InReach Explorer, Explorer+ or SPOT for contact/family monitoring in Baja

Chris Tobin

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I have been doing some research on how to keep in contact with my wife/family if I am able to go down for the Baja 1000 this year and was considering AT&T and or Verizon cellular with an older phone and possibly augmenting that with a SPOT tracker. Then I cam across the DeLorme (now owned by Garmin) InReach Explorer and its sister devices in the InReach family Garmin | inReach

They seem to be a great device for tracking AND communication, but I have never heard of them before my research. Has anyone used one and what do they think about using it in Baja???

I am leaning more and more toward the DeLorme InReach Explorer or Garmin InReach Explorer+ they allow two-way text communication as well as online tracking and use the Iridium Satellites so they will work everywhere.

The DeLorme is the older, but still available new for as little as $260-300, unit and it has a smaller screen and must be paired with a phone or tablet to show mapping/navigating data, but the phone or tablet does not need cell service, you gust need to download the maps in advance. http://www.gpscity.com/delorme-inreach-explorer

Garmin purchased DeLorme and released the InReach Explorer+ in their packaging, it is basically the same unit with a slightly larger screen (still too small to really do any navigating on) that will show maps and navigating on screen, but can still be tethered to a phone or tablet. The Explorer+ is running $450-500 from what I have seen. http://www.gpscity.com/garmin-inreach-explorer-plus-satellite-communicator

As I understand it both units operate basically the same and offer similar tracking as a SPOT for friends and family to monitor progress, but they add the functionality of 2-way texting so that you can send and receive text messages to update friends and family directly. It seems to me like these would be great for Baja use. They also have an SOS feature that is monitored 24/7 to send rescue if needed.

Has anyone used one of these?
 

EZinAZ

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I've been using the In-Reach for a couple years, It works flawlessly and the two way messaging is great. Pair it with the phone app for the in-reach and its awesome.
 

Chris Tobin

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I've been using the In-Reach for a couple years, It works flawlessly and the two way messaging is great. Pair it with the phone app for the in-reach and its awesome.
Which model do you use and have you used it in Baja?
 

Brandt_Anderson

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It really depends on what route you plan on taking, and how far and how long you'll be out in the boonies away from cell coverage.

I have used all of those types of devices except In-Reach. If you're going to be somewhat near any cities, your cell phone will work fine (if they're old phones I think you need the AT&T one. If the Verizon phone is limited to CDMA network you'll get very little coverage). If you're only going to be passing through the boonies on your way to the next city, the SPOT will allow your family to track you and you will be able to send an SOS if you're in trouble. I've done the satellite texting thing through SPOT (they don't offer that device anymore). I ended up never using the text function (it was only one way though). So I spent a lot of money for nothing.

If you don't care about the cost, it sounds like In-Reach would be great. If you're okay with being out of two-way communication for a few hours at a time (again, depending on your plan) it's probably overkill. The marginal cost of InReach over SPOT seems like a lot to me. But if you're going to be in the middle of nowhere for an extended period of time maybe it's worth it.
 

Anger Issues

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I have owned my SPOT tracker for probably 4-5 years. We had it strapped to the rollcage at the 500. I have used it in Idaho for remote elk hunts and MANY times pre-running or chasing in Baja.

I do like the simplicity of the unit, I will say it is 10x better than nothing, especially if cell is sketchy or non-existent. Just being able to "check-in" gives me piece of mind, and certainly those back home. It is cheap (often you can get the unit for free if you buy the membership.... like during the holidays).

The one-way texts are very limiting however. You CAN be somewhat creative if you think in advance how you might use them... perhaps the "custom" message means you are having mechanical issues, but things are ok... perhaps "need assistance" means you are officially broke down, needing help, but not in any danger. It is VERY important that the folks back home understand what this device does and doesn't do... it is easy to cause a panic (I have :eek:).

It isn't perfect, but I will keep my membership and have this in the car for the 1000. I still feel the Stella is dodgy and their website will be overloaded for this 1000. Good luck getting updates this year.... it is a decent backup... even if there IS a delay in msgs going out and some of the other issues people have with it.

I wouldn't mind checking out the In-Reach, but my budget is always "tight"... or whatever is less than tight.
 

JA Racing

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We are working with a sponsoring company that will track to our Facebook page while we prerun and during the race as well. when i get more details on the system i will let you all know
 

Chris Tobin

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If a SPOT Gen3 is $50-150 on ebay and the InReach Explorer is $260 that isn't much of a difference if you are buying one now, so I am leaning towards the InReach Explorer since it offers the 2-way texting and tracking... I think the monthly plans are similar as well...
 

Chris Tobin

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We are working with a sponsoring company that will track to our Facebook page while we prerun and during the race as well. when i get more details on the system i will let you all know
Keep us posted please!!!
 

