The new Garmin inReach all-in-one communication and navigation devices merge popular GPS technology with the trusted two-way communication capabilities that DeLorme’s inReach products pioneered.

Posted by Miles Arbour

Back in January of this year Garmin announced the inReach Explorer+ and the inReach SE+ as part of Garmin’s acquisition of Delorme and their inReach technology. Both devices are now available for purchase at your local Garmin dealer, and may just solve the issue of bringing both a satellite communication and GPS navigation device on your next bikepacking trip. The following is a summary of what the devices offer and why the inReach is particularly appealing for cyclists travelling far from the comforts of cellular service.

Garmin inReach

  • Garmin inReach
  • Garmin inReach

“Using the worldwide coverage of the Iridium satellite network, the Garmin inReach SE+ and inReach Explorer+ can send and receive text messages with any cell phone number, email address or another inReach device, so users can be outside of cellular range without compromising their loved ones’ peace of mind. Both devices have an interactive SOS, which triggers an emergency response from GEOS®, the 24/7 global search and rescue monitoring center. After the SOS is received, inReach users are then able to communicate back and forth with experienced GEOS specialists about the nature of the emergency, and receive confirmation when help is on the way. Users can also set up emergency contacts on their devices that will also be notified in the event of an SOS.”Garmin Canada

Both inReach models offer GPS navigation, location and tracking data for following routes, and the ability to drop and follow waypoints… but this should come as no surprise considering Garmin’s other popular GPS devices, like the eTrex and GPSMAP series. What makes this inReach iteration so appealing is the inclusion of two-way communication: including SOS, live tracking, and messaging without cellular coverage. In short, it’s offering what the SPOT and the Garmin eTrex do, but in one simple package.

Something to note is that current Garmin map packs are not compatible with the inReach models, so users will have to use the DeLorme Topo North America, Ariel Imagery, and OpenStreetMaps until a compatibility update is released.

  • Garmin inReach
  • Fat Chance Chris Cross, CX and adventure bike


The ability to sync data wirelessly via Bluetooth is one of the features we are most excited about. The Earthmate app will be especially attractive for international trips and backcountry excursions, a step in the right direction for complete self sufficiency. The cloud-based app can transform your cellular device into a powerful navigation tool, allowing users to download additional maps, navigate and plot waypoints. and then sync this data to the inReach device via bluetooth. The app also brings the ability to take advantage of larger cellular device screens and keyboards to send and receive messages, trigger an SOS, and even link to various social media platforms.

The Earthmate app is included at no charge with both Garmin inReach models, and is available on the Apple Store, Google Play Store, and the Amazon Appstore.

Garmin Earthmate App


  • Global two-way communication. Send and receive text messages or emails from anywhere in the world.
  • SOS monitoring that triggers an interactive message to communicate the nature of your emergency.
  • Live tracking via MapShare.
  • Pair the inReach with your smartphone for ultra-convenient messaging, planning, and map viewing.
  • Wireless compatibility via bluetooth.
  • Navigation and route tracking tools that will be familiar to those already using Garmin devices.
  • Premium add-ons available like weather alerts and upgraded subscriptions.


  • WEIGHT 7.5 oz
  • BATTERY Rechargeable Internal Lithium Ion
  • SCREEN SIZE 1.4″ x 1.9″
  • BATTERY LIFE 100 hours in 10-min tracking mode / 30 days in 30-min interval power saving mode
  • SENSORS Barometric Altimeter and 3-axis compass*

*Only included with the inReach Explorer+ model.

In order to make use of the satellite communication features a subscription is required, and there are a few options that cater to different levels of usage. Annual plans range from $11.95 to $79.95 USD per month (plus an activation fee), and month to month “freedom” plans range from $14.95 to $99.95 USD per month. Currently, the inReach SE+ retails for $399.99 USD and the inReach Explorer+ retails for $449.99 USD – the primary difference being the sensors and preloaded topographic maps.

We reached out to Garmin in an attempt to see what is in store for 2018, and although those dark secrets cannot be revealed, you can expect some more great features, updates, and new devices.

For all of the details on both models and subscription options, head over to the Garmin website.

  • asposium

    tracking is also possible via the app.
    so the inReach can “in fill” satellite tracking points via cellular data when available

  • On the shopping list.

  • Thanks for adding that!

  • Another important feature: it can be charged via USB – that means we will be able to power it with a dynamo hub! Nice!

  • asposium

    My biggest gripe with the inReach is the rubbish mapping, followed by the 500point track limitation.
    So, with this comment “until a compatibility update is released”, is there a u date coming?
    Would be fantastic to use the inReach with UK OS maps.

  • Are you referring to the DeLorme inReach’s mapping capabilities? From what I understand the Garmin iteration will be pretty comparable to what the eTrex offers, which I definitely enjoy using. Garmin couldn’t give us any details on updates to come, but from what I understand the Explorer model will work with OS maps.

  • asposium

    I’d be very pleased if OS maps were available
    And more so if the 500 point limit were addressed

  • asposium

    When using (for wild camping and bikepacking) the inReach is on 24/7; satellite tracking set to default (10mins), and device logging set to 30seconds, the battery lasts ~3days

  • asposium

    Thoughts, comments and observations here regarding the inReach
    Search for #inReach

  • If been using one & I’m not all that happy with it. The biggest issue is the 500pt limit on loading tracks.
    I use topofusion to split routes inorder to make it useable, Could have been my error but lost a route in the middle of a race. The GPS function are pretty much DeLoram & not what you’d expect from Garmin.

  • Matthew Ames

    How do you do this?

  • asposium

    Just run the app with satellite tracking active.
    Have device based tracking to a low value

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