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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I'm not certain how to start this discussion or exactly what questions to ask, so I'll just start.

My wife and I are planning a trip to the US and although we have done motorcycling adventures before, but this time will see a little more off-roading, with detours into less travelled areas and more remote locations.
Nothing too hardcore, but it does raise the spectre of what happens if we have an accident or there is an incident that leaves us stranded and out of cell phone coverage.

Previously, we have been self-reliant and always thought that we would simply get ourselves out of any scrape.
Last year, we travelled to northern India and up into the Himalayas where one of our team had a bad crash, smashing several ribs risking a collapsed lung with possible more serious internal injuries. It made me realise just how fragile the human body can be, hence my discussion topic.

I'm thinking of getting one of those Satellite Tracking devices - possibly the Garmin inReach SE+ or them ore compact inReach Mini, but I'm not clear on how the rescue side of things works.
We will have the general travel insurance cover, but for emergency assistance, evacuation and possibly recovery of the bike/s, I'm looking at things like Global Rescue.

Does anyone have experience with these devices, the support plan, and understand how the parts fit together to provide the support and assistance in the event of things going bad?
I appreciate that these are not inexpensive devices and services, but we believe in appropriate levels of insurance - just in case.
 

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Garmin InReach

I am not a short ride person, this summer alone went to the Arctic Ocean and back from NY. So my trips are more than a simple cross country for dinner. I have carried the Garmin InReach Se+ for a couple years, thankfully have not had to use it. I prefer it over the small InReach only because the screen and functions are easier within the unit, extremely durable and easy (except the texting part which is not easy on any of the units). There is the Earthmate you can link to through the cell but honestly I have never used it; seems like too much trouble. As for rescue services I use Ripcord. For me seemed the right move. I would thoroughly read about the various services and call them and discuss. After reviewing and speaking to Global and Ripcord, I chose Ripcord. Again, have not used it but don't plan on using their service. But for me if I do, well we will see.
 

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I have the inReach Mini and subscribe to the annual "Safety Plan". Supposedly, if I activated the SOS button, it triggers an interactive SOS message to GEOS a professional 24/7 global emergency monitoring and response coordination center. Their staff is available to respond to your messages, track your device and notify emergency responders in your area. I never had to use it but it's nice to have since I usually ride alone and gives my wife some peace of mind. To test it, I periodically send myself a preset text message to my email account and when I get home I check the location of where the message was sent from and it is extremely accurate. Of course there are other options (i.e. texting) on how send a message or to whom.
 

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I travel solo and went with the inReach Mini.

On-pavement I keep it turned off and in my tankbag.

Off-pavement I keep it turned on and strapped to my upper arm using a strap from Giant Loop:
https://www.giantloopmoto.com/product/tracker-packer/

The idea is, if you have a serious get-off and can't get to your bike or are somehow trapped or immobile, you can just reach over to your arm and push the SOS button.

The other thing I do with the inReach is send a pre-set "I am here" message wherever I happen to camp that night. inReach sends an email, with a hyperlink to a topo map showing exactly where you are, to an email list you set up beforehand online. It doesn't cost anything extra to send these.

There are other features, such as real-time tracking, but that is overkill for my purposes.

And as someone mentioned, you can link it to your phone to send and receive any message you want using your phone's interface (those messages cost extra).

I believe the inReach plans also include some kind of evacuation insurance (e.g. to pay for the rescue chopper or whatever) but I am not 100% sure and too lazy to look it up right now :)
 

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I believe the inReach plans also include some kind of evacuation insurance (e.g. to pay for the rescue chopper or whatever) but I am not 100% sure and too lazy to look it up right now :)
OK I went and checked what my USA inReach subscription covers and you can ADD:

Additional GEOS Search and Rescue Resources (17.95/yr)
Provides up to $100,000.00 USD in search and rescue resources.​

GEOS MEDEVAC ($129.95/yr for US & Canada, $175.00/yr global plan)
In the event of a hospital stay, be transported to the hospital of your choice anywhere in the world.​

These add-ons aren't obvious when just browsing the website.
 

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My buddy and I were each carrying tracking devices, me the inReach and him a Spot. We had an "incident" in Baja and we each activated our devices. His model of Spot just sends a SOS signal and you don't know if anyone gets the message. With the inReach I got a text from GEOS asking if I had an emergency and I confirmed we did. GEOS then hands the info off to Garmin and they take over. All Garmin does is locate local Search and Rescue teams as to your location. In our case there was no Search and Rescue so we had to self recover. Garmin never did contact me via text so we assumed we were on our own after 12 hrs of no contact. If traveling in N. America using a tracker with 2 way comm is better than nothing. I don't travel much in N America anymore so a tracker is of dubious value to me. I suppose my family will see where the bleached bones can be found. I now use a satellite phone and buy minutes only when I am heading out. I haven't had to use it and hope I don't need to but at least I can contact someone directly with a little help from my support family that monitors my whereabouts. For anyone that travels to remote areas I would recommend a sat phone. A bit pricey but I figure it as part of the cost of travel.
 

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For the inReach people...do you keep it activated all year or activate it when you are going on a trip? Are there hidden charges to use it for only parts of the year?
 

