inReach has been hailed as a must-have tool for backcountry excursions thanks to its GPS tracking feature, 100% global coverage through Iridium, and the integrated SOS button linking users with 24/7/365 emergency response services through GEOS. We designed it to keep you safe where cellphones dare not go, and that is its core function. But why stop there? When you can send AND receive text messages anywhere on the planet, the applications for that functionality become endless. Case in point: international travel.
If you’ve ever taken a cell phone overseas and didn’t bump up to an international plan, you likely are still feeling the pain in your wallet from paying roaming charges. Even if you consider paying for an international plan, the high cost can deter most people from bringing any form of communication on their trip. We certainly don’t recommend this, as itineraries often change and not having a reliable form of communication can mean trouble for even the savviest of travelers.
inReach uses the Iridium satellite network to send and receive data in the form of track points, text messages, emails and social media posts. Iridium’s impressive constellation of 66 satellites is the furthest-reaching mobile satellite communications network in the world – meaning if you can see the sky, you can send and receive messages. So not only can you post to Facebook from the beach in Fiji without having to seek out an internet connection, you can email your coworkers and let them know you decided to stay an extra week. Well played.
With a slew of subscription options – starting at just $11.95 per month – inReach is an affordable alternative to expensive international cellular plans – and much more reliable.
One of our customers was kind enough to share a story about how inReach kept her connected during a medical emergency on recent rip to South America:
My sister and I went on an adventure travel tour in Ecuador and during that time, she became ill. Neither of us had a cell plan to cover Ecuador, but I knew I could always use my inReach in dire emergencies. Luckily I was prepared, as we were unable to call the U.S. with either of our tour guides’ cellphones or the hospital phone. We found ourselves having to leave the peaceful Papallacta Hot Springs due to intestinal issues which turned into an emergency situation. Along with our tour leader, we had to drive one hour to Quito for the nearest medical center.
While in the ER in this foreign country, I had to contact my family back home to get our travel insurance activated as well as my sister’s blood type. Only one person could go back to the ER, so I sent our tour guide in with her with all her medical information written on the back of our itinerary so he could communicate more efficiently with the doctors. It turns out, in Ecuador, blood type is listed on their driver’s license. So when my sister didn’t know her blood type, they all laughed. (Soapbox moment: Please take the time to find out your blood type and to fill out your medical ID on your cell phone for this type of situation. It could save your life!)
Back to the inReach – it was overcast in Quito, but I was still able to send one message and receive one message every 5 minutes or so. I managed to do all full communication with 28 messages (under the 40 allowed with my freedom recreation plan, yay!) to find out all information and get my sister’s travel insurance on board with this visit to the ER. She was diagnosed with dysentery, luckily not the parasitic kind. We arrived to the ER at 8 p.m. and were able to leave by 4 a.m., getting us back to the hot springs for 5 hours of sleep and 2 hours of soaking in the hot springs before departing for the Galapagos Islands.
My family and I would like to thank DeLorme inReach for being such a great, reliable communication device for emergency situations, no matter how big or little they may be. Our tour guide was so impressed with your device, he plans to buy one for all his adventure excursions to keep his clients safe. Cheers to DeLorme inReach Explorers everywhere! – Stephanie Reed, Anchorage, AK.
Check out www.inReachDeLorme.com to learn more about our subscription plans, including our no-contract Freedom Plans that enable month-to-month service with no annual commitment.
One of the most useful features available to non-inReach users (family, friends, or anyone watching your adventure from home) is the Locate feature. If you haven’t used Locate before, it is a feature that is available from a user’s MapShare page. In order to activate the Locate feature, you must turn it on from the Social tab in your Explore account.
When Locate is selected, a signal is sent to the user’s device to determine their location and report it back to you. The response from the inReach is auto-generated, therefore no action is required from the inReach user. NOTE: If you are on the Safety Plan, Locate requests will cost you two track points, or $0.20. This is why we allow you to turn this feature on and off.
There are a number of factors that will determine the amount of time it takes for the locate request to go through. Think of the locate request as someone shouting your name in a crowded room – in order for you to respond, you must hear them calling your name. inReach functions the same way – if your inReach is not powered on and listening to the satellites, the request will not go through.
