Today I would like to talk about an item my wife bought me for all my solo overnight trips.
I’m the type of person who, at the drop of a hat, might decide to go out and spend the next few days kayaking or camping alone. As a matter of
fact, I take solo trips several times a year to recharge myself and escape the stress of life and work. When taking these trips I would sometimes be gone a week at a time with no cell service or contact with anybody. Don’t get me wrong; I love it that way! However my wife has a different view of this time away. She encourages me every time to go, but at the same time I know she hates it. When I return, she tells me that she would worry about my safety and would constantly watch the weather praying for no bad storms. Last year was a game changer for me. My wife purchased me an inReach two way satellite communication device. This device allows me to communicate with her via preset messages or text messaging. Although she still worries about me, she now has the opportunity to open her phone and send me a message anytime. I receive the message not through a cell tower but from one of many satellites orbiting the earth. I can send back a message within minutes of her message, depending on my view of the sky. The device works pretty well even under tree cover and on cloudy days. I’ve never really had a problem sending and receiving messages.
One of the great features of the inReach is weather reports. With the GPS portion of the device I can request a weather update for my location, and my inReach will download the current weather warnings and forecast.
Some other features include facebook integration and the ability for my family to ping my location to see exactly where I’m at. One of my common practices with the inReach is to check in three times. The first check-in occurs after breakfast. This is when I’ll send my wife the plans for the day. At lunch, I check in and tell her if anything exciting has happened. The last check-in is right when I set up camp where I’ll ping her my location. This also helps my wife to see if I may or may not be on track with float or hike times.
We have come to the best feature of the inReach device. This is the SOS button. With a push of this button, local search and rescue can be sent to your exact location. Luckily I have never had to use this feature and pray I never do. However, this feature has saved many lives; from people getting lost, to people falling off ledges and breaking bones in the process. Cellphones aren’t always the best device to have in an emergency as you have to have a good cell tower nearby. With the inReach all you need is open sky.
Last but not least, I would like to cover the plans of service. I chose the cheapest plan. Because of this, I’m limited to 15 free text messages and unlimited preset messages. When I’m setting up camp I use a preset message that says “I’m setting up Camp now here is my location.” Using preset messages whenever I can saves alot of money, but honestly going over isn’t that bad. You should expect to pay around .50 a message over your limit. We have found a trick to get the most out of our messages. With only 160 characters per message, we like to combine all the words capitalizing each new one. Granted the message lacks proper grammar, spelling and spacing, we can still say everything we need to say. Expect your messages to read something like this “HiImOKwhatTimeDoYouThinkYoullBeHereTomorow”. If you can read this, then you can get alot of info crammed into one message.
I recommend this product to anyone who spends time in the outdoors. If you’re hiking alone or kayaking in a group, this device can be very convenient and could possibly save a life.
Do you own a similar product?