- Mar 4, 2019 at 5:32 am #3581696
“But the fact that the mini will let people text me with nonsense, that’s a big risk in bringing something like this along.”
Only if you allow it to happen, and you don’t have to allow it to happen. If you don’t set up the website to allow people to contact you, then no one can contact you unless you send them a message first (unless they also have an inReach and you give them your inReach address). You can password protect the website, and only give the password to your husband, so that only he can send you a message through the web page. So either password protect the web page, or set the web page to not allow people to contact you at all. Then, before you leave, send your husband a message to ensure he gets it, and he can always use that message to respond to you (or send you important info by responding to the message, he can’t use the address the message came from to start a new message) when you’re gone.
More info here.Mar 4, 2019 at 5:51 am #3581697
Rex SandersBPL Member
@rexLocale: Central California CoastMar 14, 2019 at 5:50 pm #3583489
Thanks for the additional replies, Karen, Doug, and Rex. And Rex…thanks for the links. You’ve done a great service!
Karen – Sounds like we think quite a bit alike.
Anyway, I begrudgingly activated the Mini yesterday. I noticed right away the differences between that and registering my ACR Resqlink. As expected, the latter was easier but it seems I was also able to add more emergency contacts with the ACE. I like how the NOAA asks varying questions about where you most frequent. The questions from Garmin felt more like marketing to me.
Within a couple mins, I ran in to an issue with signing up. Had to call Garmin which, to get a real person on the phone, reminded me of trying to get a real computer tech support person on the phone…. except, once I finally heard a real voice, it was actually someone whose first language is English which allowed for more clear communication. The guy was very helpful and admitted the problem was on their end. Good to find out I’m not a complete idiot! But, while waiting for him to come up with a solution, I began hoping the Mini would work more smoothly in an emergency!
For me, I didn’t find the directions on how to use the thing very helpful. I also haven’t found it terribly intuitive either… but I avoid these sort of tech pieces and so haven’t a ton of experience staring into tiny screens while pushing tiny buttons.
After some frustrations, I just started pushing buttons to see what would happen. I ultimately got it synced with my phone and was able to test it by sending both a preset message through the Mini itself and a regular text through the phone… both to my wife. Both were successful. I dread it but need to learn how to text on the Mini itself in case my phone quits, gets broken, etc.
I could have saved some frustration had I read Jerry’s tips while doing all this. I had forgotten though.
If I can set this thing up, nearly anyone could. However, it wasn’t without a lot of choice words! And I still feel to have a ways to go before I’m totally comfy with the basics. For me, there’s a lot of nonsensical glittery whiz bangs I don’t want that I have to wade through. I’ll get through though…
And whether I had overlooked or forgotten, I was surprised with an annual operational fee of $24.95…. on top of the “plan”. Wasn’t too happy about that… but, I have to remember it’s still pretty cheap insurance for my style and place of travel – solo and deep in some of the most remote and desolate areas in the Lower 48.
Frustrations aside, I think this thing will do me fine… though I can easily see it failing someone with a not-so-thorough personality… or someone with an arrogant personality who thinks they don’t need to focus much time on it to dial things in (I know plenty of both). That leads me back to my previous opinion. Listen, Garmin, et al: Make these things dead simple and intuitive enough that there is no question.Mar 14, 2019 at 6:20 pm #3583499
I just quit using my phone with it, no reason, I don’t need to compose long messages and the phone isn’t really optimum for long messages anyway.Mar 14, 2019 at 8:53 pm #3583528
“the phone isn’t really optimum for long messages anyway.”
I disagree, the phone is great for long messages if you dictate them instead of trying to type the entire thing. Pretty quick, usually pretty accurate, and pretty easy (my comment is for my iPhone, don’t know about Android phones).Mar 14, 2019 at 10:17 pm #3583537
Good point, I’ve used that on an Android and it was pretty goodMar 14, 2019 at 10:20 pm #3583539
Just to add another user experience: I did not have any issues activating and deactivating my garmin mini. I’m very happy with the product and I found the pricing transparent. I used pre-made texts without a phone on one trip and took a phone on another trip and found both easy to use and fillies my use-case scenarios (no off which were emergent however).