Why don’t we just program the inReach to continuously listen for location requests and messages? Well, if we left the satellite modem on, the battery life would drastically decrease, and you’d be stuck without a lifeline. Not an ideal situation.
In order to give users the best balance of accessibility and battery life we have programmed the inReach to listen at set intervals, specifically engineered to give you the greatest chance at receiving the location request. These intervals are adjustable, more on that below. It is also worth mentioning that the satellite modem is left on for 10 minutes after every message is sent – because you will likely want to receive any replies as soon as possible.
Now that you have a basic understanding of this feature, there are more ways that you can ensure you are receiving all incoming messages and location requests in a timely manner.
- Adjust Listen Interval – The interval at which your inReach will listen for messages and location requests can be adjusted in the settings menu. Settings -> Messages -> Listen Interval. Please note that using a more frequent interval can decrease battery life.
- Tracking – If you are tracking, your inReach will listen for location requests and incoming messages after every track point is sent. So, if you are tracking at 10-minute intervals and have a clear view of the sky, you will not miss any messages. Your track points are also plotted on your MapShare page, so anyone following along can easily see your location when you are tracking. If you are on the Safety Plan it is important to remember that each track point will cost $0.10.
- Messaging – Every message sent from an inReach, or from the Earthmate app connected to an inReach, is embedded with your coordinates and contains a link to a map containing your location. Sending a message is a perfect way to share your location with loved ones or emergency contacts. If you are on a Safety or Recreation plan and don’t want to use up your allotted text messages, use a preset message with the text “Here is my location” to avoid racking up any overages. As mentioned above, your inReach will listen for messages and location requests for 10 minutes after each message is sent, giving you the best chance of receiving replies as they are sent.
“Women inspired me to climb. The mountains opened my heart and my world. I am forever thankful for being introduced to a life of adventure.”
Inside every kid is the heart of an adventurer, and DeLorme is proud to feature 12 amazing inReach ambassadors who were empowered by a parent or a mentor to buck stereotypes and discover a life-changing outdoor passion. Up first for January, Georgina Miranda. Georgina is the founder of Climb Take Action and Altitude Seven, and is an avid mountaineer, climber and hiker.
“I was inspired to get serious about climbing back in 2007 after reading Eve Ensler’s account of her visit to Democratic Republic of Congo and the remarkable women she met there. These women lived in a world where 420,000 women are raped each year — roughly 48 per hour and 1,152 per day. Shocking I know, but sadly true. I wanted to do something to help and have voice to raise awareness so I decided to launch Climb Take Action and climb the highest peak on each continent to raise funds and awareness for these survivors of some of the most horrific gender-based violence of its kind. In 2009 I was able to visit the Uganda/DRC border with International Medical Corps and meet some of these women. Their stories, their tears, their smiles, and their resilience have served as endless inspiration and confirmed that “it only takes one”– if you can make a difference in the life of another human, even if just one, to them it can mean the world. To date I have climbed six of the seven summits with Antarctica left to go, yet there are endless mountains to climb in the literal sense and in life. All proceeds benefit International Medical and VDAY. These women, the charities I support, and the mountains are the special ones.”
To read Georgina’s full bio and see her in action, go to inReachDelorme.com/adventure. Be sure to check back every month to see all of our 2016 inReach Women of Adventure!
Team DeLorme is in Salt Lake City, Utah this week for Outdoor Retailer Winter Market. The OR trade show is one of my favorite events because we have the opportunity to talk with lots of people in the outdoor industry who are interested in the inReach. Some visitors to the DeLorme booth are retailers looking for new products for their stores, others are guiding companies or search and rescue organizations. Members of the press visit to see what’s new, and others are interested in the inReach because their friends told them they needed one for their next big adventure.
Many of our visitors ask great questions about the inReach system so I thought I would share some of those here, along with the answers we provided. If you are doing your own research on inReach you’ll be able to learn more without traveling all the way to Utah! If you find your question wasn’t answered feel free to post it as a comment here and I will update the post for everyone.
Before I get started, here are a couple of photos from yesterday’s All Mountain Demo and the DeLorme booth in the convention center. People have been able to see the inReach and the Earthmate app in action. We’ve had some great conversations about the system and given people hands on experience sending and receiving messages.
Questions from Outdoor Retailer:
Q: Why should I buy this and not a SPOT device?