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For the inReach people...do you keep it activated all year or activate it when you are going on a trip? Are there hidden charges to use it for only parts of the year?
They have both annual plans and monthly "freedom" plans that you can activate / de-activate all you want.

The freedom plans are more expensive on a monthly basis but you can effectively choose how many months you get charged for. You just have to do the math to figure which plan is better for you based on the amount of travelling you anticipate doing each year.
 

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For the inReach people...do you keep it activated all year or activate it when you are going on a trip? Are there hidden charges to use it for only parts of the year?
They have different charges for monthly versus annually. If you're going to use it 9 months or more its cheaper to just make it an annual. But the charges are different depending on which device you get too. Might want to check garmin's web site for prices.

I just bought a Spot X and will activate it with an annual starting April 1.
 

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All Garmin does is locate local Search and Rescue teams as to your location. In our case there was no Search and Rescue so we had to self recover. Garmin never did contact me via text so we assumed we were on our own after 12 hrs of no contact.
That's disturbing. I've talked with other guys who've activated their inReach in Baja and had the Mexican military dispatched to them (in Mexico the armed services handles Search and Rescue).
 

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rescue services

The Garmin has monthly and annual subscriptions, I use the monthly. However, I subscribe to the basic GEOS and subscribe with Ripcord. I figure somewhere between the the costs of a rescue will be mostly covered. With air rescue heli and other costs, $100K probably does not go far, why chance it. Then Ripcord will evac me to my home hospital with their policy. I want all the coverage I hope never to use.
 

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For the inReach people...do you keep it activated all year or activate it when you are going on a trip? Are there hidden charges to use it for only parts of the year?
I ride in a LOT of areas in the NC, Tn, Ga mountains where cell service is spotty at best. I keep an active plan all year round and turn on the inReach every time I'm on the bike (not always the "tracking" function as this just lets one see where they've been). It still keeps up with where the devise is and in easy reach for activation. I don't keep my smart phone on my person while riding (I've somehow managed to loose a couple over the years).
 

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Emergencies

You might consider renting a satellite phone. Tests show they're not 100% foolproof. There's a few reviews on those Inreach type devices. check out https://youtu.be/SRgUQf9hnC0 for a comparison between two popular units. Also check his video on paring the '18 and later TFT. It's the most comprehensive video to date.
 

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Spot Gen 3

A relatively simple and affordable option is the SPOT Gen 3. I rode trails and backroads solo in the Pacific Northwest, and it allowed me to keep in touch with my wife. I never needed it in an emergency, but I had a buddy who used his several times after hard falls. But this was all in the US, so maybe this is little help for the international traveler. I always liked the tracking function when I got back to my computer. One thing to note: in hilly terrain and canyons, you can lose the GPS satellites. You can now pay by the month or annually. Mine is off for the winter.
 

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For the inReach people...do you keep it activated all year or activate it when you are going on a trip? Are there hidden charges to use it for only parts of the year?
I suspend my plan in December and reactivate it in March. No fuss.

I've never hit the SOS button on it but I do enjoy the social media aspect of the support. I publish a map to my friends and family and they can track my progress and satellite message me from the map app.

Most of the messages I've sent are to our wives "We're done riding for the day and in camp now." and the following morning "We survived the bear attack last night and on the road again."

We end up camping often in places that have no cell coverage.
 

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followup...

IRL is the inreach more expensive or cheaper to use than the SPOT? Significant?

I let my SPOT subscription expire, but I do like the SPOT's OK messages and tracking functions, as well as the HELP and 911 functions, and it appears the basic service from inreach includes similar functions, correct?
@GrayBeard, when you reactivate, is there a fee for that? Has anyone found the break even point for keeping it active all year vs activation a couple or three times a year?

And, I have frequently posted that I hate the Garmin user interface and hard-to-read screen on my zumo 665, and Garmin's reluctance to listen to users for software improvements or allow for customization like on your smart phone...do those frustrations exist for you on either of the inreach units?

Thanks
 

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Evac plan

Summoning help is only the beginning of resolving your troubles if you get injured. I suggest an insurance plan that will evacuate you (not merely pay, afterwards, to evac you, but actually coordinate it and make it happen,) to competent medical help, perhaps eventually back to your home country. Carefully read the exclusions; make sure your evac plan doesn't exclude the activities you propose. Also, most plans have age limits. I have seen some plans around $500. You get what you pay for. The costs of an injury are potentially enormous. Insurance is about lowering risk, not eliminating it. You may do some things that are excluded, then you accept those risks yourself.

I have an Inreach SE and it works fine, and also a Spot Trace. Reassuring to have.
 

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For the inReach people...do you keep it activated all year or activate it when you are going on a trip? Are there hidden charges to use it for only parts of the year?
I added the helo recovery/transport option and use the 12 month subscription. For me, located in the far NE Caribbean during storm season, I can use the mini to let someone know I'm ok when all other services are down. Of course the helo services are only available on the continent, where I ride 8 weeks or so a year, not here. Going on two and a half years since Maria we still don't have a functioning hospital. You got real trouble, they fly you out on either Medicare or some other government nickel. St. Croix "only" has a population of 45,000 souls, you'd think a hospital might be a priority........
 
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