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Garmin has just recently released the inReach Explorer+ and the inReach SE+ after they gained DeLorme a few months ago. Those new devices will replace the old inReach models, and I will shortly discuss their differences and new features. We make a commission for purchases made through the following links which will help us to keep this blog running.

Below you can see Konstantin while hiking in Japan. On the back of his backpack, you can see the Delorme inReach Explorer (in its yellow case) which is now replaced by the new Garmin inReach Explorer+.

Since we own the DeLorme inReach Explorer device ourselves, we were quite excited to see what the new features and differences of the new Garmin inReach models are beside the external design of the device.

We bought our inReach Explorer because we sometimes travel to places that are not covered by phone signals and it may take a few days to get out of a remote area to reach for help.

You have to pay a monthly subscription fee I think it is just worth the money as safety is always our priority when we are heading into the backcountry.

However, Garmin also released the InReach Mini, which comes in a much smaller size but with fewer features than the Explorer+. However, most of the features can also be used when coupled with the Garmin Smartphone App. Personally, I found the InReach Mini the best solution since I probably hardly need it on the trail and would like to save space and weight on my trip as much as possible.

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Features DeLorme and Garmin inReach Explorer+ vs. SE+

Features Garmin inReach Mini DeLorme inReach SE DeLorme inReach Explorer Garmin inReach SE+ Garmin inReach Explorer+
waterproof rating IPX67 IPX67 IPX67 IPX7 IPX7
dimensions (mm) 51x99x26 62x26x149 63x34x148 68x47x164 68x38x164
weight (grams) 100 190 190 213 213
preloaded map yes
digital compass yes yes yes
barometric altimeter yes yes
accelerometer yes yes
memory for maps (GB) 0 0 0 0 2
waypoints yes yes yes yes
routing yes yes yes yes

Worth to upgrade?

If you are only using your device in emergency situations to send an SOS signal, then we would probably not consider upgrading to the new Garmin models.

However, if you are looking for a device that you can also use as a GPS, then we would probably upgrade to the new Garmin inReach Explorer+ since it comes with a topo map and also has space to store other maps.

Alternative without SOS features

If you are primarily looking for a navigation device, then you may also have an eye on the Garmin Fenix 5X which features map functionality.

Garmin’s new smartwatch does not have SOS features like the inReach devices, but it can store topo maps and displaying them on your wrist while on the trail.

Final thoughts

We always use a phone and a map to navigate in the backcountry. However, having a GPS messenger like the Garmin SE+ or Explorer+ can be important. If size and weight matters I would definitely go for the InReach Mini.

For example, we always have issues with our iPhone if we camp in colder areas and we need to connect them to an external battery or keep the phone warm to function properly.

Then there is also the possibility that your phone breaks on the trail. Either you drop it, or it gets wet.

The Garmin devices can probably handle more impact than a cell phone. Unfortunately, there are monthly subscription fees to pay when using the satellite service. However, being able to use the map features of the Explorer+ without subscription makes it also a great device to have on the trail when hiking in more civilized areas.