Garmin inReach Mini Review: Help Family Find You On The Trail

by Nomad | Last Updated:  July 26, 2020
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Are you currently trying to find the best way to maintain communications for a thru-hike or a longer distance trek? Then the Garmin InReach Mini is more than likely the right device for you.

Anyone who hikes for weeks and months on end knows that every ounce counts more and more the longer you are out. Our Garmin InReach Mini review is going to cover more about the lightest and most powerful device available for a GPS system.

It also can send messages to people with updates as to your travels and distance covered, helps you to text even if you don’t have a cell signal if you have the app installed on your phone.

Sale
Garmin InReach Mini, Lightweight and Compact Satellite Communicator, Orange
  • Small, rugged, lightweight satellite communicator enables two way text messaging using the 100 percentage global Iridium network (satellite subscription required)
  • Trigger an interactive SOS to the 24/7 search and rescue monitoring center (satellite subscription required)
  • Access downloadable maps, U.S. NOAA charts, color aerial imagery and more by using the free Garmin Earthmate app and compatible devices
  • Optional inReach weather forecast service provides detailed updates directly to your inReach Mini or paired device; basic and premium weather packages available
  • Send and receive inReach messages through compatible Garmin devices, including connected wearables and handhelds.Display resolution:128 x 128 pixels

Here’s a Rundown of what we’ll provide in this Garmin inReach Mini Review:

Sound good? Let’s get started!

Features and Benefits of the Garmin inReach Mini

Garmin InReach Mini, Lightweight and Compact Satellite Communicator
$339.98
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Special Features (Pros) of the Garmin inReach Mini

No Batteries Required – The Garmin InReach Mini, like your cell phone, is charged with power from the wall via USB or via a USB power bank. Since almost everyone today carries a power bank to keep devices charged it helps minimize extra items to carry.

Bluetooth Connectivity To Your Cell Phone – This gives you the power to overlay maps and other information on your cell with a larger phone and with a better interface. Huge points as this device can allow you to send texts even without the availability of cell signals.

Drawbacks (Cons) for the Garmin inReach Mini

No Batteries Required – As many loved the fact that it didn’t use batteries there was an equal amount that didn’t carry a power bank and found this to be less helpful than the other similar Garmin devices which use standard batteries.

Subscription Fee – The cheaper plan is $11.95 per month for an annual contract. Your other option is the $14.95 per month for the “freedom plan” which you can suspend when you don’t use it, although another issue with the freedom plans you will need to pay $25.95 per year to keep the service active.

Video: Garmin inReach Mini

Garmin InReach Mini, Lightweight and Compact Satellite Communicator
$339.98
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We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. 08/12/2020 10:56 pm

About the Garmin Company

With more than 13,000 associates in 60 offices around the world, Garmin brings GPS navigation and wearable technology to the automotive, aviation, marine, outdoor and fitness markets. They think every day is an opportunity to innovate, and a chance to beat yesterday.

Garmin inReach Mini Reviews

Looking at the features and benefits is great, but taking a look at what real-and-actual customers have to say about a product offers a deeper dive of insight. Here we’ve curated reviews that reflect the Garmin inReach Mini, providing feedback from product users and reviewers on independent review sites as well as on Amazon.

Independent Reviews and Recommendations

This is our most highly rated satellite messenger. It does everything any other device can do, in a much, much smaller package. In our decades of using and testing satellite communications, this is what we’ve been waiting for. It is hard to imagine it getting any smaller.

Read More…

A real breakthrough in terms of convenience, giving you the ability to signal to Search and Rescue in an emergency and communicate with them (or friends and family) by text or email, anywhere in the world, over the Iridium Satellite Network. While the Mini doesn’t provide any new functions beyond those provided by the existing inReach Explorer+ or SE+, its small size and low weight make it much more amenable to use for fast-and-light recreation like trail running, ultralight backpack, or cycling, where size and weight matter more. 

Read More…

Garmin seems to have largely nailed this device from a features and functionality standpoint.  It does precisely what it says it does, and does it in a super small form factor that has fairly versatile battery life.  The fact that it can go from 50 hours of battery life up to 20 days is astounding, especially for longer range treks that may be moving slower where a 30-minute interval is perfectly functional.