– I’m interested in someone testing the garmin mini with an iPod touch as this would be significant weight savings (over 3.5 ounces) compared to today’s iPhone models.Mar 14, 2019 at 11:35 pm #3583563
You can use it with an iPod Touch.Mar 15, 2019 at 1:22 am #3583595
I know you can, and I have lots of thoughts, but I was looking for feed back given battery life and smaller screen real estate if someone with an iPod touch could down load the app and give it a shot.Mar 15, 2019 at 5:07 pm #3583689
D MBPL Member
@farwalkerLocale: What, ME worry?
One thing to keep in mind. On the InReach/Garmin Mini….older iPod touches might not work, according to reviews, I have read only the recent Apple products will pair with the new Mini. This quote is from a review on Amazon. “the newer inReach units (Explorer+, SE+, and MINI) will not communicate with the EarthMate app on iOS devices older than iOS 10.” iPod touch was first produced in 2015.Mar 15, 2019 at 6:03 pm #3583700
Thanks that’s helpful!Mar 15, 2019 at 10:03 pm #3583758
Don’t remember if I stated before, but my phone is a 5S. Don’t know how old that is but it has been working with the Mini.Mar 17, 2019 at 2:51 am #3583948
Thanks for all the info Rusty et al. I’m still not sure I’ll bother. It’s expensive and honestly, if I meet my doom, so be it. None of us get immortality. The last part of life sucks no matter what, so as long as it’s quick, it’s fine by me. I’ve watched too many family members die recently! Nothing about it is nice. On the other hand, I’d hate to leave a mystery behind, with people not knowing what happened to me or where the body might be. That would have to be awful! Those stories are the most haunting.
Is the Mini something that could reasonably be shared? I wonder if a group of friends could share one, and just activate it whenever someone was taking a trip. I love the idea of communal ownership of expensive stuff, rather than everyone having to own one.Mar 17, 2019 at 3:29 am #3583953
yeah, you could share it. There’s nothing that says one owner only is allowed to use it.
you’d have to adjust who the messages got sent to but that’s pretty straightforward. Test it once before you go. You should do that regardless.
If you choose the cheapest plan, it’s $12 per month and you get 10 messages, then $0.50 per message. It’s cheap enough (at least for this cheapskate) to just pay that every month regardless of any trips, but I go pretty much every month
The plan that allows you to turn it on or off for each month costs twice as much per month. You’d have to use it less than half the months before you saved any money.Mar 17, 2019 at 3:44 am #3583957
You’d also have to think about having a central person who doesn’t travel much to act as the primary POC in case you or another user pushed the SOS button, or else change that info every time someone else used it as well.Mar 17, 2019 at 1:31 pm #3583979
Karen – If you want SOS only, the ACR ResqLink is crazy simple. One button, one function. No subscription fee.
As I understand it, if you want tracking on the inReach Mini, you have to buy the $24.95/month plan… or maybe pay .10 cents per point with the cheapest plan. Someone else can verify that.
As far as sharing, I think that’s a good idea…but it would personally make me nervous. Being anal, I observe how others treat their equipment. Some treat their things with care while others just toss their items around with seemingly zero thought. To me, an electronic gadget, that’s intended for emergencies… something that people are counting to save their bacon… I don’t think they should just be tossed around willy nilly or otherwise handled carelessly by an unconscious person. These things might be pretty tough but everything has its limits. Each person it’s shared with will be practicing/mess’n with it. If that’s 3 people, then that’s 3x the wear on the buttons and unit than if you were the sole owner.
Just another perspective………
Mar 17, 2019 at 1:43 pm #3583981
- This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by Rusty Beaver.
Erica RBPL Member
Rusty and all. Thanks for sharing this information. It is quite relevant to my quandry of carrying something I will never probably use.
Rusty, I don’t quite understand why you went with the Garmin Mini when you already have a Res-Q-link. 5.4 oz – 3.5 oz = 1.9 oz difference I maybe understand, but this page https://explore.garmin.com/en-US/inreach/ says the Mini is 4.23 oz. Ability to text I understand, though I don’t care about that. Mini able to tell you where you are (GPS) I understand. Annual cost of at $70 (3 mo) to $169 for the Mini I, vs $0 for the Req-Q-Link I understand. $350 + 20 (activation Fee)=$370 for the Mini vs $290 for the Res-Q-Link I understand.
So in summary, the Res-Q-Link costs you $290 for 5 years, the Mini costs you $370 + say 100*5 = $870, I understand. Of course the main feature of the Res-Q-Link is a 5W transmitter vs 1.6 watts for the Mini.
