Garmin has just unveiled the new inReach Mini 2, a compact satellite communication device that's designed for adventurers. Garmin crops up repeatedly in our best hiking GPS ranking – and in fact the old Inreach Explorer+ still appears in that list – but this one takes things up several notches and adds some welcome new features that make it the only hiking GPS we've got excited about in some time.
This is designed as an alternative to one of today's best outdoor watches. While those tend to pack in lots of features and trackers for multiple activities, dedicated handheld hiking GPS systems are designed to do one thing very well: help you find your way when you're heading off the beaten track. So if you're looking for a compact device that'll enable you to stay connected in even the most far-flung, remote locations, this could well be the gadget for you. (We're about to test one of these out, so keep an eye out for the full review incoming). Let's take a look at the coolest features:
1. Up to a full month's battery life
The inReach Mini 2 has had a major battery life boost over older models. In the default 10-minute tracking mode, it'll last up to 14 days of continuous run time. Need even longer than that? Switch to 30-minute tracking mode and you can bump that up to a full 30 days.
2. Helpful navigation features
There are plenty of navigation features designed to help you stay on track. Plan your route with the course creator (or if you really paid attention on that DofE, use the electronic compass instead), keep an eye on the skies with satellite-based weather updates, and use the quick view option to review essential info at a glance, without breaking your flow.
The inReach Mini 2 passively stores your route, so if you do end up getting lost, TracBack navigation will help you retrace your steps. For more advanced navigational features, it's compatible with the Garmin Explore mobile app.
If you go off-course in a more serious fashion, there are built-in emergency features to save your bacon. You can trigger an interactive SOS message to the Garmin IERCC, a professional emergency response coordination centre that's staffed 24/7.
3. Two way texting capabilities
While navigation is this device's primary purpose, it's helpful to be able to stay in touch with trip-mates or people back home too. The inReach Mini 2 lets you send and receive text messages, so you don't need to rely on your rapidly dying smartphone battery.
The Garmin inReach Mini 2 measures 10 x 5cm, weighs in at 100g, and boasts a waterproof rating of IPX7. It's available to buy now with an RRP of GBP £349.99 / USD $399.99. You'll also need a satellite subscription plan – prices start at £12.95 per month.