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SOS backcountry device without subscription

I just purchased a Garmin Inreach-mini.  I hike and ski alone in the backcounty, I know the terrain I hike and ski.  What I wanted is a device that has an SOS, in case something unforeseen happens (fires, phsycial emergencies, etc).  I found out that the SOS function on the Garmin device requires a subscription, is there a device that is solely used for emergency notification?

12 Replies

After considering the input from the community and discussions with REI camping department it appears that Garmin Inreach Mini appears the be the better choice for my requirements.  I was told that Garmin synchs with the iphone allowing for better functionality.  Apparently I can turn the phone to airplane mode (saving battery) while the Garmin uses the wifi, and texting capability of phone - interesting.  

Live and learn.😀


@kcherazi The Garmin InReach Mini and Explorer+ etc. work with the Earthmate app over a Bluetooth connection.  (Newer Garmin GPS's with InReach use a different app.)  Earthmate allows you to send and receive satellite messages from your phone as well as controlling other settings like tracking.  It also provides mapping but is not the greatest at that task.  You only have to have Bluetooth enabled. The Earthmate app does not use the phone's GPS.  It displays the GPS points it gets from the InReach device it is paired with.

When you have an internet connection the Earthmate app can communicate with the Garmin Explore website, upload any GPS logs it has received from the InReach and download any changes to your preset messages etc. which you can then sync to your InReach device.

Certainly if you use mapping apps or the camera etc. on your phone you can run the phone in airplane mode which typically will leave the GPS receiver on the phone enabled.  This does save the phone battery significantly.  It is not particularly relevant to the InReach usage though since that communicates with the phone via Bluetooth.  Bluetooth uses a bit more power and a fairly typical power saving usage with an InReach is to turn on the phone Bluetooth once a day to compose any custom satellite messages you need to send.  This is optional since you can read the messages on the InReach device and for many usages one of the 3 unlimited preset messages is sufficient.  These send a preset message and location to the people you set the messages up at trailhead, at camp, pick me up.  If you are running the InReach in the Ext Tracking power saving mode then you would also enable Bluetooth on the InReach say once a day to deal with messages.

I have/use a resqlink as my “stand alone “ plb

REI Member Since 1979