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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    863

    Garmin inReach Explorer+

    Coming from a Merchant Marine background, I'm used to having some way to contact the USCG in case of an emergency. In response to the El Faro accident, the USCG is mandating everyone have their own personal EPIRB, and I was wondering if there is an equivalent for backcountry skiing/hiking/biking?

    Is it the Garmin inReach Explorer+? What is everyone's thought about inReach Explorer+s? Anyone have good or bad experiences using them? $450 plus the subscription fees isn't cheap, but is it like an airbag, what's a little extra peace of mind cost?

    I almost always carry my cell phone when skiing, but as we all know the batteries are just about useless in the cold. Would the inReach be a better alternative? Are their other options then the inReach that allow communication with SAR?

  2. #2
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    [a] Van [down by the river]
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  3. #3
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    Jun 2006
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    Ventura Highway in the Sunshine
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    I have the older version and carrying anytime I am out and about. Cell coverage is not reliable. Use it stouring, hiking, climbing, motorcycle rides, etc.Rarely even turnip on, but have it. I still haven't gotten well integrated with the maps and other featers, but I k ow how to hit the SOS feature.

    I agree it is a constitutional right for Americans to be assholes...its just too bad that so many take the opportunity...
    iscariot

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    tetons
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    I think the inreach explorer+ is the best bet out there right now. Did a bunch of research for andrew so I wouldn't get a new grey hair every time he was out past his return time lol

    I also saw Teton Backountry rentals was recently advertising that they were selling some of their used gear-- might be worth giving them a call as I know they carry that model and I imagine they rent more of them in the summer so some might have landed in their sale pile
    https://tetonbcrentals.com/index

    edit to add that the other thread links above are good but since Garmin bought Delorme and integrated maps into the gps it seems even better so maybe skip towards the ends of those
    skid luxury

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    863
    Quote Originally Posted by b-bear View Post
    I think the inreach explorer+ is the best bet out there right now. Did a bunch of research for andrew so I wouldn't get a new grey hair every time he was out past his return time lol

    I also saw Teton Backountry rentals was recently advertising that they were selling some of their used gear-- might be worth giving them a call as I know they carry that model and I imagine they rent more of them in the summer so some might have landed in their sale pile
    https://tetonbcrentals.com/index

    edit to add that the other thread links above are good but since Garmin bought Delorme and integrated maps into the gps it seems even better so maybe skip towards the ends of those
    Awesome! That's what I am looking for. Ill be home Tuesday night, so I'll swing by Wednesday and see what they have.

    Thanks BBear

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Seattle
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    2,175
    I have the older Delorme version. It is awesome. Bought mine for $259 new. Check eBay etc.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    183
    I use one regularly, great peace of mind for my partner. [Hopefully] not for the emergency service, but for those times when delays/change of plans result in a late arrival. So much easier to notify my partner than to have them worry at home, wondering when exactly to call search & rescue because I'm late. If I break a binding or ski and slowly slog out of the bc 4 hours late, or even have to take a cold but safe bivvy, that's totally cool as long as choppers and SAR volunteers aren't unnecessarily headed my way.

    But, users might want to keep abreast of this issue and take appropriate precautions.
    I think there was a related, remote, time consuming false alarm for Teton County SAR just recently, too.

    https://andrewskurka.com/2017/garmin...h-se-explorer/

    looks like the comment thread is adding more details.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Moose, Iowa
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    4,918
    We are going to get ourselves one for xmas mainly for backcountry hiking but I think we will use it for other stuff as well (boating, canoeing, driving my old piece of shit cars into the middle of nowhere with no cell service, backcountry skiing when that rarely happens). How is the weather feature? Does it sync with NWS or is a garmin weather product?

    Seems like a pretty good insurance policy and a great way to keep people back home from worrying about us...$25 bucks a year for the ability to turn it on and off for a month at a time for another $15 per session.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Ventura Highway in the Sunshine
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    Weather feature is okay, but not great in my limited experience with it (once.)

