InReach discontinued?

JKA

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Jul 25, 2016
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Banks Peninsula, New Zealand
Does anyone have any knowledge about discontinuation of the InReach Mini?

I ask because when I started searching Google with the intention of buying I saw posts to that effect. Looking further it seemed nothing was concrete, but I expect that members of this forum would have better information if that was true.

Cheers

John
 

Philip.AK

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Kodiak, Alaska
The new InReach Mini 2 is replacing the original Mini. It seems to be a modest update overall, but with potentially significant increases to battery life.
 

eriktheviking

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Jul 4, 2009
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Prince George, BC
It looks like the InReach SE (Yellow one) is disappearing and I wouldn't be surprised if the Explore (Orange one) follows. Those were the original Delorme designed units. The Mini 2 will probably be the low end unit and the expensive InReach+GPS screen units will be higher end.
 

cougarmeat

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Bend OR USA
Though not in Canada (Sorry) REI is still selling the mini. I got the SE+ because it has bigger buttons and, though easier to use with a Bluetooth connection to a larger display (iPhone, iPad), it is handier than the mini that almost requires it. Sometimes smaller isn't a feature.

I still haven't decided which works best for me; Spot, InReach, or Zoleo. I had grown dissatisfied with the Spot because of their yearly fee (for only a few weeks of use in the summer), but last time I looked, they had a monthly plan like InReach.
 

Nick Heath

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Mar 27, 2008
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Re: SPOT Isn't the monthly plan a sham (at least for Cdn customers) because one must commit to an annual fee for service even though payments are broken down into smaller monthly amounts? I stopped using mine mainly for this reason and now just carry a PLB.
 

cougarmeat

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Nick, thank you - I'll check into it. I stopped my Spot because when I first started using it - years ago - the cost was only $99/year. Once it got up to $247/year for something I only used a couple of weeks in the summer and I became aware of the devices with monthly plans, I canceled it. And I didn't appreciate that I couldn't just cancel from my account. I had to talk to someone (who is incentivized to talk me into keeping the device active). During that time, I thought I saw Spot had a payment plan similar to one of InReach's choices - About a $25 yearly fee and around $15/month for the months I wanted it active.

The one little catch with InReach was, I couldn't just pay the $25 and later pay $15 to start. The $25 ALSO required $15 to cover the month I started. So it was more like $40 going in the door - but still a lot less than Spot's yearly plan. That said, for me, the Spot is the easiest to use. I just want to let people back home know where I am and have the ability to summon help. I don't need two-way communication. Sure, it could be useful. But one of my messages is that I'm fine but off my float plan a little either because of the weather or because I'm having too much fun. One of the reasons for going out is to "disconnect" for a while.
 

kate

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Jul 12, 2008
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Hey all I’m trying to decide on which to buy. I want it for kayaking. Main reason is rescue when kayaking alone. But nice to send some reassuring messages. Or to let folks know of change of plans. Zoleo seems like an option that is best for communication as does it look easy to use after dumping. In reach is new model /? Should I just get a PLB? Which strangely I don’t have.
 

cougarmeat

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Kate, the PLB is usually for summing help (SOS) and only that. There is no way to communicate what level of help is needed. However, if you also carry a Marine VHF radio, you may be able use that to contact the Coast Guard or other nearby boats without acuating a full Search and Rescue mission.

My "technology" additions are influenced by the usual summer and winter reports of people getting lost and reading (and rereading and rereading) Deep Trouble (Vol 1 & 2). I'd ask myself, "Self, how would that have turned out differently if the person had a way to communicate to someone where they were?" A few years back a guy perished in a snow cave on Mt. Hood. He had the presence of mind to call his wife on his cell phone, but he couldn't tell her the Lat/Long of his location. We have a couple of those kinds of incidents around here every year.

If you opt for a gadget that has an, "I am here." feature - something besides just a full-on SOS, I'd make sure that can be triggered on the device itself without the need to interface with a screen display (iPad, iPhone, etc.). The Spot's one-button push for three preset messages is pretty darn simple (the fourth button is full-on SOS). I used the third, "Help" to tell the recipient that I needed assistance because I physically couldn't get the boat back by myself - not because there was any health issue. The other two messages were, "Everything is fine." and "Everything is fine but the float plan has changed a bit (weather or too much fun)."

I think Zolo also has a one-button location send option. If you are out solo, hiking, or paddling. It is reassuring to folks back home to know where you are setting up camp. That said, I always remind them that lack of a report doesn't mean there's a problem. It means I got so busy in camp that I forgot to send "I am here."

And if there were an issue where I couldn't push a button, those daily reports would at least give a "Last Known Address".

To your specific question about InReach ... First InReach was owned by DeLorme. They had an Explorer and an SE Model. They were about as big as a Marine handheld radio. The Explorer had built-in maps; the SE didn't. But the maps in the Explorer were not very good - too large a scale. So you'd want a different device (and paper charts) for that duty. Those units were sold to Garmin and the InReach Mini appeared. Though you might be able to send a message by selecting individual letters via an up/down/left/right cursor, it was much easier to interface (Bluetooth) with your phone display. But that required two devices. A while back Garmin came out with the Mini 2. I don't know what new things it offers. The mini is embraced by the hiking, ultralite, group. As a kayaker, you don't need (or want) the smallest unit possible. Smaller isn't better. It's more difficult to read, buttons easier to mis-push, etc. Recall the scene in Zoolander where Derek (Ben Stiller) pulls out his phone and it's the size of a sugar cube.

Garmin then put the communication features of the InReach together with a Map/Chart quality of their more traditional GPS units and brought out the expensive GPSMap 66i.

I was gung-ho to try out three units: my Spot (the Spot people have a new pricing plan that mimics InReach), the InReach SE+, and Zoleo. But then COVID came along and curtailed any travel to areas that would inspire activating the units.

And just recently, kicking and screaming, I finally - at the insistence of my "friends" - got a cell phone. I don't know what's wrong with communication by Ham Radio, the way [insert the deity of your choice] intended. The cell phone interfacing with the Zoleo unit might cover a lot of communication scenarios - balancing features with simplicity.

PS: Remember to bring your backup battery and charging cable.
 
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JohnAbercrombie

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Kate: @cougarmeat has explained the options more clearly than I could. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

For rescue- and rescue only - a PLB is the best satellite communication device. VHF is useful if there's anybody listening, and a DSC VHF - despite its disadvantages IMO- is probably the best VHF rescue option.

For messaging, a Zoleo is the option I picked recently, as it is simple for folks 'back home' to send a message to the Zoleo. You do need a phone to use the messaging on the Zoleo but you can use the SOS and 'Check In/I'm OK' features without a phone.
 

Philip.AK

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Kodiak, Alaska
I’ve been using InReach for years, both personally (Mini) and through my job (Explorer+), and I’ve become increasingly frustrated with the dumb, kludgy, and obviously designed-by-committee InReach experience. Unintuitive, unreliable, complicate. If I were starting over at this point, I would just go with the Zoleo, despite it requiring a phone interface for anything other than SOS function and sending out “I’m OK“ messages. The fact that the Zoleo has a dedicated SMS and email address, and these work even when the device is not powered on (messages still arrive via the internet to the app when in cell range), simplifies communication to a degree that would leave any InReach user completely Slackjawed. I only put up with my personal InReach Mini because of its diminutive form factor combined with personal inertia, and I put up with our work InReach E+ because it is standard at our agency (i’m not having to pay for anything), and we rely on the marine weather it provides when we are out of VHF range.
 
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