mini on hand and that SAR should have come out.

Since you did make some valid points, I went ahead and called two of the members from the trip, namely the paramedic and the diver who used the InReach Minis. The guy who used the Garmins said that the first one in the canyon got the response "SOS in Progress" on the screen and that it never changed from that screen or confirmed anything went out. With the second device, the same thing happened, but once he was able to get up the canyon wall, the device sent, and the response that eventually came back was to call the emergency services and it gave them the contact number. He called with the cell phone, and Rescue Group came in.

The paramedic spoke with the rescue team while the transfer to the power boats was happening and during the ride out, and they said that they get false alarms with some frequency, so when possible, they try to get groups to confirm that it is a real emergency. The response from the paramedic then being "if we had a working phone, why the f**k would we have used the Garmin instead of just calling?" That got him a shrug.

When the guy who used the Minis called customer service about it, the response he got after some verbal sparring is that their job is to connect with the emergency services group, and that by contacting them, they did their job and they have no responsibility for the rest of it.

Hopefully that can clarify any confusion there. Happy to continue the dialogue with the guys.

I wouldn't say it's so much FUD as it is YMMV with the SOS tech and the Garmin isn't perfect.

Lastly, in terms of the signal going out, my guess is that, like mentioned above by Vandy123, odds are that the PLB's would work better. In addition, the SOS on those devices is one way, so there is no "send us a message again to clarify status" possibility, so one would think that that would mean they come out. But, like you said, this is purely speculation.
If true, that's total BS on garmin to send you a text to call your own rescue. The whole point of the paid InReach service and SOS is to be able to get help OUTSIDE of cell service.

Not sure I buy the story the guys told you...but, glad I sold InReach if that is true.
 
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dla

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Oregon & Idaho
Thank you for filling in the missing information.

The problem was the Park Service - not Garmin. And you guys should've checked out the Park Service approach to emergency services before your trip.

How would the park service have handled a call from USMCC? (initiated by triggering the ResQlink) in fact, how would they handle any one-way signaling system? I suspect they have this all printed up for rafters and comes with the permit.

SAR is a wildcard and it is important to check them out ahead of time.

Edit: I guessed you were in the Grand Canyon, so I looked up their approach to emergency response. They want you to carry a satellite phone - they say nothing about support for other signaling systems.
 
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StinkyPete

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Oct 22, 2016
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Bay Area, CA
On one hand, I agree with the above that the Park Service sh*t the bed, but the consumer PAYS EACH MONTH for the ability to have their SOS work, so GEOS should do more than pass along a message and wipe their hands.

I believe the full story these guys told me since I have known them a long, long time and they're not much for wild exaggeration.

On the other hand, I think there is also something to be said for 1-way vs 2-way communication on these PLB's vs the InReach type devices. In popular areas like where this trip happened, and with rangers who may be asleep behind the wheel, I think it could be the difference between "well, they can send and receive messages, so make them verify first" or, "well, we can't message them back, so I guess we have to check it out". Once again, just a guess.

All I know is that if I run into something like what happened to them, both my devices are firing SOS, lol.
 

BBob

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Messages
750
Location
Southern AZ
Same question came up for one of the guys on our upcoming extended offshore trip. He wants to be reachable when his grandchild is born. Can any of the inreach devices be set to check for messages frequently, perhaps every 10 min, over a 3-5 day period? We will have at least 5 powerbanks between the group, so recharging would not be an issue.

Checking for Messages​

Your device listens for new messages at regular listen intervals. Satellites announce recently sent messages, and your device receives the message at the next listen interval. The device will listen for 10 minutes after you send a message, and then again every hour.

NOTE: Your device must be in view of a satellite at the time of the listen to receive messages.

You can force a check for messages by manually checking for messages, sending a message, or sending a track point. During a check, your device connects to satellites and receives messages waiting to be sent to your device.


Messages Settings​

From the main menu, select Setup > Messages.

Ring Until Read

Sets the device to ring until you read a new message. This feature is helpful if you are in a noisy environment.

Adaptive Mail Check
When this setting is enabled, the device listens more frequently for a reply to a sent message for ten minutes. If the recipient replies quickly, you can receive the reply before the next scheduled listen interval. This setting is always enabled on consumer and professional flex accounts. On byte-based plans, it can be disabled to reduce battery consumption.
 

Vandy321

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CO
I called GEOS to run that story by them...this was tye response I got. No where in their SOP does it say they ask the user to do anything but reply on the device with nature of the emergency if able.

Screenshot_20210618-173954_Yahoo Mail.jpg
 
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