Garmin Announces New InReach Messenger Device & App

Sep 27, 2022 at 10:46
by Sarah Moore  


Garmin has just released a new InReach Messenger device and Garmin Messenger companion app. Now the least expensive satellite communicator that Garmin offers at $299 USD, the device provides global two-way messaging and interactive SOS when you're out of cell service.

The device is 3.1" x 2.5" x 0.9" (7.8 x 6.4 x 2.3 cm), weighs 4 ounces (113.9 grams), battery life is about double that of the inReach Mini 2 at 28 days, and it can charge to your smartphone if necessary, acting as an emergency battery bank.

The new InReach Messenger can function either as a standalone device to keep in touch with friends and family when you're in the backcountry or call for help, or you can pair it with your smartphone using the new Garmin Messenger App.


If using the device without the app, you can choose from the quick messages, or type out your message manually one character at a time like on the inReach Mini devices. If using the new Messenger app, you can use your phone's keyboard to type out your message and send it quickly and efficiently.

While currently the new app isn't compatible with older InReach models, it should soon work with a number of recent inReach devices. It can use satellite messaging, but can also leverage cellular/Wi-Fi networks if you're within range, so you don't use up the satellite messages/time from your subscription if you don't need to.

An active satellite subscription is required to keep you connected and the price for that service ranges from $12 USD/month to $65 USD/month. You can suspend monthly charges if you only use the device at certain times of the year, or pay annually to receive the best monthly rate. If you have an emergency, the InReach Messenger and Messenger app can send an SOS message to the 24/7 staffed Garmin International Emergency Response Coordination Center (IERCC).

You can learn more about the Garmin InReach Messenger here.






93 Comments

  • 32 3
 love to see it. interested to see where this market will go with apple launching a similar albeit less robust service for 2 years free
  • 4 0
 Looks like a direct competitor for Zoleo, and if the new app becomes compatible with current InReach devices, all the better.
  • 6 1
 T-Mobile and SpaceX/Starlink too.
  • 1 0
 What's the apple service?
  • 5 0
 @milesofpain: the new IPhone 14 lineup has satellite connectivity for emergencies. support.apple.com/en-us/HT213426
  • 1 0
 @Ridgeline5: I have read there are FW updates coming to support the Mini2 as well as a few of the other most recent inReach-enabled families (larger hiking handhelds)
  • 1 0
 @pisgahgnar: Just in the new world, as far as I know...
  • 28 1
 I'm currently getting daily Inreach messages from a friend who's camping in the backwoods of BC - it seems exceptionally accurate and a great system for those wanting to regularly get outside of cell phone range.
  • 2 0
 Only works on garmin chat app correct? (says that on the video, but just checking someone hasn't figured something out).
  • 2 0
 @yakimonti: with my older InReach I can send text (i.e. sms) messages, either pre-set (free to a certain number) or custom (for a fee). No need for the Garmin app for the recipient.
  • 1 0
 @yakimonti: As @switchback249 mentions, no need for an app to receive messages. The updates I receive are via email.
  • 3 0
 @yakimonti: The chat app is just used to simplify the messaging on the user's side. They still send as texts to anyone receiving, whether they have the app or not.

Lots of good details here:
www.dcrainmaker.com/2022/09/garmin-inreach-messenger-satellite-communicator-hands-on-details.html
  • 18 0
 Those of you in the comments who seem to be in the know....

What's the best way to use this VERY intermittently? I only venture into areas with no cell reception maybe twice a year. I'd hate to carry a monthly subscription for that. And it would be annoying to start and stop a subscription.

