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  1. #1
    Registered User kythruhiker's Avatar
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    Default New Garmin InReach Mini Satellite Communicator

    New gadget coming down the pike...


    https://www.dcrainmaker.com/2018/05/...h-review.html/

  2. #2

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    What's the wattage? I don't see that spec listed anywhere. When things go bad, I want wattage.

  3. #3
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    Looks like a great device for someone that wants simple SOS and canned messages only. For me, I really like my Inreach with the integrated on screen GPS and enough buttons to quickly compose text messages. Sure you can use your phone to do it, but with power sometimes a premium I like being able to depend solely on my Garmin. Also, now that Iridium has launched a good number of their next gen satellites I can definitely tell the difference in the speed and reliability of message delivery.

    I have also built a custom application for myself that I can use to get all sorts of data from my Inreach such as more detailed weather, storm locations, weather warnings, river stages, forest fire updates, news, Twitter feeds, ISS flyover info, and even Wikipedia and Wolfram Alpha searches. It really makes the Inreach a much more valuable tool when hiking.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tundracamper View Post
    What's the wattage? I don't see that spec listed anywhere. When things go bad, I want wattage.
    The wattage isn't really as important as the device location. As long as you are outdoors and have an unobstructed view of the sky your message will go through (at least if its anything like my Inreach Explorer+) Tree canopy can affect it somewhat but messages will get through as one of the 66 satellites passes over. I have been able to get messages to go through indoors if I am near a window and from an airplane, but its designed for outdoor use for sure.

  5. #5

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    This looks a lot like an updated version of my original inReach. Same features, and same general form factor. I'm still using my original inReach, and it's really reliable. You can do more than just preset msgs when it's paired with your smartphone.
    Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt, and the forest and field in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul.--Fred Bear

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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adfischer View Post
    The wattage isn't really as important as the device location. As long as you are outdoors and have an unobstructed view of the sky your message will go through (at least if its anything like my Inreach Explorer+) Tree canopy can affect it somewhat but messages will get through as one of the 66 satellites passes over. I have been able to get messages to go through indoors if I am near a window and from an airplane, but its designed for outdoor use for sure.
    I wouldn't agree with that. 5 watts vs 0.5 watts is a big difference. If you want something to communicate, that's great. For me, I want a device for the SHTF situations. Looks like a neat toy, though.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tundracamper View Post
    I wouldn't agree with that. 5 watts vs 0.5 watts is a big difference. If you want something to communicate, that's great. For me, I want a device for the SHTF situations. Looks like a neat toy, though.
    I would certainly agree with you when you are talking about communications with LMR (land mobile radio), especially in areas with lots of obstructions. But with Iridium, you are communicating between the device and satellites 485 miles up with little to no obstructions. The design is to use enough power for reliable communications but also maximize battery life. Iíve sent thousands of messages on mine and I can assure you they are highly reliable and the output power is ample. Any more power would really just be a waste of battery. It would be like yelling at someone in the room with you when just talking in a normal voice will do.


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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tundracamper View Post
    I wouldn't agree with that. 5 watts vs 0.5 watts is a big difference. If you want something to communicate, that's great. For me, I want a device for the SHTF situations. Looks like a neat toy, though.
    It gets tricky when it comes to digital communications. The likelihood of getting the message onto the satellite is not directly related to transmit power, although it certainly is significant.

    With my InReach I wonder what sort of priority we have on the satellite channel we are using. The other day it took over 90 minutes to get one of the canned messages to send. Never had that happen before. There were no obstructions other than tree cover. InReach was on outside of pack. Was it attempting to transmit over and over, or did it simply take that long before a transmit window was made available to the device?

    A side-by-side comparison of the time to transmit messages from the side of a pack would be great to see. This should be tested in typical hiking conditions, like the sides of mountains where a view to many of the satellites is often obstructed.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adfischer View Post
    [...] I have also built a custom application for myself that I can use to get all sorts of data from my Inreach such as more detailed weather, storm locations, weather warnings, river stages, forest fire updates, news, Twitter feeds, ISS flyover info, and even Wikipedia and Wolfram Alpha searches. It really makes the Inreach a much more valuable tool when hiking.
    Wolfram Alpha searches??? Are you using Lagrange multipliers to optimize your hike or something?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by FreeGoldRush View Post
    .
    With my InReach I wonder what sort of priority we have on the satellite channel we are using. The other day it took over 90 minutes to get one of the canned messages to send. Never had that happen before. .
    Iíve have it take a while when I was hiking through a canyon, but never that long. There has been some Ďholesí in the constellation due to some failed birds in several orbital slots but I believe those have all been filled in with the launch of the NEXT satellites. I know the military is a big user of the system and I would guess they have some priority but Iím not sure they use the SBD (Short Burst Data) protocol the Garmin uses. The SBD service probably has a lower priority than stuff like voice but the network has quite a bit of capacity. If you are in a pretty remote area itís even possible you are the lone user on a spot beam. Iíve used the system during some pretty large disasters where lots of iridium devices are active and have never had a network busy problem.



