Keeping in touch, in the wilderness

It’s a great time of the year to be planning your next big trip of the season; quite often or not, for Tasmanian fly fishers it will be a trip into an off-the-beaten-track location, well out of mobile phone range. A consideration these days is what emergency communication and navigation systems to use? You should never be without a map, which are far more reliable than a GPS, but with this in mind technology can be a great additional tool.

For sometime now we’ve used a small handheld Garmin GPS unit for backup navigation, and a separate GPS enabled EPIRB for emergencies. The combined system is clunky though, and lacks the continual communication ability of a sat-phone. That’s why we were thrilled when Garmin launched it’s new Inreach system, which combines a GPS navigation unit with satellite-powered text messaging ability.

After spending a week in the remote central plateau last month, I thoroughly recommend the InReach. Sending text messages was a breeze, and family on the other end could reply as if they were sending a standard text message to a phone. Even better, the battery life was excellent. After five days, including temperatures down to -5degrees, the unit still has loads of power. The monthly subscription fee of $30 or so is affordable, and cheaper once-off subs for occasional users means that this unit should suit users of all scale. And of course, it’s great not to have to carry two or three separate machines to cover GPS, satellite and text messaging, and EPIRB communications… That’s a 10/10 for me 🙂

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