A: While the SPOT device can send a message, it does not offer any confirmation that the message was actually delivered nor does it allow the recipient of the message to reply. The inReach uses the Iridium satellite network and allows the user to send a custom 160-character message to someone’s SMS cellphone number, email address, or to another inReach user. Once that recipient receives the message they can reply and the inReach user will receive the message on their device. This two-way communication is the main difference between the inReach and the SPOT device and one that has been very well received at the OR show.
Q: Do I need to be inside cellular coverage for the inReach to work?
A: No, the inReach uses the Iridium satellite network to send and receive messages anywhere in the world. The Iridium network offers global coverage, pole to pole with no dead zones to worry about. The Iridium satellites travel in a polar orbit around the Earth making them very reliable even in northern and southern regions, something that is very popular with trade show attendees from Alaska.
Q: What is the difference between the inReach Explorer in orange and the inReach SE in yellow?
A: Both devices offer messaging, tracking, and safety features. The user can send 160-character text messages to friends and family, track their location automatically to a website, and communicate with search and rescue in an emergency. The inReach Explorer adds a digital compass, barometric altimeter, and accelerometer, enabling a compass page and a high detail track line with up to a 1 second track detail. Explorer users can create waypoints and routes during their planning process on their Explore website. They can also use the inReach to navigate and find their way to a waypoint or trailhead. The ability to use navigation features like a handheld GPS is something show attendees are looking for as it allows them to stop carrying separate communication and GPS devices.
Q: Can I see topographic maps on the inReach?
A: While the inReach only shows a map grid with user waypoints, routes, and high detailed track lines, it is possible to see a fully detailed topographic map using DeLorme’s Earthmate app on a mobile device running iOS or Android. The Earthmate app on a mobile device pairs with the inReach using Bluetooth and allows the user to put their phone into airplane mode to save battery power. Messages can be created using the touchscreen on the mobile device and then sent to the Iridium satellites using the inReach.
Q: Do I need cellular coverage to view the maps on the Earthmate app?
A: No, the maps are stored on the mobile device during a download step prior to heading out on a trip. It is important to consider all the areas where the user will travel so that the correct maps are downloaded. Topographic maps, aerial imagery, USGS quads, and public lands are all available for download. Topographic maps are also available at a slightly lower detail for the rest of the world. While they don’t show local road detail, they do show major roads and full topographic detail.
Q: Can I send messages from one inReach to another inReach?
A: Yes, each inReach device has an inReach address that can be shared with other inReach users for device-to-device messaging. The inReach address can be found on the user’s Explore site in the Account section under My Info. Sending a message to another inReach owner’s @inreach.delorme.com address will include the user’s location and appear on the recipient’s inReach map page so that they see their position and can navigate to that location.
Q: How does someone follow along back home while the inReach is being used?
A: Each inReach devices is associated with an Explore website account that shows the user any messages, tracks, waypoints, or routes that they create while planning or while using the inReach in the field. The user also has a MapShare link that can be sent to friends and family prior to a trip or from the inReach itself when tracking is initiated in the field. The MapShare page allows visitors to see the inReach tracking information for the user along with any messages that were sent to the MapShare. Keep in mind that personal messages not sent to MapShare will not appear on the page. It’s also possible to put a password on the page and specify a date range when the page will be visible. Visitors to the MapShare page can send a message to the user if that feature has been enabled by the user.
Q: How much does the inReach system cost?
A: The inReach SE retails for $299 while the inReach Explorer with the digital compass, barometric altimeter, and accelerometer retails for $379. The inReach user also needs to select a data plan in order to send and receive messages. Data plans are very flexible and first require the user to decide if they will use the device year round or would like to only pay for the months when they need the system. Users selecting the Annual Plans will see some savings however users that choose the Freedom Plan are able to suspend when they know they won’t be needing the inReach. They also have the ability to move up and down between the data plans with no additional charge. After choosing the plan duration the user chooses between Safety, Recreation, Expedition, and Extreme. Each plan offers more included features as the plan grows. I encourage people going into the backcountry to select the Recreation level because it includes unlimited tracking. For special events consider the Expedition level that adds unlimited messaging. Learn more here: Data Plans.
These are some of the questions and answers that went around the DeLorme booth today. I hope they answered some of the questions you might have. Please post a comment here if you have any questions of your own, I’ll be happy to help out!