Garmin inReach Review

It’s been about six months since I have bought and tested both the Mini and the Explorer+ so it’s time for me to give you my personal experience in this Garmin inReach review.

Personal Experience with Garmin inReach

Garmin inReach Mini vs Explorer

I bought my first Garmin satellite messenger in January 2020. It was the Garmin inReach Mini. I thoroughly tested it and compared it to both the SPOT Gen 3 and the SPOT X.

Next, I bought the Garmin inReach Explorer+ in February 2020. I was sure that the Garmin Explorer+ was going to be my go to satellite messenger, but that’s not necessarily true.

Garmin Satellite Messenger Tip:

I suggest using the Garmin inReach Mini on day hikes or short overnight backpacking trips, and use the Garmin inReach Explorer+ for longer outdoor adventures.

Garmin inReach Review Comparison

Garmin inReach Mini

Garmin inReach Mini

  • Small & lightweight
  • Topo maps are available when synced with your smartphone

Garmin inReach Explorer+

Garmin inReach Explorer+

  • Larger but more powerful
  • Topo maps come loaded and can be used as a standalone satellite messenger
  • Built-in barometric altimeter and accelerometer
  • Built-in compass

Note: there are more functions included with both of these satellite messengers. The lists above are only to show you the differences between them.

Garmin inReach Explorer+, Handheld Satellite Communicator with TOPO Maps and GPS Navigation
Garmin InReach Mini, Lightweight and Compact Satellite Communicator, Orange
Garmin inReach Explorer+, Handheld Satellite Communicator with TOPO Maps and GPS Navigation
Garmin InReach Mini, Lightweight and Compact Satellite Communicator, Orange
-
Built-In Topo Maps
Topo Maps When Synced with Cell Phone
Garmin inReach Explorer+, Handheld Satellite Communicator with TOPO Maps and GPS Navigation
Garmin inReach Explorer+, Handheld Satellite Communicator with TOPO Maps and GPS Navigation
-
Built-In Topo Maps
Topo Maps When Synced with Cell Phone
Garmin InReach Mini, Lightweight and Compact Satellite Communicator, Orange
Garmin InReach Mini, Lightweight and Compact Satellite Communicator, Orange
Built-In Topo Maps
Topo Maps When Synced with Cell Phone

Bottom Line

After testing both the Garmin inReach Mini and the Explorer+ for the past several months on at least 20 trails in Colorado, I have come to these conclusions.

  • The Garmin inReach Explorer+ is better if you plan on longer outdoor adventures.
  • The Garmin inReach Mini is better if you typically go on day hikes or short backpacking trips.

This is an extremely short article but there’s no need for me to throw in a lot of fluff just to make this longer. The truth is that both of these satellite messengers are the top of their class and hands down, better than any satellite messenger I have tested to date.

My preference for my style of hiking here in Colorado is to use the Garmin inReach Mini as my go to satellite messenger.

I would love to hear your thoughts on what satellite messenger you like best so please leave a Comment Below or send me an Email.

 

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4 thoughts on “Garmin inReach Review”

  1. Hi,

    These are great for hiking and camping trips. Which one do you recommend the most, the InReach Mini or the Garmin inReach Explorer for someone who does not go hiking that often? I think I prefer the mini, because it is lightweight and it probably has everything I will need. The inbuilt compass is also a useful tool. Hopefully soon, I can go out and explore again, right now I can’t because of a knee injury. On my next hiking trip, though, whenever that will be ;-), I would love to use the mini.

    Reply
    • I think for the majority of hikers, the Garmin inReach Mini would be the one to choose. It cost less and it is smaller and lightweight.

      The Garmin inReach Explorer+ is the way to go if you go on longer overnight backpacking trips or other longer outdoor adventures.

      Rick

      Reply
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