Garmin’s inReach Messenger Might Be a Lifesaver

Stay in touch when cell reception is impossible with Garmin’s new communication tool and companion app.

byRobert Bacon|
Garmin inReach Messenger
The Drive - Robert Bacon

If you’re going on a two-week adventure through the backcountry, a heavy-duty communication tool with navigation features such as a Garmin inReach Explorer+ is all but necessary. But you don’t need to be Bear Grylls to benefit from an inReach device. Cell service around the world can be spotty, and anyone headed into the wilderness can benefit from Garmin’s new inReach Messenger and companion app.

The inReach Messenger is a standalone device that enables you to stay connected through the Iridium satellite global network. You can check in with people, send location updates, and start and stop tracking your movements. There's even a dedicated button that sends an emergency SOS message to the Garmin International Emergency Response Coordination Center (IERCC). The IERCC will communicate with you via your inReach Messenger, notify the appropriate search and rescue organization, and monitor the incident until it’s resolved. A subscription is required to use these services, however.


The device has a battery life of up to 28 days and a “safety charging” feature. If your smartphone’s battery is dead, this feature gives it enough power to send custom text messages from the Garmin Messenger app. Garmin claims that the inReach Messenger is impact resistant and IPX7 rated, which means it can survive in three feet of water for 30 minutes. It measures 3.1 x 2.5 inches and weighs just 0.3 pounds. It can also pair with more than 80 Garmin devices, such as smartwatches, so you can access its features from your wrist, which could be useful in an emergency.  

The Messenger companion app works with your smartphone. It automatically chooses between Wi-Fi, cellular, or satellite connectivity to ensure all messages are sent and received with an active subscription for the Iridium network. You can participate in in-app group chats with other Messenger app users and send text messages to recipients who don't have the Messenger app. You can also access the inReach Messenger’s features, such as sending an SOS message or starting and stopping tracking via the app.


If you’re thinking about getting the inReach Messenger and want a Garmin smartwatch to pair it to, it’s hard to go wrong with the Garmin Fenix 7 Solar. Anyone who needs an SOS communication device that also has navigation features should consider the Garmin inReach Mini 2.

Let us know if you’re going to pick up the inReach Messenger in the comments.

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