Garmin inReach Explorer vs ACR Bivy Stick

What satellite messenger will win out between the Garmin inReach Explorer vs ACR Bivy Stick? Wait until the end to find how they stack up against each other.

What They Have in Common

The Garmin inReach Explorer+ and the ACR Bivy Stick have the following common functions.

  • Topo Maps
  • Worldwide, Pole to Pole Coverage
  • Waypoints
  • Share Location
  • 2-way Messaging
  • S.O.S. Function
  • Weather
  • Flexible Subscription Plans

Garmin inReach Explorer vs ACR Bivy Stick

How are they Different?

  • The Garmin inReach Explorer+ has built-in topo maps with no need to sync to your smartphone.
  • The Garmin Map on their website allows a user to layout a route and waypoints before hitting the mountains.
  • The ACR Bivy Stick is at least half the size and weight.
  • Garmin inReach Explorer+
    • Built-in Altimeter, Barometer and Accelerometer.
  • Garmin inReach Explorer+ is approximately $100 more expensive.

Topo Maps

Both of these satellite messengers have maps but only the Garmin inReach Explorer+ has built-in maps so the Explorer+ wins this battle, but let’s look a little closer and see how each of the maps are different.

Garmin Map vs ACR Map

You can see some of the differences but the ACR Bivy Stick map is zoomed farther out and doesn’t show the trails, however, if you look at the next ACR map, you’ll see some trails.

ACR Bivy Stick Map

The one thing you can’t see that the ACR Bivy Stick map has is all the map markers that show points of interest from hiking trails, jeep trails, mountain biking trails, campgrounds, etc., so even though I gave the win to Garmin for the built-in maps, the ACR maps are not far behind.

Global, Pole to Pole Satellite Coverage

Both of these satellite messengers use the Iridium Satellite Network and offer true global satellite coverage.

Iridium Satellite Network

Waypoints

Both devices allow you to create waypoints in the field, however, only Garmin allows you to put your route and waypoints down before heading to the mountains. See the example below.

Garmin Explore Map Software

Once in the field you can add waypoints just as easy on both satellite messengers.

Map Share Location

Here’s another thing the Garmin inReach Explorer+ and the ACR Bivy Stick have in common. They allow you to send your location to friends or family with the coordinates of your location and a map to display it on. See the Garmin location below.

Garmin inReach Share Location

This next image is from the ACR Bivy share page.

ACR Bivy Stick Share Page

2-Way Messaging

Both of the satellite messengers message well, but there are a few differences. First, the ACR Bivy Stick assigns a cell number to your account, as long as it has an active subscription.

Messaging between devices is a problem if you initiate the message from the ACR Bivy Stick to the Garmin inReach Explorer+, but the messaging works great if you initiate the message from the Garmin inReach Explorer+.

Here are two images of what you can expect to see when you message on these devices.

Messages from Garmin & ACR

Weather Forecasts

Here are two images of the weather forecasts from each satellite messenger. You can see some differences but you get good information from both of them.

Garmin & ACR Weather Forecasts

Subscription Plans

Lastly, here are the two subscription plans that you need to read carefully to choose which plan will work best for you.

Garmin

Garmin Subscription Plans

ACR

ACR Subscription Plans

Final Thoughts

I’m not joking when I say I really like both of these satellite messengers. The Garmin inReach Explorer+ get’s a 5.0 out of 5.0 due to having the built-in topo maps, altimeter, barometer, and accelerometer, and the ACR Bivy Stick get’s a 4.0 out of 5.0 because you have to sync it to your cell phone to get many of the same functions the Explorer+ offers.

Saying all that, the ACR Bivy Stick is probably my third favorite satellite messenger, right behind the Garmin inReach Explorer+ and the Garmin inReach Mini.

You can see my YouTube review of it below.

Garmin inReach Explorer+, Handheld Satellite Communicator with TOPO Maps and GPS Navigation
ACR Bivy Stick Two-Way Global Satellite Communicator Device - SOS, SMS, Tracking, Weather Report, and Share Location
Garmin inReach Explorer+, Handheld Satellite Communicator with TOPO Maps and GPS Navigation
ACR Bivy Stick Two-Way Global Satellite Communicator Device - SOS, SMS, Tracking, Weather Report, and Share Location
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Built-in Maps
Recommended
Garmin inReach Explorer+, Handheld Satellite Communicator with TOPO Maps and GPS Navigation
Garmin inReach Explorer+, Handheld Satellite Communicator with TOPO Maps and GPS Navigation
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Built-in Maps
Recommended
ACR Bivy Stick Two-Way Global Satellite Communicator Device - SOS, SMS, Tracking, Weather Report, and Share Location
ACR Bivy Stick Two-Way Global Satellite Communicator Device - SOS, SMS, Tracking, Weather Report, and Share Location
-
Built-in Maps
Recommended

This product was presentation was made with AAWP plugin.

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