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Garmin inReach Mini 2 vs inReach Explorer+


Garmin inreach mini 2 vs inreach explorer+

The Garmin inReach Mini 2 and the inReach Explorer+ are two-way satellite tv for pc communicators that may ship and acquired standing messages to family members or alert emergency providers for those who want help. The inReach Mini 2 acquired a significant improve this yr (2022) that made it a lot simpler to make use of, improved its battery life, and added some helpful new options that the authentic inReach Mini (model 1) lacked.

Earlier than the Mini 2 improve, I most well-liked the Explorer+ as a result of it had an extended battery life, a richer function set, and was, for my part, simpler to make use of. I’ve since switched to utilizing the inReach Mini 2 for mountain climbing and backpacking as a result of its new options and capabilities exceed these of the Explorer+. This isn’t a full evaluation of the Mini 2 however a advice so that you can purchase it for those who don’t personal one, or to improve from the unique Mini or Explorer+, if not now, finally.

For those who’re serious about a deep dive into the Mini 2’s options and performance, I’ve included a 50-minute video under with Chip Noble, the inReach product supervisor, that explains methods to use the system with out plenty of salesy fluff. It’s a helpful video to look at, even for those who’re a professional consumer.

A Standalone Two-Method Messaging/ SOS System

Crucial factor, for me, concerning the inReach gadgets together with the Mini, Mini2, and Explorer+, is that they’re standalone, two-way messaging gadgets that may function totally with out the necessity for an exterior show system like a Smartphone.

Battery energy is a finite useful resource within the backcountry, so that you need to preserve what you will have. If it’s a must to sign for assist, it’s higher to make use of one standalone system to message with Search and Rescue and never two, an inReach and a Smartphone linked utilizing bluetooth. It doesn’t make any sense to me to burn by means of two batteries, when one will do. That stated, you possibly can nonetheless ship texts by means of an app working on a Smartphone with the inReach, but it surely’s not a requirement.

Two method messaging can also be a crucial functionality. Within the occasion of an emergency, you need to have the ability to talk with Search and Rescue since:

  1. they will inform you methods to stabilize a affected person for those who lack the wilderness drugs know-how
  2. they will ship you updates on their estimated time of arrival
  3. they will know what gear and personnel to ship to help you. There’s no level in mustering a group to hold you out in a stretcher or by way of helicopter for those who can stroll out by yourself energy.

If all you want is a two-way standalone messaging and SOS functionality, that you just hold turned off more often than not, then any of the inReach gadgets: the unique Mini, the Mini 2, or the Explorer+ offer you that functionality. The place they actually differ is of their add-on capabilities, multi-device integration, and future assist.

Tracking in Garmin Explore App on the Mini 2
Monitoring in Garmin Discover App on the Mini 2

inReach Mini 2 Advantages

Briefly, listed here are the brand new options and capabilities of the inReach Mini 2 that satisfied me to modify from utilizing the Explorer+ to the Mini 2.

Battery Life

The unique inReach Mini had a battery that lasted about 50% much less the inReach Explorer+. The brand new inReach Mini 2 can final about 3 instances longer than the Explorer+ as a result of Garmin used a brand new chipset within the Mini 2 that makes use of a lot much less energy and requires much less frequent charging, even once you use power-hungry capabilities like 10-minute or 30-minute monitoring.

Nevertheless, I’d warning you to take Garmin’s battery life estimates with a grain of salt, relying in your location. They had been benchmarked in optimum working situations. For instance, I can get 20 hours of 10-minute monitoring, when mountain climbing within the closely forested terrain of the White Mountain Nationwide Forest the place I stay and hike. That’s a far cry from the 4 days that Garmin estimates when monitoring in reasonable tree cowl, no matter “reasonable” means. I don’t use the monitoring capabilities usually for that reason.

I additionally don’t assume 10 minute or 30 minute monitoring is that helpful from a search and rescue perspective. Take into consideration how a lot floor you possibly can cowl in 10 minutes or half-hour. You might be a mile away out of your final recorded location by the point somebody discovered you’d gone lacking and had been unable to sign for assist.

If you must observe a route since you need to put it aside as a route or GPX file, I counsel you do it with a Smartphone App like GaiaGPS as an alternative of the inReach Mini 2 as a result of it requires a lot much less battery power expenditure as a result of the information is saved domestically and never pushed up right into a satellite tv for pc. Satellite tv for pc handshakes chew up energy, so it’s finest to restrict them if you wish to protect the battery.

Consumer Interface

The Mini 2 consumer interface has had a major usability enchancment that makes it a lot easier to make use of than on the unique Mini. It now consists of hierarchical menus which might be much like these used on Garmin’s different gadgets. Additionally it is backlit so you possibly can learn it at nighttime. That is essential as a result of most rescues happen after darkish.

