Garmin inReach Mini

9.0 score
[Editors rating (9.0)] = (TheGearHunt) score (9.0)/10

Editor rating: 9.0 / 10
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Editor’s Conclusion
Heading out into the backcountry with all the emergency and routine text communications you need is easy with the compact yet handy Garmin inReach Mini. As Garmin’s top-rated satellite messenger, the inReach Mini does all you need, but in one of the smallest pieces of outdoor kit.

Out of the competition, this Garmin device is hands down one of the best on the market, mainly due to the simplicity it provides. Adding anything extra wouldn’t add much to the utilities but would probably ruin the critical essentials of this device.

When you’re carrying all your necessities on your back in the wild, you need to keep the weight low. The inReach Mini helps you out with its lightweight, mini design, and SOS functions. It allows you to communicate with authorities in an emergency, inform loved ones of your whereabouts, check the weather, and handle all your logistical needs.
An if you're looking for a more advanced model, we have also reviewed the Garmin inReach Explorer+, so check that one out as well.
Garmin inReach Mini Review Facts
Editor's Pros & Cons


Emergency SOS

Two-way texting

Portable communication

Reliable weather reports



Slow texting abilities

Complicated to compare costs

Key Features

Basic Features

What you might be surprised to find is that for such a small device, the InReach Mini is just crammed with features. The features you’ll find divide into two sections, vital lifelines that you’ll need to the outside world in case of emergency or those necessary for making informed decisions while away from mobile service.

Two-Way Global Messaging facility makes navigating remote locations easier when you’d have a non-existent phone signal. However, you’ll have all the signals you need with the inReach Mini, no matter the area. In addition, you can send emails, text messages, and simple text-based social media updates to update your pals on your location.

Triggering an interactive SOS alert to GEOS with 24/7 search and rescue monitoring can also give you all the security you need. GEOS is the 24-7 emergency dispatch team that will send all the help needed when people get in trouble. Just remember, only use this function in emergencies.

Advanced Features

With a list of essential features already on the impressive side, what more could you want. However, despite this extensive list, a list of great advanced features makes the in Reach Mini even more full proof.

Getting weather forecasts from the inReach Mini allows you to safely plan routes and times for your outdoor adventures or just knowing when to turn back. For example, traveling in winter means knowing avalanche risks is essential. The inReach Mini also allows you to request forecasts for other GPS locations that you know you’re heading out to.

Tracking and sharing locations between friends and family are easy with the web-based MapShare® portal, meaning your loved ones can relax knowing you are safe. You’ll also get a virtual keyboard for custom text messaging.


Anyone who needs to stay connected to the emergency services and their loved ones in potentially remote locations with poor signal would find this helpful device. So, this handheld device is worth considering for adventurers of all kinds, including hikers, mountaineers, alpine fans, climbers, or hunters.

Connectivity & Accuracy

The Garmin inReach Mini works on the global Iridium satellite network, which is one hell of a network to beat as it’s the only satellite phone service provider offering a promise of 100% satisfaction. They are probably so confident due to their 99% first-time connection rate. Once you get used to using satellite communications, you’ll find that the Mini works everywhere.

Power Source

Similarly, saving battery life is easy with the easy turning on and off the device, so no battery burn. What’s more, you get 50 hours of battery life while sending updates via satellite every 10 minutes, which is more than perfect for weekend to week-long trips. The battery life also extends to 20-day when sending updates every 30 minutes.


Garmin products are made to last; that’s one of the things that come with premium brands. Made of robust materials and with few customers mentioning any issues with the quality, I would say there is little to worry about. Purchasing this device also means you get a two-year consumer limited warranty.

Ease of Use

All the features already described are simple to use. For example, the two-way messages can be easily pre-written on the device, so your message is ready to send in a few taps when you’ve arrived safely at your destination. Pairing with your Garmin smartwatch and mobile phone is also easy.

However, this is a smaller device, and therefore some features will have had to be sacrificed to keep the weight down compared to that of the original InReach. The most obvious difference comes from the screen. The 128 x 128 pixels screen has had to be scaled down to fit onto such a small device.

In addition, the inReach Mini operating system has also been extensively impacted to incorporate many of the features found on the device. For example, when writing messages, you must painstakingly scroll through the alphabet to reach each character, compared to the available standard full-screen keypad found on larger devices. But, the problems with this small screen aren’t so bad when you consider the extensive mobile phone connection capabilities that the inReach provides.


It isn’t easy to compare the costs of satellite communication devices due to the subscription costs that usually come with these items. For example, the initial purchase price is easy to compare, but many satellite communicators also have subscription costs to use their services, with services and fees varying. Unfortunately, the biggest flaw to the inReach Mini is that it works out expensive due to these subscription costs in the long run. Yes, there are products at a lower initial price, but none would outperform this Garmin device.

Bottom Line

If you can stomach the costs, which often aren’t much higher than the competition, the inReach Mini is the perfect communication device for any wilderness traveler. It stands miles above the competition of other personal locator beacons and satellite messengers, doing everything you need it to and doing it well.

Apart from needing a slight improvement on battery life and some usability issues, minimal enhancements are required for such a small and compact communication device. What Garmin has done is not easy, but they’ve ended up with a device that beats its competition by miles.