Garmin inReach Explorer +

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Garmin inReach Explorer + Review Facts

Exploration of the unknown or less traveled areas has become this generations passion. We simply want to know everything about our world and enjoy the nature of it at its purest form. This means going where communication and maps seldom cover where you are, and you can just as easily become lost in the harsh and untamed landscapes that are so tempting to our senses. If you or your friends are the ones who simply can’t get enough of the wilderness, then maybe it is time to look into getting a GPS that can travel with you and assure that where you explore is not your last adventure. That is where the Garmin InReach Explorer + could quickly become the most important piece of equipment you own and take with you.

Why worry about if you can reach someone if trouble arises, and why take the risk of not being able to tell them exactly where you are if and when you may need help? This wonderful explorer’s item has one of the most expansive GPS systems and allows you to keep track of weather, location and keep communication when you need it most. Do not guess what you need, know about it before it becomes a dangerous surprise! Take a look at everything the Garmin InReach Explorer + has to offer and decide for yourself if this is the one piece of equipment you have been needing to add since your first trek out into nature, we certainly feel it is a great product for the responsible explorer.

Editor's Pros & Cons
  • 100% global text communication
  • 24/7 SOS tracking system
  • Linked tracking system to friends and family
  • Can be paired with other Garmin tracking systems and GPS systems
  • Built-in weather tracking
  • Tracks routes and waypoints
  • Needs an open sky and can have a slow response
  • Only connects with IOS 10 and higher, not older systems
  • Requires a subscription to use the text communication
  • Some older GPS apps do not work with it
  • Some countries are not covered by it

Basic Features

This particular tracking system was mainly designed to track a location of those exploring and provide an easily accessed SOS should they need it. The tracker has a GPS mapping system built in that allows the traveler's location to be more easily identified quickly in case of an emergency. If they can’t use it to get out of their location, they can then send out an SOS with a single button so that those who are connected to their tracker, as well as emergency personnel, can locate them. For these basic functions, this device works very well and is a great addition to the equipment of any outdoor explorers or field operators.

Advanced Features

While its main functions are GPS tracking and emergency calls, the additional features offered with this device make it even more useful. The Explorer + also offers weather information and in-depth maps for the traveler and, with a subscription, can also give the ability to text, with a clear sky over the user, to any device it is set up to connect with that has an IOS 10 or higher. This is great for up to date explorers and can give an added sense of security for those who want to not just be located but have a form of communication while they wait for help. While the messaging can be slow, it still means you know that when you need it you can get in touch. The way this system works means that even in remote areas you will still be able to get the help you need.


The use of this device is simply to keep the explorer safe and in contact with the rest of the world even when outside of normal cell phone towers. Instead of relying on your phone and hoping you don’t end up in trouble outside of the range for a call, this GPS tracker uses satellites as well as towers to connect with other devices. This means your SOS can be sent out and non-emergency texts can be sent and received through any device that has the more recent 10 IOS or higher. Of course, its other functions also prove helpful in assuring you travel safely so that the need for an SOS is minimized. It can provide you with other tools, such as marking waypoints and mapping your destination, however, these are not as good as other apps when in areas that they can help you. So, unless your location is remote enough that a cell phone, tablet or other GPS marking and mapping devices will not work, this is better used as a backup emergency tool than as your full-on tracking tool.


This is part of the most important aspect of this device. If connectivity is not good, the purpose is entirely lost. The main downfall is the lag when it comes to its messaging services, but in truth, its main purpose was not meant to be as a replacement to a cell phone. Instead, this was meant to be an emergency communication and location device, and to this end, its connectivity is very well set up. You can rest easy on your trips into the less traveled areas knowing that no matter what, you can get help if needed. The way this GPS tracking device works is by bouncing directly off of satellites, which means you do need a clear sky for it to work best, however, this also means you know it will work where nothing else works and stay connected even in the most remote areas.

Power Source

The Garmin Explorer + uses an internal USB rechargeable battery source which has a great lifespan between charges. If left off when not directly being used (when asleep at night) and still used at a high interval with all the perks on, it still lasts up to a week between charges. With those that have used this device appropriately as described, most have found that this description for how long the charge lasts to be highly accurate. So, the battery is definitely great in that aspect, however, it is not one that can be replaced, which could be an issue to some. If you do not like the thought of a non-replaceable battery, then you may want to look for a different GPS tracker.


