Ages ago, I got into a nasty motorcycle wreck in the canyons of Los Angeles. I had a broken shoulder, bruised ribs and spine, a concussion, and zero cell reception. Luckily for me, a ranger passed by a mere two minutes after I hit the cliff wall and was able to get me help. But a moment before, I had nothing and no one. I was alone and battered to all hell. 

It could’ve been way worse, too. Before my accident, and even after, I’d seen folks go over the same cliffs and tumble hundreds of feet down into the base of the canyons. And you can still find monthly news articles of people getting lost in the woods or suffering the same accident, only to be found when search and rescue employ helicopters or massive manhunts. Years later, I also lost a friend who was out on a long motorcycle trip. 

My accident would’ve still sucked, sure, but had I had a Garmin InReach Mini 2, I would’ve at least had access to help had that ranger not shown up. And I can’t help but wonder about those other cases, including my friend’s. What if they had this piece of technology?

Garmin InReach Mini 2

Even after my wreck, it took a while for me to adopt the Garmin sat comms. Years, if I’m being honest. But now that I have, I can tell you I was an absolute idiot for not doing so sooner. It’s become the one essential piece of gear, as it’s not just a safety item, but it gives my wife and family peace of mind whenever I leave the house on some trek. 

Heading off for a long road trip on a bike? It’s attached to my USWE backpack. Into the woods either on a dirt bike or driving my family’s Can-Am Maverick? The Garmin is there at the ready. Hiking into the backcountry to hunt or fishing trip? Again, attached to my Sitka Mountain Hauler pack. With me when I go to a Ski-Doo press ride in a week? It’s coming with. I can’t stress enough how important I feel this little piece of technology is. 

I’ve been far in the backcountry on moto trips and still been able to talk to my friends and family without issue. And this year, when I went overnight hunting for the first time with my Can-Am, the InReach Mini 2 was by my side, texting my wife updates that I was good even though a torrential storm blew through. What I also appreciate is that the Garmin has a dual interface, as you have the ability to use the Garmin itself or your phone to reach out to folks. This acts as a fail-safe in case you break your phone—something I’m prone to do. I can’t even recall how my times I’ve sent my wife “I’m still good lol” messages through Garmin’s app.

Garmin InReach Mini 2
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And while constant contact is great, Garmin’s engineering doesn’t skimp its is stupid strong. In the three years I’ve been running the InReach Mini 2, I’ve fallen off of multiple motorcycles right onto it, thrown it in mud puddles, snow banks, and rivers, dropped it unceremoniously into our Can-Am Maverick’s footwells or attached it to the rearview mirror, and taken all manner of spills while climbing up and down mountains chasing elk. It’s been beaten to the tune of 280 BPM, but even after all that abuse, it looks nearly brand new. 

You also have access to route tracking, GPS, and more through both the app and the device. One feature I use constantly is the route tracker, especially when I’m riding a new trail or hiking further and farther into the backcountry while hunting. There’s also available weather patterning and works with a handful of other Garmin products, like the company’s satellite navigation units and watches. Still need one of the latter. 

About the only issue I’ve come across is all about how forgetful I am about turning the damn thing off. Undoubtedly, whenever I head off on an adventure, I turn the InReach Mini 2 on and once mischief has been managed, I head home, take off my pack, and…forget to turn it off. Luckily, the battery life is great, good enough for “up to 14 days at 10-minute tracking send interval with standard activity recording with full sky view, up to 30 days at 30-minute tracking send interval with standard activity recording with full sky view, and up to 1 year when powered off.” More than enough for most people, that is unless you’re me.

Garmin InReach Mini 2

Charging, however, doesn’t take all that long, and with a modicum of foresight, you’ll likely never kill the InReach Mini 2’s battery. Seriously, you’d have to be on an expedition into the furthest reaches of the Amazon or Siberia to kill this thing. And even then, with some thoughtfulness, and sparingly using the device, you could get out of those situations unscathed on a single battery. 

I can’t, however, talk about the Garmin without talking about price. For the average consumer looking at its $400 entry price, as well as a subscription plan, it’s expensive. But how much is your continued safety worth? I know from personal experience that I’d spend this and more to ensure I return from whatever adventure I go on. That I’m in contact with the outside world even when I’m far off into the woods or riding canyons. 

Maybe it’s me getting older and having kids. Maybe it’s informed by the experiences I’ve had. But for me, the Garmin InReach Mini 2 is essential to my riding and fun, and you should think about making it a part of your essential gear, too. This little thing makes it so that I’ll never be lost.

At least until I want to be.

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