Garmin inReach Mini 2 vs inReach Explorer+

Garmin inreach mini 2 vs inreach explorer+

The Garmin inReach Mini 2 and the inReach Explorer+ are two-way satellite tv for pc communicators that may ship and obtained standing messages to family members or alert emergency providers in the event you want help. The inReach Mini 2 obtained a significant improve this 12 months (2022) that made it a lot simpler to make use of, improved its battery life, and added some helpful new options that the unique inReach Mini (model 1) lacked.

Earlier than the Mini 2 improve, I most popular the Explorer+ as a result of it had an extended battery life, a richer characteristic set, and was, in my view, simpler to make use of. I’ve since switched to utilizing the inReach Mini 2 for mountain climbing and backpacking as a result of its new options and capabilities exceed these of the Explorer+. This isn’t a full assessment of the Mini 2 however a suggestion so that you can purchase it in the event you don’t personal one, or to improve from the unique Mini or Explorer+, if not now, finally.

Should you’re focused on a deep dive into the Mini 2’s options and performance, I’ve included a 50-minute video beneath with Chip Noble, the inReach product supervisor, that explains how one can use the machine with out numerous salesy fluff. It’s a helpful video to look at, even in the event you’re a professional consumer.

A Standalone Two-Means Messaging/ SOS System

An important factor, for me, concerning the inReach units together with the Mini, Mini2, and Explorer+, is that they’re standalone, two-way messaging units that may function absolutely with out the necessity for an exterior show machine like a Smartphone.

Battery energy is a finite useful resource within the backcountry, so that you need to preserve what you have got. If it’s a must to sign for assist, it’s higher to make use of one standalone machine to message with Search and Rescue and never two, an inReach and a Smartphone linked utilizing bluetooth. It doesn’t make any sense to me to burn via two batteries, when one will do. That mentioned, you’ll be able to nonetheless ship texts via an app operating on a Smartphone with the inReach, however it’s not a requirement.

Two approach messaging can be a crucial functionality. Within the occasion of an emergency, you need to have the ability to talk with Search and Rescue since:

  1. they will inform you how one can stabilize a affected person in the event you lack the wilderness drugs know-how
  2. they will ship you updates on their estimated time of arrival
  3. they will know what tools and personnel to ship to help you. There’s no level in mustering a workforce to hold you out in a stretcher or by way of helicopter in the event you can stroll out by yourself energy.

If all you want is a two-way standalone messaging and SOS functionality, that you just preserve turned off more often than not, then any of the inReach units: the unique Mini, the Mini 2, or the Explorer+ offer you that functionality. The place they actually differ is of their add-on capabilities, multi-device integration, and future assist.

Tracking in Garmin Explore App on the Mini 2
Monitoring in Garmin Discover App on the Mini 2

inReach Mini 2 Advantages

Briefly, listed below are the brand new options and capabilities of the inReach Mini 2 that satisfied me to change from utilizing the Explorer+ to the Mini 2.

Battery Life

The unique inReach Mini had a battery that lasted about 50% much less the inReach Explorer+. The brand new inReach Mini 2 can final about 3 instances longer than the Explorer+ as a result of Garmin used a brand new chipset within the Mini 2 that makes use of a lot much less energy and requires much less frequent charging, even while you use power-hungry capabilities like 10-minute or 30-minute monitoring.

Nonetheless, I might warning you to take Garmin’s battery life estimates with a grain of salt, relying in your location. They have been benchmarked in optimum working circumstances. For instance, I can get 20 hours of 10-minute monitoring, when mountain climbing within the closely forested terrain of the White Mountain Nationwide Forest the place I stay and hike. That’s a far cry from the 4 days that Garmin estimates when monitoring in reasonable tree cowl, no matter “reasonable” means. I don’t use the monitoring capabilities usually for that reason.

I additionally don’t suppose 10 minute or 30 minute monitoring is that helpful from a search and rescue perspective. Take into consideration how a lot floor you’ll be able to cowl in 10 minutes or half-hour. You possibly can be a mile away out of your final recorded location by the point somebody found out you’d gone lacking and have been unable to sign for assist.

If you might want to monitor a route since you need to put it aside as a route or GPX file, I counsel you do it with a Smartphone App like GaiaGPS as an alternative of the inReach Mini 2 as a result of it requires a lot much less battery vitality expenditure as a result of the info is saved domestically and never pushed up right into a satellite tv for pc. Satellite tv for pc handshakes chew up energy, so it’s greatest to restrict them if you wish to protect the battery.

Person Interface

The Mini 2 consumer interface has had a big usability enchancment that makes it a lot easier to make use of than on the unique Mini. It now consists of hierarchical menus which might be much like these used on Garmin’s different units. Additionally it is backlit so you’ll be able to learn it in the dead of night. That is vital as a result of most rescues happen after darkish.