Any options for me to use a device like this with maybe a charge-by-the-message fee? I'm really only interested as a full on emergency user. My situation is basically out-and-back day trips.
  • 16 0
 You can activate any month and than stop when not needed. I usually let mine run in Summer and cancel through winter when I'm not out in the backcountry much.
  • 44 1
 @switchback249: Holy cow, the comments here CAN be useful.
  • 1 0
 there is also a pay per use option. Unsure of how different the pricing is.
  • 1 0
 Look at bivy stick. It works using credits you just top up.
  • 5 0
 @Bengrey90: I looked into the bivy stick. While the initial outlay and user fee may be a bit cheaper - if you ever have to use the SOS (which is why you have it) the cost may shock you - particularly in Canada. Made me realize there's a good reason InReach is so popular.
  • 5 0
 @hotpotato: for very intermittent use and only for actual emergency situations, you should look at a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB).
Pros: multi-year battery life, no subscription fee.
Cons: no custom messages, no satellite tracking.
  • 4 0
 We only go out into truly remote areas 2-3 times per year but decided to pay the subscription every month because, just like wearing knee pads when mountain biking, you will of course only need it when you don't have it. Having it on all year means we can take it much more often than if we only activated it periodically. Inevitably we felt like we'd find ourselves only activating it for the most extreme outings and end up needing it in some less extreme situation. I do regularly ride in areas with mostly good but sometimes spotty coverage and like having it with me then. And I feel better that my partner has it when out alone.
  • 2 0
 @switchback249: Not to disuade you from Garmin, but a more cost effectivce option you might look into is Spot. Their GPS units are considerably lower, just as accurate in my opinion, and monthly on/off rates are pretty comparable. I did a handful of deep backcountry out and back trips in the mountains around Southwest Virginia and my little Spot GPS tracked my location pretty accurately.
  • 4 0
 @nimble9378: We use a lot of Spots for our work crews. Spot Gen3 and Gen4 are great for position tracking and emergency functions. Unfortunately, we are having lots of issues with the more recent SpotX devices (which offer text messaging and other functions on top of basic tracking + SOS) and I would very strongly advice against buying those.
  • 2 1
 Have a look at PLB devices from ACR or Ocean Signal or similar. Generally, price is higher but no monthly plans. SOS only.
  • 15 0
 Make sure you are signed into the app if you try to use it. I was in Spain a couple months ago and needed to send a message when i was up in the Picos mountains. I couldn't log in to the garmin app to type my message because i didn't have cell service on my phone. Normally I stay signed in but for some reason i was logged out(aiplane mode on flight? software update? who knows?)Hopefully this helps someone from making the same mistake.
  • 5 0
 I had the same thing happen to me with my mini. It happened after I reset my phone though and I forgot to sign in again (on the app) before heading into the mountains. The preset messages still sufficed but it wasn't ideal.
  • 3 0
 That's pretty stupid for a device with the sole purpose of communicating without cellphone reception. Thanks for the warning.
  • 2 0
 @Mac1987: sure, but you can still send and receive messages direct from the device without using your smartphone app.
  • 10 1
 I like the more compact size but the inability to strap it directly to a belt loop or backpack strap means you have to dig it out out of a pocket to hit that SOS button or take out your phone, unlock and open the app.
  • 4 0
 They make a holder for it.
  • 3 0
 @ohbmxer: I went through the accessories, they are all lanyard style.
  • 1 0
 @nicktapias: Yeah, they're not great, no lie. The below would work well with a belt loop or on a backpack strap.

www.garmin.com/en-US/p/8543
  • 18 6
 In case of an emergency that requires an inReach, assistance will likely take hours to deploy. The 45 seconds required to take the device out of your bag is a non-issue compared to the risks of damaging/losing the device as you leave it strapped outside your pack.
  • 1 0
 If you have an edge cycling computer you can use the crash detection. It will send out an alert if you don't cancel on your computer. The nice thing about the inreach mini is it works fine inside my pocket or camelbak. I'm assuming the antenna on this new one is just as good.
  • 6 1
 @johnthewolf: I think he may be alluding to the situation where you are alone and have a fall/crash/get stuck/whatever and are incapable of reaching for and digging around in your backpack. I definitely keep mine within reach (perhaps that's where the name originated?) Don't know about S&R times in Canada but in NZ they are on par with emergency services (allowing for travel time of course).
  • 1 0
 @litany: does this model connect to an Edge device? On the website I didn’t see any of them listed in “compatible devices.”
  • 1 0
 Never mind I am dumb I found it.
  • 2 0
 @DownhillDoozy: I immediately thought this. Every scenario/preference is personal, but I'm the same with bear spray. Not always comfy to wear the belt but if I'm ever separated from my bike on a bear encounter (totally plausible), I want the spray with me, not on the bike where I no longer have access. Would be the worst to fall down an embankment, broken leg, and your backpack was ejected and several yards away or in a tree along with your rescue device.
  • 1 0
 Given the device dimensions, something like this should work perfectly:

