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SPOT vs Garmin InReach

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I currently have a SPOT device, but thinking of switching to the Garmin for use when hiking so I have a GPS unit with me and not having to lug my iPad around. Anyone have any input they care to share?

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I had the 1st gen spot, let it go because the subscription was too much $$$.  I now use a 10inch tablet in the jeep for mapping and carry a Garmin 64s for hiking/geocaching. I don't have any maps loaded on the Garmin, I just use the background map and waypoints that I have preloaded.

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I use a Garmin In Reach.  I got it at the insistence of my wife due to some of the remote and sometimes solo hiking that I do.


I seriously considered one of the “oh shit” beacons because there is no monthly subscription required.  
Two real world,  InReach SOS activations by a friend more than convinced me to buy the Garmin.  

My very experienced friend required assistance, once for his daughter and once for himself, on back to back Grand Canyon trips.  (I know, right!) 

In his experience the ability to communicate via text with the responding personnel was priceless.


I purchased my InReach on sale at Costco for $229.99 about 18 months ago.  My plan including taxes costs $13.44 a month.  It is the basic plan that I leave active all year.  Given my year round hiking in AZ and the remote places I find myself visiting in the Grand Canyon I find year round easier then stopping and starting a plan.  YMMV.


As far as using it for a GPS, I have almost no experience using the device that way.  Given the reviews of others I’m not sure it’s the best choice for that purpose.

I typically use a map and compass to navigate.  When I explore with a friend we will sometimes use his really old GPS.


I found this comprehensive review that may interest you.



One thing I would recommend if you buy the Garmin is to sync it with your phone.  This will allow you to text much easier and quicker then just using the Garmin itself.  You don’t need a cell signal,  you are just using the phone to compose your message.


I seldom pay to text with mine as I’ve configured the three preloaded text messages for my own purposes. These three can be used an unlimited number of times for free.  I do like the feature that gives your text recipient your GPS location where you sent the message.  It’s useful so that my wife knows where I parked to begin my explorations.


Ive been on the rescuing  side of a PLB activation.  The ability for someone at dispatch to communicate with the injured party saved me (boots on the ground) a long, hot, potentially dangerous, hike during the hottest part of the day.  

 Once again,  I’ll say the ability to communicate with the injured party is PRICELESS.


Id be happy to discuss this more with you in depth or try to answer questions if you have any.



Edited by jgaz
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