Read More…

Garmin InReach Mini, Lightweight and Compact Satellite Communicator
$339.98
Buy Now
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. 08/12/2020 10:56 pm

What Online Customers Have to Say About Garmin inReach Mini

I had been using a spot device and after getting a 225 dollar renewal charge from spot I had enough. I used this on a 5 day trip in the sierra Nevada mountains. It was small enough to wear on my pack strap which made it easy to check out miles for the day. Battery life wasn’t bad in tracking mode I recharged it off a solar charger but I think it could have gone two days in tracking mode. miles traveled was dead on with the map trail mileage.


I bought this for my trip down the Grand Canyon last fall. Not only does it maintain a great connection to satellites, the user interface with an iPhone is excellent. In the Garmin app, you send text messages in just the same manner as with a normal cell connection – the texting software looks the same and works the same. It just takes a little longer – like 1-2 minutes. The text message automatically includes gps location as well.


The device is small and feels rugged with a good grip. The good selection of satellite subscription plans are priced well and range from very barebones to unlimited. For me activation online and pairing setup on my IPhone was simple and took less than 10 minutes.


Garmin InReach Mini, Lightweight and Compact Satellite Communicator
$339.98
Buy Now
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. 08/12/2020 10:56 pm

Final Thoughts on the Garmin inReach Mini

Garmin has been a leader in this area of devices and GPS positioning for a very long time. In the InReach Mini, they built a device very much aimed at thru-hikers and long-distance travelers in general.

This device is incredibly small, incredibly light and incredibly powerful. That is quite a combination and I would suggest with the number of times I have heard people online asking if people have seen someone, that is where this device would shine.

Compare to Other Amazon GPS Devices

Product
Thru Hiker Favorite
Garmin InReach Mini, Lightweight and Compact Satellite Communicator, Orange
Bivystick Satellite Communication Device.
Garmin in Reach Explorer+, Handheld Satellite Communicator with Topo Maps and GPS Navigation
ZOLEO Satellite Communicator – Two-Way Global SMS Text Messenger & Email, Emergency SOS Alerting, Check-in & GPS Location – Android iOS Smartphone Accessory
Spot 3 Satellite GPS Messenger - Orange
Make
Garmin InReach Mini, Lightweight and Compact Satellite Communicator, Orange
Bivystick Satellite Communication Device.
Garmin in Reach Explorer+, Handheld Satellite Communicator with Topo Maps and GPS Navigation
ZOLEO Satellite Communicator – Two-Way Global SMS Text Messenger & Email, Emergency SOS Alerting, Check-in & GPS Location – Android iOS Smartphone Accessory
Spot 3 Satellite GPS Messenger - Orange
Current Price:
$314.99
$349.99
$369.99
$199.95
$149.95
Prime?
-
-
Thru Hiker Favorite
Product
Garmin InReach Mini, Lightweight and Compact Satellite Communicator, Orange
Make
Garmin InReach Mini, Lightweight and Compact Satellite Communicator, Orange
Current Price:
$314.99
Prime?
-
Purchase Today
Product
Bivystick Satellite Communication Device.
Make
Bivystick Satellite Communication Device.
Current Price:
$349.99
Prime?
-
Purchase Today
Product
Garmin in Reach Explorer+, Handheld Satellite Communicator with Topo Maps and GPS Navigation
Make
Garmin in Reach Explorer+, Handheld Satellite Communicator with Topo Maps and GPS Navigation
Current Price:
$369.99
Prime?
Purchase Today
Product
ZOLEO Satellite Communicator – Two-Way Global SMS Text Messenger & Email, Emergency SOS Alerting, Check-in & GPS Location – Android iOS Smartphone Accessory
Make
ZOLEO Satellite Communicator – Two-Way Global SMS Text Messenger & Email, Emergency SOS Alerting, Check-in & GPS Location – Android iOS Smartphone Accessory
Current Price:
$199.95
Prime?
Purchase Today
Product
Spot 3 Satellite GPS Messenger - Orange
Make
Spot 3 Satellite GPS Messenger - Orange
Current Price:
$149.95
Prime?
Purchase Today
Nice to meet you, my trail name is Nomad the founder of Nomad Hiker and I love being outdoors and exploring nature! I now want to help spread that love through information back out to everyone to help them feel the same excitement with the world that I feel while in the back country. My current goals are to thru hike all the trails in the greater Texas region and to show everyone it is easily achievable at any age!