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Best emergency comm device
Contributors to this thread:
Beendare 11-Oct-22
caribou77 11-Oct-22
Swampbuck 11-Oct-22
Matt 11-Oct-22
Bowboy 11-Oct-22
DonVathome 12-Oct-22
Lawdog 12-Oct-22
carcus 12-Oct-22
Trial153 12-Oct-22
cnelk 12-Oct-22
timex 12-Oct-22
JTreeman 12-Oct-22
Beendare 12-Oct-22
grossklw 12-Oct-22
Lawdog 13-Oct-22
Bou'bound 13-Oct-22
DonVathome 13-Oct-22
DonVathome 13-Oct-22
carcus 13-Oct-22
Ken 13-Oct-22
Rut Nut 13-Oct-22
timex 13-Oct-22
tradi-doerr 13-Oct-22
Jethro 13-Oct-22
Elkslaya 13-Oct-22
Powder 14-Oct-22
SteveB 18-Oct-22
From: Beendare
I do a bunch of solo hunts in some fairly remote spots…..its time for me to start carrying something….what do you guys like best for an emergency comm device; PLB, Sat Phone, Inreach…other?

What about the rescue plans like Global Rescue?


From: caribou77
I’ve had nothing but good luck with my Delorme inreach. Always sent messages. Taken it on several hunts where phones don’t work. Works great for communicating. It always the fastest. The gps alone is ok. And will get you back. Never used the SOS. Hope to never have too…

From: Swampbuck
ACR make EPIRBs, bought 3 small ones for PFDs for the grandkids. Check out the PLBs

From: Matt
I don't use one, but most of my friends in your shoes (and a number of guides I know) have migrated to the inreach mini.

I used a Iridium Sat phone in the Yukon Bruce.

Totally seamless transaction.

They shipped it Fed Ex and when I returned, I sent it back in the same box.

Excellent signal and the cost was very reasonable.

My guide had the “ In Reach Mini” in campntethered to the app and it worked perfectly also.

Sat Phone: You get to call.

InReach: Text message.

Both where excellent, IMO.

From: Bowboy
I prefer inreach

From: DonVathome
If you REALLY need it, life or death, a PLB is the best option. Lots of other threads here including one this year. There is a slim chance an inreach, because you can communicate might be better in some scenarios. However inreach uses a service to contact search and rescue etc. A PLB goes directly to them.

I have researched this a lot over the past 15 years, and did so again this year. To save your life a PLB is the best things to have. Inreach (or similar) is a very close second. Sat phone a distant 3rd.

From: Lawdog
Depends on your needs. As stated above if you just want to signal an emergency, a PLB may be the ticket. If you want to communicate and/or navigate in addition, an InReach will fit the bill. I use an InReach. I like the text features when I can't or don't want to use my phone. I also like the navigation feature. I can download a USGS topo to my phone (Earthmate App goes with the InReach) and connect it to the InReach via Bluetooth. I'm now looking at the same map on my phone as the paper map I have in my hand (yes, I still use paper maps). So, if I identify a place on a paper map, I can get right to it. And finally, the SOS feature is there if I need it. Anyway, the InReach fits my bill. You may want something different.

From: carcus
I've used InReach for the last 5 years, its good, but ive found sometimes messages wont come through until you send out another message, it happens quite often, did a lot of messaging this year in moose camp as the area we got dropped off in was void of moose

From: Trial153

From: cnelk

cnelk's Link
I dont have one of these [ I have an InReach] but Garmin recently released a new small communication device called the 'Messenger'.

If I was looking for something without mapping and communication only, I'd try one - See link

From: timex
Rarely am I more than a few hundred yards from my truck whitetail hunting. I do however run my boat 60+ miles offshore regularly. I have an inreach mini, plb, & an internal gps vhf radio with sos, that's 3 forms of I need help. The inreach mini when linked to a smart phone via the earthmate app can send & receive texts and would be my choice for remote hunts

From: JTreeman
Brad-I think I’d leave that little dude laying on a rock and have it lost in the first 2 days!

I’m a big fan on Inreach mini. Really can’t imagine needing much more.


From: Beendare
Thanks guys….good point on the PLB going directly to rescue…

Do any of you with InReach ever have a problem with a lost signal?

Dang, 60 miles offshore solo…..thats hairy.

From: grossklw
I've been using the inreach mini for the last few years, I've yet to have a problem or lost signal. It's particularly nice if you have a couple guys in camp with them, just to check-in mid-day and see what's going on or if anyone kills something. Idaho I was packing my elk out and my buddy had killed one and I was able to get his exact GPS coordinate to help him get his bull out as well.

