Garmin InReach vs Spot 3.0 Subscription Costs

DrNeo

Premier Member
#1
I may have a small problem in overanalyzing some decisions, but you guys and gals won't hold that against me will ya?

I ran the numbers on how much each current (as of 4/6/2018 at 8:23 CDT) satellite tracker subscription would cost me per riding season. In Minnesota, that's generally around April 1st to October 31st. Personally, I think that most people would choose the Garmin "Recreation" plan, and the Spot "Basic" plan. Both provide 5-10 minute tracking, SOS, custom messages, etc. Garmin has the ability to go month by month (which could help reduce costs), while with Spot, you're stuck with it for the whole year.

For my application, I came up with a cost difference of $44.62 per year.

I've decided that ~$45 per year is worth it to garner the additional abilities that Garmin currently has - namely the ability to send and receive text messages (hey, I'm defined as a "millennial" by wikipedia), and receive weather reports.

I submit to you my numbers:
 
#7
Great writeup. It seems a bit funny to me to compare the price so in depth, but then settle on the pricier one anyway, but for those features it makes a lot of sense. But what about really overanalyzing it; if you go to the cheaper plan, you have ~15,000 tracking points to break even, so 250 hours of tracking at 10min/point.... You still have the SOS ability, and if just doing a few SS1K tracking, general riding no tracking, it could be even cheaper. Hmm...
 

DrNeo

Premier Member
#8
Great writeup. It seems a bit funny to me to compare the price so in depth, but then settle on the pricier one anyway, but for those features it makes a lot of sense. But what about really overanalyzing it; if you go to the cheaper plan, you have ~15,000 tracking points to break even, so 250 hours of tracking at 10min/point.... You still have the SOS ability, and if just doing a few SS1K tracking, general riding no tracking, it could be even cheaper. Hmm...
Agreed! Last year I needed about 839 hours of tracking though... for this https://ridingminnesota.blogspot.com/

This year, not so much... :rolleyes:
 

BMW RT Pilot

Premier Member
#9
So...I don't see the value of these devices vs. using my cellphone and BubblerGPS. Yes I understand that you can text from these devices and in some remote locations, these devices would be the only things getting a signal out. But for those situations, I would just ask around to borrow one for that specific trip.
 

DrNeo

Premier Member
#10
So...I don't see the value of these devices vs. using my cellphone and BubblerGPS. Yes I understand that you can text from these devices and in some remote locations, these devices would be the only things getting a signal out. But for those situations, I would just ask around to borrow one for that specific trip.
Yeah, cellphone and bubbler can do most of your tracking if you stick to "normal" areas.

You'd be surprised how many places you can't get a decent cell phone signal (At least where I've ridden lately). I like that my Garmin also has $100,000 worth of insurance if I have to activate the HELP button.

They are also water/dust proof, so I don't have to worry about them, compared to my overly-expensive smart phone... plus the battery life is amazing.

To each his own...
 

SteveAikens

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#11
From Sunday, June 30. This happened on the way home to Clovis, NM from Greenville, SC.

This copied from an email I sent friends watching my ride.

I had a rear flat on my bike. Had I personally chosen the location – I could not have found one more remote. I was on US 82 [TX114] approximately 15 miles west of Guthrie, TX when I felt an unexpected rear wiggle. Anyone that’s had a rear flat at speed on a motorcycle knows what that feels like. I had just passed a picnic area so I flipped a quick U-turn and made it back to get safely off the road. I immediately removed the saddlebags and trunk from the bike and got it up on the center stand. Checking the tire, it was likely down to about 10-15 lbs. at that point. Inspecting the tire, no nails, screws or holes in the tread area. There IS about an inch long thin, jagged area near the shoulder of the tire that appears to be a split/tire belt separation point.

The tire that was supposedly mounted just before I picked the bike up is NOT the tire that belongs on the bike. It’s a sport bike version of the Pilot Road 4, not the Pilot Road 4 GT [grand touring] tire that was developed for heavier bikes under long riding conditions, especially so in higher heat. It was 99° when I pulled of the road, that according to TXDOT had a surface temp of 123°.


Anyway, the location was a cell phone dead area. No chance at all of calling for help, texting or having someone call me unless it was less than an instant. I was forced to use the SOS on my SPOT to get word to anyone. Roughly 30 minutes later, TXDOT arrived and loaned me his phone – which DID work where I was.

