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Old 05-25-2015   #1
 
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Niwot, Colorado
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GPS Revisited

I know this subject has been discussed before but with the fact that this technology changes so rapidly, I was wondering if anyone can provide some recent feedback on a good unit that:

1) provides two way emergency communication
2) provides mapping/waypoint navigation (able to upload know waypoints for mapped rivers)
3) is water resistant

Any other considerations I should consider?

I was looking at the Delome inreach explorer but would like to hear from folks that have used these devices on the river.

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Old 05-25-2015   #2
 
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I have been using the garmin oregon 550 on rivers for 6 years now. No 2-way emergency communications, but uploading waypoints is easy and I have jumped in the river with it on my PFD may times without incident. I use ExpertGPS - GPS Mapping Software for Garmin, Magellan, Lowrance, Eagle GPS to map out camps and river miles then upload it to the GPS. I like Expert GPS more than the Garmin software. I was playing around with the updated Oregon 650 last week and noticed the touch screen was better, they added a Qwerty keyboard and the layout was a little nicer than my unit.
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Old 07-08-2015   #3
 
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Anyone else want to chime in on this now that we are mid-stream (pun ntended) in the river running season?
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Old 07-09-2015   #4
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I have an InReach Explorer and love it. I rarely use the compass, map, and GPS features, as it's mostly a phone to me, but the 2 way texting works well. The website and software are a bit clunky, and texing/emailing are a bit slow with the on-screen keyboard, but I've had reliable communication from some pretty far flung places with the Explorer. Just yesterday our cell tower was out and it was useful around the house!

I did have a defective device early on and customer service at Delorme took care of me and replaced the unit immediately. It sounds like defective devices are uncommon - but test it before you go out!

I don't know of any other device that does everything you're asking about so it seems like the obvious choice.

There is a really, really long thread (and several shorter ones too) in the "Gear" forum on backpackinglight.com if you need more detail. Those nerds study the thing like it's the space shuttle!
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Old 07-09-2015   #5
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I used SPOT in the past, but just bought inReach Explorer (2 way txt and gps). Worked great in Deso and Lodore this year. All 3 buddies of mine have bought as well (it was on sale in REI). I canceled my SPOT contract.

Lodore ranger told me none of those "fancy toys" will work in the canyon and in case of emergency use the "standard" procedures for evac. I nodded and talked to my wife via inReach from Rippling Brook camp (way down in the canyon).

The cool thing about these devices vs a standard sat phones, is you don't need a persistent sat connection. The satellite can just fly over in a short period of time for you to send the signal/txt. I paired it with my phone and everyone could send a txt to their loved ones at home.

I went with the on/off contract with inReach, so I can cancel the sub when I need to.

Hope it helps.
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Old 07-09-2015   #6
 
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Niwot, Colorado
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Yea - #2 is pretty important. I'd compromise on the implementation of the emergency communication (very simplistic types of com) for good river navigation capabilities.
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Old 07-15-2015   #7
 
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
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The Delorme uses the Iridium satellite network- that seems to be the key in providing consistent connections. The long distance motorcycle community is in love with the Delorme unit and has left the Spot behind.

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