So, Why did you get the Mini?
EricaMar 17, 2019 at 3:56 pm #3583997
I’m not sure how Garmin is weighing the Mini but, mine, with just the screw and small piece of webbing on the back (place to place a carabiner or lanyard) weighs 3.55 oz.
What prompted me to get the Mini and sell my ACR was an issue I’m having with my feet. Prior, my primary mode of recreation in the backcountry was backpacking and self-supported whitewater kayaking trips. Usually solo and nearly always in very remote and seldom traveled areas. While backpacking, I had no interest in such a device unless I somehow broke a leg or otherwise could not walk. That’s where the ACR came in. With kayaking, if I were to lose my boat or injured an upper extremity, I could walk out if need be (and I have before – 2 day walk out). If I injured my back, I had my ACR (SOS).
After my feet starting giving me fits, and I couldn’t backpack, I started doing backcountry multi-day road trips on my dual-sport motorcycle…solo, and in desolate, remote, seldom traveled places. If my cycle broke down, I wouldn’t have the option of walking out with my feet in bad shape. That’s when I started looking at the Mini…for the messaging capabilities. If my cycle breaks down now, I can message my wife and friends and ask them to come get me. However, if I crash and get seriously injured, I can hit the SOS button.
Similar story to my kayaking. Now, since my feet are still bothering me, if something happens, when I don’t need a full-blown medical type rescue, I can text my wife and friends so they can come get me.
In essence, the Mini will allow me to organize my own rescue without placing burden on the local “search & rescue” in non-life threatening instances. However, I still have the option to push that SOS in a dire life or death case.
As a bonus, to give my wife a piece of mind, I can now check in after I get settled into camp. When she receives that message, there’s a link that takes her to a map showing my exact location. There is the tracking feature also…but, for now, I have no plans to utilize that…nor do I have any interest or plans to use the maps, GPS, weather, and what have you that’s possible.
I really like the idea of the ACRs one button and one function. I think in our chase of technology, the ACR gets overlooked. I like the dead simpleness of it and the no monthly plan. The Mini just suits the changes I’m going through right now better.
Hope all that is clearer than mud.Mar 17, 2019 at 6:42 pm #3584016
I have one of my preset messages (that you don’t get charged for sending and don’t count as one of your messages on your plan, though the reply does) set to send an email to a website set up for basic, short term weather forecasts. I send the message, I get a reply (usually within 10 minutes, often quicker) with a (I think, can’t remember exactly) 36-hour weather forecast. And I’m not paying for the service like you do with Garmin’s built in weather forecast. This came in very handy on a Wind River trip last year, when a storm moved in that hadn’t been forecast when we started the trip, and enabled us to better plan how to proceed. Without the info we might have gotten into a bit of trouble by attempting a high pass, not realizing that some inches of snow and freezing rain were about to fall.Mar 17, 2019 at 7:12 pm #3584020
that would be pretty useful, is there somewhere they have details how to do that?Mar 17, 2019 at 8:44 pm #3584036
If you’re going to use it, giving the guy a small donation would be cool. (And no, I’m not the guy, nor do I have anything to do with the site other than being an appreciative user).Mar 17, 2019 at 8:45 pm #3584037Mar 17, 2019 at 9:17 pm #3584040
thanks Doug and JR, I’ll try thatMar 17, 2019 at 9:25 pm #3584042
Erica RBPL Member
Rusty, Thanks for the reply. That does indeed clarify. I think I will go with the Res-q-link. I’m not about to carry a brick to recharge the mini, I’d rather have a fully charged 5W transmitter than a partially charged 1.6W transmitter if I should ever need it.Mar 17, 2019 at 9:35 pm #3584044
You’re welcome. Unless you’re leaving the Mini on for tracking purposes… the battery reportedly lasts a very long time. Mine will be turned off all day… then, once to camp, I’ll turn it on just long enough to send out a message to my wife that I’m “alive & well”…then shut it off again.
That’s my plan as of now. Later, I may look at 30 minute tracking in power saver mode which you can supposedly make the battery last for 24 days.
From the Garmin website: “Up to 90 hours at 10-minute tracking (default); up to 35 hours at 10-minute tracking with 1-second logging; up to 24 days at 30-minute tracking power save mode; and up to 1 year when powered off”
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