Garmin inReach Mini | Hiking GPS Device | Satellite Communicator

If you find yourself in areas that don’t often have cellular reception, I have the perfect device for you. Yes, you may have guessed it right we are talking about the Garmin inReach Mini today. This is the best emergency communicative device used to contact your friends and families in case of need/ help. Starting with the size of it, the device feels tiny in hand and stays perfectly in your pocket making it easily transportable throughout the adventure. At its core it will always remain an emergency device as when you get stuck in the wild with no cell service the inReach Mini rescues you from the situation by calling for backup help, simply by pressing the customizable SOS button. The people to receive such urgency signals are workers in Geo Centre, who then comes to get you home. As it works on Iridium Satellite Network, it connects you to the right people no matter what. If your phone’s dead or shows no signal, you can physically text from the device itself to the destined person. However, it doesn’t consist of a touch screen, you have to type the message manually with the help of the buttons provided on either side of the device (takes a lot of time to write, so keep it short). It works on both the Earthmate and Garmin Pilot app for sending messages and location. With longer battery life and a cloud storage system, you can now plan your trips flexibly to any preferable location as the compact/ rugged device can handle any kind of situation out there in the blue.

Product Description

The Garmin inReach Mini GPS satellite communicator was launched back in mid of 2018. The product costs around 350 US dollars at the official website of buy.garmin.com (Part Number – 010-01879-00). The device arrives in two color variants, “Black” and “Red/ Black” which can reach you within 2 to 3 weeks no matter in which part of the world you live in. It has a dimension of 5.17 * 9.90 * 2.61 centimetres and a display size of 23 * 23 millimetres (Resolutions – 128 * 128 pixels). The product weighs around 110 grams and is IPX7 water-resistant certified. The display installed in it is of high quality as it is readable in sunlight, monochromatic, and has a MIP as well (consists of all the features a normal GPS tracker has). Coming to the ports and buttons section of the palm-sized satellite communicator, it has “Up” and “Down” buttons on the left side for scrolling pages and settings. The “Back” and “OK” buttons on the right side for going back to the previous menu and accepting an order. Lift the protective weather cap on the back, for the Micro USB to plug in and charge up or transfer data. The orange protective cap covers the “SOS” button in case you accidentally trigger it. The “Carabiner” on the back helps you to attach it to the backpack or pocket strap while you are on the go and the “Power” key stays on the top for turning on/ off the device next to the “Radio Antenna” for signal transmission.

Advertisement

Unboxing

Today I will be telling you what comes in the Garmin inReach Mini’s box. The grey colored box comes with a full load of information printed all over its body with the “Garmin” branding on the top of the box alongside the device picture. First thing on opening the box you will inspect the Garmin GPS device itself along with an “Align Key” with the “Screw” in plastic, a “Carabiner Holder” with a “Spine Mount” (the mount can be used for all the other Garmin products as well) in plastic and a USB cable for charging the device (short decent quality cable). Remove the carabiner screw from the device back with the help of the align key and slide over the mount on the screw point. Fix the longer screw given in the box back again to set it all up. You can also attach the carabiner with is given strap at the same time while using the mount. The box also contains 2 small manuals, one to set it up and one to operate it. Do go through it in case you require some help operating it. The package comes in a good shape as the shipping is done by the official company itself no matter from where you purchase it so no need to worry about those parts, rather for more information go to support.garmin.com. You have to purchase the Clips, Lanyards, and other necessary accessories that you require separately from their website.

Garmin inReach Mini activation setup.

  • To set up your inReach Mini go to explore.garmin.com on your laptop and begin creating an account. Turn on the device by holding the power button for a few seconds to display the “IMEI Number” and the “Authorisation Code”. Enter the two of them and click “Next”.
  • Purchase a satellite subscription plan for the tracking SOS and two-way messaging features. The two plans showing our “Freedom Plans” and “Contract Plans”. Both of them have something in common but most of it is for another destined path.
  • Once you finish setting up your account, you will be asked to go outside for a clear view of the sky to connect to the Iridium Satellite Network. They will send an “Activation Link” on the device and once it’s completed it will display an “Activation Complete” message.
  • Before taking it to the trip make sure your subscription status and is active. Select “Utilities” from the “Main Menu”> click “Test Service” and “OK” to begin. Your device will send out a text message if the test is successful, you are good to go.
  • Sync your device with your account using the Earthmate app which is available on both apple and play store. You can preset messages, choose the recipients and customize your device according to your wish before you start your journey.

Bluetooth connectivity on the Garmin inReach Mini GPS.

Nowadays the Bluetooth feature has gone rogue, but thanks to the Earthmate app for loading it with numerous features for you to use it on a correspondent smart device (one device pair at a time). For pairing download the Earthmate app from your given app store and go to the “Main Menu”> click “Setup”> then “Bluetooth” and “Pair Device” one after another. Go through the rest of the instructions given on the screen to complete the pairing. Don’t forget to keep the device with 3 meters of range while pairing. Switching on the Bluetooth option will lead to a spontaneous pairing without the requirement of setting it up all over again. To pair another device, click on the “Forget Device” option and run the process described above again. Granted the feature they have several small qualities that are worth highlighting. The Earthmate apps keep a record of every data (preset, waypoint, routes, etc) to keep your device updated all the time. The Bluetooth feature also allows all the messaging options to operate from your smartphone. It also showcases the downloaded maps (USGS), charts (NOAA), aerial imagery, etc on the screen that are downloaded previously on your smartphone.

