DeLorme inReach Explorer Review

Bottom Line:

A lightweight Satellite Communicator, the inReach Explorer by DeLorme allows two way messaging to phone numbers, email addresses, social media… etc. It has an amazing 100 hour battery built in as well as GPS mapping and logging capabilities for navigation. A must have for the modern day explorer and adventurer.

Observations:

Please watch my video review above to find out my observations in more detail. Feel free to read on though to see my observations in brief bullet-point form.

  • Two Way Messaging: This feature proved more valuable than I imagined it would. On a few occasions, when it was unclear if the weather was going to get worse or better I was able to get confirmations from friends via text on the exact, up to the minute, weather forecast and make plans based on that information. It made the difference between getting caught out in really bad weather while isolated in the mountains, to being safe and dry in a backcountry cabin.
  • Earthmate App: You are really getting half the experience of using this device if you don’t pair it with the Earthmate App for smartphones. It allows you to view your GPS maps and waypoints as well as compose, send and receive text messages as you would on your phone. In remote mountain huts I was astonishing the other guests by sending texts to friends to get up-to-date weather forecasts or even the rules of “cribbage” sent directly to my iPhone.
  • Built in GPS: I personally own a dedicated GPS device, but I came to appreciate the mapping and logging capabilities built into the inReach Explorer compared to the inReach SE. It meant that now two individuals in my group could be responsible for navigating with a GPS device. Even if you already own a dedicated GPS device I’d recommend the Explorer over the inReach SE as it means you now have a backup GPS device always with you for no added weight or reduction in battery life.

Pros:

100% Coverage: The inReach Explorer uses the Iridium network of Satellites which have 100% coverage of the planet, so you will never need to be concerned if an area you are exploring will work with this device. Just point it at the sky and connect.

Internal Rechargeable Battery: I love that this device has an internal lithium battery. I personally bring a few different electronics with me on trips (Cameras, Dedicated GPS devices, Smart Phones… etc) and they all charge off USB so I need only bring 1 high capacity battery pack to keep all of them charged, which now includes being able to charge up the inReach Explorer on the go.

Convenient Subscription Plans: Pick one of the reasonably priced plans, use the device for the adventures you’re on and then you are free to suspend your subscription with Delorme until you need to use the device again. Or keep it active all year round so that the SOS capability is immediately available to you at all times. Check out the plan options by following this link: DeLorme Subscription Plans

SOS Functionality: This is likely already your primary reason for looking into these devices. The inReach Explorer allows you to trigger an SOS distress call to your location by either pressing the SOS button on the device, selecting the SOS icon on the devices menu or directly from your smartphone when it is paired with the device. Unlike other SOS devices that connect to Satellite networks you can then communicate back and forth so that the Search and Rescue team knows the exact details of your emergency. This ability to communicate could prove critical to them finding and helping you.

Ridge scrambling with the Explorer on my shoulder strap

Ridge scrambling with the Explorer on my shoulder strap

Cons:

Composing Texts on the inReach: Writing messages directly on the inReach Explorer is challenging due to the limited screen space. To solve this issue simply either preset common messages via your inReach website login, or bluetooth pair directly to the device and type the messages from your phone. The messaging system via the Earthmate App was as fluid to use for me as iMessage for iPhone. The App is really well designed and intuitive.

Getting reception for the inReach Explorer

Getting reception for the inReach Explorer

Buy It If:

You are ever anywhere were you are concerned about having cell reception, whether it’s the backcountry, remote rural areas, roads through National Parks and you also need the GPS Mapping and Logging functionality. It is simply an invaluable piece of technology for the modern adventurer. Highly recommended.

Checking our location on the inReach Explorer

Checking our location on the inReach Explorer

Links:

Website: DeLorme inReach

Login: inReach Explore

Buy (Amazon): inReach Satellite Communicator

Earthmate App: iTunes Link

Specifications: DeLorme Satellite Communicators

More Pictures:

Leaving the Explorer by a window to connect while I'm paired to it with my smartphone.

Leaving the Explorer by a window to connect while I’m paired to it with my smartphone.

 

4 days into a ski traverse, getting the inReach out to confirm our location

4 days into a ski traverse, getting the inReach out to confirm our location

 

Mid way through an ice climb, the inReach Explorer clipped to my pack

Mid way through an ice climb, the inReach Explorer clipped to my pack

 

Ski touring with the Explorer on my shoulder strap

Ski touring with the Explorer on my shoulder strap

 

Ski touring with the Explorer on my shoulder strap

Ski touring with the Explorer on my shoulder strap

 

Updating the inReach firmware

Updating the inReach firmware

 

Screen that displays while firmware is being updated

Screen that displays while firmware is being updated

 

Examples of preset messages you can compose

Examples of preset messages you can compose

 

How the preset messages display on the device

How the preset messages display on the device

 

The Weather functionality built in.

The Weather functionality built in.

 

Weather by Day

Weather by Day

 

Weather by 6 hour intervals

Weather by 6 hour intervals

 

Author: Leigh McClurg

I grew up in County Dublin, Ireland and moved to British Columbia, Canada with my wife in 2010. I fell in love with being in the Backcountry and Mountains that are all around me here and try to spend all of my free time exploring those wild places. My main goals are to chase happiness, see as much of this planet and its cultures as possible and grow every day through knowledge and experiences.

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