Review: Delorme InReach Explorer

Do you like to 'get away from it all' and 'get off the grid' for your kicks?  Do you seek the high alpine, the far back country or the distant peaks?  Do you crave adventure in truly wild spaces?  Or... do you know someone who does?  This post is for you.

*Disclosure: Since writing this review, I have become a proud inReach Canada brand ambassador.  This review was written from the heart, without any influence from inReach, before I became affiliated with them, however.  The bonus is that now, all of my friends and family (that means YOU) receive 15% off of inReach monthly subsription plans!  Be sure to take advantage of this great offer if you pick up or have your own inReach device.  Enjoy!

I seek adventures that are relatively remote.  I love to get off the beaten path and experience the silent beauty of nature without the distraction of other humans buzzing about.  There is nothing more magical that a sweet sunrise on a solo hike, or an alpine sunset shared only with your best bud.  The further off the grid you go, the more beauty you may discover around the next corner or over the next bump.

There are, of course, risks inherent in any activity we choose to pursue.  Biking, hiking, running, hunting, river paddling and even sitting on the couch, all come with a certain level of risk.  These  risks become compounded by every kilometre you put between you and 'the grid'.  A sprained ankle may ruin your run in Cumberland but it can become life threatening if you have to spend a cold night in the alpine.

Enter the Delorme InReach.  

A big thank you goes out to all around action man, David Norona, for recommending this device to me!
 
Delorme has created the next level of off the grid communication that moves beyond the basic technology of the original emergency communication device that most people are familiar with, the Spot.  Both the Spot and the inReach allow you to contact emergency services from areas where there is no cell phone coverage, by utilizing satellite technology.  No bars on your phone?  No problem.  But the inReach device takes communication beyond the simple 'help' message excels beyond the limitations of the Spot.  With the Delorme you can be confident that you can actually communicate (send and receive messages) your family, friends or emergency services, with texting, email (and even facebook / social media sharing) messages.    And it works.  I have sent 'good night' messages from the foot of the Golden Hinde, 'hello's' to friends from Buttle Lake and live updates of my location/route from the Middle of Nowhere.  Delorme claims the inReach will work in 99% of the locations on planet Earth.  Much more than I can say for my Telus cell phone lol.

Step into the wild...Augerpoint Mountain.

inReach currently offers two models: The SE base model and the Explorer model, which also comes equipped with full GPS functions in addition to the communication capabilities.  Upload and follow tracks on the trail, send out live location updates to your friends or family via the inReach mapshare software or record and download your route when you get home.  Personally, I think combining the communication and GPS functions into one unit is the way to go.  Especially if you are travelling light or if you do not already have a GPS unit.  This model is approximately $100 more than the basic inReach which starts around $350.  Once you have your device, you will need to purchase a monthly data plan which range from $20 and upward depending on how you want to use your device. You can just use the lowest data plan and carry your inReach for emergencies. Then, in the off season, you can downgrade to a $5/month plan to avoid reconnecting fees.  Or, you can go big and use the device as your main form of communication!  When we travelled to Panama this year, we used the inReach in place of a cell phone for texting our families and it was awesome!  This was the best $$$ I have spent in a really long time.  Peace of mind.  Safety.  Connection.  Emergency Support.  Priceless.

Just me and my tent, in the middle of Van Isle, at Carter Lake.  Golden Hinde bound.

Don't think you need one?  Imagine these scenario's where there is no cell reception:


You're hiking in Strathcona Park (or even in local trails where there is no cell service for that matter), enjoying the alpine scenery.  You parked at Mount Washington, and have hiked in about 3 hours to Cruikshank Canyon.

A: You catch your foot on a rock and fall, hitting your head...unconscious and no one else on the trail this late in the day. 
B: You walk into the bushes to take a pee and get stung by a wasp... and find out you are anaphalactic. 
C: The fog rolls in and you get disoriented...wandering around in the alpine close to cliff edges...
*All of the above: it gets dark...you are now spending the night in the alpine in your t-shirt and shorts.

OR

You're living your dream, riding your bike with friends at Spruce Lake in the Chilcotins!  You crash/get stung/break your wrist/or worse.  It will be 6 hours until your friends reach help.  It is getting dark...

OR...

You're travelling in Central American and the wi-fi is beyond unreliable.  You need to update your family back home of an emergency/change of plans/schedule update etc...no need for wifi...or an expensive data/cell plan!

OR... 

I am sure you can come up with your own scenarios...or you have experienced some of your own in real life! 

Can you tell I'm sold?

Heading off the grid?  Be sure to read my Back Country Running Tips and Gear List and my 7 Leave No Trace Principles articles, which apply to any fast and light adventure in the wild!

Cheers and happy trails,
SS