Sitka Gear
Best satellite messenger
Equipment
Contributors to this thread:
Drop tine 12-Nov-23
Tilzbow 12-Nov-23
Bob H in NH 12-Nov-23
WapitiBob 12-Nov-23
carcus 12-Nov-23
Kevinfoerster 12-Nov-23
W8N4RUT 12-Nov-23
JohnMC 12-Nov-23
walleyes 12-Nov-23
PushCoArcher 12-Nov-23
carcus 12-Nov-23
stringgunner 12-Nov-23
SteveB 12-Nov-23
Nick Muche 12-Nov-23
JTreeman 12-Nov-23
ILbowhntr 12-Nov-23
Timex? 12-Nov-23
molsonarcher 12-Nov-23
WV Mountaineer 14-Nov-23
Scrappy 14-Nov-23
Bob H in NH 14-Nov-23
Bake 14-Nov-23
SteveB 14-Nov-23
Jethro 14-Nov-23
Thornton 14-Nov-23
Beendare 14-Nov-23
Scar Finga 14-Nov-23
Scar Finga 15-Nov-23
GrantK 15-Nov-23
Nick Muche 15-Nov-23
KB 15-Nov-23
KB 15-Nov-23
Nick Muche 15-Nov-23
Drop tine 15-Nov-23
Sam 19-Nov-23
TREESTANDWOLF 20-Nov-23
Beendare 21-Nov-23
Quinn @work 22-Nov-23
M.Pauls 22-Nov-23
Bob H in NH 22-Nov-23
Rob in VT 22-Dec-23
BOHNTR 22-Dec-23
BOHNTR 22-Dec-23
Kurt 22-Dec-23
Drop Tine 22-Dec-23
Scout 06-Jan-24
Goelk 06-Jan-24
Jaquomo 06-Jan-24
From: Drop tine
12-Nov-23
I am looking to get a satellite messenger for a few upcoming trips (fishing, moose, Australia) and do not really know much about them. Black Friday sales may be coming up and thought I should do some research first. I am looking for one that I can use in case of an emergency, but do these also have GPS capabilities? I do not currently use a GPS given where I hunt, but would like one when I am up north hunting moose. I know a little about the Garmin In reach and SPOT, but not much more than the names. Are these the two players? Advantages and disadvantages of each? Thanks in advance. Jamie

From: Tilzbow
12-Nov-23
My group used a couple mini-In Reach this year in northern Alaska and they were great. Better make sure whichever product you select will work in Australia.

From: Bob H in NH
12-Nov-23
I've had the mini inreach and now a zoleo. For me hands down the zoleo wins. Faster message. Not sure if it works as a GPS, but I use onx on my phone for thar.

Zoleo also is about 1/2 the price of the inreach

Both have an SOS feature

From: WapitiBob
12-Nov-23
Partner had an inreach and he had issues with it, we use zoleo now.

From: carcus
12-Nov-23
I have a inreach 66i from garmin, it works great, no better than my buddies zoleo though

12-Nov-23
Zoleo for sure

From: W8N4RUT
12-Nov-23
Inreach mini 2 is $100 off right. Use in Alaska backcountry with no issues.

From: JohnMC
12-Nov-23
Carcus can you and your buddy text from garmin to zoleo? Heard issue texting from garmin to spot.

From: walleyes
12-Nov-23
Garmin inreach is the industry standard from what I have seen. Inreach to inreach can take a little time but I can text with my wife on her cell like normal from anywhere.

From: PushCoArcher
12-Nov-23
I've only ever used a Garmin innreach and have always been satisfied. Have a buddy who lives in Colorado who swears by his Zoleo.

From: carcus
12-Nov-23
John, yes you can text between zoleo to inreach

From: stringgunner
12-Nov-23
Have the inreach mini 2. Chose it over zoleo because it can be a stand alone unit or used with a phone. Zoleo only works with a phone.

From: SteveB
12-Nov-23
Garmin Messenger. Hands down.

From: Nick Muche
12-Nov-23
10 years with the original inreach, no issues.

From: JTreeman
12-Nov-23
Big fan of the inreach mini. And yes, it works in Australia, or at least did for me.

—Jim

From: ILbowhntr
12-Nov-23
Started with a Spot, gave it away on here. Now running a original inReach and zero issues.

From: Timex?
12-Nov-23
Somewhat different situation. I run an offshore fishing boat & fish offshore from md, va, nc, Garmin inreach is the standard offshore. When linked to a phone via the EarthLink app ya send & receive text without issue.

If you choose in reach. Be sure to send text to whomever you may communicate with & have them save the ph# as your name - inreach. The inreach sends text with a different ph# than your usual ph#

From: molsonarcher
12-Nov-23
In reach mini. I havent had any issues with mine. No experience with the other

14-Nov-23
ttt

From: Scrappy
14-Nov-23
I have been thinking of upgrading my original inreach that still has no issues. My biggest concern is the market is about to get a huge upgrade due to all the new stuff coming online. I can't believe starlink hasn't introduced a simple gadget or an an app for your phone yet. Or the just the cellphone industry making the leap. My bet is something will hit the market real soon that will make sat communicators obsolete.

From: Bob H in NH
14-Nov-23
Scrapy it has started. IPhones now have an SOS feature, that will grow IF phone makers see the benefit of a feature that is used when there's no phone signal.

From: Bake
14-Nov-23
Surely it's coming. Riddle me this. . . . how does my phone know where I am on OnX when in airplane mode with zero coverage even available? Never mind, don't tell me, I won't understand it anyways.

I have an Inreach and have been very satisfied. It is slow to send/receive, and sometimes texts come through in weird order. But it does allow me communicate with home when I have no service, and it provides a good piece of mind for the people at home, and for me to be sure the people at home are OK too.

