Garmin inReach Messenger ReviewSummer Mini-Reviews
Rather than go on and on about a piece of gear, we’ve prepared these mini-reviews to quickly illustrate what we like or dislike about a piece of gear that you might be in the market for. These are quick-read-format reviews that won’t take more than a couple of minutes to read so that you can quickly get up to speed on the good, the bad and the ugly of gear we’ve tested.
Garmin’s new InReach Messenger is a paired-down version of their popular Garmin inReach Mini 2 satellite communication device. While it does not have built-in navigation features such as maps it does have a much bigger battery than the Mini 2 along with a lower price point and some other unique features. Most people do not use the navigational features of their satellite communication device and simply rely on it for 2-way text/e-mail communications and occasional tracking along with the SOS feature they hope to never use. This means that Messenger is one of the easiest satellite communicators to use since it got rid of most of the clutter you would not use.
The inReach Messenger uses the Iridium satellite network to send out SOS emergency messages, GPS coordinates, two-way messaging, and emails but when you are within cellular service that network is used instead. The Messenger has a battery life nearly twice as long as the inReach Mini 2 and can also be used as a battery bank should you need to boost your cell phone battery in an emergency situation. This feature is called “reverse charging” and will provide the power you may need in a pinch without completely draining the inReach Messenger.
Garmin’s Messenger App is available on Android and IOS phones, and once paired with the device provides a much larger phone screen to text, email, track and check the weather from. If your phone fails you can of course send messages from the Messenger device itself but this is time-consuming given the interface and small screen.
If you are looking for a satellite communication device but don’t need all the bells and whistles that come with detailed map navigation then the new Garmin inReach Messenger may be the one for you. With its much longer-lasting battery, slightly better-performing antenna, $100 savings and the new Messenger app it’s easy to see why this new device will be your best friend in the backcountry.
- Extra Long Battery Life
- TracBack Routing
- Interactive SOS Alerts
- Two-way Text and e-mail messaging
- Weather Forecasts
- Compact, Rugged Design
- Location Sharing
- Flexible Satellite Airtime Plans
- On-Device Display
- Messenger Phone App
- Reverse Charging
After using the Garmin inReach Messenger for several months, including a 5-day 170km hike along the Sunshine Coast Trail and a 4-day paddle on the Powel River Canoe Route—I can say that this little device is a worthy satellite communicator that you should carry along on your next backcountry adventure. The battery life is second to none and the simplified feature set provides exactly what I need. Although I would like to have routable maps, there are plenty of phone apps that do this very well and it’s nice to separate the two and let Messenger take care of what it's good at—messaging. The user interface on the unit is pretty easy to figure out and with the linked Messenger phone app things are much simpler to use.
- Long, long battery life.
- Simple easy-to-use interface.
- Reverse charging mode.
- Economical price.
- Weather check feature
- Small screen.
- The TracBack feature is limited.
Price: $399.99CAN / $300US
Size: 7.8 x 6.4 x 2.3cm / 3.1 x 2.5 x 0.9"
Weight: 107.16g / 3.78oz
Waterproof Rating: IPX7 (immersion in water up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes)
Battery Life: 28 days with 10-minute interval tracking,
Plans: $14.95 - $64.95/month