www.amazon.com/TRIWONDER-Tactical-Cigarette-Military-Battery/dp/B08F7SDZPT

You can also buy any "belt pouch" for the Galaxy Z-flip phone if you prefer to use a metal clip instead of the MOLLE attachment.
  • 1 0
 @johnthewolf: unless your injured and can't get it out, always have in reach of you. They are designed to take an impact
  • 2 0
 I almost always have my inreach mini stashed away anyway. The things I want accessible are the ones I'm using frequently like snacks, sunglasses, camera, hydration. I'm not going to be using my inreach while I'm on the go. If I'm so badly injured I can't get it out of a pocket on my running vest or hydration pack, having it on a shoulder strap or belt won't make any difference.
  • 1 0
 @dsut4392: guy on fromme mtn on the North Shore mtns of BC went over a teeter totter, fell forward, broke his back, could not reach his cell phone that was in his pocket, he had to wait a few hours till someone came upon him, he did not die, he was not mortally wounded, first thing he pointed out was he wished he had his phone in a different spot, you can argue, but having it in a spot you can reach is important, It is why spots best product was a should device they made to house their product on an arm, used by many in th dakar rally. You can carry it where you like, but these are important discussions to have to show the different situations.
  • 6 0
 I've been an inreach user for years and probably half the places I ride I take with me since they are out of cell service. Garmin has always been great with hardware, and pretty poor with software. My current inreach is the Explorer+, gonna go see if it's compatible with the new app after I hit submit....
  • 1 0
 @ryan-pnw - update? Do the current models work with the new app?
  • 3 0
 @wolftwenty1: Support will only come for the GPSMAP 66i, Montana 700i/750i, Alpha 200i, and the inReach Mini 2 units according to DC Rainmaker
  • 1 0
 @wolftwenty1: yep, as @steflund mentioned, they have marooned the old models. Bummer. I'm sticking with my explorer+.
  • 3 0
 This looks great, although it's not really the smallest. It's very slightly heavier (by ~13g) and wider (by 2.5cm) than an inReach Mini 2, although it is a bit shorter (2.6cm) and flatter (0.3cm). Overall the size differences seem to be more a matter of what shape fits your usage better: for bikes what seems important to me is that a Mini 2 fits in a SWAT type box, but I'm not sure that this shape would.
  • 5 0
 Not sure you'd want to keep it in a SWAT box for a couple of reasons. Firstly, if it sends your location at intervals like their other sat coms do the SWAT box may prevent that. Secondly, and most importantly, you really want it on your person, so that in the event of a major crash that actually requires the SOS function you can use it without having to crawl to your bike. I have an older inReach SE that I use when I go on weekend moto trips by myself and even my old device works well for what I need.
  • 5 0
 Good point, it's not really smaller - just a different size! I've updated.
  • 4 0
 @ohbmxer: I keep my mini turned off and never use the tracking feature, it's purely an emergency device. And while I hear what you're saying about keeping it in the SWAT box, I've done a lot of rides in the past without carrying any bag where the ability to put an emergency beacon in the SWAT box is the difference between me taking it and leaving it at home. Sure it's not as good as having it on your person, but it's a whole lot better than leaving it at home Smile
  • 1 0
 @sarahmoore: any word on if the new app will work with the older models? The current app is pretty bad...
  • 1 0
 @wolftwenty1: DC Rainmaker had some info on that in their article. From what I remember they said yes, with a short list of the devices it will work with. All I remember from that list is that it's coming to the Mini 2.
  • 1 0