Added:

As a side note, here in the central western states - less populated areas and prairie areas are still generally unlikely to have cell service. Trusting your life to a cell signal can be risky business. In the area I had the flat, and with the temps being what they were - I can tell you without reservation, I was glad I had a SPOT to get help to me. Use your own best discretion ;)
 

Lanval

Well-Known Member
#13
Concerning the SPOT Gen 3, is my understanding correct, that it does not store GPS locations and sends when stailite is available?
 

SteveAikens

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#14
Concerning the SPOT Gen 3, is my understanding correct, that it does not store GPS locations and sends when stailite is available?
Yes. SPOT gen 3 will send only when it sees satellites. Locations transmitted are continuous. However, If you're in a location where the SPOT Gen 3 can't see open sky - for example in a cave - it can't transmit but as soon as you come out of said cave - the history will show when you went in - and when you came out - nothing in between.

IOW, SPOT can not see or store any GPS connection it can not verify - aka, no satellites. Go in the cave - no GPS signal. Out of the cave, it can record what it sees.
 

keithu

Active Member
#15
In the western US it's pretty easy to be out of cell range. Yesterday I rode 550 miles from Oregon to my Dad's near Reno. I was on the road for nine hours and had cell service maybe half the time.
 

Paul Meyer

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#16
During IBR came across another rider who had fallen over and was trapped under his bike for 15 min before we arrived. No cell service 1 am 5 miles from main road a little north of San Fransisco CA. He had activated his Inreach and was texting with them. It took emergency services over an hour to get there. Everything turned out ok. I am thinking of going Inreach now away from spot gen3. The peace of mind knowing help was on the way while we sat there waiting can not be over stated. I will continue to have some type of satellite tracker in addition to my cell phone. There are just too many places without cell coverage.
 

Vlad

Premier Member
#17
I’m based in Australia ,there are vast areas “off the beaten track” where cell service is very limited, in fact only one provider has a look in, so if your not with them? I also use spot Gen 3 and as yet, with the exception of very bad weather have not found an instance where this thing does not know where I am. The problem is communicating in less than dire straits ,like a vehicle breakdown ,and to this end I opted to buy a Satphone with prepaid airtime that has a shelf life of 12 months. So you carry it with you everywhere and don’t load the airtime untill you need it. After the initial cost of the device it’s about 80 bucks for 50 mins airtime, I often go a year without using it, but it’s cheap insurance and you can reach anyone as long as you can see the sky. The device itself is less cost than you may imagine and once you load the airtime you have 30 days to use it.
 
#18
Question. I thought the IBR required a Spot subscription. Said another way, could I have completed registration (yes, IF I had a golden ticket) with the Garmin instead of Spot?
 

Ira

Staff member
Premier Member
IBR Finisher
IBR Staff
#19
Question. I thought the IBR required a Spot subscription. Said another way, could I have completed registration (yes, IF I had a golden ticket) with the Garmin instead of Spot?
Yes.

As the rules state with regard to tracking points (whichaccount for 10% of the total points needed to be a finisher:

"Points are awarded at each checkpoint to any rider for whom IBR staff was able to monitor the riders progress approximately once every 10 minutes while the motorcycle was moving using a satellite tracking device carried by the rider . . ."

Ira Agins
Iron Butt Association
 

cacomly

Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#20
During IBR came across another rider who had fallen over and was trapped under his bike for 15 min before we arrived. No cell service 1 am 5 miles from main road a little north of San Fransisco CA. He had activated his Inreach and was texting with them. It took emergency services over an hour to get there. Everything turned out ok. I am thinking of going Inreach now away from spot gen3. The peace of mind knowing help was on the way while we sat there waiting can not be over stated. I will continue to have some type of satellite tracker in addition to my cell phone. There are just too many places without cell coverage.
I believe SPOT has a similar device now, SPOT Gen X?

SPOT is annoying with their recent price hikes so I may start looking at the Inreach next winter

Yes. SPOT gen 3 will send only when it sees satellites. Locations transmitted are continuous. However, If you're in a location where the SPOT Gen 3 can't see open sky - for example in a cave - it can't transmit but as soon as you come out of said cave - the history will show when you went in - and when you came out - nothing in between.

IOW, SPOT can not see or store any GPS connection it can not verify - aka, no satellites. Go in the cave - no GPS signal. Out of the cave, it can record what it sees.
And prior to this IBR who would ever think an LD Rider would go into a cave :)