inreach messenger
Garmin's inReach Messenger enables global connectivity through your smartphone, even in the backcountry; (photo/Garmin)

Garmin Launches inReach Messenger & App for ‘Most Efficient Messaging’ Yet

From full Wi-Fi to zero bars, the Garmin Messenger satellite communicator and companion app target simple and ‘seamless’ messaging with or without your phone.

With the inReach Messenger, Garmin offers a device that works on its own, or with smartphones to keep users connected, even in the backcountry.

The outdoor tech company’s latest device and app provide satellite connectivity to keep texts going after cell service runs out. What’s more, it functions on- and off-grid by automatically connecting to Wi-Fi, cellular, or the iridium satellite network.

It can even provide emergency power to dead phones, enabling users to stay in touch with friends and relatives.

The little 4-ounce box provides global two-way texting, location sharing, and SOS capabilities. It works both as a standalone device for SOS calls and messages, or in tandem with the Garmin Messenger app.

“It is a perfect device for those who want to easily keep in touch when outside of cell coverage,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of global consumer sales. “Like all inReach devices, inReach Messenger has the ability to send an SOS message to the Garmin IERCC, which has responded to more than 9,000 inReach SOS incidents.”

inreach messenger
The front and back of the inReach Messenger; (photos/Garmin)

inReach Messenger With App

The inReach Messenger and Garmin smartphone app work together to choose between Wi-Fi, cell service, or satellite connectivity.

The company said in a press release that the device ensures delivery of every message. As inReach customers expect, the Messenger is a true inReach device and can send an SOS message to the Garmin International Emergency Response Coordination Center (IERCC). The center operates on a 24/7 basis.

Paired with the app, the device allows users to continue sending texts even without service. Where cell service ends, the device automatically switches to the Iridium satellite network.

Friends and family members don’t need to have an inReach device, either. They just need the Messenger app to stay in touch through texting.

inReach Messenger as Standalone Device

It’s all too easy to lose a cellphone in the wilderness (or simply run out of battery life).

That’s why the inReach Messenger also functions without a smartphone or the Garmin Messenger app. It’s possible to notify contacts of trip progress through messages, or to send location updates and SOS messages — all from the device.

And inReach users of old will recognize this functionality. It has a dedicated SOS button that quickly sends an emergency message. Once Garmin receives it, the company’s IERCC will contact the closest search-and-rescue organization.

The center will also notify the user of its progress, sending a confirmation that help is coming, along with updates. And because inReach Messenger works so closely with your phone, it also knows your emergency contacts.

“The IERCC may also reach out to the user’s designated emergency contacts and will continue to monitor the incident until it is resolved,” the company said.

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Various screenshots of the Garmin Messenger app, which offers texting, weather, and other features; (images/Garmin)

inReach Messenger: Final Details

In default settings, the inReach Messenger provides up to 28 days of battery life.

It’s also slim and easy to carry. Measuring 3.1 inches x 2.5 inches, the device fits in the palm of your hand. The company said the inReach Messenger resists impact and can withstand “incidental exposure of water up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes.”

Users can also pair it with more than 80 compatible Garmin devices, including smartwatches and navigators. When paired, the inReach messenger enables the same functionality as it does on a smartphone.

The inReach even has a Safety Charging feature that allows users to connect a dead cellphone to the device. It will charge the phone enough for users to once again send custom text messages from the Garmin app.

Interested? Garmin will sell the inReach Messenger for $300 MSRP. However, for SOS messaging, owners must also pay for the Garmin subscription plan, which costs $15 monthly, or $144 for a year.

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Andrew McLemore

An award-winning journalist and photographer, Andrew McLemore brings more than 14 years of experience to his position as Associate News Editor for Lola Digital Media. Andrew is a musician, climber and traveler who currently lives in Cuenca, Ecuador, which he uses as a home base for adventures throughout the Americas. When he's not writing, playing gigs or exploring the outdoors, he's hanging out with his dog Campana.