Chris Tobin

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I have owned my SPOT tracker for probably 4-5 years. We had it strapped to the rollcage at the 500. I have used it in Idaho for remote elk hunts and MANY times pre-running or chasing in Baja.

I do like the simplicity of the unit, I will say it is 10x better than nothing, especially if cell is sketchy or non-existent. Just being able to "check-in" gives me piece of mind, and certainly those back home. It is cheap (often you can get the unit for free if you buy the membership.... like during the holidays).

The one-way texts are very limiting however. You CAN be somewhat creative if you think in advance how you might use them... perhaps the "custom" message means you are having mechanical issues, but things are ok... perhaps "need assistance" means you are officially broke down, needing help, but not in any danger. It is VERY important that the folks back home understand what this device does and doesn't do... it is easy to cause a panic (I have :eek:).

It isn't perfect, but I will keep my membership and have this in the car for the 1000. I still feel the Stella is dodgy and their website will be overloaded for this 1000. Good luck getting updates this year.... it is a decent backup... even if there IS a delay in msgs going out and some of the other issues people have with it.

I wouldn't mind checking out the In-Reach, but my budget is always "tight"... or whatever is less than tight.
My budget is beyond tight as well!!! But keeping my wife happy and aware stateside while I am in Baja will make things easier for sure... Last time I went down I was with the RPM Offroad team and we had Sat Phones available in race and chase vehicles. If I make it down for this year's 1000 it will be with a low budget sportsman team and our communications budget may exist of whatever we can scratch together... I think I can pull off the InReach Explorer and link it to an old smartphone or tablet to be the terminal for communication for my wife and I and maybe even help with team communication and tracking with it too...

It really depends on what route you plan on taking, and how far and how long you'll be out in the boonies away from cell coverage.

I have used all of those types of devices except In-Reach. If you're going to be somewhat near any cities, your cell phone will work fine (if they're old phones I think you need the AT&T one. If the Verizon phone is limited to CDMA network you'll get very little coverage). If you're only going to be passing through the boonies on your way to the next city, the SPOT will allow your family to track you and you will be able to send an SOS if you're in trouble. I've done the satellite texting thing through SPOT (they don't offer that device anymore). I ended up never using the text function (it was only one way though). So I spent a lot of money for nothing.

If you don't care about the cost, it sounds like In-Reach would be great. If you're okay with being out of two-way communication for a few hours at a time (again, depending on your plan) it's probably overkill. The marginal cost of InReach over SPOT seems like a lot to me. But if you're going to be in the middle of nowhere for an extended period of time maybe it's worth it.
It's only $100-150 different to purchase and I think the service fees are similar so I am leaning toward the InReach over the SPOT if I make it down south... It's not in the cities that I'd be worried about comms, it's in those remote places where you tend to break down or have issues...
 

MAC56

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Inreach can be "suspended" for the time you don't need it, activate them 2-3 days befor you need for a 30 day charge then suspend until you need again. Update intervals vary with cost. We use 10 min for chase trucks and 2 min for the race truck. I am very happy with the inreach SE and service.
 

BANNED4LIFE

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Racing Trax works bitchin....its basically a satellite text device....cheap and reliable
 

Doug8765

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Never had to use it but ???? It does send ok to family


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

PaulW

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I have both because the subscriptions overlap InReach comes with Earthmate, a map that will show up on your tablet or phone and will work like a GPS making tracks, WPs etc. Of course InReach has the ability to send texts or email to anybody in your contact list that was copied from your phone. Earthmate work fantastic in the states here in Colorado using The topo map provided. In Baja not so good. So far I do not have an acceptable map for Baja. I will work that when we get back to San Felipe in Oct.
Both Spot and InReach will send your position WPs to anybody you wish via text or email. I always use email. The link sent with either is view-able in G maps or G satellite. Both look great except for Baja with no roads.
Subscription cost: InReach ~27 per month unless you turn it off after the first year. Billing is monthly. Spot ~356 for the features I chose for 2 years. Billed every 2 years. Both have international rescue service contact.
Cost for the device is not discounted. I use InReach Explorer which is the latest. And Spot3 which is the latest. When my Gen 1 died they gave me a discount to go the the 3.
Not considering cost the InReach is way better. I will not be renewing my Spot when subscription expires.
Lots of InReach issues for those viewing the link. Tough and most do not try to figure it out. I built up dozens of trails in Baja and in the San Juans and they all show up on the link so sorting out by date is an issue. All because Garmin bought the system from Deloreme. I am still working out the details. Support is Zip. Find a friend and work it out is my solution. Plenty of forum discussion - search on <BajaNomad.com>. Join us and help us out.
For now I am using my Lowrance with Murdock maps and my 8" tablet with InReach/Earthmate in Baja.
 

