REVIEW: DeLorme inReach SE

REVIEW: DeLorme inReach SE Satellite Communicator; Here To Track Your Adventure, Then Save Your Life

by: Sarah Blessington

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Root Glacier in Kennicott, AK

DeLorme inReach SE

MSRP: $299.95 (BUY NOW)

DeLormeinReachSE 5 DeLormeinReachSE 6Used with the powered RAM inVehicle Mount

MSRP: $69.95 (BUY NOW)

DeLormeinReachSE 3 DeLormeinReachSE 4SPECS:

Uses the Iridium Satellite Network (global). Offers two-way global SOS messaging through GEOS. Pairs to mobile device or tablet over Bluetooth using the Earthmate App. Has 160-character global two-way messaging with predictive text. Ability for GPS tracking & sharing (accuracy to +/- 5 meters). Includes location pinging. Accessibility to downloadable topographic maps via Delorme’s online ‘explore’ site. Has the capability to post to social media direct from the device. Boasts 100-hour operation time with continuous 10+ minute tracking intervals with their internal, rechargeable lithium battery. Two recharging options via either the micro-USB cable, or with the powered RAM mount accessory. Device is designed to be impact-resistant (Mil-STD-810G for shock), waterproof, and dustproof (IP67; standard submersion to 1 meter for 30 minutes).

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Bryon on a winter whitewater creek scouting mission deep in the woods of West Virginia.

Subscriptions:

You have two options on how to start your service with an inReach. You can either choose a monthly ‘Freedom Plan’, or receive a monthly discount with an annual contract.

If you go the monthly route, you will have an additional yearly fee of $24.95, but it then allows you to pick the 30-day service period (with no additional fees), so you have it only when you need it. Even if you move up or down in service coverage throughout the year, this will be done at no extra charge to you.

If your adventure schedule continuously colors your year, the annual plan takes a one-time activation fee of $19.95. Other than that, unless you downgrade your service plan (a $24.95 fee), it’s smooth sailing from there.

Cheapest plan: ‘Safety Plan’ gets you unlimited SOS, ten 160 character text messages, unlimited use of generic preset messages, and tracking interval rate of 10+ minutes for $14.95 a month. Tracking points, and location pings are $0.10 a pop.

What we use: ‘Expedition Plan’ offers unlimited everything with the tracking interval rate of 10+ minutes. We could go up another level to have 2+ minute interval tracking, but the 10+ works well for our application.

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Headed south on the Dalton Hwy after visiting Prudhoe Bay, AK.

When getting ‘out there’, part of the lure is that you leave your worldly connections behind you. But what happens when you break your leg, lose your map, or don’t end up buying a new phone plan in a different country? Unless you have trained a falcon or are traveling with Lassie, you’re going to want an inReach. This product has so many important and useful functions that it’s a no brainer to add to your travel arsenal. And hey, it’s even made in Maine, USA!

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Glacier hiking is fun, and dangerous, so be prepared!

If you ask my mother, I’m sure she would tell you that this is her favorite addition to the EEXP. If I’m standing on a glacier in Kennicott, Alaska, kayaking the Slave River in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, or getting lost in the wilderness in Baja, Mexico, just a simple text from her phone will find me wherever I am. When setting up our inReach, we were mainly excited about the SOS and the tracking functions. What really surprised us was how great the text feature really is. Our overland journey through Alaska and Canada took about four hours of planning. In that process, about two minutes were dedicated to travel communication. We figured there would be plenty of wifi hotspots around, and that should do just fine to meet up with friends. Well, that worked for about 4% of the time. Being able to shoot a quick text with an address, time to meet, or where we might be able to find wifi, was an incredible help to our adventure. International text is such a brilliant thing! I can be anywhere, and talk to anyone anywhere else. Um, yeah, why doesn’t everyone have an inReach already?!

While the predictive text sends me back to my Nokia ‘brick phone’ days, for just having four arrows to get across a keyboard, typing is actually pretty easy. If ‘going back in time’ isn’t your thing, and you are carrying your Smartphone or tablet with you, go ahead and use the Earthmate App to sync your device via Bluetooth. This lets you access your saved contacts and use your device’s keyboard. Earthmate also lets you download DeLorme’s topographic maps and NOAA charts, keep up with your tracking points and trip history, and access the SOS feature.

The next step is next level SOS. There are plenty of stories of folks out in the wilderness that hit the SOS button on their satellite communicators, and what comes to save them, might be packing a lot more punch than needed, or not enough. Delorme inReach, by using GEOS Emergency Monitoring and Response, has turned those stories around into quick, effective, and successful rescues. By using the text abilities of your inReach, you are able to stay in communication throughout your rescue, giving GEOS the information they need to help you. Did I mention they even give you an ETA of when help is on the way? As easy as it is to rest with a head injury, you can rest easy with GEOS. (Want to read some of DeLorme’s awesome rescue stories? Head on over to their blog.)

Not every adventure ends in a rescue mission (thankfully) but you’re still going to want to bring this SOS device with you. Another one of my mother’s favorite features is the tracking. I get to bring her along, and who ever else I share my Delorme MapShare link with, from the safety of her computer screen. When turned on and tracking, every ten minutes, a GPS location is stored to an interactive map to log our journey. This is also a great tool for us, as sometimes we don’t pre-plan our routes, and it’s nice to see where we have been. We can ping campsite locations, kayak playspots, or unlabeled dirt roads for future reference. If you want to share your map with everyone, it’s super easy to integrate the map onto your blog or website (Great example on AdventureTrio.com).

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The inReach is a perfect Adv Moto accessory!

The functionality of the inReach is melt-your-mind awesome. Add it to the incredible coverage you get on the Iridium Global Network, and this device is down right unstoppable. Iridium’s satellites are close to earth, there are a LOT of them (66), and they are synced in a way that makes sure your device is fully functional. No matter the natural disaster, or what far corner of the earth you are on, you don’t have to rely on cell towers that can be destroyed, obstructed, or are just plain NOT anywhere where you are. (To learn more about how they have you covered, check out their site here!) The only trouble we’ve had with our satellite connection is when we’re in a big metal structure, or surrounded by super tall buildings. Just a few steps away from your surroundings to find a clear view of the sky will get you back in business.

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The new inReach Explorer is a perfect companion for all of your overland adventures.

If you can’t tell, I am absolutely in love with this product. The device itself is clean, simple, AND ALL OF IT WORKS! The inReach SE allows you to reach out and be reached on all your adventures, without selling off your first-born to pay for it.

DeLormeinReachSE 12(DISCLAIMER: Bryon Dorr won a DeLorme inReach SE and service in a drawing at Winter OR 2013.)

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