Garmin inReach Messenger

Biere a Terre

Jun 5, 2021
British Columbia
Well! Garmin just dropped a new inReach product, the Messenger. It is $100 less than the Mini 2, and includes a couple of differentiating features compared to the Mini 2:
  • Bigger battery (28 days with 10-minute tracking; Mini 2 is at 14 days for 10-minute tracking)
  • Tiny screen
  • No digital compass
  • No route-loading capability
  • Reverse USB-C charging (ie power your smartphone off of the inReach USB-C port)
  • New Garmin Messenger smartphone app (which will soon come to the Mini 2 via firmware update)
I think this Messenger will be a great device for car campers, off-roaders, small airplane and powerboat owners. Basically people with powered vehicles, outside of regular cellular coverage, and who want to stay in touch with others via their smartphones.

But the Mini 2 is probably still the best option for us, being kayakers & canoers, plus backpackers, horsebackers, skiers, etc. When you're fully away from powered exfiltration, need a digital compass and routing, and want to hang it on your pack or person for immediate access and SOS.

The new Garmin Messenger smartphone app will become available via firmware update for the GPSMAP 66i, Montana 700i/750i, Alpha 200i, and the inReach Mini 2 units. It seems like a departure from previous Garmin inReach messaging via app, which happened fully and only through inReach satellite communication. The new app will rely on your phone's data connection (wifi or cellular) when available, and then fall back to inReach satellite, while keeping the threaded communications in one app rather than split out. I believe this is what the Zoleo app does?

There is already an extensive write-up on DC Rainmaker.

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Reactions: JKA


Mar 23, 2010
Powell River BC
Lol, that article just schooled me. I've been a cranky curmudgeon user of my 66i because it's so klunky trying to type a message with the gps's interface. Now I see i could have been using the explore app on my phone. Ha ha, only took 2 years and 60-70 days use to figure that out...