    I just have the base level service, $11/month, that way I take it any time I am going anywhere either by myself, (motorcycle ride) or any hike, tour, climb.

    Just as an example of "why not take it", my brother was on a motorcycle ride with friends, he was the last rider, and they don't tend to stay together well. He missed a turn and ended up in the bushes well off the road. It was nearly an hour before anybody circled back around to find him, fortunately only mildly hurt. Could have been a lot worse. Normally he has a spot, but it was a road ride, so why bring it? This is exactly why, and carry on your person, not on the bike, which could easily have been out of reach.

    I agree it is a constitutional right for Americans to be assholes...its just too bad that so many take the opportunity...
    iscariot

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Eburg
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    11,020
    I have the inReach SE. I prefer to carry a dedicated GPSr.

    Much of my mountain travel is in areas where there is no cell service, so carrying an inReach is a no brainer for me.

    I have used the SE a bunch. I carry it on all multi-day mountain trips and more serious day trips. As a matter of routine, I check in with somebody (Honey unless she's on the trip with me) via SMS text and request a weather update. I also check in from the TH when I'm out and safe. The recently introduced weather feature is handy, although I can get more complete weather info from whomever I check in with.

    I turn on my inReach SE only to receive and send, saving battery life in the event of an emergency. AFAIK, all my (hundreds of) transmissions have been successfully sent and received.

    IMO, 2-way communication makes inReach much better than SPOT.

    ETA: See the various threads on various sites re SOS lockout switch issues. My inReach SE has no such problem.
    Last edited by DIYSteve; 11-08-2017 at 06:06 PM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Western MT
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    216
    Quote Originally Posted by zeroforhire View Post
    I have the older Delorme version. It is awesome. Bought mine for $259 new. Check eBay etc.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I have heard of Garmin limiting software upgrades on the older Delorme units. Any beta on that?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Bummer. But inevitable.

    I also like carrying a separate small GPSr. Convenient for pocket use. Or on a string round my neck, then placed behind my neck/shoulders in front of my pack lid.

    I don't want one day of GPSr use to consume the battery of my emergency comms device. I want them separate.

    Been using my InReach so much over the years. Recently arranging heli pickup locations and times in NZ. The only time I had a comms lag (2 hours) was in a place/time when I had no sat phone signal either. This was on a particular outing where we had both devices at a base camp. That 2 hour lag shortened to a few minutes later in the day. Must have been a short term poor sat configuration in the sky with respect the the narrow-ish terrain I was in.
    Life is not lift served.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Moose, Iowa
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    Thanks guys. Good info and help confirms that we want one.

    Being out in the Winds this last summer with my family some shit went down to another party the same day we were pinned up on Fremont for a couple hours...over on Harrower Peak the crazy weather lingered longer and so things were much worse for them and though everything seem to have worked itself out a couple hours after dark it was a wake up call for me. Being completely out of touch is cool until it isn't.

    Also while the weather in the moutains is notoriously localized and unpredictable it would be nice having a baseline forecast that isn't days old when making decisions.

    Did some more googling and the weather is powered by Dark Star...a third party network forecaster (https://darksky.net/) so like DIYSteve says probably better to have someone set up to text us the info from NWS.
    Last edited by uglymoney; 11-09-2017 at 02:46 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by uglymoney View Post
    Did some more googling and the weather is powered by Dark Star...a third party network forecaster (https://darksky.net) so like DIYSteve says probably better to have someone set up to text us the info from NWS.
    Yes, better to have someone in the valley sending you weather updates. The hard part is getting them to type it out in an easily digestible format for numerous days forward. And that is the benefit of the InReach supplied Wx. The Darksky model seems to account for elevation (unlike other internet Wx models)

    ps, you may want to edit your original darksky link. I think it gives me part of your street address.
    Life is not lift served.

