Garmin’s inReach Mini has been a staple in our kits since it launched in 2018. It’s how we stay connected in the middle of nowhere—from ski touring Vermont’s Green Mountains to bikepacking across Jordan—letting partners know if we were missing dinner or in need of rescue. Lucky for adventurers, the most compact satellite communication device just got a bevy of upgrades. Meet the Garmin InReach Mini 2.
While it looks almost exactly the same, the inReach Mini 2 is far more powerful with 14 continuous days of battery life, a navigation feature that lets you retrace your steps even if you weren’t recording your route, a digital compass, and full integration with Garmin’s powerful Explore Mobile App.
New processors and sensors and a new operating system boost the Mini 2’s battery life to 300 hours when the device is set to track every 10 minutes. If you turn your device off at night, that means the battery could last closer to 30 days.
The InReach Mini 2 also has an IPX7 water resistance rating—up to three feet deep for 30 minutes—so you don’t have to worry about it dying if it gets wet. Charge it with a USB-C cord. While that’s a change from the previous InReach Mini, all other accessories are compatible between the Mini and Mini 2. And, if you’re not ready to upgrade, don’t stress. Garmin will keep the Earthmate Mobile App to support older devices.
The Mini2 that we tested came with tracking set to every 10 minutes. For skiing, hiking, and walking, that interval was fine. But you can get more granular, and set the Mini 2 to track more frequently, down to two minutes. With most frequent tracking, the battery should last four days, which is closer to eight days if you aren’t running the device while you sleep.
The InReach Mini 2 automatically records your track from the moment it’s turned on, passively storing your route so that you can get home if you get lost, even if you never turned on tracking. If you’re lost, engage the TracBack feature and an on-device digital path will guide you back to base. But the back track doesn’t clutter the map unless you choose it to navigate.
“You don’t need to start it, but the auto recorded hidden breadcrumb of your route shows you how to get out of the woods when you need it,” says Chip Noble, InReach Mini product engineer. “You used to have to turn tracking off to save battery. Now that’s not the case. Even when your InReach Mini 2 isn’t connected to other devices, you can use it to navigate; you can see a course.”
The new electronic compass displays heading even when you’re standing still, unlike a standard GPS. There’s no need to move to get a reading. And the compact satellite communication device still has two-way texting and SOS capabilities, like the original.
The InReach Mini2’s new interface includes “quick views,” similar to widget views on a Garmin watch, for easy access to location, weather, and messages. It also pairs with your phone and watch so you can get a weather report or a text wherever’s most convenient for you to read it. InReach lets you respond with 20 preset responses, or you can type a custom message if you prefer.
If your adventures take you to other countries, the InReach Mini 2 will work better there than ever before. It now leverages four additional networks to connect with a satellite signal faster, and to give you better coverage than GPS alone.
With Garmin’s Explore App, you can track, sync, and share adventures from anywhere. Pair your watch and/or phone and you can type messages, get up-to-date weather info, download maps, review trips, share your track with friends and family, and more.
Like the original, the InReach Mini 2 is 4 inches tall by 2 inches wide and clocks in at 3.5 oz. It provides two-way text messaging, location tracking, and weather with the global Iridium satellite network. In an emergency, using InReach Mini 2, you can trigger an interactive SOS message to the Garmin IERCC, a 24/7 staffed professional emergency response coordination center.
To communicate using an inReach Mini, an active subscription plan is required. Plans start at $11.95 per month.
The Bottom Line
There’s no other satellite communication device this small and light with so much functionality. And Garmin just turned the InReach’s capabilities to 11.[$400; garmin.com]
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