Garmin inReach Mini Review

Great things come in little packages and this Garmin inReach Mini packs a punch. It even makes some people think about getting it instead of the Garmin inReach Explorer.

Here’s a Quick Look

  • Compact and Lightweight
  • Global Satellite Network
  • SOS Distress Call
  • 2-Way Messaging
  • Pair With Your Smartphone
  • Pair with Garmin Pilot
  • Weather Forecasts
  • Rugged
  • Flexible Service Plans
  • Cloud Storage

Garmin inReach Mini Review

Compact and Lightweight

When the company information from Garmin says the Garmin inReach Mini is compact and lightweight, it really is. You can see here by comparing the Explorer and the Mini that the Mini is half the size. The Garmin inReach Mini comes in at a weight of 3.5 ounces, compared to 7.5 ounces for the Explorer.

Garmin inReach Mini Compared to Explorer

The inReach Mini is only 3.9″ tall and 2.0″ wide. This may be the most ideal Emergency Satellite Messenger for shorter adventures where your battery life and need for navigation are not important.

Global Satellite Network

Garmin uses the Iridium Satellite Network which promises 100% global cover, pole to pole.

Garmin inReach Mini Global Satellite Coverage

Garmin is known for its reliability and durability and this is no difference when it comes to the satellite network they use. They have a long history of reaching anywhere in the world to provide rescue assistance.

SOS Distress Call

I hope you never need to activate the emergency SOS distress signal but if you do, GEOS will receive and track your signal and then hand the information off to local Search and Rescue teams in your area.

GEOS is the world leader in emergency response and monitoring. They have supported rescues in more than 140 countries and are on standby 24/7 to respond to your SOS. Once you trigger a distress call, they will deliver a confirmation message that help is on the way and will continue to update you on the status of your response team.

Now, that’s peace of mind when you need it most.

2-Way Messging

Some of the satellite messengers do not have 2-way messaging but when your life or someone else’s life is at stake, this 2-way messaging with your rescue team could make all the difference in the outcome.

Garmin inReach Mini with 2-Way Messaging

Wouldn’t you rather hear “Rescue on the way, ETA 2 hours” rather than silence? Just think about it. You’re off on an adventure away from everyone and everything, including cell phone reception and the worst thing that can possibly happen, does happen. Are you prepared? Did you bring an emergency locator beacon? Does anyone know where you are?

To often, we take off without setting in place an “insurance” policy or leave a map of where approximately we’re going with possible camp site locations along the trail. At a minimum, we need to leave a map and the most likely time we will be returning.

Regardless of whether you left a map or directions with family or friends, you would still be able to get help if you had the Garmin inReach Mini on your pack and the nice thing is that the search and rescue teams can talk to you, ask questions and give you a status of the team and approximate ETA.

One last thing. What if you have a non-life-threatening emergency or something else important comes up that you need to know or would like to know. You could take care of that with the Mini and you can easily tell your family that all is well and they can sleep well tonight knowing your are fine.

Garmin InReach Mini, Lightweight and Compact Satellite Communicator, Orange
139 Reviews
Garmin InReach Mini, Lightweight and Compact Satellite Communicator, Orange
  • Small, rugged, lightweight satellite communicator enables two way text messaging using the 100 percentage global Iridiumnetwork (satellite subscription required)
  • Trigger an interactive SOS to the 24/7 search and rescue monitoring center (satellite subscription required)
  • Access downloadable maps, U.S. NOAA charts, color aerial imagery and more by using the free Garmin Earthmate app and compatibledevices
  • Optional inReach weather forecast service provides detailed updates directly to your inReach Mini or paired device; basic and premium weather packages available
  • Send and receive inReach messages through compatible Garmin devices, including connected wearables and handhelds.Display resolution:128 x 128 pixels
  • NOTICE: Some jurisdictions regulate or prohibit the use of satellite communications devices. It is the responsibility of the user to know and follow all applicable laws in the jurisdictions where the device is intended to be used

Pair with Your Smartphone

I usually don’t want to take my cell phone with me on a hiking trip, but if I do, it is only to take pictures, however, this all changes when you have the Garmin inReach Mini. Your Compact, lightweight Emergency Satellite Messenger becomes a powerhouse when you pair it with your smartphone.

Garmin inReach Mini Paired with Smartphone

Pair the inReach Mini with your mobile device and use the free Earthmate app that syncs your inReach device with your smartphone so you can access unlimited maps, aerial imagery and U.S. NOAA charts, plus, Earthmate allows you to conveniently use all the inReach features on your paired mobile device. For easier messaging, you can access your phone’s contact list from the Earthmate app and connect with fewer keystrokes.

Pair with Garmin Pilot

In the aviation world, the Mini becomes a valuable air communications link. When paired via Bluetooth to a compatible tablet or smartphone running the Garmin Pilot app, your inReach Mini makes it easy to send and receive text messages while in the cockpit from anywhere in the world, even if you don’t have cell reception.

Weather Forecasts

When the weather starts to take a turn for the worse, use the power of the Garmin inReach Mini, when synced with your smartphone, to get the latest weather forecast for your area.

Garmin inReach Mini with Weather Forecasts

The optional inReach weather forecast service provides detailed updates directly to your inReach Mini or compatible device paired with the Earthmate app, so you’ll know what conditions to expect en route. You can also request weather forecasts for your current location or any other waypoint or destination along the way.

Rugged

The Garmin inReach Mini is tough, durable, impact resistant and waterproof to IPX7. The Mini is built to keep you up and running. It includes an internal, rechargeable lithium battery for up to 50 hours’ use at the default 10-minute tracking interval and up to 20 days in power save mode. You can recharge the Mini with the Micro USB power cable or optional in-vehicle 12V charger.

