The battle between the Garmin inReach Mini vs ACR Bivy Stick. This one is a closer call than you may think.
- Trails Shown on Map
- 2-Way Messaging
- Worldwide, Pole to Pole Satellite Coverage
- Small & Compact
- Weather Forecasts
- Multiple Subscription Plans to Choose From
- Initial Purchase Price
- Routes Can be Drawn in Ahead of Time on Maps and Available on the Trail
- Unique Messages Can be Typed on the Device Without Being Synced to Your Smartphone
Both of these satellite messengers have great maps with some different features.
I like the ability on the Garmin Mini page to draw in my route that I plan on taking and adding waypoints where I believe photo ops are or good places to camp. The ACR Bivy Stick does not have this option.
I like having other things shown on the ACR Bivy Stick map, such as hiking trails, mountain biking trails, campgrounds, etc. These can be filtered by interest and the Nearby Adventures are conveniently shown at the bottom of the Bivy home page.
There are some things I really like about the ACR Bivy Stick map but I still give the advantage to Garmin due to being able to draw in my route and add waypoints prior to hitting the trail.
The quick thing to address here is that both satellite messengers do a great job at messaging, both ways. There are two issues though. Garmin wins here again as you can create unique messages from the device without having it synced to your smartphone. It may be a little cumbersome typing out the message, but you can still do it.
The second issue is that you can’t communicate between the Garmin inReach Mini and the ACR Bivy Stick, unless you initiate the message from the Garmin. I have tried many times to initiate messages from the ACR Bivy Stick to the Garmin inReach Mini and it never works.
On a good note, both satellite messengers message perfectly from the devices to any cell phone number I tried.
Both the Garmin inReach Mini and the ACR Bivy Stick use the Iridium satellite network, which provides global, pole to pole satellite coverage.
When it comes to satellite messengers, smaller is better…at least in my opinion.
You can see that the ACR Bivy Stick is slightly larger but interestingly enough, they weigh nearly the same. Both of these satellite messengers are small and compact which makes them perfect for taking on your next outdoor adventure.
Both of these devices offer weather forecasts but they have different costs. See the subscription plans and information below. The Garmin inReach weather plan is shown first.
Here is the ACR Bivy Stick Subscription and Weather information.
Let’s keep this one simple. Both satellite messengers offer tracking and they both work the same and are just as easy to activate. You can change the tracking interval to show more detail or save battery life by selecting longer times between tracks.
As you can see from the subscription plans above, they both have several options and offer a month to month plan also.
I was reluctant to think that another satellite messenger could come close to the Garmin inReach Mini or the Explorer+, however, the ACR Bivy Stick gave it a good shot.
If I were to rank these three messengers, I would rank them as follows:
- Garmin inReach Explorer+ (5 out of 5 stars)
- Garmin inReach Mini (4.5 out of 5 stars)
- ACR Bivy Stick (4.3 stars out of 5 stars)
The main reason for this ranking is due to my personal preferences and how I use a satellite messenger. Having the ability to message from the device itself can be extremely valuable, if your smartphone runs out of battery, plus I prefer to put my own trail in ahead of time, in case I want to take multiple trails or cut one in half.
I am surprised at how well the ACR Bivy Stick stood up to the Garmin inReach satellite messengers and I would strongly recommend you consider it as your next satellite messenger…even though I prefer the Garmin devices myself.
This product was presentation was made with AAWP plugin.
Here is the YouTube video of the satellite comparison.
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