Review: Garmin inReach Mini
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Any experienced adventurer will tell you that communication is vital to having a fun, safe experience in the outdoors. For both peace of mind and accurate navigation, a reliable GSP system is an absolute must.
That is why Garmin has created the inReach Mini, a compact and lightweight satellite communicator that is perfect for backpackers, campers, and hikers alike.
In this post, we’ll both review and share our experiences with the inReach Mini, detailing what it does and why it’s a great tool for outdoor adventurers.
Overview: Garmin inReach Mini
Perfect for: Garmin inReach Mini is a smaller and more compact version of the very popular Garmin inReach satellite communicator, making it perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, especially those who enjoy hiking, biking, and international travel.
Its compact size means it can be stowed in a pack or pocket, making it very convenient to use. The device comes with pre-programmed features to share your location or send/receive custom and preset messages to both loved ones and emergency services.
- World-ready: It comes with a built-in GPS, GPS coordinates, and a pre-programmed message to let people know you’re ok. It’s also water-rated to IPX7, making it perfect for even the worst outdoor conditions.
- Long-lasting: It has a battery life of 90 hours in normal conditions and up to 24 days in power saving mode.
- Compact: It’s both smaller and weighs less than your average smartphone.
- Convenient: The inReach Mini has a screen that can send text messages, take photos, track your location, and create navigational waypoints.
- Lack of illumination: This Garmin device doesn’t have an in-built backlight.
- Support: Garmin support isn’t known to be great. You may have trouble getting hold of them if you need help.
|Weight||3.5 oz or 100 g|
|Dimensions||2.04 x 3.90 x 1.03 inches or 5.17 x 9.90 x 2.61 cm|
|Display size||0.9 x 0.9 inches or 23 x 23 mm|
|Display resolution||128 x 128 pixels|
|Battery life||Up to 90 hours at 10-minute trackingUp to 35 hours at 10-minute tracking with 1-second loggingUp to 24 days at 30-minute tracking power save modeUp to 1 year not operational|
Who the Garmin inReach Mini Is For
The Garmin inReach Mini is one of the sleekest, most compact satellite devices Garmin has ever made. So if you are looking for something that is small and easy to carry with you all the time, then this compact satellite communicator is for you. The Garmin inReach Mini allows you to easily stay in touch with those at home. And if the worst happens, it gives you easy access to emergency responders with a simple press of a button.
It’s also very useful for travelers that enjoy exploring remote areas or off the grid destinations. Or if you’re simply interested in tracking your movement via GPS and mapping software, this product’s features and functionalities give you access to a bunch of super-handy tracking options.
Garmin inReach Mini Key Features
Alongside the Garmin inReach Mini’s compact and lightweight design, it also has a ton of outstanding features and functionalities that every outdoor enthusiast will appreciate.
Interactive SOS Alerts (Satellite Subscription Required)
The Garmin inReach Mini’s interactive SOS alerts allow you to communicate your location and the nature of your emergency with a single button press, ensuring that help is on the way.
An SOS message is sent with your GPS position to Garmin’s IERCC 24/7, a staffed professional emergency response coordination center where trained experts respond to emergency situations, initiating appropriate rescue responses.
Two-Way Text Messages (Satellite Subscription Required)
Garmin inReach Mini’s two-way messaging allows you to send and receive text messages with family and friends, or exchange short messages with other inReach users and other compatible Garmin devices while out in the field. All without the need for a cell phone or any other mobile device.
Location Tracking and Sharing (Satellite Subscription Required)
When you’re far from help, your family and friends can track your location on a map in real-time. It shares your GPS location with others so they can see your progress or ping your device for its precise GPS coordinates. And if needed, a tracking link will also be sent to search and rescue so they can pinpoint your location.
Global Iridium Satellite Network (Satellite Subscription Required)
Besides standard GPS and GLONASS satellite tracking, the Garmin inReach Mini uses the global Iridium satellite network to keep you connected. The Global Iridium Satellite Network is a satellite phone and paging network. The high-speed network comprises 66 active low-earth orbit satellites that allow users access to both voice and data services anywhere on Earth.
Stay connected and keep your plans on track with inReach Mini’s weather updates. Whether it’s a sudden snow squall or an approaching storm, you’ll get the latest forecasts for your current location or other waypoints or destinations on your itinerary. It’s all shown on a simple, easy-to-read screen that gives you detailed updates and the real-time information you need to make informed decisions.
Garmin inReach Mini Subscription
For any features beyond your standard GSP functions, Garmin inReach Mini users will require a subscription to access its more advanced features. The good news is, you have the option to either pay for an annual subscription or instead opt into either a 30-day commitment that is not ongoing.
The 30-day service works similarly to a prepaid cell service. You only recharge when you need it.
Garmin’s satellite communication devices come fitted with their standard 1-year limited warranty. If any workmanship issues with the product were to arise within this period, Garmin will repair or replace the item free of charge. All repairs come with a 90-day warranty. Or, if the repair is carried out during the first year, the repair warranty would expire at the end of the initial 1-year time period.
How to add contacts to Garmin inReach Mini?
The contact list in a Garmin inReach Mini works similarly to that of a phone. To add a new contact, simply:
- log into the Garmin Explore website,
- select “contacts”,
- click “add”,
- enter your new contacts details,
- and select “done” when you’re finished.
How to load a route on my Garmin inReach Mini?
To load a route onto a Garmin inReach Mini, simply:
- log into the inReach Garmin website,
- click the “map” option,
- select “new route”,
- use your mouse to designate out your route on the map,
- once you have plotted the last navigational point, simply select the last point to finish,
- then name the route,
- and finally, confirm the route to save it to your device.
In our opinion, the Garmin inReach Mini is a marvelously handy device for navigating while out in the backcountry. It allows us to explore treacherous terrain with peace of mind while also enabling easy navigation, even in the stickiest of situations.
We’ve used our inReach Minis extensively throughout the Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Parks and they’ve been a great addition to our hiking kits while out exploring these must-see destinations.