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Forum Index -> Gear Talk -> Satellite messengers have upgraded!
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Lady∆sa
Surefooted Spitfire



Joined: 16 Oct 2012
Posts: 671 | TRs | Pics
Location: Custer, Whatcom County, WA
Post Wed Oct 09, 2013 2:29 pm   
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Please point me in the right direction if this thread has been covered - I tried a search and didn't see anything pertaining to this topic lately.

So, since the last time I've researched the Spot and the Delorme, there's been two new products out on the market - one from each camp. Both look substantially improved; The Spot 3 has more messaging capabilities, whereas the Delorme inReach SE doesn't need a separate device (such as a smartphone) to be able to message. Both still pack a whollup for price - Spot 3 is $150 to buy the unit and $150 a year for service, whereas the Delorme inReach SE is $300 for the unit and $119.40-$599.40 a year for service (depending on the package you choose).
Does anyone have any feedback on either of these new units, how they've fared or what other reviews you may have read? I had been wavering between the two last year - the Delorme had messaging service I liked, but the Spot was much more in my price range. Now that Spot 3 has basic pre-set messaging capabilities, I think I'm sold but of course would love to get everyone else's opinions!

Of course, here's each product from their website and from REI:

http://www.findmespot.com/en/index.php?cid=100
http://www.rei.com/product/860469/spot-gen3-satellite-gps-messenger

http://inreachdelorme.com/product-info/inreachse.php
http://www.rei.com/product/857610/delorme-inreach-se-2-way-satellite-communicator

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"We have one chance, one chance, to get everything right. We have one chance, one chance, and if we're lucky we might." One Chance, Modest Mouse
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Traildad
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Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 719 | TRs | Pics
Location: Shoreline
Post Thu Oct 10, 2013 9:08 am   
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I have carried the Delorme SE on all my trips this season.  Has worked flawlessly for both tracking and messaging.  I use the seasonal plan which for me works out to be the most affordable.

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HitTheTrail
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Joined: 30 Oct 2007
Posts: 3226 | TRs | Pics
Location: Rescuing Shackleton
Post Thu Oct 10, 2013 9:43 am   
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I have used the Delorme InReach SE on around 10 multi day backpacking trips this summer. I have not tried the tracking option but have used it each time for two-way communication with my wife to let her know where I was and that everything was OK(usually TXT messages but also tried email just as a test). Each time it worked as advertised and had no trouble getting an almost instant signal even in the trees. I also downloaded their GPS app on my iPhone 5 and paired it via Bluetooth on one trip. That sucked my battery down so fast(on both devices) I deleted the app from my phone and turned off Bluetooth. I have the $9.99/mo plan and find it adequate for what I do. I also carry it in the glove box of my car and use it for urgent TXT and email if I find myself out of cell range anywhere. It could be used as a emergency device if you rolled off over the bank and were injured but nobody could see the car. Like a cheap OnStar system. I travel a lot of narrow mountain roads and it gives me peace of mind.
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Ranger Rock
Average Joe



Joined: 14 Dec 2011
Posts: 1921 | TRs | Pics

Post Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:57 am   
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The new SPOT will run on rechargable batteries.  I'm going to get one as soon as my old SPOT breaks.  SPOT is not very well made and the service is spotty.
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Lady∆sa
Surefooted Spitfire



Joined: 16 Oct 2012
Posts: 671 | TRs | Pics
Location: Custer, Whatcom County, WA
Post Thu Oct 10, 2013 1:07 pm   
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I knew the previous Spot messengers have had issues with cloud/tree cover and spotty reception. I guess I'd sort of hoped with future generations that this problem would improve.
My drawback to the Delorme has always been the cost as well as needing to pair the thing to a smartphone or other device, but it seems like it's got glowing reviews so far. Neither of you had to pair it with another device (100% self contained)? If so, I'll research the pricing packages more and maybe consider the Delorme again.

Thanks everyone!!

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"We have one chance, one chance, to get everything right. We have one chance, one chance, and if we're lucky we might." One Chance, Modest Mouse
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HitTheTrail
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Post Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:23 pm   
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Lady∆sa wrote:
Neither of you had to pair it with another device (100% self contained)?

The InReach SE is a completely standalone device. It will send and receive txt and email without any other device pairing. In addition, it has you create an account with Delorme where you can free form and store pre-programmed messages that you sync with the device. That eliminates a lot of entering text on the device itself (a minor drawback of the device is text input). However, as you enter text it anticipates what you are typing and lists words that you can just select and complete. You can pair it with a smart phone but only if you want to use it as a GPS. If you have a smart phone with you anyway just use something like the Gaia app on the phone and skip any pairing. Two more points: every txt or email you send contains an internet link that when clicked will bring up a Google map showing exactly where you are(so all you have to send is a simple "hi" and they get your position), and when you keep it turned off except to send and receive it uses very little power. I have been using it all summer on one charge and it is still around 70% charged (once I turned off Bluetooth). Also, you can find rebate deals with $50 off now and then.
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BigSteve
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Joined: 06 Mar 2007
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Post Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:38 pm   
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Hit and TD, thanks for relating your experiences re the InReach.  Pondering whether to get one.
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Kat
Turtle Hiker



Joined: 05 Oct 2003
Posts: 2351 | TRs | Pics

Post Sat Oct 12, 2013 5:02 am   
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So just to clarify, the DeLorme InReach can send and receive text msgs?

