PROS: We've had our InReach Explorer over a year now. It comes with us on every trip. The top feature the two way communication aspect. Just to simply say “Don’t worry” we are running a few hours late or have a flat tire. It is so helpful in case of an injury that needs Search and Rescue attention to be able to relay back and forth exact coordinate information, medical information etc. One way beacons can possibly ping your location wrong and SAR will go in circles looking for you. It has also been so helpful to be able to hear from home when there is an emergency and I need to turn back. We have used ours on camping trips, mountain trips, as well as travelling (it works around the world). As long as you have some sky exposure (best with south views), the reception is great. I love the GPS aspect of the Explorer but the simpler InReach SE would still provide the essential two way communication. The Explorer also has an app that connects with your smart phone to make sending messages as easy as sending a text. As well your family can be sent a link to track your progress. It tracks your speed as well as location so your emergency contact can see if you have spent a long time in one spot or are moving as expected. It is an all around great purchase, and considering that it could save even just one unnecessary SAR call (maybe you were simply running late), or save your life in an emergency, it is worth the expense.
CONS: While hiking in deep valley’s reception can be spotty. If an emergency happened in a deep, east/west facing canyon, you would have to hike out of the canyon to find reception. We have talked to people with other emergency beacons though and have found that the InReach will find reception before other devices. Always use best safety practices to avoid the need for emergency resuce!
OVERALL: We give the InReach Explorer a 9 out of 10 for it’s easy to use app, tacking abilities and two way communitcation!