With Garmin’s well-known GPS and mapping system available on this tracker, you know the accuracy will be good. Of course, you can set it to delayed tracking to help save battery life which means you will have to wait for the tracker to relocate you to know precisely where you are. There is a journey mode which sets up your path and helps you to stay on your set course and not stray too far from your destination. Overall this system is great for traveling accuracy and beneficial in remote areas where other mapping tools can prove unreliable. Take this with you if you intend on trekking out where cell towers and other means of communication prove troublesome and unreliable.


This product is built for travel, so its durability is set to take bumps and drops. The hardest part is in keeping it safe in wet environments so that you don’t end up having a submerged tracker. While it may survive such accidents, it was not built to be used underwater and so that needs to be kept in mind. Also, keeping it running constantly can wear at the battery life. The best way to keep any electronic running at peak performance is to pay attention to the intended use and only run it when necessary versus all the time. Since it was built to aid for emergencies, using it as more over extended periods could lessen its lifespan. Unfortunately, if the battery starts having trouble holding a charge you may have to contact Garmin to see about replacing the device since the inbuilt battery cannot be replaced so easily.

Ease of Use

The Garmin Explorer + is easy to understand as far as menus go and has several setting options which aren’t that difficult to handle. What can make it hard to use is that you cannot simply plot in your start and finish point and expect it to plan your trek along paths or roads. This tracker sets up a straight line from A to B. What this means is you have to set up your exact rout manually, adding in waypoints along the entire path. If you know the route you are taking this can make things easier as you can set it up on the known trail you are taking so if you do have an emergency, help will know the path you took as well as having the GPS locator for them to find you. However, if the trail is not one you know, then you may find that a different mapping system would be better for you. So, while the general use is simple enough so that it can be used for emergencies, the other aspects of this product may prove more challenging- and the texting availability is limited to subscription only, as are and additional mapping options which need to be downloaded. This is intended for emergency and not overall use, so it is no surprise that the bonus options prove to be harder to use.


The display for this tracker is rather large, about the size of your large hunting walkie’s speaker. However, its size ratio for the maps it can display are often lacking in greater detail. Since being out for a while, this device has gained better maps, but the fact remains that there are better ones available on phone apps and smaller GPS devices. The Garmin Explorer +, as stated throughout this article, was mainly designed for security and areas outside the range of most devices. It is best used for back up and for emergencies where you need help or know you would not be able to use a phone or tablet to track yourself. You should keep that in mind before purchasing, so you do not end up expecting more out of the item than was intended.


This is a very expensive item if you are looking to it as something other than intended. For emergency use and wilderness tracking as well as weather updates while on the go, this is a great tool and worth the money for that extra comfort in remaining secure. If the peace of mind of knowing you have a way to communicate, even where most phones cannot help, has no price then this is definitely something you should look into saving for and buying. One thing that makes this well worth every penny is that you can bet it will get the signal to those you need it to reach when trouble does arise- no matter how far away you get. The Garmin will not let you down when in an emergency, and you can count on it to be able to tell others where you are so that they can get to you quickly. Nothing is truly worth too much when it comes to your safety and getting home to your friends and loved ones.
However, if it is the additional options you are more interested in, you may want to check other Garmin products as well, or even other GPS trackers and apps. This particular device is very reliable when it comes to emergencies in the most remote areas, and has even been used by military personnel, but for the average person spending as much as $300+ on a single tracking device that’s sole purpose is in emergency use, this may not be what you are looking for.

Key Features

-Built-in mapping system
-built-in SOS key that signals all other connected devices
-texting (subscription only)
-downloadable additional maps (subscription only)
-rechargeable built-in battery (average 7-day lifespan)
-ability to connect to most newer devices that use 10 or higher

Bottom Line

For this purchase, the bottom line is in its ability to keep you safe even in the most remote areas. Though it can serve other functions, overall it is best looked to when you want to assure that you will never be without a backup security blanket that you can rely on when other communication devices are unavailable. If you are looking for an emergency device, this is the best money can buy, but if your seeking something for travel from beginning to end to use as a personal tracker and communication device, you may want to look at other products first. While extremely reliable for its GPS and emergency SOS signal, it is not a replacement for other types of tracking and communication when within range for other technology.