The Mini 2 interface remains to be not as straightforward to make use of because the Explorer+ for a whole novice, since its capabilities are usually not seen on the system display. However with 10 minutes of familiarization, you can get a mountain climbing companion or your 10-year-old son up to the mark, in case you will have a medical emergency and develop into incapacitated.

Quicker GPS Satellite tv for pc Acquisition

The Mini 2 has entry to 4 GPS Satellite tv for pc Networks, whereas Explorer+ can solely entry one. This leads to a lot sooner GPS place acquisition and fewer ‘battery burning” makes an attempt to discover a sign. I’ve waited upwards of quarter-hour for a preset checkin message to be despatched as a result of the Explorer+ couldn’t purchase its GPS location to connect to the message. Typically it by no means will get GPS sign even once I can get a cellphone message out. The Mini 2 is way sooner as a result of it has many extra satellites to obtain sign from.

Mini 2 TracBack Feature
Mini 2 TracBack Characteristic


It is a new functionality on the Mini 2 which mechanically creates a GPS observe, minus topo map information, of your observe so that you stroll it again for those who get misplaced. It’s so much just like the tracks Garmin’s previous monochrome GPS models would show earlier than they might show topo maps.

It’s very helpful for locating your automotive for those who’ve headed off-trail to bushwhack a peak and didn’t take note of the place you’d parked. It mechanically begins once you activate the system and makes use of little or no energy since its information is all saved domestically. It’s solely obtainable within the Mini 2 and never the Explorer+. In fact, you continue to have to show the system on to make use of it.

Quicker Charging

The Mini 2 requires a USB-C plug as an alternative of the micro-USB interface utilized by the unique Mini and the Explorer+. This leads to sooner charging and is the path many different rechargeable gadgets are headed, together with headlamps.

App Help/Garmin EcoSystem Integration

It’s very irritating to be a shopper of an digital system once you be taught that the producer isn’t going to assist the software program that accompanies it sooner or later. I count on that the Earthmate App, which works with the unique Mini and the Explorer+ will likely be killed off and unsupported going ahead.

The Mini 2 doesn’t work with the Earthmate App and solely works with Garmin’s Discover App, which is built-in with their watches, the Garmin fenix and the Garmin Intuition, so you possibly can entry inReach messages, ship SOS messages, and navigate out of your wrist. My hope is that they bundle extra of the inReach’s capabilities right into a watch finally so it’s a self-contained worn system, , like Dick Tracy’s watch.

If you wish to leverage the opposite gadgets within the Garmin Ecosystem or simply need to use an App that will likely be enhanced, it is a good time to modify to the Mini 2. Gadgets that assist the Earthmate app are possible a dead-end. The Discover App features a respectable set of navigation options and map units if you wish to use a free cellular app, but it surely’s nowhere nearly as good as GaiaGPS, which is what I exploit. Nonetheless it’s good fall again since GaiaGPS costs an annual subscription price and is pretty costly.

Garmin Explore App Navigation Display
Garmin Discover App Navigation Show


There are some things I don’t like concerning the Mini 2, which you need to be conscious of.

  1. The carabiner used to connect the Mini 2 to your backpack can open unexpectedly leading to a misplaced system. I want Garmin would promote a great delicate pocket to connect the Mini 2 to your pack that retains the antenna vertical and doesn’t swing round once you stroll. This could be an excellent accent for a small firm to make. Trace.
  2. The Mini 2 activates once you hook up with its charger and stays on even after the battery is full and the charger stops charging. The result’s that you just lose cost for those who don’t flip it off (manually) when it’s completed charging. The Explorer+ by no means activates when it’s charging, so that you at all times have a 100% full battery once you go away the home.

Wrap Up

The primary cause I switched from the Explorer+ to the Mini 2 could be summed up as follows:

  • For much longer battery life
  • A lot easier, higher engineered consumer interface.
  • Quicker GPS satellite tv for pc acquisition
  • TracBack operate, which I plan to make use of extra when bushwhacking off-trail.
  • Quicker charging
  • Garmin Discover App Help

The Garmin inReach Mini 2 can also be so much much less cumbersome to hold than the Discover+ because it’s so small and light-weight. That’s a function that’s grown on me as I exploit it. It actually does must be at shut at hand if you must use it and having a smaller unit is way more handy.

Examine 5 Costs

Final up to date: 2022-05-19 12:10:43

The way to Use the Garmin inReach Mini 2

This a really detailed video about methods to use the Garmin Mini 2 offered by Chip Noble who’s been the inReach product supervisor from day 1, when it was first developed by DeLorme, earlier than Garmin acquired the corporate. It’s not “salesy” in any respect and incorporates plenty of good data that ought to in all probability be in a product handbook.

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