 The extended battery life vs the other inreach models would be the biggest selling point for me. Losing the stubby antenna of the inreach mini is also a plus for packability, even if the overall dimensions aren't any smaller.
  • 4 0
 Other than the new associated app, Im not sure the difference between this and the mini? It can charge your phone and last longer?
  • 8 0
 lasting twice a long is a pretty big difference though
  • 13 0
 And it's $100 USD less.
  • 2 4
 @IsaacO: that's what she said
  • 1 0
 Tracking/no tracking is the difference. With Mini tracking plans at $25-$50/mo, and considering safety and other advantages tracking has over strictly manual communication, there's no debate with me. I'm happy with my Mini and my plan. A PLB is far more economical over time than either, and if you just want SOS capability, that choice is a no-brainer.
  • 2 0
 @rider001: inreach messenger has tracking just the same as mini does
  • 3 1
 I can’t wait for the first story of a family list to the wilderness because kids used it to charge their cell phones while camping. Letting it act as a battery to charge other devices seems really short sited for its intended use.
  • 4 0
 Don't know I agree. It's not uncommon that in an emergency you find out the phone died, so being able to charge it with this is smart for its intended use. Misuse as you described is just short sighted by the user. Take another device to charge the phone if the kids are going to be using it while camping, keep this only for emergency only.
  • 3 1
 Yet another Garmin satellite device?! Is it just another growth-by-acquisition device? (Previous InReach devices were acquired via DeLorme). It's led to a plethora of apps, standards and funky integrations Frown
  • 1 0
 I prefer the inReach Mini wich doesn't rely on a phone. Phones are wonderful tools but not very robust compared to a dedicated device. Battery life, waterproofness, strong casing and no touchscreen. With the Mini you can text from the device or from the phone.
  • 1 0
 I just use a PLB. 7 year battery and free subscription. Can be used anywhere on the world and you get receive full rescue and extraction. No need for pointing Apple phones in a certain direction with an app to alert someone at home and no subscription.
  • 1 0
 Looks like Zoleo's far superior messaging / communications has pushed Garmin to improve their horrible UI and messaging (which lead me to switch from InReach to Zoleo), which is good. Looking forward to seeing some thorough reviews of this against Zoleo and existing InReach....
  • 2 0
 I am hoping the app will work with the inReach I already have. If not, oh well. Definitely a device I carry a lot of places I go.
  • 1 0
 Damn and I just sprung for the Montana 750i. It is big but I like having a stand alone unit that is not a pain to text with. I think with the app I would have preferred this. Oh well.
  • 1 0
 I have the 700i. It's fantastic. If you use GPS in the back country you wont be disappointed!
  • 1 0
 @bikesareok: Bought it because I moved to Mexico and there are a lot of remote areas without cell coverage. Been awesome so far. It is just big.
  • 1 1
 Looks like Garmin is just copying somewearlabs.com with the shape of the device and the associated app for messaging. The Somewear device has been so awesome to have on all the adventures!
  • 2 0
 The Someearlabs device looks like a large Mio bottle, teardrop shaped, not square like the Garmin. Can't speak to the app.
  • 1 0
 Can anyone explain (give link) to where to buy sattelite time/signal for these devices? Im in México, and there´s a lot of no signal areas.THANKS!
  • 1 0
 www.garmin.com/en-US/p/837461 this is the US site. There is a MX site but I cannot find it. I'm in PV as well. Let's ride!!!
  • 3 0
 It's a miracle. They finally implemented USB-C into one of their devices.
  • 2 0
 Zoleo still better and less money.
  • 1 0
 i think thats pretty neat, would maybe consider buying it
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