From: SteveB
14-Nov-23
Also....T-Mobile and Starlink have already signed an agreement to have seamless service using starlink on your regular device. It would have already been done except that the competition is soliciting the FCC to block it.

From: Jethro
14-Nov-23
Bake, its really not that complicated. Your phone has a gps. Triangulates satellite signals. Works without cell coverage. Just like any hand held gps we've ever used.

I still use, and like, my Explorer+. I just got a survey from Garmin on there communicator performance. My suggestions were to improve Inreach to Inreach messaging times and to make map download onto Earthmate app more user friendly.

From: Thornton
14-Nov-23
In Reach allows you to link yo your cell phone and text.

From: Beendare
14-Nov-23
I have the Zoleo.

After getting some crazy convoluted texts from Guides and buddies with the Inreach, I went Zoleo.

Its been flawless. Only 2 buttons on it...essentially you turn it on and it works through an app on your phone. It works just like sending a text on your phone. It uses your contact list- it's easy. Your phone does everything...then the unit confirms your message went through.

I pause my service plan for all but a couple months out of the year....so it's cheap too.

From: Scar Finga
14-Nov-23
I'm not very happy with my Inreach! We had a lot of problems in Alaska last week with ours. Failed messages, not receiving messages for several hours... A little concerning when it comes to safety!! Ther where 5 of us with Inreach, and we all had similar issues!!

From: Scar Finga
15-Nov-23
Double Post

From: GrantK
15-Nov-23
I've had both an Inreach mini and a Zoleo, hands down the Zoleo is better, you can text Zoleo to Zoleo, or Zoleo to Inreach seamlessly, the app is simple and isn't bloated with all the extra stuff the Earthmate app has, text send fast and you get confirmation the message was delivered, all in all way better as long as you use something else as your map app.

From: Nick Muche
15-Nov-23
Can you get weather reports from a Zoleo?

From: KB
15-Nov-23
I’ve packed the full size InReach around for five or six years now hunting and commercial fishing. Always liked the idea of backup navigation in case the phone went down. It is a little slower than the Zoleo, but once familiar with it you can speed things up by asking it to “search for messages” through the app. Only big issue I had was on a goat hunt in 2020 unknowingly Garmin and AT&T had a contract squabble while I was on the mountain and AT&T phones weren’t receiving InReach messages. Dad and future wife were concerned there for a couple days.

Steve is right. Once this Starlink stuff gets sorted out all these units will be obsolete. My dad used to have to check week or more old newspapers for sports scores when he first started commercial fishing. Now we’re watching live games 70 miles off the coast of Alaska. :)

From: KB
15-Nov-23
I believe you can Nick. We’ve found InReach to be the most accurate for ocean weather though, over all the other apps. It saved me a long soggy week in a tent in August as well. Forecast deteriorated quickly and the pilot said either get out now or maybe 7-8 days from now.

From: Nick Muche
15-Nov-23
The weather feature on an Inreach has been very accurate for me as well.

From: Drop tine
15-Nov-23
Great information guys as always. I will play around with a Zoleo and an Inreach and pick one up. Thanks.

From: Sam
19-Nov-23
ZOLEO performed great for me in Alaska. My guide told me once he packed an entire moose because his inreach suddenly wouldn’t work, so couldn’t get any packers from base camp.

20-Nov-23
Nick.

Directly from the Zoleo site.

“Our mobile app is the key to all the awesome global messaging features that ZOLEO offers, including exchanging messages of 900+ characters, hyperlocal weather forecasts, location sharing, check-in, two-way SOS alerting and more.”

I’m thinking this is the unit I’ll purchase.

BTW. I have Starlink satellite at my Illinois camp and the WIFI speed is crazy fast!

From: Beendare
21-Nov-23

Beendare's Link
Late answer on weather, but yes it will….but it doesn’t do ocean conditions….I found that out the hard way.

I posted a link to the support page that explains how to do it but its easy, essentially you tap the weather icon on you app screen, then enter location. It has been accurate for me.

From: Quinn @work
22-Nov-23
Cabelas has the inreach mini on sale for $200 Black Friday.

From: M.Pauls
22-Nov-23
I used a Garmin 67i with In reach this year. Loved it. No issues, and battery life was impressive

From: Bob H in NH
22-Nov-23
Just got email from zoleo, $50 off through mid December. So $150

From: Rob in VT
22-Dec-23
I used my Zoleo in NW British Columbia this past Oct. It was easy to use and was just like regular texting using my contacts on my Iphone. Yes it does have weather on it as well. I signed up for the 250 message package ($35/mnth) and never used them all. I did send a lot of texts checking in with family and especially when I killed my moose. Good product and was able to connect inside the wall tent.

From: BOHNTR
22-Dec-23
Another Zoleo user. No complaints so far.

From: BOHNTR
22-Dec-23
Another Zoleo user. No complaints so far.

From: Kurt
22-Dec-23
Used my Garmin Inreach SE+ from far north Canada to Australia and never had any issues over the past 7 years. Good unit!

From: Drop Tine
22-Dec-23
Another Zoleo user.

From: Scout
06-Jan-24
I just got the Zoleo for Christmas, had the inreach and didn’t like how long it took to send messages. Looking forward to try this out.

From: Goelk
06-Jan-24
What abiut spot?

From: Jaquomo
06-Jan-24
I gave my SPOT away because it took too long to send messages, and sometimes they never went through at all. Couldn't trust it.

I switched to Inreach Mini and never looked back. This was before Zoleo existed, so I can't speak to that. But I'm very happy with the Inreach.

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