For advanced communications and help in no service zones anywhere in the world, the inReach Explorer by DeLorme has you covered.
During months of testing I realized this is the perfect device for me though I may be able to go one level lower to the inReach SE and save a bit of cash ($300 vs. $380 for the Explorer). After connecting with your computer for the initial setup you’ll find most of of the options you need right on the device. That saves the hassle of connecting to your computer and finding WiFi in order to make changes. That’s a smooth feature to have when you want to make a change in the backcountry.
The inReach Explorer has all the bells and whistles you’d expect from an emergency device, and going a even a few steps further with the ability to do some pretty sweet navigating and offline tracking all in the same unit. You’ll find S.O.S., three preset custom messages and tracking built right in.
One of the coolest features that you don’t find in other devices is the ability to actually receive messages via satellite. Whereas most units only send messages DeLorme added the ability for recipients to reply to those messages or to contact you through their website, a handy feature if something goes awry back home and you need to cut a trip short.
Another sweet feature is the ability to customize your messages on the fly. Other units require you to set those up via your computer before leaving home but the inReach Explorer allows you to type 160 characters from anywhere in the world, albeit through a keyboard you’ll need to access with some old fashioned arrows, finding and clicking on one character at a time. When you’re in the backcountry you’re probably not going to be doing a lot of texting so this is ok.
If that doesn’t sound easy enough, download DeLorme’s Earthmate app to your phone. From there you’ll be back in the familiar comfort of composing a text which is sent through the inReach once connected via bluetooth, from anywhere in the world. Pretty awesome, right?
You can even embed that map within Facebook or another site which ends up looking like this:
Go ahead, click around and try it out.
While the inReach units are more expensive than other devices on the market the piece of mind of knowing that I can receive messages in addition to sending them is worth the additional cost. You’ll find the monthly service plan options are are comparative to other options and allow annual and monthly service with a contract, though you will pay more for the latter option.
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