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Delorme Inreach or Spot II?

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Delorme Inreach or Spot II?

Postby braxonclimber » Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:20 pm

I'm trying to decide which device to buy for some solo hiking. I want the more reliable device as I have read many negative reviews on the Spot II but it is quite cheaper than the Delorme Inreach. Has anyone on here used either? What's your opinion on reliability for both devices?
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Re: Delorme Inreach or Spot II?

Postby Kai » Sun Mar 11, 2012 5:08 am

I have the Delorme InReach.

The first one I got wouldn't synch with my Android.

I sent it back and the new one works fine.

I like it. I use it to send texts to my wife letting her know that I am ok. Makes it easier for her when I'm out climbing, camping, skiing, etc.

I've never used the Spot, so I can't comment on it.
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Re: Delorme Inreach or Spot II?

Postby LuminousAphid » Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:16 pm

I thought about using one of these things a year or so ago, but decided against it. I feel that with my style of solo hiking, it would make me more careless about turnaround times and taking risks and would ultimately end up hurting rather than helping me. I can see it going something like this:

*after hiking 30 mins past turnaround time, comes to a 50-degree snow slope of questionable stability just before summiting*
"Oh man, I'm so close, I can see the top right there... well, I have my ice axe and this SPOT beacon, so I'll just go for it and if anything happens, i can just call someone!"
*steps onto snow and promptly falls, beginning a rapid acceleration down the slope*
"Oh, It's time to self-arr---"
*reaches bottom of snow slope before arresting and flies over hidden cliff edge, dying instantly on impact 1000ft below*

If you're dead, having a beacon won't do you much good. If you lose it, the batteries die, or it just stops working, having a beacon won't do you much good.

If you substitute an emergency beacon for common sense, you are going to need to use it sometime. And that time, it may not work. I'm definitely not saying this will always be how people act if they carry a beacon, but I fear that this may be the psychological effect on some users and it might be on myself, and that's why I didn't buy it (also because they are expensive). I feel like technology such as GPS and emergency beacons have their place in the backcountry, but that relying on them exclusively will inevitably get you into trouble.

I prefer having a compass, altimeter and map of the area I plan to be in, so that I can get myself out if I get lost, and also to tell people where I am going so that they can find me if I don't check back on time. The safety net of a SPOT beacon or similar might just make me get careless, so I don't use one, even solo.
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Re: Delorme Inreach or Spot II?

Postby fluxlib » Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:41 pm

You might want to research the inreach's GPS capability.

They both use the GEOS network.
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Re: Delorme Inreach or Spot II?

Postby DukeJH » Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:29 pm

I had a Spot II (before I left on top of the car) and my mom and wife appreciated me being able to let them know I was OK. Although it may have taken some time to get the message out from when I sent it, generally, the messages did get out. The tracking was kind of cool, being able to see where you had been provided the tree cover wasn't dense enough to block the signal.

@Luminous: The SPOT is not a beacon, it is a messaging device. My wife bought my Spot for her peace of mind. I would send a message at the trailhead when I start and again at the trailhead when I return and send an OK generally every hour. She understood that if she didn't hear exactly every hour it was no big deal; the big deal was the last message on the return. The SPOT did not affect my judgement, I'm pretty conservative anyway. I agree that a messaging device won't do you much good unconcious or dead, other than it may get SAR close to your last location. A beacon should emit a signal that will direct those tracking the signal to your location (think avalanche beacon or EPIRB).
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Re: Delorme Inreach or Spot II?

Postby MoapaPk » Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:24 pm

The spot ii is temperamental-- more so than the spot i. If you don't have the track feature, and depend on using "check in" messages, this may interest you:

I told the spot technicians that I used the unit to send periodic checks before and after I went over iffy stretches, and he recommened I keep the unit turned on all day, and send messages as needed. So I tried walking around a 2.5 mile loop:
1) as he suggested, with the unit kept on, pressing the check button every 5 minutes;
2) pressing the check button every 5 minutes, then turning off the unit after with in seconds of receiving the first "sent" light, and turning it on again before the next press of the check button.

Method 1: 3 out of 11 messages went through (this was the tech-recommended method);
Method 2: 9 out of 10 messages went through.

After many conversations with the techs, I've concluded that most don't know how this unit works; specifically, they don't know the algorithms the unit/satellite/groundstation uses to decide if a message is valid (e.g., inconsistent GPS reading over several send tries).
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Re: Delorme Inreach or Spot II?

Postby fluxlib » Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:23 pm

They both use the same network it appears, so reliability might be the same really.

Learn to use both and test the heck out of it with the OK or tracking if you sign up for it.

MoapaPK's test is pretty telling and good information.

There's some piece of mind with both devices. You have an option in case of emergency. It would not change my mind as to the risks I might take. Like any device though, it has it's temperaments and limitations and is prone to some failure.
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Re: Delorme Inreach or Spot II?

