Garmin has launched its latest off-the-grid adventure device – the inReach Messenger. It's small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, and can send an SOS message if you're out of cell range and need help.
If you’re in the mountains or another remote location, using one of the best Garmin watches to track your adventure, this new device, which will easily slip into a pocket or backpack, could prove invaluable in an emergency.
The inReach Messenger, which is a follow-up to Garmin's InReach Mini 2, pairs with your phone via the InReach Messenger app, and automatically switches to a satellite connection when it detects that you're out of cell range.
You can push an SOS button on the side of the inReach Messenger in the event of an emergency, and a dedicated emergency response team will coordinate a response from a center that's manned 24 hours a day.
The team can communicate with the inReach Messenger to notify emergency services, while also alerting the user’s emergency contacts.
As well as an SOS device it also acts as a tracker, so friends and family can constantly track your location, whether you're hiking a local mountain or in the middle of nowhere. The tiny device, which looks like a portable phone charger, measures just 3.1 x 2.5inches / 7.9 x 6cms and weighs 14g. It also has a messaging service on its small screen, and can even be used to reverse-charge your phone.
The new addition to the Garmin family, which costs $299 / £249.99 / A$469.00 can be used on its own, which is handy if you run out of phone battery, but it also pairs with the InReach Messenger app, which itself pairs with 80 other Garmin devices, including smartwatches, handhelds and navigators.
One of the big selling points for the InReach Messenger is its long battery capacity: once fully charged it can last for 28 days, which is double the capacity of the InReach Mini 2, meaning you can plan a long adventure without worrying about losing connectivity.
Is the device a game changer for adventurers?
Fitness tech companies are aware that we want more from our gadgets, including safety features, and this new device gives us a little reassurance when we’re out on an adventure.
Garmin isn't the first to offer this sort of technology. The Apple Watch has fall detection – alerting your closest contacts, or emergency services if you have a hard fall. The Apple 14 phone also allows you, via satellite, to send an emergency text message, if you’re out of cell or Wi-Fi range.
But it's the long battery life which is a real winner – not many devices today will last beyond a couple of days, let alone nearly a whole month. The app, meanwhile, is a great addition, allowing you to send longer messages to friends or family.
Want to track the rest of your adventure? Here's our guide to the best fitness trackers.
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Sarah is a freelance writer - writing across titles including Woman&Home, Fit&Well, TechRadar, the Independent and the BBC. She covers a variety of subjects, including trends in beauty, business and wellness - but her biggest passions are travel and fitness. She can normally be found trying out the latest fitness class or on a plane to an exotic destination. While she loves to combine the two - signing up to do hiking holidays in LA, intense boot camps in Bali - last year she went on her dream activity holiday: paddleboarding around deserted islands in Croatia.