The Delorme inReach SE is one of the best off-grid satellite communicators currently on the market. It uses the Iridium satellite network, which is the same network that the U.S. Military relies on to support its troops. Peace of mind and safety is one of the biggest concerns when in the back country and this device satisfies the need.
The first priority of any backwoods, desert, or other trip into remote areas, should always be safety first. When we are off-grid away from cellphone coverage we still depend on being connected to our families and rescue organizations for emergencies. Never go thinking that nothing can happen to you because it can and it does. Many times day hikers travel just a couple hundred yards off the trail and suddenly find themselves lost and ill-prepared. That is why at SurviveOutdoor we rely on a proven, field-tested, satellite communicator like DeLorme’s inReach SE.
What I love about the inReach SE is the many communication features it provides, such as two-way texting to anyone (this is great for keeping in touch with family in case of an emergency at home) you also get a confirmation that your message was sent, SOS feature which allows you to send a request for help at the touch of a button, and of course the tracking feature that sends location data to an online map that can be shared with as many people that you like (a great way for friends/family to watch your trek while you are gone). Because of the Iridium satellite network with 100% global coverage, you are never out of communication no matter where you are on the globe (you do need a clear sky view for satellites, so no it will not work in caves).
DeLorme inReach SE Features:
- Send and receive free-form, 160-character text messages outside of cell phone range.
- Trigger an SOS and interact back and forth with GEOS, our 24/7 search and rescue monitoring center.
- Turn on tracking to share and view GPS coordinates.
- Color screen and virtual keyboard with predictive text.
- Intuitive LED indicator for satellite availability.
- Audible message notifications.
- Internal, rechargeable lithium battery lasts about 100 hours at continuous operation at 10-minute tracking intervals with a clear view to the sky. Extended tracking mode can extend battery life even more for long-haul trips.
- Designed for maximum durability in harsh environments (waterproof, dustproof, and impact-resistant).
- Post to social media.
The EarthMate app is also a great way to pair your smartphone device with your inReach device so that you can use your smartphone to more easily type messages, receive message, view/download maps, see your map tracking, and even send and SOS.
DeLorme inReach SE Specifications:
- Color screen with predictive, virtual keyboard for standalone two-way messaging.
- GPS accuracy to +/- 5 meters.
- Water rating: IP67 (withstands incidental water exposure; tested for submersion at one meter for 30 minutes).
- Rugged, dustproof and impact-resistant (Mil-STD-810G for shock; IP67 for dust).
- Impact-resistant (Mil-STD-810G for shock).
- 100 hours of battery life in 10-minute tracking mode with a clear view to the sky.
The DeLorme inReach SE does require a subscription at a monthly charge, however you only have to pay for the months that you plan to use it. You can suspend and restart any plan anytime! We have found the plans to be very affordable for the safety and comfort that you get in return. View Subscription Plans, there are also Annual Plans available, but our favorite is the monthly Freedom Plan.
I have been using the inReach for almost 3 years, the performance is great, and according to the trees and rocks I have banged it on, it is built rugged enough to withstand a lot of punishment. I purchase radio holder from Maxpedition that includes straps for molly connections, I found it actually fits the inReach SE perfectly and enables me to strap it onto either the side/back or shoulder straps of a pack with ease! Maxpedition Holster
The inReach SE is user friendly and takes less than an hour to learn all the functions, text is done via a scroll/click method but if you pair with a smartphone it is much easier to text. The Freedom plan that we normally use allows up to 40 text messages per month, both send and receive of a message counts as one each, but again it is designed for emergency and not for normal everyday texting.
If you haven’t thought of the advantage of having two-way communication when you are off-grid then it will be an experience that will leave you never wanting to go without your inReach device. Of all the devices tested DeLorme inReach SE was the best of the lot, and at a better price point in return for the features you have available, the DeLorme Explorer has a few more features like waypoints, route planning, and digital compass but for the extra $80 cost we don’t have the need for the extras, but they could be important for select few people.
A couple of issues we discovered is that activating or restarting your subscription plan does take awhile to activate on the device, so plan to activate well before your trip, and in direct sunlight it is hard to read the screen so we had to always block the light. However this should not be an issue if you plan ahead, and like any electronic device shade the screen to read it.