Don’t get lost without it
Words Ian Seager
4 May 2022
From £345 | garmin.com
The Garmin InReach Mini 2 is a global satellite messaging device that can be used for rudimentary communications or SOS messages when you are out of mobile coverage and in need of getting a message, SOS or otherwise to someone.
The tiny unit measures just 5.2 x 9.9 x 2.6 cm and weighs 100g – there’s a small mono screen and all functions are controlled through the use of four separate buttons. The fifth button is the SOS button, using it requires the cover to be opened (it protects against inadvertent activation) and the bitcoin to be pressed until you hear that the unit has activated. This will trigger an alert at a Garmin-contracted monitoring station, and the centre staff will activate emergency services for wherever you happen to be, as well as advising your emergency contacts (specified during setup) of the situation.
The on-screen menu and keys are a little clunky, but things are made significantly easier if you pair the InReach Mini 2 with the Explore App in your smartphone, making the sending and receiving of messages much easier.
Turning tracking mode on will upload your position at a specific interval (10, 20, 30, 60, 120 and 240 minute settings are available), and your track will then be displayed on a web map. Obviously the frequency of position reports will affect battery life, as will several other factors like temperature and the view of the sky (the more obscured things are, the more the battery will be put to work) – with default 10 minute intervals and a clear sky, the little unit should give you something like 14 days service.
Messages are sent via the Iridium satellite network and can be sent to an email address or as an SMS to a mobile phone… and it wouldn’t be 2022 if you couldn’t also link to your Facebook and Twitter accounts, useful for influencers who want everyone to know where they are at all times! Composing messages directly on the unit is a bit of a faff, so best to use the app. If you have to use the unit it is possible to choose from a number of pre-composed set messages which might make things easier.
This functionality comes at a price. There’s the initial £350, but you will also need an ongoing subscription, of which there are six to choose from. Three of them offer plans that run for a year and range between £12.99 and £49.99, while the other three offer the same plans. But with a one month commitment, these will cost between £14.99 and £64.99 a month.
Honestly, if you are flying around the south of England you are unlikely to need an InReach, but if you fly in more remote areas, or get involved in sailing, mountain biking or other activities that might find you out of touch and somewhat inconvenienced, it makes much more sense.