After putting the Delorme InReach SE through its paces, I’m ready to share my feedback, which is 100% positive. Below, I have shared a video review I shot on the dock during a remote fishing trip, where we had no contact with the rest of the world for 7 days. No phone, no internet, just nature (and my Delorme InReach SE). Let’s do this review based on what my needs were.
There are two main times when I want to have guaranteed communication options.First is when I go on fishing trips, at least one of which is in a remote location with no cellular service or WiFi (often no power either). The locations we fish often provide Satellite Phones for rent, which could be a sound option. If you rent phones year after year though, that can add up, and then you are limited in that the reception has to be good at that moment, and someone had better be on the other line to answer. You may also have difficulty if you need to describe where you are, as you won’t have GPS coordinates at your finger tips. Finally, if someone wants to call you, you have to be by the phone and have it on. This could present a challenge for battery life, and for convenience. With the Delorme SE we could power it up once a day, to send any messages, retrieve any that were sent to us, post to our social media sites, and get the weather report. In the week I was away, I estimate I used 18% of the available battery.
This unit comes with an emergency SOS feature that thankfully we did not need to use. If we had though, be turning off the safety and activating it, we would have been put in touch with emergency responder who would have been able to text with us, and had we been incapacitated, would have known our specific GPS coordinates.
The other time I wanted guaranteed communication was when I went camping or boating with the family. Even when we are not that far from urban areas, I am always surprised how often I lose cell signal. If my boat breaks down or we have an issue camping, it is comforting to know you have options.
Important but non emergency communications:
Not all communications are an emergency. For instance, we wanted to let our spouses know that we had landed safely. Once we touched down and were settled, it was amazingly easy to send a text saying we had arrived at the lake safely, and receive a couple of “have fun” and “good luck” replies. During the trip my son turned 7, and we agreed to have a birthday text chat at a predetermined time. He was very excited to be talking to his Dad who was using a satellite device, and I felt at little less guilty about being away on his birthday. We also used the texting feature to check in with family on some sports scores as a couple of our favourite teams were in the playoffs! While we had the comfort of knowing we had the ability to ask for help, our families also appreciated the fact that they could get in touch with us if they needed to.
Knowing the weather doesn’t just help with safety, it helps will overall comfort, enjoyment and planning. One of the BEST features we enjoyed was the ability to get up-to-date weather reports based on our geographic location, determined by the device! Each evening we would pull up a report for the following day, which gave us temperature by the hour, as well as wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, and precipitation. As anglers, that was vital information to help us catch more fish. As anglers in the remove north, that was information that made sure we stayed safe, and were off the water and back at camp before it became too late. Knowing the forecast allowed us to decide how far to travel each day, and when, as well as what to wear / pack and even what meals to schedule. This feature alone made the device worthwhile!
As someone who has a website and social feeds, it was important for me to stay current on my content even when I was away. The ability to post to my Facebook and Twitter feed meant that I could post updates or teasers, along with a link to show my map location. A post like “Amazing day of fishing, can’t wait to post the pictures” let my followers know what I was up to, and gave them a reason to check back often.
Ok, this is the only negative part of the review, and its MY FAULT! When I purchased the unit, I was deciding between the SE version and the the Explorer. There was a price difference, and I chose the lower priced unit. We are talking about $60 dollars difference. I was planning my most recent trip, and I was using satellite maps (Google Earth) of the lake I was going to, as well as the mapping software that comes with the Earthmate App. I was taking the GPS coordinates from Google Earth, and using those to mark way points on the Earthmate app, excited that when I arrived I’d be able to use my iPhone to navigate the lake with pre-loaded way points. Oops, that feature came with the Explorer unit, not the one I bought. It would have been a crazy valuable feature, but because I wanted to save $60, I missed out. I was able to export the way points from the Earthmate app to a handheld GPS, but it was decidedly less convenient. So, give careful consideration when you decide which unit to buy.
Final thoughts? Outstanding. It exceeded my expectations, and each member of my group commented on how valuable it was for our group, and how easy it was to use and integrate into our trip. One of our members enjoys snowmobiling in the winter and has already identified this as a must-have tool for their group during their remote trips. Check out www.inreachcanada.com for more information, and enjoy this video.