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Thread: Inreach vs Spot vs ????

  1. #1
    SJ's Avatar
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    Inreach vs Spot vs ????

    So my "new to me" InReach SE died right when I needed it most - at the very first few minutes of a cross country mountainous trip. Garmin wants a flat $175 to fix it, since I bought it used I think I will just replace it. I have two old SPOT messengers and they always worked "OK" for me, and were much cheaper than inReach. I know you Alaska folks HAVE to have Iridium based networks, and they are better down south also, but I can most likely get buy on Globalstar.

    Anything new I should look at? Bear in mind this is not an "every day" thing for me, but I do definitely have several times a year when I need it.

    Thoughts? Hopes? Dreams?

    Thanks

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------
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  2. #2
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I am in the same boat since I play a lot on the river by myself. Saw where they just came out with a small one as well. Curious to hear other experiences with either.

    https://explore.garmin.com/en-US/inreach/
    Steve Pierce

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  3. #3
    Bill Rusk's Avatar
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    The InReach has what is called a freedom plan, which cost $15 a month, but you can upgrade on a monthly basis to a more comprehensive plan when you need it. So over the winter when you’re not really using it it’s $15 a month, and then when you take a big trip in June you can upgrade it for that month. I am not familiar with the spot plans.

    Bill
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  4. #4

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    Looks like you can preorder the mini version of the InReach. $350 appears to be the price point. Looks like a handy size albeit, fewer features or features that are harder to use. Several new reviews and demos on YouTube

  5. #5

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    My Inreach Explorer has been perfect. Bluetooth texting with the phone works better than using the device keypad. Topo maps with their Earthmates app are also better on the phone. I still keep a Spider in the plane but outside the airplane I like the Inreach. I've seen the new mini version and don't see any advantage. My standard unit is compact enough.
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  6. #6
    Barnstormer's Avatar
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    I used to only turn on my inReach when I was flying in the "back country". I now turn it on EVERY time I fly (and in anybody's plane). This is why:

    https://backcountrypilot.org/forum/w...-morning-15784
    Phil Whittemore

  7. #7
    SJ's Avatar
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    Stewart, am I correct that the Explorer does not add any additional communications features over the SE, just gps topo maps and stuff?

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------

  8. #8

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    I believe that's correct. I have the old version of the Explorer and chose it to have the map screen when I wouldn't carry my phone, or for when the phone battery dies. I don't know how the updated units with the Rino form factor compare. The battery life in my Inreach is impressive.

    My most used function is as a text communicator. It's very good in that role. Tracking works well, too.
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  9. #9

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    +1 on InReach. Cheap, flexible plans. Great features, long lasting battery and what Stewart said... the Earthmate app (on iPhone via Bluetooth) has fantastic topo maps which are also good for biking and hiking.

    Andrew

  10. #10

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    I've had my Delorme InReach Explorer for a few years. It works really well. Like others, I use it with the Earthmate iOS app for texting. The tracking is great, especially like the quick showing of my last trip track details; time moving, distance and speed (max and ave). But for tracking and sending a quick message it's easily done on the unit itself. Texting is probably the best feature (next to SOS but hope to never need that). Had a chance to hold the new small InReach. Weighs next to nothing and would be so easy to keep on you at all times, but it is pricey. I won't go anywhere with my InReach.
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  11. #11
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    I have the inReach SE and with the freedom plan, no more expensive than my old Spot. I like the inReach for the ability to text without having the phone connected. That said, the Earthmate phone app is good, and is handy to determine land status (BLM, WSA, etc.). If I had to buy another one, I'd get the Explorer, with the built in map.

    I use the InReach every time I fly - no troubles.
    Idaho drinks more wine per person than any other state in the country.
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  12. #12

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    They're all getting expensive but I see the older version of the Explorer on Amazon Prime, new from GPS City at $305.00. The newer version appears to have a better screen with topo mapping where mine has a more basic map but that wouldn't be important to me. If I was buying another one I'd buy the same one I have and save $150. Or the SE for a little less yet.
    Last edited by stewartb; 05-11-2018 at 04:25 PM.
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  13. #13

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    Another voter here for InReach.

    After installing a Garmin GTX345, I found that the SPOT would cause the 345's built in GPS to loose position every time SPOT sent out a position report (track).

    Paul K.

  14. #14
    Farmboy's Avatar
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    Inreach vs Spot vs ????

    Take a look at the plans and compare closely to the enterprise plan. Depending on your use or how often you want pings, the enterprise plan was a better option for me than other “std” plans.

    (I think 10 min intervals for how I flail around the countryside places points too far apart)

    Sent from my iPhone using SuperCub.Org

  15. #15

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    I still find my spot device is great and does what I need. I never fly my personal plane without it on for satellite tracking.

    If I needed 2 way comms, the inReach would be the way to do both things. That really has not been an issue for me. I have a lot of friends with inReach devices that never use the satellite tracking function, which to me is the primary strength of these devices, both spot and inReach.