Flexible Service Plans

The inReach Mini has several plans to choose from, including monthly and yearly service plans. See the information below.

Garmin inReach Subscription Plans

Note: Freedom Plan is the monthly service plan.

Cloud Storage

Every inReach device comes with free access to the cloud-powered Garmin Explorer website to plan your trips with routes and waypoints, create preset messages and quick texts, sync and manage your device settings, update your firmware, link your social media accounts, store all of your location tracking data and much more.

Final Thoughts

There are no winners or losers when it comes to the Garmin inReach Mini and the Explorer. Both of these devices have their place, it just so happens that the Mini is easier to pack around and may be the ideal choice if you have a full load to carry and you don’t need the built-in navigation that the Explorer offers.

Personally, I will be buying both the Mini and the Explorer. The mini will be my day hiking Emergency Satellite Messenger and the Explorer will be for longer, more challenging adventures.

It’s all up to you and what you need for your next outdoor trip.

Garmin inReach Mini Review

Please Email Me with your questions or thoughts on the Garmin inReach Mini Review or Leave a Comment Below.

You can also explore more Emergency Satellite Messengers models HERE or Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) HERE.

Garmin InReach Mini, Lightweight and Compact Satellite Communicator, Orange
139 Reviews
Garmin InReach Mini, Lightweight and Compact Satellite Communicator, Orange
  • Small, rugged, lightweight satellite communicator enables two way text messaging using the 100 percentage global Iridiumnetwork (satellite subscription required)
  • Trigger an interactive SOS to the 24/7 search and rescue monitoring center (satellite subscription required)
  • Access downloadable maps, U.S. NOAA charts, color aerial imagery and more by using the free Garmin Earthmate app and compatibledevices
  • Optional inReach weather forecast service provides detailed updates directly to your inReach Mini or paired device; basic and premium weather packages available
  • Send and receive inReach messages through compatible Garmin devices, including connected wearables and handhelds.Display resolution:128 x 128 pixels
  • NOTICE: Some jurisdictions regulate or prohibit the use of satellite communications devices. It is the responsibility of the user to know and follow all applicable laws in the jurisdictions where the device is intended to be used

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

4.55

World Wide Coverage

5.0/5

2-Way Messaging

5.0/5

Navigation

4.0/5

Tracking & Sharing

5.0/5

Initial Cost & Subscription Plan

3.8/5

Pros

  • Compact & Lightweight
  • Global Satellite Network
  • SOS Distress Call
  • 2-Way Messaging
  • Weather Forecasts

Cons

  • Must be Synced to Have Navigation
  • Initial Purchase Price
  • Shorter Battery Life than Explorer+

10 thoughts on “Garmin inReach Mini Review”

  1. I thought your website was very professional and informative. I especially enjoyed your detailed personal experiences with hiking. 

    Also, I think you bring to light the need for certain technology because when we are hiking far away from civilization having some way to connect with the services or help we may need as well as access to weather can be a decision that is life or death.

    Loved all the pictures and layout of your website.

    Michael  

    Reply
    • Thank you Michael for the compliments on the site and the article.

      This one hits home for me also because of my personal experiences and the stories I hear from others.

      Thank you for the comments. Please stop back by if you have any questions.

      Rick

      Reply
  2. Garmin inreach is really a worthy beacon that would be worth every penny. I heard a lot about it already especially the battery lifespan and I don’t know about others bit if I were to be in a situation where I need rescue, I would love to keep a device that can last for longer till I could be located. I like every feature associated with this and I think it would be a great purchase. Thanks and I’d surely give it a trial

    Reply
    • Thank you for the comments. It would be great for any of us to have within reach wherever we go.

      Thanks for stopping by and let me know how you like it after you buy it.

      Rick

      Reply
  3. Thanks for writing this article and shedding some light on the possible dangers of being out and about without anyone really knowing your exact location.  This hits home for me, as we live in the mountains.  Hiking and driving around mountain roads is something we do quite often, without even considering the possibility of something terrible happening.  It would definitely ease my mind if my family invested in one of these, for emergency purposes.  It’s like life insurance.  You hope you never have to use it, but if you do, you’ve got everything covered.  Thanks again for the well-researched information!  Cheers!

    Reply
    • You are welcome. You are correct that you could keep this in your vehicle and have it turned off but, you could turn it on and call for help or hit the SOS button if you were in an accident or went off the road in an area that you were not likely to be found.

      Great thoughts. Thanks.

      Rick

      Reply
  4. Thank you for reviewing Garmin Inreach. This tool is awesome for my cousin. He really loves outdoor traveling and hiking, so having this tool can give more assurance to his safety. Can I know if this tool is functional outside US? We lives in Asia, although my cousin loves to travel to other countries a lot. Thanks

    Reply
    • The Garmin inReach devices use the Iridium Satellite Network which is 100% Global and Pole to Pole. So, yes, your cousin could have the confidence to travel the world with the Garmin inReach Mini.

      Rick

      Reply
  5. This Garmin inReach Mini looks very handy for lighter adventures. It seems that it can be used for air communication as well in the cockpit. I’m wondering if we can use this in aircraft cabin as passengers in case of emergency. It will be very useful anywhere we go. Thank you!

    Reply
    • I love your question. It’s not one I even gave any thought to. 

      You would need the the Garmin inReach Mini synced with your smartphone and paired to the Garmin Pilot app but if you can use it when you’re flying a small plane then it should work on an airliner. 

      I’m not sure how happy the flight crew would be with you but it would be worth a try, especially if you could see other benefits to doing that besides the emergency function.

      I’m laughing now because I could just see the search and rescue teams on the ground trying to find you when you’re 35,000 feet in the air. Actually, you would have landed before the SAR teams even left to start their search.

      Rick

      Reply

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