When looking at the Explorer, (amazon) I see they offer the ultimate power pack bundle – do you recommend (do I need) this packages? (looks like a battery pack, and an AC and a DC cords.)
Should I get the silicone protective cover?
Does the necessary wiring to connect to your computer (for downloading information/mapping) come with the device? It doesn't say in the item description.
I realize I have to activate it to use it – but are there things I can do with it to help me familiarize myself with it, around home prior to activation?
Can I install mapping without it being activated?
What mapping systems are you installing? I went to “Hikingguy” on youtube and he highly recommends the free "OpenStreetMapping" to install – has anyone installed this, if so, how do you like it?
Do you have other recommendations advice about the explorer?
Sorry about all the questions, just trying to cover all my bases. Thanks Bob
I use basic GAIA on my iPhone that I pair with the InReach via Bluetooth, as it sure is a nicer GPS than the InReach screen and controls are. You download Earthmate to your phone to allow easy texting and access to the address book on your phone. You have to initiate texting with others and they can respond, or else give them the address of your InReach ahead of time.
I don't use a cover on mine, just carry it in a cargo pocket in the pants or in a belt pouch on the pack inside a pint Ziplock freezer bag. When the bag gets some wear I pull out a new one. Good luck with it...just turn it on and start to use it. Note that mine will not work inside the house...roof must stop the satellite signals. No problem in the pickup truck cab, canopy, cab-over camper or a tent though.
I had mine paired with a small battery pack and a portable solar panel for extended backcountry use. It's difficult to effectively charge any electronic directly from a solar panel due to variable sunlight levels. That's where the battery pack comes in. Use the solar panel to charge the battery pack, then use the battery pack to charge your devices.
I'm not sure I'd recommend getting any major mapping software for it. Gaia on your phone is likely a far superior navigational aid. Where the InReach shines is its satellite communication abilities.
You'll be able to send text messages anywhere in the world. You're family & friends will also have a GPS location of your last "texted" position when you send a text. If nothing else, that's a safety feature. The InReach also has an SOS button as a last resort in a life threatening situation.
Pair the InReach with your I-Phone, download the EarthMate App, subscribe to the "Freedom Plan" for a month as a minimum and you'll be able to send unlimited texts. It's a great tool and let's you communicate when cell service doesn't exist.
Reasoning for purchasing: Right now I have the old (purchased 1995) Garmin 12 GPS - time for an upgrade. Although our elk camp some years is just 2 of us and other years 4 of us, I like/prefer to hunt by myself so I normally head off in another direction, sometimes couple miles away. I'm closing in on 64 and, per my wife, (and me) this just makes "safety" sense.
We have absolutely no cell service where we hunt so my phone is useless, so when you say to pair it with my phone, not sure how that will be of use?
The 2 MAIN uses for this will be safety (SOS) and GPS. I will be texting my wife (my hunting partners will also use this, hence the unlimited texting) and using it as a GPS with pre-installed mapping routes of my hunt area.
I appreciate the feed back. Bob
We too keep them activated year around, they are 12.49 per month each. They are great left in a vehicle as a just in case or take it with you anywhere! My Son is on the Salmon river in his jetboat for the next few days, (no cell service there) it's great peace of mind to have it with him. It's not just for the hunt!
To save on messages & time, I set mine up something like this:
All ok just checking in no reply needed
You get 160 characters per message, so tell others to use abbreviations and no punctuation
Anytime you make a change, Be sure to ‘sync’ the unit to your account (plan change/preset messages/etc). There are also updates that come through that you’ll need to sync.
I don’t have the mini, but my battery lasts for about 7 days on standby mode, losing about 13% per day - that’s not using Bluetooth mode to the phone. That will take up more battery usage.
The weather feature is great too.
You’ll like the unit. Enjoy
If your other partners also have Inreach you can text back and forth.
I ordered one tonight - best price out there, thanks to Jeff --- $405.00, no tax and free shipping.
Freedom plan $24 per year is a great option for max flexibility to start/stop the plan each year and adjust level of service/cost each month to suit current needs.