  16. #16

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    FYI, Spot just announced the Spot X 2 way communicator a couple of days ago.
    Mark

  17. #17
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    Another vote for In Reach.

    I had a last generation SPOT, but upgraded to In Reach. Gave the SPOT to my wife and her hiking group. the annual subscription automatically renewed. After a month I noted that she wasn’t using it, and said she wasn’t going to.....so I called SPOT to cancel subscription, and asked for refund. They refused both cancellation and refund. I explained that they had renewed my subscription without my permission, and they never notified me, for that matter.

    Their response was that I should read the (massive) user agreement, and tough ****. No refund, and in fact, it became obvious that they intended to renew my subscription again. Called the credit card company to protest the renewal, and after a couple months, the credit card company said it was a valid charge.
    I cancelled that credit card to prevent SPOT from renewing again.

    These are NOT nice people. Rude is too nice a term.

    In Reach is a good company, you can turn service on and off seasonally, and lots of different plans. Alaska isn’t the only coverage problem with SPOT, either. In the mountains, their coverage can be, well, spotty.

    Buy an In Reach and don’t look back.

    MTV
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  18. #18

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    So after being a SPOT customer for about 10 years, I was considering a switch to Inreach based on the 2 way texting feature. After reading Mike’s experience and reading several other “internet” stories of problems, I decided to cancel my SPOT service. I called customer service, and with no question other than asking why I wanted to cancel, it was canceled effective today. It may have made a difference that my renewal date was coming up next week anyway, but don’t know for sure.
    Mark
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  19. #19
    SJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Rusk View Post
    The InReach has what is called a freedom plan, which cost $15 a month, but you can upgrade on a monthly basis to a more comprehensive plan when you need it. So over the winter when you’re not really using it it’s $15 a month, and then when you take a big trip in June you can upgrade it for that month. I am not familiar with the spot plans.

    Bill
    Bill, the "Freedom" plan is not listed as one of the options. Here are what they have on-line.

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    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------

  20. #20

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    I recently found my old original Spot unit. I thought it got tossed long ago. I plan to use it as a 500 yard target for my AR-10. Watching that little piece of junk explode into a million pieces will be very satisfying. If it takes me a box or two of cartridges to hit it? That sounds fun, too. Life is good, unless you're my Spot unit!
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  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by SJ View Post
    Bill, the "Freedom" plan is not listed as one of the options. Here are what they have on-line.

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    InReach offers Personal and Professional plans. In the personal plans you can go with a contract or month-to-month "Freedom" plan. Personally I use the Safety plan and pay for tracking as I go. For my use it makes the most sense. If I need to step up to the next level I can do so on the web portal in seconds. Stepping back down costs a small penalty. Find your happy place.
    https://explore.garmin.com/en-US/inreach/
    http://www.mypilotstore.com/mypilots...a-Fees-USA.pdf


    Personal Plans

    For outdoor enthusiasts, adventure seekers, explorers, travelers and anyone who needs a global communications solution, an inReach device and satellite subscription can mean added preparedness and peace of mind when you need to stay connected.
    The following 2 subscription options are available: Choose our monthly Freedom plan or an annual contract to meet your airtime service needs.

    • Monthly Freedom plans are ideal for your next adventure or seasonal use, requiring only a 30-day commitment with the ability to suspend service when you don’t need it.
    • Annual contract plans are great for year-round use, with lower monthly cost and peace of mind that your inReach is always ready to use.
    Last edited by stewartb; 05-12-2018 at 07:12 AM.

  22. #22
    SJ's Avatar
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    So Cabela's has a sale on the Explorer. I bought one this morning..

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    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------
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  23. #23
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    InReach SE has been good, bought it when they first came out. I don't use the tracking, don't like leaving evidence of where I've been.

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"

  24. #24
    SJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cubdriver2 View Post
    InReach SE has been good, bought it when they first came out. I don't use the tracking, don't like leaving evidence of where I've been.

    Glenn
    Glenn, I think the argument (at least mine) for tracking is that if something happens and you can't hit SOS at least they know where to start looking.

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------
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  25. #25

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    Now that assumes somebody cares where you are!

    Tracking isn't for me, it's for my wife and daughter. They like knowing that I made it to where I was going, or that I made it back to camp that night, etc. It's pretty simple to provide and they feel better for me doing it. Same for the texting. I don't want any drawn out chat session but I do check in occasionally. I expect that of them, too, so it's all fair.
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  26. #26
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    Inreach vs Spot vs ????

    Sj,
    I use every available avenue in regards to being found faster.

    No offense to local response teams, but I often think friends with airplanes could locate you faster in the back country.

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    And for five bucks a month you can suspend service until you want it again.

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    Transmitted from my FlightPhone
    Last edited by Farmboy; 05-12-2018 at 09:16 AM.