From: Lawdog
There are times when the Inreach loses signal because it does not have a clear view of the sky, but that is all that I have experienced.

From: Bou'bound
the best is an iridium extreme sat phone. more ability to communicate and still has SOS emergency programing tied to GPS. It may not be the most economical, but it is the best communication tool which was the original question. It can do more for you.

From: DonVathome
On my last trip sheep hunting, at 10,000 - 12,000 feet, in the open with no higher mountains around I often had issues with my inreach getting a signal. Enough to really concern me. One time I climbed to 12,500, a few peaks miles away 1,000 feet higher. Basically I was at the top of the mountain with a clear view of the sky and a clear day. Set inreachmini2 on a high rocks for 15 minutes. This should be pretty much the best signal on earth (ok high mountains better - but still in the top 99.99% of places to use it).

I then, after 15 minutes (and it had been on in my pocket all day) I sent out a text message. I got an "error" message on my screen - the same error I got 98% of the time. Something to the effect:

"poor GPS location, do you want to send the text, information such as location might be missing"

That was very scary. It gives me serious doubt if I need this thing to save my life. I chose to send the message and it would go through. I called garmin support and they said it was odd.

Do others get this message?

From: DonVathome
I just tried and the exact message I get is:

"Poor GPS strength, inaccurate or missing message locations. Orient the device so it has a clear view of the sky"

I do not know how I can trust a device with my life that gave me that message every time I used on am mountain top, after being on and pointed at the sky for over 10 minutes!

From: carcus
Sounds like there is something wrong with your device

From: Ken
Has anyone looked at the Iphone 14? Starting in November the Iphone 14 will let you make emergency sat phone calls if cellular service is not available. If it works, for those only needing a device for emergencies, it wouldn't require having a separate device and there would be no monthly fee.

One of my daughters lives in Colorado and frequently travels from Denver to Steamboat during the winter. Some of the areas of that drive have hazardous driving conditions and no cellular service. The Iphone 14 would give her the emergency calling capability without having to keep up with a separate device.

From: Rut Nut

Rut Nut's Link
Don- did you ever calibrate your InReach? That could be the problem. You have to calibrate it when you get it and I have had to do it at times with my Inreach AND handheld gps over the years.

BTW, I have had mine for several years and have never had any problems with it as you have described. I have the basic safety plan and have it on me whenever hunting, fishing, kayaking, ice-fishing, hiking, backpacking etc........................

From: timex

timex's embedded Photo
Myself my son & a few friends 550lb blue Marlin. Big game hunting in the ocean
timex's embedded Photo
Myself my son & a few friends 550lb blue Marlin. Big game hunting in the ocean
Beendare......... Never solo as in by myself in the boat. Did it one time just to say I did it but didn't enjoy it. I cought fish but just couldn't get going overboard and watching my boat troll off out of my head.

Solo as in the only boat in sight yes.

From: tradi-doerr
Maybe I'm still under a rock but I've had the Spot X for the last couple years and have never had issues with it, and send texts back and forth with wife from some remote areas. I know it takes a couple minutes for the texts to go through, but never an issue. Hope to never have to use the SOS. So what's opinions, pros and cons between Inreach and Spot X?

From: Jethro
Don, something is clearly not right with your device. You should contact Garmin or where you got it. When functioning properly they don’t struggle like that to lock onto satellites. My explorer just locked on from my basement. No view of the sky at all. Took about 3 minutes. I’ve used mine in the truck and tent.

From: Elkslaya
Absolutely no reason that sat phones should be so expensive and out of reach for the average construction worker. Can’t wait til Elon gets his phone in the mix.

From: Powder
Ken: The iPhone 14 only connects to satellites in an emergency. Essentially, you'll only be able to contact 911. It won't be designed to contact anyone else.

I've had the inReach for a number of years. I do need to sync it again but I have not been impressed with the timeliness of sending and receiving messages. There are times I have been on a lake, no clouds in the sky and it takes a long time to send/receive. And sometimes it works nearly immediately. I have also used the app and that is a nice feature. It makes it SO much easier to text. But I have had issues with it not working properly too. For instance, a message will come in to the device but won't show in the app on the phone. If I hadn't looked at the device itself, I wouldn't have known it came in. Other times it does show on both. There is no rhyme or reason why.

With all that said, I still think it's the best device out there for the money.

From: SteveB
cnelk: That Messenger looks interesting. Wonder why they are making it? Interring that it mentions InReach service right in the ad. Only difference I can see is built in TracBack feature and more battery life .

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