For example, if one broke down on a mtn road you could text a friend for a tow truck call with your gps coord, and he could text you back to confirm a tow was coming?
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Ancient Ambler
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Joined: 15 May 2007
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Location: Bainbridge Island
Post Sat Oct 12, 2013 9:38 am   
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Thanks for bringing this topic up.  In the past on certain trips I've brought along a rented Iridium 9555 sat phone for emergency communication if needed (fortunately not needed).  Can be quite spendy, around $200 for ~9 days including breakage insurance.  One of the big selling points for the Iridium phones is the Iridium satellite com system, which is reportedly far more reliable than the other main sat com system, GlobalStar.  I've used the Iridium sat phone to make a few brief status calls to my wife, and the calls always went through, even from dense, valley bottom forest in the Olympics.  It appears per REI that the Delorme inReachSE uses the Iridium sat com system.  A search elsewhere online indicated that the Spot uses the GlobalStar sat com system.  All this makes the Delorme inReachSE very appealing to me.  May end up going that way.
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Traildad
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Joined: 25 Jan 2008
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Post Sat Oct 12, 2013 10:13 am   
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Kat wrote:
So just to clarify, the DeLorme InReach can send and receive text msgs?

For example, if one broke down on a mtn road you could text a friend for a tow truck call with your gps coord, and he could text you back to confirm a tow was coming?

Yes to both questions.  Both email and text messaging is available with replies back to you.  Text seems to be an easier interface as email seems to come to the receiver looking like a message from Delorme.  So I am told.

Useful case in point.....I got caught in the early September storm while on the PCT midway between Rainy Pass and Stehekin.  Recall that storm caused a mudslide which blocked the road above Stehekin.  My family was waiting for me in Chelan and without the text capability would have had no clue if I was going to be able to catch the boat in Stehekin to Chelan as planned.  Not mention the lesser concern, to them at least, as to whether I might have been forked and toasted by mother nature that night biggrin.gif

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seattlenativemike
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Joined: 06 Oct 2012
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Post Sat Oct 12, 2013 10:48 am   
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I recently carried the inreach device, not the se, up to the enchantments.  I paired it with my iphone but for this trip just used it as a standalone tracker and message sender.

It worked great...girlfriend back home was able to see my route via a website (updated every ten minutes) and received via email my three messages.  I had set them to:
1.  All good, warm, safe, fed, taking great pictures
2.  All good, camp set up and ready to turn in for the evening
3.  Heading back down now...approx. 7 hours to the trailhead, will call when in cell range.

Pairing with a smartphone allows you to send and receive texts.  Fyi I got my inreach on ebay for ~$100.  It seems to be a popular "bought for a trip and then sold it" device.

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www.mikereidphotography.com

Always trust people who like big butts;  They cannot lie.
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HitTheTrail
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Joined: 30 Oct 2007
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Location: Rescuing Shackleton
Post Sat Oct 12, 2013 11:37 am   
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Kat wrote:
So just to clarify, the DeLorme InReach can send and receive text msgs?

Another yes on that. Each time I sent my wife a text this summer letting her know where I was she sent back a text confirming she got my message. I would either leave the unit on for a few minutes to wait for her reply or turn it back on later and check the inbox.  There is only one downside to this (at least for me). I have the 10 messages a month plan and she gets carried away sending me corny messages with smiley faces etc. After the tenth message I start getting overage charges of $0.50 per message! But, I figure it is worth it to keep her happy and letting me take off solo.
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Traildad
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Post Sun Oct 13, 2013 7:27 am   
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HitTheTrail wrote:
But, I figure it is worth it to keep her happy and letting me take off solo.

x2

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dla
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Post Mon Oct 14, 2013 8:14 am   
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The new SPOT 3 has some nice improvements. Each generation gets better features.

The Globalstar network has new satellites  - the old stuff has been replaced, which should make people considering a sat phone happy. But the old satellites never affected SPOT.

SPOT is still the most cost-effective way to keep loved ones in the loop and have a means to activate SAR if need be.

Real world performance of the 3 major systems (cospa-sarsat, SPOT, InReach) are equivalent. Now folks have choices and nobody needs to solo without some form of signaling device.

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3rd Gen SPOT from inside my storage cabinet
SPOT Rationale
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HitTheTrail
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Post Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:57 am   
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dla wrote:
Real world performance of the 3 major systems (cospa-sarsat, SPOT, InReach) are equivalent.

I don't know anything about Cospa-Sarsat but I have heard from other sources that SPOT is ok for sending messages but not for receiving them.
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