I think just about everyone that has a GPS or looking for a GPS, knows the name Garmin. They have been in the market for many years, have a great name and loyal following. When I was looking for a GPS with the ability for two-way messaging in the event of an emergency, it came down to Garmin or SPOT, both good products, but after reading many reviews online, I ended up buying a Garmin InReach Explorer. Also, it tucks nicely into a custom pocket in my Mosko Moto tank bag, so that was an additional reason.

The InReach Explorer is a tough ruggedized handheld GPS, tracker, and two-way communicator. It has a large color LCD screen for navigation and easily pairs with your phone for access to additional maps or messaging via your own smartphone.

If you plan to motorcycle or hike off the beaten path and often have no reliable cell service, having the possibility to easily communicate with someone or get help if you have an issue or accident, gives you and your family invaluable peace of mind.

Instead of giving you an in-depth technical review, I’m going to tell you about a real-life incident that happened to me in Peru and why I will now always carry the InReach Explorer when I’m touring on my motorcycle or hiking in someplace remote or off the grid.

Stolen Tank Bag

When I went back to my bike (10ft away) it took me a few seconds to realize my tank bag had been stolen. Nobody had seen anything, the usual story.

Fortunately, the InReach was in my tank bag, turned on, and sending location pings every 10 mins to the satellite. This meant online via my smartphone I was able to track the exact location of the tank bag. The thief had about a 10 min head start on me, by the time I could see the most recent update on my cell phone.

I had no idea if the thief was in a bus, car, or on a motorcycle, so the plan in my head was to try and get ahead of the tracker location and stop the traffic and administer my own stop and search. I know, maybe not the best plan, but the road had very little traffic and it sounded like the best option at the time 🙂

After about 2hrs of trying to get ahead of the location pings sent out by the InReach, it became apparent the thief was moving fast, so must be in a car, as no way could any local motorbike stay ahead of a possessed foreigner on a KTM 1190R. The issue of not being able to get ahead of the thief was also compounded as the tracker sometimes took 10-15 mins to update its location.

I ended up riding 260kms from Carhauz in the mountains to Supe on the coast chasing down the scum bag thief. Luckily Peru has no speed cameras or I would for sure have a few tickets. LOL!

Below are some images from the online tracking showing the path of the InReach device and it’s the final resting spot. This meant the thief had stopped, at home, got the kettle on, and dividing up the contents of my tank bag with the family or the local pawn shop.

Time to find the local police station and bring in the calvary. After some discussion and scoping out the neighborhood with the police, we pin-pointed the InReach location to a car parking lot in the back of a house. Fortunately, the parking lot only had one car parked, it was still a little warm, making it even easier. The cops found the owner of the lot, who told the police that 4 guys arrived around 45 mins ago, parked the car, and are staying at a hotel down the street.

The cops raided the hotel and dragged (literally) the guys to the parking lot. They opened the trunk and low and behold my tank bag was sitting there. The police looked just as surprised as the thieves at finding it.

Big shoutout to the Peruvian police who handled the situation very professionally and the guys from Caballeros Sobre Ruedas MG Barranca motorcycle club who I bumped into while all this craziness was going down. They helped with police, paperwork, and generally helping me out. Thanks guys!!!

After a bunch of paperwork, I eventually got my tank bag back. The 4 scumbags are in jail and Paddington (mascot strapped to my bike) had a splendid adventure. 🙂

Now, in my opinion, that should be all the convincing you need to go get a Garmin InReach Explorer.  NO?

My Opinion

If you ride off the beaten track, have no cell signal, the InReach Explorer gives you peace of mind that with a press of a button you can message an SOS rescue service or a friend and they will come and save you, plus the device also doubles up as a GPS.  Yes, the tracking option is a subscription-based service, but totally worth it, if you are hiking or motorcycle touring in remote areas.  The InReach works on the Iridium satellite network, so you are connected all the time, as long as you the device can see the sky.

The InReach Explorer fits into your hand, is built well, waterproof, and has excellent battery life.  Batteries are recharged via a micro USB cable. The device also has Bluetooth, so you can pair it with your phone and connect to the Garmin Earthmate app.  This makes it easier to send messages, set waypoints, follow tracks etc.

The bottom line, its a great device and in my case, found my tank bag and in others, has saved their lives.  The upsides and peace of mind, far out-way the subscription charges.

Video

This is an excellent video, giving a very good overview of the Garmin InReach Explorer.