I just came across this handy little gadget, and I can’t believe I had not seen it sooner. We talked about emergency communications the other day, and this product line from Garmin looks pretty amazing. It is a GPS device with built in satellite communications. That is some Star Trek communicator shit right there.

The equipment allows you to send your location, an SOS, and even two way text messages via satellite. The only real drawback is cost. There is a monthly subscription fee that ranges from $15 up. The devices themselves cost between $300 and $600. Steep.

I’m telling you that if I regularly travelled far outside of cell range, this would be a sure thing. As it is, I am not sure I can justify the cost for my travel habits now, but if I were still doing the offshore boating or backcountry hiking thing, I would already have one.

I know this post reads like a commercial, but it isn’t. As usual, I accept no advertising. I just occasionally come across products that I think are interesting and would be of value to my readers. I have no relationship with Garmin or Amazon, other than being a customer. In this case, I don’t even own this product, although I am really thinking about it.

Categories: CommunicationsGear


Bear Claw Chris Lapp · October 7, 2022 at 6:27 am

Damn, I got the first one right from memory. Did not do the other two calculations it’s coffee time currently.

    Divemedic · October 7, 2022 at 8:38 am

    Im guessing you meant to post this comment on a different story.

Jonathan · October 7, 2022 at 7:48 am

I looked closely at these last year and went with the competing Spot X; it is cheaper, both for purchase and monthly plans, and it has more flexibility – in particular, I like that you can send any text message directly from it; you don’t have to use Bluetooth to your phone.

My work issues the In Reach for field use, so I’m familiar with it also.

Don in Oregon · October 7, 2022 at 8:35 am

I’ve used the In Reach device and recommend it, especially if you travel solo and there’s someone who insists you stay in touch.

One button push sends your location, which shows up via text or email as an icon on a topo map.

You can compose texts directly on it although it’s a slow hunt-and-peck process.

Liberty · October 7, 2022 at 8:35 am

Another option is Somewear Labs. Works well, and I appreciate being able to pause the subscription months we are not traveling.

SmileyFtW · October 7, 2022 at 8:41 am

Adaptive Curmudgeon has one and wrote apost about how he uses it and how he minimizes cost.

D · October 7, 2022 at 9:28 am

I saw one of the “commercial” versions of these once. We were activated for a “plane crash”. Police, fire, and EMS all went racing to some remote address in the middle of nowhere based on GPS coordinates provided by Garmin/Iridium.

When we got to this remote house, looked around, and knocked on the door, someone in his 50s answered and was absolutely mortified.

We all went out to his large barn to find a couple of hay bails had fallen from the second floor on to his Cessna he had stored there, and somehow set the device off.

He apologized profusely and we left.

It was a funny and memorable call.

Aesop · October 7, 2022 at 10:24 am

That and the Spot fill the same niche. Either way the idea is genius. Go with best function for best price.

Anonymous · October 7, 2022 at 12:32 pm

the new iphones have this capability too. they can communicate with satellites to direct rescue personnel to your location

Rich T · October 7, 2022 at 8:25 pm

We use InReach quite a bit for work. We work in remotes locales doing pipeline inspections and utilize them if scheduled check ins are missed.
But they donhave some flaws as a crew just found a sat dead spot in the Alberta bush. Sat phones and InReach lost coverage for a 3hr span

NJdave · October 7, 2022 at 8:55 pm

Iphone 14 will support emergency satellite communications as well.


jim · October 7, 2022 at 10:26 pm

Thanks for the 1st hand comments – I will check out SpotX now

Looked at the Garmin several times since I have property that’s :30min+ from the nearest cell signal and figured it would be nice for a comm link – just never pulled the trigger on getting one due to the monthly $$ and not getting out there often enough to justify it

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