GARMIN INREACH MINI 2 VS INREACH MESSSENGER
It is no secret that Garmin's inReach series of devices have been a glowing success for the GPS giant. We sing the inReach's praises whenever we have the opportunity, but a few questions consistently rise up around Garmin's satellite communicators. What are they? What's the difference between the Mini 2 and the Messenger? And who are these for? Here we'll do our best to answer those questions as simply as possible so that you can decide if these devices are right for you.
What is an inReach device?
The Garmin inReach Mini 2 and inReach Messenger are small satellite communication devices that enable users to communicate with friends, family and rescue teams without the need for a cellular connection. The device uses the Iridium® satellite network to send and receive messages, or to relay an SOS to Garmin's 24/7 emergency response center.
Both the inReach Mini 2 and inReach Messenger have the following specs in common:
- IPX7 Waterproof
- USB-C charging
- Interactive SOS
- Send and receive texts to sms and email
- Send location to other inReach devices
- Compatible with Garmin messenger phone app
What is the difference?
The inReach Mini 2 is one of our most widely recommended accessories for any rider who wants to venture into the backcountry. The inReach Mini 2 can be used as a messaging beacon with or without your phone connected AND has the ability to record activities, provide point to point navigation, save waypoints, and display a digital compass. The navigation features of the device are boosted by it's compatibility with Garmin's Explore phone app, where you can sync routes, waypoints, and activities. The Mini 2 also allows for breadcrumb live tracking to be sent automatically to selected contacts. It's pocketable design can also hang via carabiner loop and hosts a 0.9" x 0.9" display. Battery performance can be seen below:
- Up to 14 days at 10-minute tracking send interval with standard activity recording with full sky view
- Up to 4 days with moderate tree cover (default)
- Up to 5 days at 10-minute tracking send interval with high detail activity recording with full sky view
- Up to 2 days with moderate tree cover
- Up to 30 days at 30-minute tracking send interval with standard activity recording with full sky view
- Up to 10 days with moderate tree cover
- Up to 1 year when powered off
For our in-depth review of the inReach Mini 2: CLICK HERE
The inReach Messenger, though it shares many of the communication features of the Mini 2, lacks the navigation functions that justifies the $100 jump. The Messenger's purpose is in the name, and pairs with your smartphone's Garmin Messenger app to communicate with contacts via satellite. Despite the Messenger not having most of the Mini's navigation functions, GPS still enables the device to share location data with loved ones and emergency responders. With its smaller 1" x 0.43" screen, GPS track-back guidance is more limited to just a directional marker and distance indicator back to starting points. One unique feature of the Messenger is it's ability to reverse charge your phone if you need just a little more juice to keep communicating in the Messenger app. Battery performance can be seen below:
- Up to 28 days with a message or location sent every 10 minutes with full sky view; up to 14 days with moderate tree cover
- Up to 6 days with a message or location sent every 2 minutes with full sky view; up to 3 days with moderate tree cover
- Up to 46 days with a message or location sent every 30 minutes with full sky view; up to 23 days with moderate tree cover
- Up to 1 year when powered off
Who are the inReach devices for?
In our experience, the inReach Mini 2 is for the adventurer who is looking to feel the security of having both the ability to communicate and navigate in the most remote environments. The Mini 2 is a great companion device if you care about having the ability to follow routes, establish waypoints, and backtrack easily if things on your journey go south.
The inReach Messenger is for the person whose priority is having the ability to communicate in areas where cell service is hard to come by. The reverse charging feature is a great addition for those who may want a small battery bank for their phone, and its lower price point makes it a more convenient device to add to your adventure bag, especially if you already own a GPS navigator.