Contributors to this thread:
Rut Nut's Link
SPOT users BEWARE!
Just came across this. Just a (BIG) FYI...…………………………….
Would REALLY SUCK if you paid for safety and piece of mind all those years and then when you finally NEED it, it does NOT work! : (
Never, EVER trust your life entirely to a computer. They're a tool, and an electric one to boot. It's not a matter of if it will fail, but when. Yes, they are handy, but ALWAYS have a backup...compass/woodsmanship, etc.
WW, I dont think a compass or woodsmanship is going to help with getting someone out of the woods with a compound fracture.
I have sent out 50+ "ok" messages since September and maybe 6-7 were received. I went on a 3 day backpacking trip this last weekend and sent 2 "ok" messages per day that were never received.
I know my inreach works. Accidentally activated it at the trailhead last year.
What happened as far as charges incurred, response time etc..?
Elkster I was extremely lucky it happened at the trailhead where I still had regular cell phone coverage. I was throwing stuff in my pack when I got a call from a number I didn't recognize so I ignored it. A few minutes later my wife calls. I had just spoken with her so I'm like what's up? Oops, I immediately called the number I ignored and canceled the sos before anyone was dispatched. I wasn't charged anything for the mistake. My inreach was in a belt pouch and the button got pushed. I'm much more careful with it now.
I do have a SPOT. I have used it pretty regularly for the past 2 1/2 years. The first few times I used it I would send a message and no one would get it so I made sure to be in an open area and kept it on for 20 or so minutes to make sure I wasnt turning it off too early. This past year I have found it so unreliable that I think I will be buying an inreach.
WOW! That's NOT good! Sorry to hear that...………………………….
What I found after several years of using a SPOT was that I needed a clear view of the sky and needed to let it sit there for 20 minutes to make sure the message went out. After I started doing that, never had a problem with messages not being received.
So the moral of the story is if you are going to fall into a deep ravine and break a leg , make sure you have a clear view of the sky and at least 20 min to hang out ;).
Sounds pretty good to me!
I used a Spot for many years and never had a send failure, but that is usually from a mountain with access to the sky. Thick cloud, snow or fog cover will reduce transmission capabilities. I also ALWAYS leave it on for at least half an hour.
The price for one way communication finally got too much and I went with an Inreach Mini two seasons ago. But again, I ALWAYS leave it on for at least half an hour to ensure the message is sent and to get incoming. I have had "delayed" incoming messages with Inreach, but since Spot din'e have incoming, I don't know if it would have the same.
The importance of two communication was brought home to me last August when a Buddy that had a borrowed Spot sent out an SOS while on a solo sheep hunt. It was the week of all the freak snow storms here. He did get choppered out but not until the next day which left everyone anxious, worried and wondering for twenty four hours.
I don't know about the Mini, but I can tell on my InREach Explorer when the message was sent.
I still have the old clunky, yellow Inreach. Always seems to get the messages out, although, if I'm really down in a craphole, it might take up to 15 minutes.
Rut Nut, the Spot also had “message sent”, but that didn’t mean it actually always was. I think that may be the same for Inreach, so I don’t take chances. They call it “delayed transmission” but say it will get there.
I've been using the SPOT Gen3 for 3 years now and the "okay" and custom messages have gone out w/no problem, I've never tested the emergency beacon though, probably time to do that.... and WW, when you're 7 miles from the trailhead in the MT mountains and have a stroke or a compound fracture, no depth of woodsmanship is going to save you.
I hear you Rod. I wondered about that, so when I was testing it this hunting season I noted the time I sent the message and asked my buddy when he received the text and it must have been darn near instantaneous. THis was in the rolling hills of western PA where cell coverage is sketchy, and not in the Mountains of the west, so that may be a factor.
Spot uses the Globalstar satellite network. In Reach uses Iridium. From what I've read, Iridium has much better coverage.
I went with the InReach Mini last season. Had no issues with sending out, but had some delayed incoming texts..
I had the same problems with SPOT. You never knew if the message was actually sent - and many times it was not. The inreach message sent status has always been reliable for me.
Iridium only. Your life could depend on it.
I second what Ambush and Photohunter say, i.e., "the Spot also had 'message sent', but that didn’t mean it actually always was."
This fall I sent quite a few test messages while in the field, and the SPOT indicated that the message was sent, but when I returned home, there was nothing in my email inbox. After a lot of headscratching, I checked the batteries: 1.4 volts. That's enough for some simple electric devices (e.g., incandescent flashlights) to still work, but often more sophisticated electronic devices will fail. Once I replaced the older batteries with brand new ones (1.7 volts), the messages went through.
Bottom line: check your batteries at the start of the hunting season, because you can't trust the SPOT's indicator lights. And carry back-up batteries (mine are 1.8-volt lithiums). Nothing worse than being in a jam, assuming your message went through, and then waiting for help that isn't coming.
Love my Inreach. As great as my Garmin GPS's have worked, I felt and feel I'm in good hands anytime I'm off the beaten path. I have never had a Garmin fail me in the Backcountry.
Good point about the batteries................... Another advantage of the InReach is the rechargeable (internal) battery. I used it for 30+ hrs this hunting season before recharging and it was still over 70%. I figure in about 6 or 7 years of use it will pay for itself just in lithium (disposable) batteries that I do not have to buy now.
A company that produces a potential life-saving device that can’t be counted on to do what it says it did, that is sent a message, should be sued and put out of business
That is nothing short of insanity.
It’s bad enough it can’t be counted on but to send a message saying it is functioned properly when it hasn’t is unconscionable
I couldn't agree more, Bou!
If you have an Inreach, make sure you update it before going out. I didn't update the firmware on my first trip out in 2019 and none of the messages would send. After running all the updates, everything worked perfectly again
Are all InReach Mini's the same or are there newer and older models with different features or upgrades? Been looking into getting one and want to ensure I have the latest version.
FWIW, I gave up on SPOT's a year or two ago. I was mainly using them as theft deterrents on expensive items. (Riding lawnmower, tractor, etc.) But over time none of them were working and yet the charges kept coming, so I cancelled all of it.
I would very much like to have some protection back though on some items...does the Inreach work the same way as a SPOT? Does it detect movement and send alerts?
I don't venture outside of cell phone signal while hunting. But I run my boat offshore as far as 70 miles & have a compass & know how to use it 3 GPS units actually 4 if ya count the inreach 3 vhf radio's and an eperb the only thing I'm lacking is a hand held vhf for my ditch bag
Iowa archer the spot as well as the inreach is a satellite communication device. Nothing to do with security.