(Go to the 1st page of the thread and read through)
After a lot of research I've decided to go with the DeLorme Earthmate GPS paired with the InReach communicator, so I'll share my reasons and a comparison with the Spot communicator so others can make a decision. Two two products essentially offer the same features, with a few differences....
Pros of InReach:
--2 way messaging/message delivery confirmation
--better sattelite coverage (Iridium sattelite network)
Pros of Spot:
--better battery life (7-10 days vs. 60 hours for InReach)
--better social connectivity (tracking sent to Google Maps, Facebook integration, SPOT Adventures account)
Now, both devices offer SOS messaging, remote tracking, check-in/OK messaging, custom messages, and social networking integration. The InReach however provides two way messaging with the ability to receive messages. In a true rescue situation wouldn't you want to know when rescuers were due to arrive, or if they needed to communicate to you that a helicopter can't make it to your GPS point but if you moved 1/2 mile/500 feet down in elevation that they could attempt the rescue? Just knowing someone received the message and a rescue is being initiated is a lot of peace of mind. Aside from that, most reviews of the Spot indicate that message delivery is just that, spotty, with some messages not going through at all. The better battery life of the Spot communicator is a plus, but if you carry one pair of extra AA lithium batteries weighing 1oz the InReach goes to 120 hours (5 days and gets closer to matching the Spot). The 60 hour battery life was tested sending a track point every 10 minutes, so its battery life with more conservative use is probably even better. Note: the InReach is heavier, 8oz vs the Spot's 4oz. Still much lighter than a sattelite phone, and I could picture a windy storm white-out situation at 18,000 feet where no one would be able to hear me talking on the sattelite phone whereas texts can easily be typed and read.