Top Gear #14 DeLorme inReach Explorer

29th Sep 2015

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On many of our overseas trips we take a satellite phone.  They are brilliant and allow communication from just about anywhere.  I've used them to seek medical advice, call in helicopters, check weather forecasts and report summit success.  Sometimes, however, satellite phones can't be used and in those circumstances it is good to have an alternative......

One device I've used on some of our trips this year is called a DeLorme inReach device.  They are very versatile systems that operate via the Iridium satellite network and allow short (160 character) messages to be sent and received, routes to be tracked or followed, posts to be made to social media and an SOS message to be transmitted.  The tracking system also allows others to follow your journey and there is a compass facility.  The inReach will operate anywhere in the world.

They are a really useful system and so, although I appreciate they will only be of use to a small number of our blog readers, I feel they are worthy of becoming our fourteenth Peak Mountaineering Top Gear choice.  The model I've used is called the inReach Explorer and is one of a number in DeLorme's range.  Users pay a subscription for a data package according to their requirements.  The best options are a 12 month subscription but the beauty of the package is that users can suspend their package and reinstate it as required.  For small operators or occasional users this is perfect.

I've (fortunately) not had to test the SOS messaging function but this is also clever.  Once the SOS feature is activated a central monitoring centre will contact a designated number.  The unit can then help locate a casualty via GPS data.

On its own the inReach is great, but for our purposes it really comes into its own when used in conjunction with DeLorme's Earthmate App.  This allows the unit to be connected to a smartphone via Bluetooth.  With this facility sending messages is as simple as texting and Earthmate allows you to control all the other major functions of the unit.  You can do everything Earthmate can do from the unit itself, but using a smartphone makes it 1000% easier.

If you need to be in contact at any time or want to be traceable then I strongly suggest checking out the inReach range.  They have, without doubt, transformed Peak Mountaineering's remote location communications.  

Posted by Paul

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