Western Dirt Rat
I know of three failures in one weekend in Southern Utah last year. One was a critical ankle injury on the San Juan for an elderly boater. They ended up running the last fifty miles in 25 hours. Exact same weekend we had a failure on our lower Cataract packrafting loop. Battery failure and 50 repeat messages sent to every contact in the device. Garmin rejected any warranty claim. That SAME weekend, a SAR operation in the San Juans was complicated by an inop Inreach. So don't write off the multiple thousands of failures because you haven't experienced one. I've been a power user for five years. It's the best device on the market and it's also an absolute TURD. Tells you how badly we need Starlink to upset our garbage satcoms industry. I've used almost every device on the satcom market and they all are stuck in 1992.Don't write off the whole system because you happened to get a bad unit. I am part of a Search and Rescue unit and follow the scuttlebutt on Spot and InReach and other such units . Yours is the first I've heard of that simply died.
It's a mechanical gadget and like any other gadget, it can fail. If you go to some other similar gadget, doesn't mean it cannot fail also.
I can fill people in on the various failings of Garmin and their Inreach ecosystem but here's a taste of the top of my head:
- Needlessly confusing text incoming and outgoing protocol. You need to inform people to NOT reply to your "number" but your "thread". People who are not familiar with that fact rarely respond. Your actual contact is firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to get all your buddies wierd Inreach addresses so you can to device to device coms in the field (the real magic trick of these devices).
- Earthmate app rarely shows messages on the app that were received on "only" your Inreach device, ie, when you are not connected via Bluetooth. Threads shown in the app can be rendered meaningless and confusing. If you receive a message on your device while it's not connected via Bluetooth the APP DOES NOT SYNC received messages. They just don't show up. Ever.
- Earthmate app is garbage. Maps suck. But do not forget to download the base map or your in the field IR to IR location pings are useless
- Just try to send a custom message on the device only. Go ahead. Try it.
- GPS location acquisition is fully at 1989 speeds.
- Iridium new Next network is already obsolete. Any benefits of the Next constellation were limited to industrial and military applications, which is a huge miss. Absolutely zero benefit to consumers.
I could go on. All that being said it's an absolutely essential piece of Backcountry kit. That's waaaaay superior to Spot. That I hate. New Inreach is supposed to be better on a few points including a post-1990 GPS acquisition speed. Me? I cannot wait until "Cell to Starlink" goes live next year. I'll never be tricked into buying any Iridium, Globalstar et al device again. I'd recommend finding a used one for now. Things are about to get way better.