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Sparking immediate interest from ultralight wilderness backpackers, the new inReach Mini weighs only 120g

Garmin’s inReach platform is a favourite among people heading to wild and remote places. Combining the features of a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) with a two-way satellite communicator, these devices offer a crucial safety net when venturing to places far from civilisation.

The inReach Mini is the latest device in the line-up. It’s a small and very compact satellite communicator with two-way messaging and a 24/7 SOS function, when combined with inReach subscription, to access the Iridium satellite network.

The Mini measures 10x5cm and weighs just 120g. That’s an appreciable weight saving over the 213g Explorer+. It’s impact resistant and water resistant to IPX7. The internal rechargeable battery is rated for up to 50 hours at the default 10-minute tracking mode, and up to 20 days at the 30-minute interval extended tracking mode.

The device can be used on its own (although the virtual keyboard will be difficult to use on a unit this small), or paired with a compatible smartphone. The Earthmate app pairs with the inReach Mini via Bluetooth to access unlimited maps and aerial imagery. It also allows all of the inReach features to be accessed through the paired mobile device, so a user can reach anyone in their contact list or send a message.

“We are thrilled to introduce the inReach Mini into our growing line of satellite communicators,” said Martin Resch, Garmin EMEA Senior Product Manager, Outdoor. “You’ll never have to sacrifice space or weight again; it’s small enough to stow nearly anywhere, so it can be out of your way but immediately accessible, giving you – and your loved ones at home – peace of mind that it’s there when you need it. The inReach Mini is an invaluable companion no matter where or how far off the grid life takes you, from trail running to international travelling.”

Like all inReach devices, a user can hit the SOS button in case of emergency, sending a distress signal to GEOS, a 24/7 International Emergency Response Coordination Center. GEOS will track the device that triggered the SOS, notify the emergency contacts and send the necessary emergency responders to the exact location, while staying in contact with the user. GEOS will deliver a confirmation that help is on the way and continually update the user on the status of the response team. GEOS will also reach out to the user’s emergency contact and alert them of the situation.

Every inReach device gives users access to a cloud-based website to not only plan future trips with specific waypoints and routes but also to create preset messages and quick texts. In the portal, users can sync and manage their device settings, update firmware, link social media accounts and store unlimited location tracking data. To receive weather forecasts, the optional service provides detailed weather updates directly to the inReach Mini. Users who choose either the basic or premium package offered for land or marine forecasts will see the conditions for a current location, a waypoint or a destination.

To access the Iridium network and communicate with an inReach Mini device, an active satellite subscription is required. Depending on the frequency of use, there are several airtime plans that range from flexible month-to-month options to an annual contract package.

The inReach Mini will be available from Q2 2018 with a RRP of £299.99.