Black Gold Sights
Purchasing the Garmin Explorer couple ?
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
Inshart 20-Apr-19
Kurt 20-Apr-19
Overland 20-Apr-19
Chief 419 20-Apr-19
Scar Finga 21-Apr-19
cnelk 21-Apr-19
Inshart 21-Apr-19
sticksender 21-Apr-19
ElkNut1 21-Apr-19
raghorn 21-Apr-19
elkster 21-Apr-19
Inshart 21-Apr-19
cnelk 21-Apr-19
Ambush 21-Apr-19
Inshart 22-Apr-19
KHunter 23-Apr-19
ElkNut1 23-Apr-19
Inshart 23-Apr-19
Rut Nut 23-Apr-19
Jethro 23-Apr-19
Kurt 23-Apr-19
Rut Nut 23-Apr-19
cnelk 23-Apr-19
AZ8 24-Apr-19
ElkNut1 24-Apr-19
sticksender 24-Apr-19
Shrewski 24-Apr-19
From: Inshart
20-Apr-19
I’m getting ready to purchase the Garmin InReach Explorer. I'm getting the monthly, EXPEDITION PLAN. $24.95 activation fee, $64.95 monthly fee (30 day min per activation) – are there any other fees I’m not seeing?

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

From: Kurt
20-Apr-19
My InReach SE+ came with a Garmin cord that goes into the InReach (USB mini) and has a USB plug on the other end. You can plug it into your computer to charge it or update the program, into a 110 v to USB adaptor, or into a charge pack that has a USB outlet (most seem to have that, and I use a $19 Walmart 6,700 mAh battery pack that works well). So no extra cords required for the SE+ which is a dumbed down slightly cheaper version of the Explorer.

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.

From: Overland
20-Apr-19
I'd suggest getting the mini and bluetoothing it to your phone. You can bluetooth the full-sized one to your phone as well. It is much, much more intuitive to use with your phone, although I've certainly done extended use without a phone.

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.

From: Chief 419
20-Apr-19
There are no hidden fees. InReach will bill you every month for approx. $67 unless you suspend your account. I usually suspend/reactivate my InReach service as needed.

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.

From: Scar Finga
21-Apr-19
What they said, it works great paired to an iPhone! really easy to text and receive messages from home.

From: cnelk
21-Apr-19
I leave my account active all the time, minimum is $15/mo. During hunting seasons I change to the Unlimited plan for $60/mo

From: Inshart
21-Apr-19
Let me say right up front I'm computer / technology illiterate, so if my questions are really basic, please bear with me --- LOL

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

From: sticksender
21-Apr-19
Quote: "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"

Pairing uses blue-tooth technology....no cell service needed. The reason for doing that is because using the built-in keyboard system on the InReach is awkward and slow. Once you've downloaded the InReach app on your smart phone, you can pair it to your InReach and use the phone for operating the InReach and typing InReach messages.

From: ElkNut1
21-Apr-19
Yes sir, my Son & I use the Inreach Mini, we have it paired/blue-toothed to our Iphones. We can text anywhere & it's a gps for locking in waypoints. Most places we elk hunt have no cell service so this unit works awesome for us. Their free Earthmate App for ground navigation works great for our use too! It's a win-win!

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!

ElkNut/Paul

From: raghorn
21-Apr-19
Those all sound like questions that Garmin could answer.

From: elkster
21-Apr-19
Inshart, once you pair your phone to in reach, satellite takes over for cell service.

From: Inshart
21-Apr-19
Those are exactly the answers I was looking for -- thanks.

From: cnelk
21-Apr-19
Once you get your device, you can set up ‘preset messages’ on your computer at home through your account to 3 people.

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

From: Ambush
21-Apr-19
Another senior here that is easily frustrated with tech. The Garmin (I have the Mini) is pretty straight forward and once paired with your phone very easy to use. You can message anybody in your phone contact list and any that you enter into the unit. I’ll also recommend Gaia Maps. The phone screen is much bigger and crisper than the GPS screen.

If your other partners also have Inreach you can text back and forth.

From: Inshart
22-Apr-19
Thanks everyone. Copied and saved some of this info!

I ordered one tonight - best price out there, thanks to Jeff --- $405.00, no tax and free shipping.

From: KHunter
23-Apr-19
the earthmate app has greatvmaps and satellite imagery, start there for mapping programs, and definitely plan to use your phone for map display and texting...

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.

From: ElkNut1
23-Apr-19
Bob, they're generally 349.99 in most places. Is it the Mini Inreach that you ordered?

ElkNut/Paul

From: Inshart
23-Apr-19
Paul, Yeah that's the prices I found for the Mini, but I went with the full size from S&S Archery, on sale right now with their 10% off coupon, it went from $449 to $405. Just received an email from them - shipped already, should have it Friday. And yes, my plan is to start with their Earthmate app for now. Thanks, Bob

From: Rut Nut
23-Apr-19
Cnelk- (or anybody) how many texts per month are you allowed on the minimum($15) plan?

From: Jethro
23-Apr-19
Rut - 10 messages. 50 cents each after that. Unlimited pre-set messages.

From: Kurt
23-Apr-19
Be aware that texts sometimes get broken into more than one text even if sub 160 characters...at least in Northern Canada. Probably less dense satellites? I usually go unlimited when hunting up there. Easy to send quite a few during the darker months.

From: Rut Nut
23-Apr-19
Ok- thanks for info!

From: cnelk
23-Apr-19

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo

From: AZ8
24-Apr-19
So what are the “tracking point” charges? They charge you $0.10 every ten minutes?

From: ElkNut1
24-Apr-19
Thanks Bob, the S&S guys are great to do business with, we've picked up a few things from them as well!

ElkNut/Paul

From: sticksender
24-Apr-19
AZ8, only if you elect to turn on the tracking feature, and only if you subscribe to the bare-bones "Safety" level plan. If you were planning to use tracking, you'd want to get the Recreation plan, at a minimum.

From: Shrewski
24-Apr-19
Inshart it is 100x easier to type the message into your InReach with your linked phone than it is trying to type it in on the IR keyboard itself.

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