PaulW

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My Spot links have expired after 6 days
Here is my link to Inreach for you all to play with. A trip to Denver area and several trips in baja. After you find an area keep zooming until the stupid straight lines go away. Then you get something to look at.
PS on the nomad forum there are Earthmate screen shots.
PaulW
 

ToyotaPro

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I've own the Spot for a few years and works great for its purpose. Send OK messages home. Like said above you have to get creative with their pre-written messages for "Ok", "Custom", and "Help". You also only get a limited amount of people you will send that message to, I believe 10-12.
I only visit baja for the 1000, and the last few years I usually hit the "OK" button when I reach a destination I will stop for a while. It has also come in handy for backpacking, we don't use the tracking feature to save battery, just turn it on when you want to send a message and turn it back off. Its light weigh and I was able to keep track of my wife as she backpacked for over 2 weeks.
My subscription is still active for I believe another 2 years.

That being said, If I was to do it again or when my subscription is up I will go the InReach setup. Having two way communication and other features like a GPS screen is a plus for me. I would be able to use it for baja communications with family at home, offroad trips, backpacking, hunting, etc. I also like the fact that you can turn the subscription on and off. I have many "overland" customers that run this unit alone or along with a a tablet for their offroad navegations, since most up here dont have a need for a dedicated Lowrance unit. So far the feedback is great.

Cam
 

Chris Tobin

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My Spot links have expired after 6 days
Here is my link to Inreach for you all to play with. A trip to Denver area and several trips in baja. After you find an area keep zooming until the stupid straight lines go away. Then you get something to look at.
PS on the nomad forum there are Earthmate screen shots.
PaulW
Seems pretty cool, thanks for sharing!
 

EZinAZ

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Which model do you use and have you used it in Baja?
Here's my share link: https://share.garmin.com/EricZite
Scroll down to Baja to see some tracks from last year.
I've cleaned most of the trips off the the site but there are still a couple rides on there.

I have the one in the pic below.
We have used them in Baja many times.
Texting back and forth to the family and friends.
I can even send them a link with the earthmate app and they can follow our progress on-line.

In between trips I suspend my service.
When a trip is coming up I opt in for the Expedition or the Extreme Plan

Expedition Plan Details $64/month
  • Unlimited SOS
  • Unlimited text messages
  • Unlimited Preset messages (predefined messages set up on the website)
  • Unlimited tracking at 10-minute or longer intervals
Extreme Plan Details $99/Month
  • Unlimited SOS
  • Unlimited text messages
  • Unlimited Preset messages (predefined messages set up on the website)
  • Unlimited tracking at 2-minute or longer intervals

 
Last edited:

Chris Tobin

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Here's my share link: https://share.garmin.com/EricZite
Scroll down to Baja to see some tracks from last year.
I've cleaned most of the trips off the the site but there are still a couple rides on there.

I have the one in the pic below.
We have used them in Baja many times.
Texting back and forth to the family and friends.
I can even send them a link with the earthmate app and they can follow our progress on-line.

In between trips I suspend my service.
When a trip is coming up I opt in for the Expedition or the Extreme Plan

Expedition Plan Details $64/month
  • Unlimited SOS
  • Unlimited text messages
  • Unlimited Preset messages (predefined messages set up on the website)
  • Unlimited tracking at 10-minute or longer intervals
Extreme Plan Details $99/Month
  • Unlimited SOS
  • Unlimited text messages
  • Unlimited Preset messages (predefined messages set up on the website)
  • Unlimited tracking at 2-minute or longer intervals

Cool, thanks. That's what I was thinking but I was going to get the Orange one that is the Explorer model that has navigation sensors built in...
 

51rcr

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I've own the Spot for a few years and works great for its purpose. Send OK messages home. Like said above you have to get creative with their pre-written messages for "Ok", "Custom", and "Help". You also only get a limited amount of people you will send that message to, I believe 10-12.
I only visit baja for the 1000, and the last few years I usually hit the "OK" button when I reach a destination I will stop for a while. It has also come in handy for backpacking, we don't use the tracking feature to save battery, just turn it on when you want to send a message and turn it back off. Its light weigh and I was able to keep track of my wife as she backpacked for over 2 weeks.
My subscription is still active for I believe another 2 years.

That being said, If I was to do it again or when my subscription is up I will go the InReach setup. Having two way communication and other features like a GPS screen is a plus for me. I would be able to use it for baja communications with family at home, offroad trips, backpacking, hunting, etc. I also like the fact that you can turn the subscription on and off. I have many "overland" customers that run this unit alone or along with a a tablet for their offroad navegations, since most up here dont have a need for a dedicated Lowrance unit. So far the feedback is great.

Cam
how well can you plan a route on the in reach with a tablet? can you use existing roads? Or do you you have to do the route then follow it?
 
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