Postby LuminousAphid » Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:36 pm

DukeJH wrote:@Luminous: The SPOT is not a beacon, it is a messaging device.


The necessity of this is even more confusing to me, in that case. I guess it's another effect of the culture that has sprung up around cell phones and instant contact to anyone. These days it is considered some kind of necessity to be in immediate contact with anyone you please; people don't even leave voicemails anymore, because, "I can just text him/her."

I would probably be very frustrated knowing the amount of daylight I'm losing fiddling with this device each hour so that someone can have their peace of mind. I guess people have widely varied personal situations, but I hope I never need this

edit; I realize this sounded judgemental and snarky, and I apologize
Last edited by LuminousAphid on Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Delorme Inreach or Spot II?

Postby MoapaPk » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:01 am

LuminousAphid wrote:I would probably be very frustrated knowing the amount of daylight I'm losing fiddling with this device each hour so that someone can have their peace of mind. I guess people have widely varied personal situations, but I hope I never need this


It takes me about 1.5 minutes each time I send a message. If you have tracking enabled and the device is on the top of your pack, you take no time. I generally use water/rest/photography/clean-boots breaks to send "I'm OK" (requires pushing two buttons) -- mainly so my wife will let me hike alone. I travel in lots of areas that have no cell service and are very-rarely traveled. These transponders are one-way -- they don't require any answer (unless you need 911). I've done lots of mondo solo/remote trips with the spot i and spot ii, and never felt like they were taking away any daylight (e.g., 20+ miles in a day, 9000' elevation gain, few or no trails).

I agree, a lot of people would find these devices frustrating. I find them less trying than cell phones, and much more reliable outdoors, assuming you know what you are doing (which may mean you know more than the technicians). If you have trouble with technology, don't use these satellite devices.
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Re: Delorme Inreach or Spot II?

Postby DukeJH » Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:37 pm

MoapaPk wrote:I generally use water/rest/photography/clean-boots breaks to send "I'm OK" (requires pushing two buttons) -- mainly so my wife will let me hike alone.


This is my mode of operation as well.

[quote"LuminousAphid"]edit; I realize this sounded judgemental and snarky, and I apologize[/quote]

No problem. Different strokes for different folks.
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Re: Delorme Inreach or Spot II?

Postby Buz Groshong » Wed Apr 04, 2012 4:43 pm

MoapaPk wrote:The spot ii is temperamental-- more so than the spot i. If you don't have the track feature, and depend on using "check in" messages, this may interest you:

I told the spot technicians that I used the unit to send periodic checks before and after I went over iffy stretches, and he recommened I keep the unit turned on all day, and send messages as needed. So I tried walking around a 2.5 mile loop:
1) as he suggested, with the unit kept on, pressing the check button every 5 minutes;
2) pressing the check button every 5 minutes, then turning off the unit after with in seconds of receiving the first "sent" light, and turning it on again before the next press of the check button.

Method 1: 3 out of 11 messages went through (this was the tech-recommended method);
Method 2: 9 out of 10 messages went through.

After many conversations with the techs, I've concluded that most don't know how this unit works; specifically, they don't know the algorithms the unit/satellite/groundstation uses to decide if a message is valid (e.g., inconsistent GPS reading over several send tries).


You need to do your experiment at least 10 more times! Your results are statistically insignificant; the difference between the two could easily have been due to changes in satellite locations. 8)
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Re: Delorme Inreach or Spot II?

Postby MoapaPk » Wed Apr 04, 2012 5:45 pm

I would try the test more times (yes satellites move), but since the SPOT technicians were working with the hypothesis that "this will always improve your results," it didn't take a strong test to disprove them. Though I WOULD like to have a more detailed conversation with the techs!
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Re: Delorme Inreach or Spot II?

Postby mconnell » Sun Apr 08, 2012 7:14 pm

LuminousAphid wrote: I realize this sounded judgemental and snarky, and I apologize


No. Mostly it just sounds like you're single! (My wife got used to not hearing from me long ago. She probably doesn't even know that such toys exist!)
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Re: Delorme Inreach or Spot II?

Postby opjaque » Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:15 am

SPOT is on GlobalStar. Inreach is on Iridium. A previous post incorrectly stated they were on the same system.
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Re: Delorme Inreach or Spot II?

Postby peninsula » Thu Apr 26, 2012 3:43 pm

I'm solo on the vast majority of backcountry trips. I've been using the Spot I device since its inception. I send OK messages twice daily when in the backcountry for wife, family, and friends. It works well with only a rare failure (one time out of the last two trips of 11 and 7 days duration). All of my contacts understand an OK message will rarely fail, and no action is taken unless 24 hours pass without receiving a transmission. It might not be perfect, but it is far better than before the technology.

I'm interested in the texting feature of Delorme Inreach and will consider upgrading. Thanks!
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