Delorme inReach SE
Doing a solo kayaking expedition doesn’t have to be a solitary activity. Having the Delorme inReach SE allowed me to connect to people without ever having to take out my phone or even send a single text. All I would do was share my coordinates via a social media app on the inReach. There were even times when I did not share my coordinates but was surprised to hear my name called, carried across the water by favorable winds, as fellow expedition kayaker friends were tracking/pinging my location via my Mapshare page and wanted to join up with me for a portion of the days paddle. In my opinion, that’s benefit enough to get the inReach, but just to pack it in, the inReach also provides you with a functional GPS when paired with a compatible device and in my case it was a iPad air (protected using the Aquapac iPad case). When I hit some rough and hard to navigate areas, I took out the iPad and used the Earthmate app to find my location and orient myself with my surroundings.
Although I’ve covered a lot in the intro, let me break down some of the benefits:
- Having a Mapshare Page was priceless. Because the inReach was using a passive tracking system (can send tracking points all day without your interaction) it allows a connection to your community of friend and family with only a single touch of a button.
- I touched briefly on how the inReach allows other to ping your location. This basically means that, through the Mapshare page, other can click a button and find your exact location at that time. This was invaluable for me one night when I decided to do a 12-hour paddle across the Naruto channel and unbeknownst to me, I was off my intended landing location by a few hundred yards. Out of the dark night, I heard my name called and looking to shore, I saw a friend who told me of my navigational error because he was consistently pinging my location.
- The SOS feature is also invaluable, especially for the solo expedition kayaker. There were stretches of days where I did not see anyone, yet I knew that if I was in dire need of assistance, I could always turn to the inReach.
- Last but not least, the costs (both for the unit and monthly fees) are considerably cheaper than the competitors like Yellow Brick/Spot. In regards to coverage, inReach has completely global coverage provided by the Iridium network.
The inReach really added more then I could have ever asked for, to my expedition. I was able to connect with people all up and down the southeastern coast of Japan, from Yamaguchi to Tokyo and all because of my Mapshare page and the ability to ping my location. It also gave me the peace of mind knowing that I could push the SOS button and get help if I really needed it. I would absolutely recommend this to a fellow expedition kayaker.