  15. #15
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    Jul 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by neck beard View Post
    Yes, better to have someone in the valley sending you weather updates. The hard part is getting them to type it out in an easily digestible format for numerous days forward. And that is the benefit of the InReach supplied Wx. The Darksky model seems to account for elevation (unlike other internet Wx models)

    ps, you may want to edit your original darksky link. I think it gives me part of your street address.
    Cool. Not a big secret but thanks! Done.

    Good beta on Darkstar. I'll use it at home and get a feel for it.

    Sent from my SM-G900R4 using Tapatalk

  16. #16
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    First time I've seen it, but I like the way Darksky displays their forecasts.
    Life is not lift served.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    Amherst, Mass.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3PinGrin View Post
    I have heard of Garmin limiting software upgrades on the older Delorme units. Any beta on that?
    So far I haven't noticed any differences in firmware updating frequency since the Garmin acquisition -- I've had the Explorer since it first came out, and the non-navigational SE original version before that.
    Just out of curiosity right now, I hooked up my SE for the first time after having put it into semi-forgotten car glovebox mode since the end of ski season in August, and sure enough another firmware update was available.
    For those stuck in the Northeast, check out the NE Rando Race Series and my avalanche course. (For other avalanche course providers anywhere, feel free to use any of my "homework" assignments for your own courses too.)

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Western MT
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    216
    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan S. View Post
    So far I haven't noticed any differences in firmware updating frequency since the Garmin acquisition -- I've had the Explorer since it first came out, and the non-navigational SE original version before that.
    Just out of curiosity right now, I hooked up my SE for the first time after having put it into semi-forgotten car glovebox mode since the end of ski season in August, and sure enough another firmware update was available.
    Good info Jonathan, thanks!

    I hadn't really contemplated one of these until I got my truck stuck way back in on USFS roads last spring. I had been hauling stuff so left my shovel, chains, etc. at the house and forgot to put them back in the truck. It has probably been 25 years since I have gotten myself completely stuck and pulled the bonehead maneuver of not having any waterproof/insulative clothing with me (was wearing jeans and a softshell jacket). I was mainly just out driving scouting out firewood/hunting locations and thought I could bust through a patch of snow that was deeper/denser than I realized and got high centered.

    Anyway, after a few hours I finally came to the conclusion there was no way I was going to dig myself out with a stick and plastic grocery bags for gloves. It was getting late in the day, starting to snow, my hands were bleeding, I was completely soaked from laying in the snow, and I had to make the decision whether to spend the night or walk out (no cell coverage). I finally told myself I would walk for 1/2 hour and see if I was getting colder or started to warm up. If colder, it was back to the truck to spend the night. As it turned out I warmed up fine walking and decided to keep hoofing it with my dog wondering what the hell we were doing hiking in the dark.

    Long story short I walked 7 miles in the dark before I could pick up a cell signal and my wife was starting to get pretty concerned.

    Since then, I have been eyeing one of these units.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Eburg
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    Yeah, an inReach unit is nice to have on dirt roads in areas with no cell reception. inReach is not just for wilderness travel.

    Quote Originally Posted by neck beard View Post
    Yes, better to have someone in the valley sending you weather updates. The hard part is getting them to type it out in an easily digestible format for numerous days forward. And that is the benefit of the InReach supplied Wx.)
    On my trips with Honey, I have my fellow weather nerd Dr. Andy send weather forecast information. He provides info re what's moving into the area -- e.g., cold front, shortwaving, troughing, ridging, high pressure, etc. -- with brief weather event forecast thrown in, e.g., PM T-storm, winds, etc. Andy and I have developed a shorthand through the years. When Dr. Andy joins me on the trip, I get info from Honey and, if available, a friend with some weather chops, and supplement it with inReach forecast.

    I was skeptical when I first got my inReach SE (a Xmas gift from Honey) but soon grew to like it. It's nice checking in from camp each evening and getting confirmation of receipt (inReach 2-way communication > SPOT 1-way). I've also communicated re my camper position in areas with no cell coverage so buds can join me.

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