Garmin InReach Mini 2 Satellite Communicator | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Garmin InReach Mini 2 Satellite Communicator | Review

The miniature satellite communicator that packs a GPS-loaded punch has been updated. Here's what to expect...

Why We Chose The Garmin InReach Mini 2: Tiny, dependable, long battery life

Just like the original pocket-sized InReach, the all-new InReach Mini 2 brings an impressive feature set into a tiny form factor, giving you the ability to communicate with friends and family, letting them know you’re safe and well in the wilderness. And there are some significant new updates too: the Mini 2 has better battery life, an improved user interface, and it works with a simpler and more effective phone app too.

Related: Garmin Instinct 2 Solar Review

The InReach Mini 2 works as an all-in-one satellite communicator, personal locator beacon and satellite navigation tracker that Garmin has, somehow, housed into a miniature package that comes out smaller than a chocolate bar, while only weighing in at 100 grams.

Photos: Mike Drummond

If you’re a trail runner, fastpacker, or mountaineer who values the weight of your pack, then the InReach Mini 2 is going to be right up your street. Let’s dive into this impressive featureset.


First of all, and perhaps most important to a satellite communicator, is the ability for the InReach Mini 2 to talk to multiple satellites, which is essential stuff when you’re miles out in a deep valley and looking to seek out a signal to relay a message. This satellite fluency comes from the model’s ability to speak to three of the largest satellite networks – GALILEO, QZSS and BeiDou – giving you extensive coverage and a better chance of finding a GPS signal.

GPS strength is then boosted by making use of an electric compass to aid faster satellite acquisition and more coverage in challenging environments, compared to just relying on GPS alone.

Related: Best GPS Watches

This satellite network gives the device the ability to send two-way text messages, provide consistent GPS waypoint tracking, download weather updates and, in life threatening situations, the InReach Mini 2 has the ability to trigger an interactive SOS message.

This personal locator beacon (PLB) feature can be activated by revealing the SOS button by pulling the SOS tab and holding the button down. The SOS message is then related to the Garmin IERCC service, a 24/7 staffed professional emergency response coordination centre, who will then escalate things to the relevant emergency services in your local region while keeping yourself and your kin updated on the whereabouts of the rescue team.

“It has an impressive amount of battery life.”

While the device might be miniature, it has an impressive amount of battery life to allow you to keep relaying your position even when you’re days into a long trek. It equates to 14 days of continuous run time in the default 10-minute tracking mode, or 30 days when you space the tracking to 30-minute intervals. These GPS intervals are stored onto the device the moment you start tracking meaning that if you manage to find yourself lost or disoriented, you can then retrace your steps by following the on-screen breadcrumb trail.

GPS features can be activated by scrolling through what Garmin calls an “intuitive user interface” which allows you to navigate through location updates, weather alerts and messages in an extremely, you guessed it, intuitive way thanks to the new ‘quick view’ feature that filters out all but the essentials that you need to view. This seamless device navigation is all shown through a new and updated LCD screen that’s been optimised to be clear and legible in all weather conditions.

And, while the LCD screen and side-mounted buttons can be fiddly at the best of times, the InReach is able to piggyback onto the larger screen of a smartphone (through the Garmin Explore App) to quickly type messages, get up-to-date weather information, download a variety of maps and use the new course creator to mark and start an automatically generated course line.

It’s important to bear in mind that you need to purchase one of Garmin’s subscriptions in order to operate this. They’re kind of like phone subscriptions where you can pick one that you think will be best suited to your usage and you can pick either a monthly plan or a year-long one.

The InReach Mini 2 in use during our Test Team weekend in the Lake District. Photo: Neil Irwin

Garmin InReach Mini 2

Selected for the Outdoor 100 2022/23
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