Photo from www.knowthenorth.com.
Using an inReach takes the guesswork and uneasiness out of wilderness expeditions and leaves only certainty and peace of mind. While travelling along Canada’s 60th parallel for 50 days, our inReach Explorer made sending and receiving information an easy task. Throughout our expedition we felt entirely connected to our off-trip coordinator as well as with our family members.
The inReach two-way satellite communicator is easy to use and intuitive. Although typing can be a bit arduous, the short cuts and word suggestion (including memorization of previously used words) make the process easier. More so than the ability to text back to home base, the ability to receive information was vital to the efficiency and excellence of our backcountry experience. In our case, having an inReach allowed us to contact a physician and diagnose an unknown medical condition that our entire group developed simultaneously. Our ability to receive information meant we were able to diagnose the cause of this condition and ease our concerns about it being something more serious.
Our group travelled with a satellite phone in addition to our inReach, as we needed to share lots of information quickly in order to coordinate various pick-ups and drop-offs. We found that the satellite phone was useful when we had to send or receive large amounts of information, but the inReach was extremely valuable as a counterpart to the satellite phone as it gave us the ability to easily coordinate calls. In addition, the inReach Explorer is better than a satellite phone at receiving unsolicited information from the outside world, as contacts can send messages even when the device is off. Ultimately, this feature was the linchpin of our successful food drop – a rendezvous with a float plane in Nunavut.
We were especially impressed with the battery capability of the inReach Explorer. After one month of virtually daily use, we had only used two thirds of the battery power. With minimal charging using our solar panel chargers, our inReach battery easily lasted our entire 50-day trip.
I will never again go on an extended backcountry trip without an inReach device. Not only does the inReach provide necessary means of coordination, it inspires confidence and comfort for the adventurer and peace of mind for friends and family back home.
By Kira Burkett, Know the North 2016 paddling expedition