Off Grid Communications: Garmin Inreach Explorer+

This is the first of two posts on off grid sat comms. This one looks at the Garmin Inreach and the second at the Zoelo.

When you’re off the grid on an adventure the proverbial SHTF can happen at anytime, often out of cell coverage, or even many miles out at sea.

Having had a couple of off the grid moments (see offshore emergency and no map) I decided to get some satellite communications to keep in touch with my wife and get SOS help if needed.

I use my Garmin Inreach Explorer + to explore anywhere and communicate globally and have the peace of mind that I can not only communicate but also get SOS emergency response rescue.

Garmin Inreach Explorer +

With inReach satellite technology from Garmin and an active satellite subscription, you can stay in touch globally. You can send and receive messages, navigate your route, track and share your journey and, if necessary, trigger an SOS to a 24/7 staffed global emergency response coordination center via the 100% global Iridium® satellite network.

I use this on all my trips since I bought it in 2020. I pin waypoints to track back to my starting point, send realtime GPS coordinates and route updates to my emergency contacts, and have pre-programmed texts that are easy to send. I have field tested this several times in the Everglades as well as in Biscyane National Park and offshore fishing. When I start out I send a message with GPS coordinates linked to an interactive map that updates at 10 minute intervals with new datapoints.

When I return, I can track my own trip and use the maps for further exploration for the next one.

My wife now knows when I head out, can track in realtime the route and knows when the trip is done, even when out of cell range. For extra safety, I also send the same message and links to two other people that also know when I head out and where.

The Garmin Inreach Explorer + will be my main off the grid sat comm device in Alaska (2022) and the Amazon (2023).

Stay tuned for more.

Alec J. Rosen , Chief Adventurer & Raconteur

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