(The Gear Loop) - We’ve already waxed lyrical about the benefits of carrying a GPS device on the more epic adventures, as spending time with Garmin’s GPSMAP 66i resulted in us using everything from detailed mapping to two-way comms, while enjoying the robust but portable package.
Garmin understands that adventurers, hikers and off-the-beaten-path runners might not want to carry the additional bulk (although the GPSMAP 66i isn't exactly huge), nor fork out quite as much as £550 asking price, so it has hit back with a compact satellite communication device that features similar two-way texting and SOS capabilities, but is arguably more user-friendly.
With that in mind, it has been purpose-built to support outdoor enthusiasts of all skill levels, which is an added bonus considering the initial set up of the GPSMAP 66i was arguably the most daunting aspect.
The lightweight inReach Mini 2 communicator provides up to 30 days of battery life, as well as integrated location and situational awareness features such as simple TracBack navigation, which helps you get back to the start of a journey with ease, and Garmin Explore Mobile app compatibility.
However, you don’t necessarily need mobile signal to make the most of this handy little communicator, as access to the global Iridium satellite network makes it possible to send and receive text messages, track location and receive live weather updates.
But perhaps most importantly, inReach Mini 2 users can trigger an interactive SOS message to the Garmin IERCC, a 24/7 staffed professional emergency response coordination centre.
There are a number of neat features that will massively benefit budding explorers, such as the fact the inReach Mini 2 passively stores a route. This not only conserves battery life but also means users can quickly engage TracBack and an on-device digital path will retrace their movements and guide them back to their point of origin.
The new high-resolution display might not be as comprehensive as the GPSMAP 66i’s full colour screen and Topo mapping, but this high contrast version still gives very simple navigation instructions with easy-to-follow arrows leading to a destination.
Measuring just under 10 cm (4 inches) tall by 5 cm (2 inches) wide and weighing 100g (3.5 oz), the rugged inReach Mini 2 is water rated to IPX7.
Prices start at £349.99, but users will require a subscription plan to make the most of the communication and GPS functionality. Packages start at £12.95 per month.