Last week, I went on a solo hiking trip. I had so much fun! You can read the post here. This was my first solo hiking trip so my mother and husband were a little on the worried side. I know that I’m going to go on more solo trips so I started researching GPS trackers and communicators so my family could see my location.
I started looking into the Spot3 (again). I liked the idea of being able to send a message telling everyone I was ok. I also liked that my family could see my progress. While there is an SOS feature, I wasn’t as concerned about having that as I was about having my family know I was ok. That being said, I did see a downside… the annual/monthly fee. 🙁 I knew I would only be using the service 4 to 5 times per year. It just seemed like a lot of wasted money. (Same thoughts I had several years ago when I considered purchasing the product.)
The Spot3 has an MSRP of $169.95. The annual fee for the spot is $149.99 plus a service fee of $14.99. If you pay monthly, the fee is $14.99 plus a service fee of $1.49 per month making it a total of $197.76 per year.
Next, I found a Spot Connect (fact sheet here). I thought this might be another way to communicate with my family and I wouldn’t have to carry any additional devices. After a little research, I found that the Spot Connect is no longer available for sale through a retailer but you can purchase them on eBay or Amazon. I quickly eliminated this product because I didn’t think I would be able to get service if there was an equipment malfunction.
The Spot Connect sells anywhere from $20.00 (used) to $179.99. The service plan is an annual plan ONLY – no monthly plans are available. The annual fee for the spot is $149.99 plus a service fee of $14.99.
Delorme inReach SE
I started looking at the Delorme inReach SE next. I didn’t know there were two different models so I fell into this one because it was less expensive. When I looked at the DeLorme inReach Brochure, I quickly realize the SE was not the model I wanted. It did not offer the route planning and sharing, navigation, waypoint creation and sharing, detailed track logging, or compass. So I moved onto the Explorer…
Delorme inReach Explorer
The Delorme inReach Explorer comes with EVERYTHING I wanted! I looked at the following articles and videos before deciding I really wanted the Explorer:
- Andrew Skurka
- Justin Lukasavige from BackCountry Treks
- Justin Lukasavige – Send and Receive Messages from the inReach Explorer
- Prairie Geomatics – inReach SE & Explorer Unboxing
- Team DeLorme inReach Playlist on YouTube
I liked everything I saw! Now, I only had to justify the price in my head. I found the Explorer for $319.95. (You can find them for less on Amazon.) The Freedom Plan has a $24.95 yearly service fee and a varying monthly fee starting at $14.95; however, you can suspend service when you don’t want to use it!
SPOT 3 inReach Explorer Unit Cost $169.95 $319.95 Annual Service Fee $14.99 $24.95 Monthly Fee $16.48 $34.95 First Year Cost $382.70 $519.65 (paying for 5 months) Second Year Cost $212.75 $199.70
The inReach definately cost more but you can do so much more with it. Also, there are lower priced plans which shrinks the cost difference. I plan to pay for 5 months of service throughout the year. If you use it less than 5 months a year, this will also shrink the cost difference.
I just received my Explorer! I am so excited. I’ve been playing with it but I have not gotten the service as of yet. I will let you all know how that goes 🙂