The Mini 2 interface remains to be not as simple to make use of because the Explorer+ for an entire novice, since its capabilities aren’t seen on the machine display. However with 10 minutes of familiarization, you could possibly get a mountain climbing companion or your 10-year-old son in control, in case you have got a medical emergency and turn out to be incapacitated.

Quicker GPS Satellite tv for pc Acquisition

The Mini 2 has entry to 4 GPS Satellite tv for pc Networks, whereas Explorer+ can solely entry one. This leads to a lot sooner GPS place acquisition and fewer ‘battery burning” makes an attempt to discover a sign. I’ve waited upwards of quarter-hour for a preset checkin message to be despatched as a result of the Explorer+ couldn’t purchase its GPS location to connect to the message. Generally it by no means will get GPS sign even once I can get a cellphone message out. The Mini 2 is way sooner as a result of it has many extra satellites to obtain sign from.

Mini 2 TracBack Feature
Mini 2 TracBack Function


This can be a new functionality on the Mini 2 which routinely creates a GPS monitor, minus topo map information, of your monitor so that you stroll it again in the event you get misplaced. It’s quite a bit just like the tracks Garmin’s outdated monochrome GPS models would show earlier than they might show topo maps.

It’s very helpful for locating your automotive in the event you’ve headed off-trail to bushwhack a peak and didn’t take note of the place you’d parked. It routinely begins while you activate the machine and makes use of little or no energy since its information is all saved domestically. It’s solely out there within the Mini 2 and never the Explorer+. After all, you continue to have to show the machine on to make use of it.

Quicker Charging

The Mini 2 requires a USB-C plug as an alternative of the micro-USB interface utilized by the unique Mini and the Explorer+. This leads to sooner charging and is the path many different rechargeable units are headed, together with headlamps.

App Help/Garmin EcoSystem Integration

It’s very irritating to be a shopper of an digital machine while you study that the producer isn’t going to assist the software program that accompanies it sooner or later. I anticipate that the Earthmate App, which works with the unique Mini and the Explorer+ might be killed off and unsupported going ahead.

The Mini 2 doesn’t work with the Earthmate App and solely works with Garmin’s Discover App, which is built-in with their watches, the Garmin fenix and the Garmin Intuition, so you’ll be able to entry inReach messages, ship SOS messages, and navigate out of your wrist. My hope is that they bundle extra of the inReach’s capabilities right into a watch finally so it’s a self-contained worn machine, you understand, like Dick Tracy’s watch.

If you wish to leverage the opposite units within the Garmin Ecosystem or simply need to use an App that might be enhanced, it is a good time to change to the Mini 2. Units that assist the Earthmate app are probably a dead-end. The Discover App features a respectable set of navigation options and map units if you wish to use a free cellular app, however it’s nowhere pretty much as good as GaiaGPS, which is what I exploit. Nonetheless it’s good fall again since GaiaGPS fees an annual subscription payment and is pretty costly.

Garmin Explore App Navigation Display
Garmin Discover App Navigation Show


There are some things I don’t like concerning the Mini 2, which you ought to be conscious of.

  1. The carabiner used to connect the Mini 2 to your backpack can open unexpectedly leading to a misplaced machine. I want Garmin would promote tender pocket to connect the Mini 2 to your pack that retains the antenna vertical and doesn’t swing round while you stroll. This might be an awesome accent for a small firm to make. Trace.
  2. The Mini 2 activates while you connect with its charger and stays on even after the battery is full and the charger stops charging. The result’s that you just lose cost in the event you don’t flip it off (manually) when it’s completed charging. The Explorer+ by no means activates when it’s charging, so that you at all times have a 100% full battery while you depart the home.

Wrap Up

The principle purpose I switched from the Explorer+ to the Mini 2 could be summed up as follows:

  • For much longer battery life
  • A lot easier, higher engineered consumer interface.
  • Quicker GPS satellite tv for pc acquisition
  • TracBack perform, which I plan to make use of extra when bushwhacking off-trail.
  • Quicker charging
  • Garmin Discover App Help

The Garmin inReach Mini 2 can be quite a bit much less cumbersome to hold than the Discover+ because it’s so small and light-weight. That’s a characteristic that’s grown on me as I exploit it. It actually does have to be at shut at hand if you might want to use it and having a smaller unit is far more handy.

Examine 5 Costs

Final up to date: 2022-05-19 12:10:43

Use the Garmin inReach Mini 2

This a really detailed video about how one can use the Garmin Mini 2 introduced by Chip Noble who’s been the inReach product supervisor from day 1, when it was first developed by DeLorme, earlier than Garmin acquired the corporate. It’s not “salesy” in any respect and incorporates numerous good info that ought to in all probability be in a product guide.

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