Being off the grid is great … unless you have an emergency or need to get in touch with someone back home. The Garmin inReach Mini is a tiny and lightweight satellite phone that works anywhere in the world, so you can communicate when you need to.
Garmin inReach Mini Review
Price and Where to Buy the Garmin inReach Mini: The inReach iMini costs about $349.99 and is available on Amazon. You’ll need to buy a satellite subscription plan in order to use the phone, and those plans range from $11.95 to $79.95 per month.
How the Garmin inReach Mini Rates:
- Usefulness: 10/10. I took the inReach Mini on a trekking trip in Bhutan to test it out. There was no cell service, but the inReach Mini connected to the satellite network quickly every time I tried it. I was able to send texts back to a regular cell phone in the U.S. and to check the weather easily, with minimal wait time. Since it uses satellites, all you need for the inReach to work is a clear view of the sky. It won’t work inside a building, but I tested it out inside my tent and had no problems.
- Value: 8/10. This is a good price for a satellite phone, but I wish the satellite subscription plans were more flexible. The minimum plan you can sign up for is a month long, which seems wasteful for shorter trips. There is also a $24.95 activation fee, which I wasn’t anticipating.
- Portability: 10/10. This is probably the smallest and lightest satellite phone on the market. It’s more compact than a smartphone (4 x 2 inches) and weighs just 3.5 ounces. You could bring this on a trail run or long backpacking trip without noticing the extra weight. The battery also lasts for up to 50 hours when tracking your location (or up to 20 days in power-saving mode), so you don’t need to worry about bringing along a portable battery for it.
- Durability: 10/10. The inReach is even more durable than an old-school cell phone. It’s water-resistant against rain, snow, or accidental splashes, and it’s covered in a sturdy rubber that can survive drops and impacts.
- Cool Factor: 10/10. Being able to stay in touch when you need it is definitely cool.
Final Verdict: If you’ll be adventuring off the grid, the Garmin inReach Mini is the best way to stay as connected as you want, whether that’s only using the emergency SOS feature or texting loved ones back home.
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