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Thread: DeLorme inReach SE Review

  1. #1
    Registered User
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    DeLorme inReach SE Review

    I often ride on roads where cell phone reception is non-existent, and when I do my post-retirement ride, I know I'll be out of cell phone reception. I'd like to be able to let my wife know I'm okay...or if I'm not. And while I have often said that one of the "tools" I'll carry is my cell phone if I break down on a ride...what if you're out of cell phone reception?

    So I started looking at the SPOT Satellite Messenger. The reviews were mixed, with a high percentage of users saying they sent messages that didn't get through. Plus, it is a one-way only message device. While I was looking into buying a SPOT, another competitor kept showing up and caught my attention...the DeLorme inReach. I ended up buying one.

    DeLorme makes two versions, the "SE" version and the "Explorer" version. In my opinion, I couldn't see the addition of a GPS and route planning on a screen the size of the old flip-phones to be worth the extra cost. So I bought the less expensive SE. Both offer tracking and two-way messaging.

    I took the DeLorme inReach SE on a family vacation to learn how to use it. I highly advise doing so. I wanted to link up to both DeLorme's web tracking site and Spotwalla. It took a couple days use on local hiking trips to get used to what I needed to do. The DeLorme web site worked great. Getting it to show on Spotwalla was not as intuitive for me initially.

    Last Friday, I went to the BMW MOA Getaway in Coeur d'Alene. If I'd taken I-90, I'd have had cellphone coverage the entire way, and the ride would've taken about 5 hours. Instead, I chose a route I knew would be fun, even if it added on about 3-4 hours to the trip. I went north to the North Cascades Highway, then instead of heading south after crossing the passes, I stayed on Hwy 20 till I reached Colville and then headed south. From the first 45 minutes till the last hour or so, I was out of cellphone range...but was still being tracked.

    Here's what the DeLorme inReach SE sent in:

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    As you can see, the speed is also reported. If you don't want your wife knowing how much over the speed limit you're doing, you can turn that feature off. Spotwalla will provide a similar map, but without the info on each tracking point.

    Why did I bother with Spotwalla? The plans DeLorme offers vary for the number of messages you can send on their network. If I posted my post-retirement trip link only using the DeLorme website, I could end up with a number of well meaning messages that would end up costing a lot. Instead, if all I wanted to publicly share was where I was on a given day, I could use Spotwalla for that without incurring any additional costs.

    We found an additional use for the DeLorme inReach SE while hiking in McCall, ID. DeLorme has an app you can download onto your smartphone called Earthmate. What you do, is to link the smartphone to the inReach using Bluetooth. Find the area you plan on traveling through and download the regional and topographical maps of the area so you have them for later. As you travel, the inReach sends tracking points back to the DeLorme servers and to your smartphone which will show up on the screen. As you zoom in on your smartphone screen, the maps change from regional to detailed topographical maps that show your tracked locations and the trail you're on even.

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    Clicking on a tracking point will give you info on that location. By itself the inReach SE doesn't do navigation and routing, but when paired to a smartphone, you can get a real decent off-road GPS.

    Here's the "bottom line" on my evaluation. My wife who appeared indifferent to the technology when I bought it, seemed very appreciative of it when I came home. That made it all worthwhile.

    Chris
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder
    John 14:6

  2. #2
    Cowboyatheart
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Pender Harbour, B.C.
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    I use an SE too. Works well globally, on or off the water. Nice tracking of my two week Alps trip, and you can two way text from your smartphone through the SE via Satellite.

    Good write-up.
    Moringa, your body & brain will thank you! PM for discounts Smart Mix at TasteMoringa.com
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  3. #3
    I use a SPOT tracker and use Spotwalla but appreciate the write-up. I may look into it.
    -Tim
    2009 R1200RT
    (former Winger)
    www.FaithOnTheRoadAgain.com

  4. #4
    Back in the Saddle mcmxcivrs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Calgary
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    2,089
    I've been a SPOT user for several years and have not had any trouble with it missing points or message as many seem to report. Still, I'm seriously looking at switching to an InReach for next year for the superior messaging capabilities it offers. The SPOT works fine as long as the message you pre-program suits the situation, but can be limiting in conveying just what needs you might have when you have a problem. This summer I had a mechanical issue that left me stranded and fortunately I was in a town where I had cell service. An hour earlier I would have been relying on the SPOT and the canned message to try to get help.

    The one thing I have noticed with the Delorme is the cost of the tracking in the subscriptions. In order to get a decent level of tracking one would need to buy the more comprehensive and more costly packages. Does using it the way you describe with Spotwalla still require that level of tracking service? I would probably pass on the high detail tracking feature s I do use a GPS which records tracks, but it would be nice to have it show up with more tracking points for the home crowd following my trip.
    Ed Miller, Calgary, AB
    2008 K1200GT, 2019 F850GSA

  5. #5
    Registered User
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    Apr 2016
    Location
    Seattle
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    738
    I bought the Recreation Plan for the first month. It expires at the end of the month and I'll tell them to suspend the account. So while that might be expensive to some extent, I'm not locked into a yearly contract. For the next 5-6 months, I'll probably be just commuting to work in the rain.

    I'm not sure I can answer your question on Spotwalla yet. When I suspend my subscription, will Spotwalla still be able to pick up the tracking signal? Will I have communication still? The inReach SE uses the Iridium satellite network, and I'm not sure if my access will remain. I'll let you know in October...which is only a week away.

    Chris
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder
    John 14:6

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