Delorme InReach Explorer Review

InReach in action – Bob Marshall Wilderness, MT

The words that I first think of when I reflect on the Delorme InReach Explorer are “Peace of Mind”. Knowing that a message was delivered to the recipient and being able to keep in touch while you’re far beyond the reach of a cell phone is a comforting feeling.

There are a few different flavors of Satellite Messenger Systems (SMS) that can both send a text message and can call in help when the trip goes bad. The InReach Explorer goes beyond all the others with the ability to have two- way communications and has set the new standard for backcountry communication and safety.



inreach6With the Explorer backcountry enthusiasts can have a single tool that will allow them to send AND RECEIVE messages, summon Emergency services, and also function as a very capable GPS navigation tool. The InReach is the only SMS device that we know of that allows the user to reliably receive messages.

We used the Explorer for 3 months in remote areas across the west including the Bob Marshall and Pasayten Wilderness areas as well as a good portion of the Rocky Mountains and Cascade ranges. During this period we used and played with all of the various functions of the Explorer model:

inreach2GPS Navigation Features:

  • Plot and follow routes
  • Create and find waypoints
  • Capture trip data

Communication Features:

  • Text or email messages and location to friends and post directly to Facebook, Twitter, and Delorme’s MapShare websites.
  • Pair the Inreach with a Bluetooth compatible phone and the f.ree EarthMate app
    to more easily send messages.
InReach Paired with iphone

SOS Features: Thankfully we didn’t have need to test these

  • When either SOS button is depressed, or the SOS feature is activated within the device or through a paired Bluetooth phone, the SOS message is sent through the Iridium satellite constellation to a 24/7 manned emergency communications center (GEOS). The GEOS SOS operator can then contact you via the 2-way messaging to get further details on your emergency so that the First Responders are better prepared to assist you.

By the Numbers:

  • Weight – 6.7 ounces
  • Dimensions – 5.75” tall x 2.5” wide x 1” deep
  • GPS accuracy – +/- 5 meters
  • Battery life – About 100 hours or 4 days
  • MSRP – $379.95
InReach in action – Pasayten Wilderness, WA

Thoughts and Ponderings:

  • We really liked the Explorer model and used it without issue in as many remote areas as we could during our test period. It’s a rugged little tool that deftly handled tough use.
  • The unit is good for much more than sending messages to social media. One tester lost his truck keys 3 hours from the nearest cell signal. With the InReach he was able to have the spare keys delivered. The 2-way messaging allows users to be alerted to events occurring at home as well.
  • Battery life is exceptional. Multi day trips were no problem at all.
  • Having many data plan options is wonderful. Users can pick delormebetween annual and monthly plans to best fit their needs.
  • The Screen – While it’s useable it’s on the small side and doesn’t support
    uploading of topo base maps to the unit. If you want to use DeLorme’s topographic maps you’ll have to pair the device with your smartphone.

Recommendations:If you’re considering a satellite messenger and GPS tracking device the DeLorme InReach is the best that we’ve found. Message delivery is reliable, the ability to easily free text messages and of course the ability to receive messages as well as send them is wonderful. For peace of mind for yourself and loved ones the DeLorme InReach has no equal.

For more information on the DeLorme Inreach please visit

  • nafraguoc

    I use the DeLorme InReach Explorer for my horse pack trips as well. One of the most important features, to me, was its ability to connect (bluetooth) to my iphone, where I downloaded all the pertinent USGS maps through the Earthmate app. The phone’s larger screen makes locating oneself on the map much easier. On one trip a friend walked right into my backcountry camp to visit using the Earthmate share function. He used the live map on my website in the browser of his own phone to locate our camp. He hiked right to it. An Excellent tool with one drawback: Subscription costs are high.

    • The_TrailMeister

      Great thoughts! I’m become quite fond of using my phone screen as a larger display. Just make sure to always bring a paper map as well!

  • Lance Mentink

    How would this devise work in the big cities of Europe ?

    • The_TrailMeister

      Per Garmin the InReach works around the world