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    Quote Originally Posted by iAmKrzys View Post
    Wolfram Alpha searches??? Are you using Lagrange multipliers to optimize your hike or something?
    Haha. Iíll have to look into doing that! Wolfram can pull stuff like weather, sunrise and sunset data, gps coordinate conversions, river and flood stages, or even tell you what aircraft are flying overhead if you see something interesting.


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    I think Garmin inReach Mini will give Spot a run for the money. With greater capabilities than Spot and option to get monthly plans it makes so much more sense for people like myself who have maybe 1 or 2 week-long trips per year. My most recent Spot renewal bill was over $200 which really felt like a ripoff given my limited usage. The only downsides to inReach that I can see are higher initial cost and built-in battery which Garmin claims could last up to 20 days with 30 min tracking interval.

  13. #13

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    I am very excited about this! I am a female planning a two week solo hike of the AT next summer. I like the weight, the extended battery life with 30 min tracking, the ability to sync to my phone if I'm more lost than a map or Guthooks can help me with, the ability to send & receive location & short texts with friends & family, the option to sign up for one month at a time ... what's not to love? I am seriously considering ordering this.

  14. #14
    Registered User MikekiM's Avatar
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    Iíve recently switched from the InReach SE Gen I to the new Mini.

    I love it. Half the weight of the original SE and less than half the size. I used it this past weekend in Stokes on the AT near Culver Gap North of the DWG. Works flawlessly.

    I added a Nite Ize Total Eclipse loving clip to the back of the unit and clip it to the daisy chain on my shoulder strap.

    No failed messages. Unit was on for the days straight.. with an average of four messages or day.. battery hadnt reached the 25% warning.




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    Default New Garmin InReach Mini Satellite Communicator

    I've got the mini also. Used it paired to the phone to send free form text to family. Noticed in some cases, the blue circle for days. I assume that means it took that long to send the message. in some cases there,was a red exclamation by the message (I'm talking about when you select messages from the earthmate app, it shows all the messages, and some would have blue circles others had red exclamations.
    I usually had the garmin off. just turned it on a few times during the day for messaging. after 4 days, the battery was around 68% which seemed like more drain then I had anticipated. If I had had it on all day long, for tracking for 4 days, seems like it would have been about empty.

  16. #16
    Registered User MikekiM's Avatar
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    Interesting.. we had very different experience. Maybe geography related?

    Red exclamation means your message didn't send.

    Like you, I sent only free form messages. Left mine on so family could reach me if needed... after all, it's two communication!

    I sent all messages from the Earthmate app, but from time to time I would do a manual check on messages via the Mini's menu.. just to be sure all was in order. This was my first time using it.

    I charged it to 100% on Thursday evening and turned it at the trailhead on Friday, mid-day. It was on continuously. I turned it off on Sunday mid-day and as mentioned, the 25% battery warning hadn't reported yet. I do know that I can charge it 0% to 100% in about two hours, using a RavPower 10400 mAh battery bank.

    I didn't use the tracking or the route functions.. First, the cost of sending tracking point via the sat system is extremely high given I us the Freedom plan. Second, I use a Suunto Ambit to record the track, so secondary tracking is unnecessary. I do download the trip routes to the InReach, the Suunto and to GaiaGPS which is my primary GPS.

    So far, for what my needs the Mini is a win.
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  17. #17
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    On some units like these, initial triangulation takes a bit of time and a LOT of energy. Cycling between full on/full off can drain the battery due to having to get initial position on each power up. Theyíre designed to be run continuously. The same goes for sending messages. Trying to connect to the satellites and establish comms is a battery drain.
    From my understanding, you can adjust the check interval on the mini. If youíre worried about draining the battery, just set the checks at the maximum time.


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  18. #18
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    Default New Garmin InReach Mini Satellite Communicator

    Ok, that must be the explanation. Everybody says the battery should last a lot longer than I experienced.
    Thanks for the info. I think I'll take that gizmo and charge it up, sit it on the patio table out back, leave it there all day and see how it looks tonight.

  19. #19
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    Default New Garmin InReach Mini Satellite Communicator

    I didn't use tracking or route planning either. I figure since I text my kids in the morning and evening, that's all the tracking they need. And I had other apps on my phone with my route.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikekiM View Post
    So far, for what my needs the Mini is a win.
    Sounds like we are in the same boat. Good to hear, thanks for the explanation. Looking forward to picking one up later this Fall!

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