We’re big fans of Garmin’s inReach sat-comm technology, which allows people to get in touch anywhere they are in the world. It’s a literal life-saver during outdoor adventures, especially when you’re in places without cellphone coverage. The Garmin inReach Mini condenses all that satellite functionality into their smallest communicator yet, allowing you to keep in touch with your crew, no matter where your adventures take you.
Measuring just 2 x 3.9 x 1 inches (width x height x depth) and weighing 3.5 ounces, the device makes for one of the most compact satellite communicators we’ve seen, making it ideal for adventures where you need to make the most of all the gear you carry. Whether you keep it in a pants pocket, a small exterior pocket on your backpack, or a secure pocket on your jacket, this thing should fit right in without adding much bulk or weight.
The Garmin inReach Mini is, basically, a shrunk-down version of the outfit’s sat-comm devices, retaining the same general shape and form-factor, albeit in more compact dimensions, with a smaller display, smaller buttons, and smaller everything. Except, of course, for the antenna, which looks about the same size. Despite its small size, the device comes in a rugged build, with a shell that’s impact-resistant according to MIL-STD-810F standard and water-resistant according to IPX7 standard.
Like its bigger counterparts, the device can send and receive messages to other compatible Garmin devices via the global Iridium satellite network, allowing your whole group to keep in touch even when you’re exploring way off the grid. We’re not just talking about the outfit’s sat-comms, by the way, as it can also communicate with some of Garmin’s connected wearables and handhelds, so there are multiple ways of keeping in touch with this in tow. It also has GPS-based location tracking, so you can share your exact location, making it easier for your group to find you, in the event you get separated at any time, as well as basic navigation that shows your distance bearing and distance along a route.
The Garmin inReach Mini comes with a large SOS button that, when pressed, will contact the GEOS 24/7 emergency response team, which facilitates search-and-rescue operations in over 140 countries. Once the distress signal has been received, you will get a delivery confirmation to let you know that help is on the way, along with regular updates on the status of the response team. When paired with the Earthmate app (iOS and Android), the device can access maps, aerial imagery, and NOAA weather charts, all of which you can use to further inform your outdoor adventure.
It’s powered by a rechargeable battery that’s rated for up to 50 hours at 10-minute tracking with a two-minute logging, which is the default setting, while the onboard storage allows you to save up to 500 waypoints and 20 routes. Other features include a monochrome MIP display, weather forecast updates, Garmin Pilot support, and support for various aviation services (e.g. LMFS, ACAS, and more). Do note, it requires a satellite subscription, either through an annual contract package or a flexible month-to-month plan.
The Garmin inReach Mini is available now.