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Garmin Inreach Explorer +

Garmin Inreach Explorer +

2.8 from 9 reviews

Corporate greed

You cannot explicitly state start on X date, finish on Y. Hours only Mon-Fri business. Registration website poor, so you will be. Automatic withdrawal hard to stop. Garmin will lock IMEI on dispute, very dangerous if you register out of hours at last minute.

Purchased in October 2018 for $750.00.


We run a corporate account made up of 20 devices. We signed up in 2017 on a byte usage delorme plan. We recently had an issue whereby 5 devices started to accumulate bytes. Frightened of a huge charge we notified Garmin to stop it. They adamant nothing was wrong, just to let them ride til the end of billing period. We contacted several times to point out then usage was still escalating even though the devices were OFF. They indicated we would get a refund if these were part of the bill. So a bill of $1000 per month became $3500!!. So we lodged a claim for reimbursement as Garmin support suggested and it was declined! It was a the dialogue with Garmin is well documented and watertight that they failed to act on our concern. Fortunately my company has a ruthless legal team so they will take it up to them! Hopefully others will benefit from the this!

$780 Fantastic Machine Let down by Garmin's Registration Process

I apparently had a previous product registered with Garmin, so was unable to register or use this Inreach product, despite 4 days of phone calls, and much reassurance from Garmin Australia that they had fixed the problem in the US. The customer support was terribly slow often on hold for 15 minutes waiting to speak with customer service, runs on EST which means it closes at 2 pm WST, with no after hours or weekend support.
Still waiting for a refund two months after purchasing this device.
Customer service reps were very polite and I believe are being let down by their US Tech Support.

Great, multi-purpose device

I bought my Garmin inreach explorer to use as an emergency device for solo hiking as well as navigation (GPS) purposes. I actually had to use it on a trip to message for assistance when I fell and hurt my knee in a remote area. It was quick and easy to register (bought it the day before a trip and registered it that night). It worked just about everywhere in mountainous terrain. Occasionally had to get away from thick vegetation to get a clear view of the sky. I've also found it useful for marking waypoint locations when mapping at work and navigating to specific locations. I particularly like it because it doubles as both a safety device and a GPS and saves buying two seperate devices. The ability to stop the monthly subscription is also pretty useful.


Difficulties. Bad service with online support. Spend hours to pass rego online. And now second day can’t joint into my account because garmin web crashed.
Maps quality is very bad. All services very expensive and inconvenience.
My mistake to change my Magellan to Garmin. First a spend 450 dollars for Garmin explorer 64s and find on nextday that there’s no maps preloaded on device and I need to spend extra 200$ to get maps online.
Then I change it to inreach explorer and now I don’t now that’s to do because tomorrow I need to go for hunting and I can’t activate my account with Garmin and update payments.
For huge money they selling useless box with buttons. Then they trying to charge you for maps, then u need to pay every month for services and then all this doesn’t work.

Thank you, Garmin

Garmin is closed weekends and evenings, absolutely no support, go elsewhere

Bought a unit May 11 for my daughter, and we have been unable to activate the unit on their website (keep getting error message "•The device object contains invalid values.". I work for a medical device company activating and re assigning emergency medical alerts (based on their IME numbers) and I know these systems can be picky, but this is ridiculous. Have spent over 6 hours trying a variety of ways to input basics like address, phone number, email to satisfy the system. Nothing works, and no one to contact until Monday. Don't buy these products if you want any kind of support or customer service.

After living with this for a while

I'm submitting a revised version of my initial review. I've since lived with this product for a while and it's a very, very good option even for the causal day hiker (if you can handle the AUD$25 monthly fee for not even using it - I pay it willingly). I used this for the first time on the weekend as an SOS device in the Blue Mountains for a person I came across with a dislocated shoulder. Very well executed rescue thanks to this device. I could not be happier with the result. Also, considering that if I had a PLB/EPIRB I would have been out of pocket, personally, in the range of AUD$450 - this device has basically just paid for itself. I was 1.5 away from getting back to the car, but if I was outbound and had to use my PLB then that would have meant I either would be hiking without a PLB or I would have had to cancel my trip.. again, goes to show this product is worth it.

Purchased in August 2018 for $650.00.

1 comment
As a follow up to this, after 20 days I was able to register the device (no doubt, once Garmin has some DBAs sort out their issues). Since then, no issues aside from the usual downtime alerts, which are unavoidable. The capability of this device is worth pursuing if you want it. The value is terrible, battery very excellent. If you're not afraid of battling registration (hopefully smooth for you) or paying - definitely do it.