  27. #27
    sjohnson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJ View Post
    Bill, the "Freedom" plan is not listed as one of the options. Here are what they have on-line.

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    I'm using Safety plan, and paying the .10 per trackpoint. Over the full year, this works out best for me.
    Idaho drinks more wine per person than any other state in the country.

  28. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by mam90 View Post
    So after being a SPOT customer for about 10 years, I was considering a switch to Inreach based on the 2 way texting feature. After reading Mike’s experience and reading several other “internet” stories of problems, I decided to cancel my SPOT service. I called customer service, and with no question other than asking why I wanted to cancel, it was canceled effective today. It may have made a difference that my renewal date was coming up next week anyway, but don’t know for sure.
    Watch your credit card statement. I did the same and they still charged me for renewal. Heard stories of that happening to others. They did refund my subscription but you have to catch them quick. Just for that I'll never go back to Spot. Older generation Inreachs are currently on sale at Cabelas for $200. Another option designed for sailplane guys but if you fly in an area with decent cell coverage there is this https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...droid&hl=en_US
    Yeah I know phones suck and using them in the air is not kosher.
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  29. #29

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    Thanks Gregg. Fortunately the credit card they have on file expired in February..
    Mark

  30. #30

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    Inreach obviously has the ability to offer 2 minute tracking intervals since it’s available on their top tier plan. It seems odd that they don’t offer intervals less than 10 minutes on their “safety” plan where the user pays per tracking point


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  31. #31

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    Just ordered the SpotX to replace my gen3. $249 w/ 2-way messaging. 5 minute tracking + 300 messages for $199/year. 2.5 minute tracking + unlimited messaging for $299/year


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  32. #32
    windy's Avatar
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    I’ve been using a Gen 1 SPOT since they first came out many years ago. No problem with spotty tracking. I use it EVERY flight. The batteries need to be changed about once per year, with 200-300 flight hrs per year. My SPOT watchers know what to do in case I should ever have to activate the “help” or “sos” signals. I guess it would be nice to have the texting feature, but not essential for me. Very happy with my SPOT.


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  33. #33
    Farmboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bender View Post
    Inreach obviously has the ability to offer 2 minute tracking intervals since it’s available on their top tier plan. It seems odd that they don’t offer intervals less than 10 minutes on their “safety” plan where the user pays per tracking point


    Sent from my iPhone using SuperCub.Org
    This sounds familiar. I believe this is why I went with the enterprise plan back in 2016. Maybe it’s called “professional” now?

    The enterprise plan allows (allowed) me to vary my minutes less than 10. 10 minutes is too long for bush intervals.


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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by SJ View Post
    Glenn, I think the argument (at least mine) for tracking is that if something happens and you can't hit SOS at least they know where to start looking.

    sj
    You guys a too paranoid.

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"

  35. #35

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    Another vote for Inreach, due to better coverage, surprisingly handy ability to text AND retrieve weather. We also use it for sending coordinates of downed game, campsites, etc.
    I understand the appeal of a "set and forget" PLB that gets dumped into your survival kit. However it really is an advantage to be able to explain what is happening at a site, rather than just sending a PLB broadcast for help.
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  36. #36

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    Is the SPOT “coverage problem” real? Few people go farther north than Tok, and mine worked there three weeks ago.

  37. #37

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    It was certainly real for me, but I had friends who didn't have the same problem in the same areas. I attributed the inconsistency to piss-poor QC in the SPOT devices themselves. SPOT customer care was a waste of time. I switched and never looked back. If you depend on your equipment your equipment needs to be dependable. InReach is the best pocket tracker/beacon I've used and Spidertracks is far superior to that for airplane use. I've also had an Iridium phone for about 15 years. I have yet to experience a single service failure with any of my Iridium equipment. With Iridium's new constellation coming on-line soon? Their service is about to get even better.

    5 launches are complete, 3 remain including one this month. Amazing stuff. https://www.iridiumnext.com
    Last edited by stewartb; 05-17-2018 at 08:24 AM.

  38. #38

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    We have both a older SPOT and a newer InReach in the family. The InReach tracking and text messages arrive very fast. Spot location message will often take an hour or so to be received.
    DENNY
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  39. #39

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    Have been watching the Garmin InReach Explorer+ prices and seems today eBay and Amazon have cut prices from around $449 to $375.
    Looks like a good deal. Does that mean a new model is coming out??

  40. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by jhickstx View Post
    Have been watching the Garmin InReach Explorer+ prices and seems today eBay and Amazon have cut prices from around $449 to $375.
    Looks like a good deal. Does that mean a new model is coming out??
    The new SpotX is a direct competitor, at least $100 cheaper for the hardware at $249, and the plans are far less expensive too with quicker tracking intervals. The units are backordered everywhere. My guess would be that what your seeing is a reactive response from Garmin.

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