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Issue 49 has been released! Download your own high definition PDF copy with a TrailGroove Premium Subscription or read online in standard definition here.



Garmin InReach Mini Review


Aaron Zagrodnick

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Aaron Zagrodnick

Cell phone coverage in the backcountry is unreliable. A few spots, like ridges overlooking populated areas, sometimes have service. That is good enough to check in every few days or so. But if you are hurt, or encounter someone else who is hurt, a hike up to a ridge in order to possibly call for help is not a solid plan. If you are on a popular trail you can just wait a bit, knowing that another hiker will come along soon. But if you are bushwhacking, or are on a trail that almost no one hikes, waiting for help is not such a great option. Help might never come.

That’s the strongest use case for a personal locator beacon or satellite communication device: to enable you to call for help no matter how remote the terrain or how desolate the route. You will always have backup. I began looking into getting a satellite communication device while planning a hike of the Desert Trail in 2019. The DT is not only remote, it is also not actually a trail. It is just a passable cross-country route through the deserts of eastern California. The likelihood that anyone would find me on it, should I become hurt or disabled, was just about nil. Although I was not eager to bear the additional pack weight (and expense), the argument for taking a satellite communication device was pretty compelling. Particularly to my family. My search quickly narrowed to the Garmin InReach Mini. Although this review will not include a direct comparison with other devices, the Mini has several features that stood out...

In Issue 48, contributor Drew @HappyHour Smith reviews the Garmin InReach Mini Satellite Communicator. Check out the full review and rating in the article below, from Issue 48:

Garmin InReach Mini Review

Garmin InReach Mini Long Term Review

Issue 48 Page 1

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Aaron Zagrodnick

Following up to say thanks for the review Drew, I've been using the old Delorme InReach SE (my review - from back in Issue 10) for quite a while. Never upgraded to the Explorer since it was heavier, and had battery life concerns with the Mini. However, your once a day send / receive battery life test was promising - and should last for me even on longer trips. So now I'm considering picking up a Mini and holding onto the SE as well for the ability to use InReach to InReach messaging when needed.

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