In a follow-up to our previous post about Satellite Phones, today we dive into the DeLorme InReach SE, their newest model of emergency locator beacons (if you can even call it that).
Just like it's competitor, SPOT, the InReach allows for a single button to be pushed in the event of an emergency. With its Iridium network, this device will work nearly everywhere in the world -- so long as it is above ground/water at least. It supports tracking, and adding points of interests, and you can even have free preset messages sent to whomever you decide to program. However, that is just the start of its robust features.
One of the most powerful features of this device is its ability to connect with an iPhone or iPad. Not only are you able to select messages to be sent, you are able to send 160-character messages to anyone, anywhere. While it does cost per message (both outgoing and incoming) this allows you to contact anyone giving important updates. While these messages don't require an iPad or iPhone, it sure is easier to type using those devices. While the device is connected, you're able to get topographic maps with your exact location, tracks, and waypoints anywhere in the world. The maps are even free! Before your journey, you simply connect your device, and then zoom into the general area where you will be visiting. The app then prompts you to download those maps, allowing accurate information and visual representation of your location without the need for wifi or cellular service. Essentially, the InReach SE is not only an emergency beacon, but a full-fledged GPS unit.
Due to the fact that the device connects to your phone or tablet via bluetooth, it allows for the ability to stash the device in an area with a clear view of the sky, allowing you to connect to it from the comforts of a vehicle or building. Satellite reception is often difficult to acquire from within a structure, thus allowing more adaptability by using the InReach SE.
The screen (the S in SE) allows for you to send and receive custom messages and relay vital information even if batteries on other devices fail. I used the InReach everyday for 15 days, tracking my location every 10-minutes for 4-8 hour periods and the batteries lasted nearly 5 days. That is a reliable battery life. The one downside is the battery is built-in, which means you can't stock up on AA's to maintain battery life. Just make sure you have your mini-usb battery backup, and this little guy can take you anywhere.