From the moment I tested out my older Garmin inReach Mini, it became my favorite satellite messenger, so no it’s time to check out the improved Garmin inReach Mini 2 review and see if the old mini is just repackaged, or if it really is new and improved.
Garmin inReach Mini 2 Features
- Compact and Lightweight
- Global Satellite Coverage
- Interactive SOS Emergency Transmission & Communication
- Trackback Routing if You Find Yourself Lost | Visible on the Device
- Hidden Temporary Log (Breadcrumb Every 10 Minutes) that Helps You Find Your Way Home
- Garmin Explorer App
- Battery Lasts up to 14 Days in 10-Minute Tracking Mode
- Two-Way Messaging
- Location Sharing
- Flexible Subscription Plans
- Digital Compass
- Weather Forecasts
- Unlimited Cloud Storage & Trip Planning
- Syncs to Your Smartphone for More Convenience & Larger Screen to View Maps
- Messages & Navigation Visible on the Device
- Updated User Interface
- Higher Resolution Display
- New Breadcrumb Trail Feature
Compact and Lightweight
The Garmin inReach Mini 2 remains the same size as the original Garmin inReach Mini. I have owned and extensively tested the Garmin inReach Mini since January 2020 and I fell in love with this small yet powerful satellite messenger from the first time I took it out into the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
The Garmin inReach Mini 2 is about the size of a thick wallet, but I dare say lighter. I carry it all the time on a velcro backpack tether which connects to my shoulder strap. See the link below for the backpack tether.
Global Satellite Coverage
Garmin has made another great decision by offering Global, Pole to Pole satellite coverage, that gives you confidence that you’ll have satellite connection anywhere in the world. Garmin uses the Iridium Satellite Network. Click on the image below to learn more about the Iridium Network.
There are some satellite messengers that you need to check the satellite coverage before traveling around the world, but not so with the Garmin satellite messengers.
Interactive SOS Emergency Services
Probably the most important thing that Garmin offers is the Interactive SOS Emergency function. Not only can you contact emergency services, but you can message back and forth with them to let them know the exact nature of your injuries, so they can respond more appropriately.
I have had to many close calls in the last 40 years of hiking, for me take things for granted any longer. We’re not invincible, and sometimes we do need a helping hand.
Trackback if You’re Lost
Recently, I tested the older Garmin inReach Mini, using Navigate by Trackback to see if it really worked. I was really impressed at how well the Mini worked tracking back along a trail. You can see the YouTube video below of my Garmin inReach Mini Trackback field test.
Well, now Garmin has taken the inReach Mini to a new level. They have made the Trackback function automatic. You can set you tracking when you start on your adventure, then stop tracking and then navigate back by Trackback, however, if you forgot to track out, the new Garmin inReach Mini 2 has temporary breadcrumbs it puts down every 10 minutes, that are not visible to you, but the satellite messenger will follow them back to where you started your journey.
You may be thinking about buying a less expensive satellite messenger, but I guarantee you will regret it if you ever get lost and then remember how you could have had the Garmin inReach Mini 2, and gotten home safe or at least more quickly.
Garmin Explorer App
Garmin used the Earthmate app with the original Garmin inReach Mini, but has now changed over to the Garmin Explore app with the Garmin inReach Mini 2.
I have yet to test this app out in the field, but it looks to have additional features and greater clarity in the images. My new Garmin inReach Mini 2 is being shipped, so I will have it shortly and will be able to offer more detailed input on how it performs in the field with the Garmin inReach Mini 2.
It looks like the new Garmin inReach Mini 2 has a longer battery life and can last up to 14 days in the filed when set on 10 minute tracking. Here is some additional information on the battery life below.
Besides the SOS function and having the maps when synced to your smartphone, the two-way messaging may be the next most important benefit of the Garmin inReach Mini 2.
The Garmin inReach Mini 2 has made additional improvements over the Garmin inReach mini, by providing the messages right on the device screen.
It still takes longer to type in a unique message using the device, however, it is extremely fast when the Garmin inReach Mini 2 is synced with your smartphone.
I have to admit that I have not used this function much as no one in my family really seems to care if they check in on where I am in the Rocky Mountains. I suppose this will change when they know I’ll be gone for a longer outdoor adventure. But to the point, you can share your location with family and friends so that they can see the tracks you are laying down and know that you are safe and are not in trouble.
You can choose exactly who you want to share your location with so they can keep track of your progress. Maybe it’s a friend or family member, or maybe you have people following you on social media. No matter the situation, you can share you adventure with others around you. You can password protect your MapShare links or leave it wide open for people to see on Facebook and Twitter.
Flexible Subscription Plans
There are several subscription plans to choose from. See the Garmin subscription information below.
I use the Annual Expedition plan as I use my Garmin inReach Mini all year long. It’s best to use a Freedom plan if you only use your satellite messenger a few times each year.
The digital electronic compass is a nice addition and you don’t have to moving to get an accurate reading. This is a feature I want to test more thoroughly, as the magnetic compass has always been my “go-to” compass that gives me more confidence, especially being trained as a pilot. I guess this is not a major issue as most of us carry a magnetic compass as part of our basic hiking gear.
I have tested the weather forecast several times and it gives some great information, and more then most other weather forecasts that other satellite messengers offer.
With the new Garmin inReach Mini 2, you can display the weather on your device or see it on the Garmin Explore app.
Cloud Storage & Trip Planning
First, you will get free, unlimited cloud-powered Garmin Explorer website to plan trips, create preset messages, quick texts, and much more. You can see below other things that are offered when planning your trip.
You can see from these screen shots above that there is a lot of planning options from your computer of smartphone, using the Garmin Explorer app.
- Compact, lightweight satellite communicator enables two-way messaging and interactive SOS globally (Active satellite subscription required. Some jurisdictions regulate or prohibit the use of satellite communication devices.)
- Navigate back to where you started by using TracBack routing
- Share your location with loved ones back home at any time (active satellite subscription required) by using your MapShare page or with your coordinates embedded in your messages
- Get accurate heading information using the digital compass — even when you’re not moving
- Sync with the Garmin Explore app and website on your compatible smartphone for trip planning and topographical mapping, and create waypoints, courses, activities and collections you can sync to your device
- Pair with Garmin devices, such as wearables and handhelds, and use them to send and receive messages and trigger an SOS (active satellite subscription required)
This product was presentation was made with AAWP plugin.
I still think the Garmin inReach Explorer+ is the number one satellite messenger on the market and is best for longer adventures, however, the Garmin inReach Mini 2 is my favorite satellite messenger for several reasons:
- Compact & Lightweight
- Offers Nearly what the Explorer+ has when Synced with Your Smartphone
This new Garmin inReach Mini 2 offers more with the on-screen window then the older Garmin inReach Mini, which is great to see. Having all of this power in such a small device, that is easy to understand and use, yet not being weighted down with a larger device gives the Garmin inReach Mini 2 the edge on most of my outdoor adventures.
If you would like to see all the Satellite Messengers in another review, see my Emergency Radio Reviews.
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Garmin inReach Mini 2
World Wide Coverage5.0/5
Tracking & Sharing5.0/5
Initial Cost & Subscription Plan3.8/5
- Compact & Lightweight
- Global Satellite Network
- SOS Distress Call
- 2-Way Messaging
- Weather Forecasts
- Initial Purchase Price
- Needs to be Synced to Have Most Convenience