My wife saddled me with a Garmin Inreach Mini a couple years ago. I always have it binered to my pack shoulder strap since.
Basic rundown is this:
- different subscription plans. Subscribe for just a month or two, or the whole year. I think it charges my card 13$ a month. Prices vary on what plan you have. Better plan = better commo.
-With the basic plan, I have THREE, and only three unlimited presets. Presets you define in your account online through a webpage, then you sync your inreach to your account via a cable.... kinda like a smart phone. With these three texts, I can text my wife as much as i want. Personally, I use, "Everythings ok", "going to bed for the night"... and "heading home".
- When you text, it sends a link to your exact map location to the whoever your texting. So my wife knows EXACTLY where i'm at, and I don't have to argue with her over how to read a map.
- With the basic plan you have 10 free texts a month. These 10 texts can be anything you like. There are other texts you can define in your account, that are not part of your 3 unlimited. For me, "Mess of success" is one of those, and it almost never gets sent.
- The backend on your account has a map you can share with family or friends if you want... on facebook no less. Each text you send marks your location on this map. You can Passwords this map, since you probably don't want to tell the world where your hunting.
-You usually have to wait a few minutes to get a GPS fix before sending a text. I find the text sends faster this way.
- You can get a basic and expanded weather report via the inrieach mini. It's acutally pretty cool. After 2 or 3 years of usage, i finally used it over opening week this last turkey hunt. It's awesome having an entire weeks forcast for where i'm at, at my finger tips. Have yet to look and see how much that cost me. Can't say I care, it was too freaking cool.
- I've rarely NOT got a sat fix, but it has happened once with heavy cloud cover once.... i think. I can say for certain if you enter a deep and steep walled drainage , you won't get a GPS fix. You'll have to climb your butt out first.
- I've used the SOS function ONCE, and it was to summon help for some car that ran off highway 6 towards the coal mine area. No cell phone coverage. I suppose I could have just driven up the hill, but I didn't feel right leaving the scene. That and I was curious as to how this fancy gadget of mine worked. It actuallly worked out pretty well. Its part of your subscription plan, there's a call /monitor center thats manned 24/7. You hit that SOS, they send help, and they'll try and call you later by voice.
- You can recieve texts quite well, if there's an emergency at home, or your buddy can't make it back, you will get the text.
Ok.. thats enough typing. By now your probably sold anyway.
One tip..... battery life, if you leave it on.. is maybe 2 or 3 days? I leave mine off, and turn it on only when i'm either checking or sending messages.