The Garmin inReach mobile GPS units have been a staple of hikers, cyclists and adventure off-roaders for years. And now Garmin has expanded the inReach product line by taking key features of the SE+/Explorer+ and packing it into a smaller, lightweight and exceptionally rugged package with the Garmin inReach Mini.
The inReach Mini features a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery that provides up to 50 hours of battery life when set in the 10 minute tracking mode, 20 days in the 30 minute interval power save mode, and one year when powered off. Weighing in a a pint size 3.5 ounces in a 4X2″ frame – the Mini is the perfect size for clipping to exterior pack pockets, accessory loops or securing easily within your vehicle. Built to MIL-STD-810F means that this pint size hero is water rated to IPX7, and the .9x.9 inch sunlight readable E-ink screen means that it is ultra-low power consumption and is legible in all conditions.
inReach Mini Functionality vs SE+/Explorer+
You can still send two-way text messages over the global Iridium satellite network, access downloadable maps and color arial photography, and plot your route via pairing of the Mini with the Earthmate app. Garmin’s optional inReach weather forecast service also provides detailed updates to ever changing weather conditions in the wild, and can be connected to Garmin smart watches, wearables and other handheld devices.
One of the main drawbacks with the smaller size means a bare minimum display screen. If you’re looking for a standalone unit, the larger SE+/Explorer+ and their full color display screens are for you. The functionality of the + units is clunky but does have small keyboard and nav controls built in. The inReach Mini user interface is dependent on pairing up to the Earthmate app on your smartphone, so an in vehicle setup that includes a mount for your phone or iPad is necessary. (We highly recommend the Ram Mount X-Grip.)
Safety & Peace of Mind +
The most important carry over is Garmin’s mission critical main feature – the ability to trigger an SOS to 24/7 search and rescue teams. The satellite service emergency plan ensures that if the situation turns sour, you have help on hand. And with a delivery confirmation – you know that help is on the way.
Note: The SOS feature requires their subscription service. Subscription plans range in price from $14.95-$99.95/month with additional discounts when purchased annually. The monthly subscription is easily turned off and on before and after your travels.
If you are interested in the new Garmin inReach Mini, they are available in orange or black and can be had for $349.99 USD plus satellite subscription plan.
Written by Will Marshal with contributions by Corrie Murgia
Photos by Barry J. Holmes