Communicate anywhere in the world, text, email or Facebook.

We travel to areas that have no phone reception. The Garmin inreach Explorer plus allows us to communicate anywhere in the world no matter where we are. I walked to the bottom of Grand Canyon walk in the Blue Mountains. With the small view of the sky with towering mountains either side I was able to send messages out.
The device gives you options on how you communicate, email, sms, and twitter. To access the service we used expedition freedom plan. We paid $99.00 for the month. Unlimited text, basic weather and email. Once a year cost if we use it or not $37. Towards the end of the month we scheduled to put the plan to be put on hold, no charges to our account until we want to use it again. The minimum you can pay for a month on. Freedom plan is $25 but if you send more that 5 messages you’ll be charged. As you only get 10 messages. You send a message your family reply. The message they send comes off your total.
If you don’t pair the device with the earth mate app writing a message you have to move the cursor to each letter and press the button and then move to the next letter to compile a sentence. If your phone dies you can get a message out. Using a phone to write a message is a lot faster. But does use battery.

The battery lasts for a long time. You can set how often the device automatically listens for new messages from constantly which uses the battery to manually to conserve battery you choose when to check. When a new message comes in it beeps until you read it if you don’t want it to beep you can turn it off. Sending a message is very quick. Of course if, if your not in a hurry to get the message out, just write your message and with the device listen interval set from continuous to maximum 20 minuets intervals. You’ll get a reply in around 2-3 minutes. If your in a hurry you can force the device to check right now.
If someone wants to get in touch with you. They can send you a message by accessing your account page on their computer.
In the event you need emergency services. There is a protected button on the side, lift the cover and press. You’ll be connected to the global emergency services. Then you’ll be communicating with world wide rescue. The device has a back up emergency button on the screen. One of the icons you move the cursor over and click it starts to count down initiating calling for help.

Each message sent is limited to 160 characters so you have to get to the point.
When you send a message it shows exactly where you are, you can even set tracking points to show where you have been, and your family and friends can follow you using the portal on the computer.

If you are out in the bush you can select way points on the map itself and then travel to the point on the map. Use the map to show roads to get to a destination being in an area you don’t know.

If you travel overseas, go on a cruise ship, travel to the outback, or just go to places where is no phone reception the Garmin in reach plus is the best device. It’s compact, built well, and we are very happy with the unit.

GPS tracker with SOS and Messaging.

I purchased this item just before going on a motorcycle trip through central Australia. This allowed me to be tracked by people back home using the mapping software. Also I could send emergency SOS with it if needed. Another great feature was being able to send txt messages to people also. As I was in some areas with no phone service this was a great feature when sending messages. Uses iridium satellite network. Needs to be on a plan but can choose between a yearly or freedom and suspend when not using.

Questions & Answers

Which Garmin In Reach model would be best to use on a yacht cruising remote Wa and Indonesia?
2 answers
Hi Shaz the Explorer plus is the best model however I would also take an Optus Thuraya XT Lite Sat phone, costs 700 and is quite cheap to run. If you can only take one I would take the Sat phone. Regards PeterThanks for the feedback Peter, we have an Inmarsat Sat phone which we take when sailing out of range. The Explorer plus will be a great addition to our communications.

Can you send messages between two units? Also is there anyway of preloading more than 500 waypoints.
2 answers
We run 25 Garmin Inreach Explorer + devices and on a corporate De Lorme plan where we can message to anyone - address books are synced. If you're not on a corporate plan i.e. individual then I would think you still can as each device SIM has a mobile number. To find the number associated with the device we sent a message from the device e.g. to an email or phone. Once you have the number for both devices you should be able to text each other mindful this incurs data usage. There is twitter and other facebook links / functions but I'm not familiar with these.No Geoff you can send messages between two units to my knowledge and I think that the 500 waypoints are fixed.

Does the unit have maps for the Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand? thanks Lynne
1 answer
Hi Lyn, I’m in Australia and we’ve found the maps to very accurate and comprehensive, we’ve just come back from Birdsville and all roads, camp sites and rest stops and even caravan parks were listed. The trail your after seems to be the major walk. It would be on your version of maps. I would suggest using the Earthmate app with the Garmin you can use your iPhone or tablet to view the map and send messages. When using the app it’s a lot easier to see what detail it shows. I’m going to do a review in the next few days showing what it offers in more detail. We love the device.


Inreach Explorer +
Price (RRP)$699
Battery TypeInternal
Screen Size2.31inches

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