Message feature utilization on Garmin inReach Mini GPS device

Unlike the smartphone technology which uses SIM card towers to communicate, the Garmin inReach Mini uses the Iridium satellite network to send and receive text messages including your current location every time to another phone or mail. You can view, send, reply, delete and check the messages from the device itself. Extra features include navigation, sharing a social media post (Facebook, Twitter, etc). You can post a social media message from the page itself by writing up the text and clicking the “Done” option to post it. To send your current location click the “Connection with Location Information” option and write up the text. For doing the basic things choose the option from the display screen on the message page and follow the step-by-step instruction that appears forward.

Navigation system usage on the Garmin inReach Mini GPS device.

Availing the navigation system can come in real handy while you are trekking somewhere far from the living habitat. You can take the help of the compass to ensure the direction you are moving towards and if you are lost make sure you set up the “Tracback” feature in the navigation menu to aid you back to your base camp. But if you are confident about yourself, use the “Stop Navigation” option on the Garmin which will stop detection of your route. The inReach Mini GPS uses a navigation feature acquired from the satellite signals who collect data from the server and procures the current location for the person. It may take a while to configure itself, depending on the location you are traveling in (minimum 60 seconds/ maximum 5 minutes). Make sure to try this in an open area away from the houses and building for the device to locate the satellite and collect information properly.
The waypoint feature lets you mark the place you have visited earlier on the path and records/ stores the data on the device. You can create, navigate, delete and edit a waypoint. Go to the location where you want the mark and select “Mark Waypoint” to navigate it afterward. Select “Navigate” on the “Waypoints” option and choose the waypoint you want to visit. Remember proceeding with the feature would require a navigation route leading to the waypoint. Go to the navigation option and click “Routes”. You can locate a route, reverse it, view it and even delete it. Follow the easy steps that appear on the screen once you tap the route option to let you guide to the location.

FAQS

How to reset/ factory reset the Garmin inReach Mini?

However, on regular usage, you should try resetting the device sometimes for a smoother interface to run. Hold onto the “back arrow” and the “power” button for a few seconds until it turns off and then press the power button again to simply turn it on. Although in case of no response of the device or accidental changing of language, you will need to fully reset it and restore the inReach Mini to its default setting. Switch off the device and hold them back, down and power button together for a few seconds and as soon as the “USB” and “Gear” option pops up on the display leave pressing all the buttons. Push and hold the SOS button in the GPS screen until it shows “Applying Update”. You are done, the GPS will switch off after some time to ensure the factory reset completion. Now you can switch it back on to set up the new language and start all over again (Note: On a personal level I will always advise resetting your device sometimes to give it a fresh start as well as deleting all the junks files, it is been carrying all along).

How to update the firmware on the inReach Mini GPS hiking device and sync information?

The Garmin inReach Mini updates and installs the software version automatically when the device is attached to the laptop. The updates are sent by the company itself (Garmin Express) which is free of cost. As the Garmin supports both Mac and Android operating systems, it reboots the device once the update is finished. For doing it go to explore.garmin.com and press “Plans and Devices” and tap to sink an update option. Click the “Download” button and follow the onscreen instructions to undergo the process, but before doing that do keep in mind to sync all your data to date on your Garmin inReach Mini with your inReach synced account, so that no data is lost while updating. In case of plan suspension, the data stored to date will remain there on the device till further notice.

How to save energy while charging the Garmin inReach Mini?

Plugin the USB from the backside port and attach its other end to a proper external power source. Always allow the utilization of the GPS device only after full charge, this keeps the battery in a healthy shape for a longer time. You can save device energy by switching off the “Device Features” and the power as well. This charges the GPS quickly than before as it goes into low power charging mode. The battery symbol flashes on the screen notifying the ongoing charge. The rechargeable battery can survive up to 35 hours on vigorous use and 90 hours on normal use (Extra: clean the device with a dry cloth after every adventure).

Troubleshooting

How to check the device information and change language on the Garmin Mini GPS device?

For viewing the device information such as software, regulatory information, updates, license, IMEI number, etc). Go to the menu bar and select “Setup”> click on the “About the Device” option and it will display all the basic information you need to know about the Garmin inReach Mini. Other than that, to change the language on the device go to the “Home” page and press the “OK” button> come down to the final item on the displayed list and select it. Now again select the 10th item on the list, you can see all the languages given below and select your preference.

How to utilize the weather feature on the Garmin inReach Mini satellite communicator?

You can use the weather feature function on your Garmin device to view the weather forecast of a particular location by providing GPS coordinates. Availing the weather forecast data may cost you a small charge. To add a weather location to the “Weather” page go on the device click “OK” and press the location to select a new location. Now choose from the pop-up options that arrive on your screen according to your wants. Well, you have successfully set up your weather location forecast, you can view it from there itself.
However, requesting a weather forecast on a pinned location would require an “Update” on the weather page and choosing a “Forecast Type” after that. For a marine forecast, additional customs charges will be required. Even though it’s totally worth it as it shows the best graphical results on the pinpointed area. Place the device in a clear area from any kind of obstruction which hampers the focus. You can also delete a forecast location from the weather page by simply pressing the “Remove” function.

How to use the tracking feature on your Garmin Mini GPS device?

The tracking feature comes in with a lot of qualities that help the camper get exact knowledge about the patterns, the locations you have crossed (updates track lines at specified log intervals), the track points, etc. It records everything and sends it over to the closest satellite network present in the specific region. You can view every data on your tracking log back in the device storage. You can begin tracking by clicking “OK” on this page and stop tracking by clicking the same. After every track, you can clear your track by clicking the “Clear Log” option for a new track record to hop in. The mini GPS also allows you to store the maps that you have covered. Go to the tracking page and click “Send Mapshare” to the selected contact from your “Select Contact” list along with the sharing message. Take your time to figure out the list of features provided in the tracking menu. They are Send Interval, Log Interval, Auto Tracking, Ext Tracking, Stationary Interval, and Burst Tracking. Every trait is described in simple words on the manual provided in the box for future use (if required implying).