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Top 5 Emergency Rescue Devices to have in your pack – 2021 Edition

Joel Clement

This list includes both PLB only devices and Satellite Communicators devices that incorporate emergency locating services.

1. Garmin inReach Mini (Satellite Communicator with Emergency Services and Family/Friends) - $529 RRP*

inReach Mini Orange
inReach Mini Orange - Size

inReach Mini - PLB/Satellite Communicator

The Garmin inReach Mini is the little engine that could. This pocket-sized device can send and receive messages anywhere in the world and has been our most popular satellite communicator to date.

You can also track and plan your adventure route. This route will update your position live to your phone on a topographical map (via the Earthmate app) or share it to the inReach website portal so your friends and family can keep up to date with your adventure progress.

Pros Cons
2-way satellite Messenger and Emergency Beacon contact via GEOS Subscription fees
Under 10cm (H) and 5cm (W) – perfect for pockets Typing custom messages without using your phone is clunky and slow.
Battery Life Customisations

-          Up to 50 hours at 10-minute tracking with 2-minute logging (default)

Up to 30 hours at 10-minute tracking with 1-second logging

Up to 20 days at the 30-minute interval power save mode

Up to 1 year when powered off

 

Cannot hot-swap batteries

The inReach Mini is likely the most popular item on this list; it works great as a navigator, 2-way messenger for friends/family/colleagues, and a proven track record for emergency rescues. I’d feel confident recommending any product on this list, but the inReach Mini is the one I’ve used the most and my personal preference.

The inReach Mini is available here along with all compatible accessories and a 360-degree product view.

*Price correct as of 8/02/2021 and doesn't include the cost of an ongoing subscription

2. RescueME PLB1 (PLB Only) - $399 RRP*

The RescueME PLB 1 is extremely small and lightweight. If you’re looking for just a PLB without all the bells and whistles, then this is the perfect option. The rescue me doesn’t come with all the additional features like 2-way messaging or topographic mapping functionality. Still, at its core, PLB’s are only designed to do one job, and that is to send out an emergency distress call to help keep you safe.

RescueMe PLB 1
RescueMe PLB 1 - Size
RescueME PLB 1
RescueME PLB 1 - PLB Only

It’s important to note one of the main advantages of a PLB only device is that battery level when you trigger will most likely not be a concern. The Rescue Me PLB1 comes with a 7-year battery life and once activated will last just under 24 hours continuously sending out your location information. The trade-off here is that you lose the ability to message people for situations below an emergency level. This model retails for $399, which is still a considerable amount of money, but you do have the benefit of no ongoing subscription costs.

Pros Cons
Extremely small and lightweight. I cannot stress enough about a small profile unit's advantage whether you need to pack it or wear it on your person. No 2-way Satellite Messaging
Set and forget, just keep it within reach in an emergency. Checking Battery Status and testing the unit can be a little finicky.
No subscription fee or ongoing fees

The RescueME PLB 1 is the most popular PLB only device with its perfect size and reliable functionality. This model is a favourite for people who either already have a navigator solution or only want to contact people in an emergency.

The Rescue Me PLB 1 is available here with in-depth product specifications and Customer Reviews.

*Price correct as of 8/02/2021

3.GME MT410G (PLB Only)

The GME MT410G while not quite as small as the RescueMe PLB 1 is still compact and easy to store. The GME dimensions are 71 (W) x 135 (H) x 38 (D) mm making it roughly double the size of the RescueMe.

GME MT410G
GME MT410G - Size
GME MT410G
GME MT410G PLB - PLB Only

Honestly, there’s very little between the GME MT410G and the Rescue Me PLB they both operate only as emergency PLB’s with no additional functionality. The GME retails for $349, which is slightly lower than the RescueME so the decision between them will stem mostly from a buying a cheaper unit or a smaller device.

Pros Cons
Small and Compact design. No 2-way Satellite Messaging
Set and forget, just keep it within reach in an emergency.
No subscription fee or ongoing fees

The GME MT410G is available here along with all compatible accessories and a 360-degree product view.

The GME MT410G is very similar to the RescueME PLB 1, but with a lower price tag, GME is also a well known Australian company with a solid reputation for all their products.

*Price correct as of 8/02/2021

4. Spot Gen 4 GPS Messenger - $239 RRP

The Spot Gen 4 messenger can initiate an emergency SOS and send out messages to your chosen contacts. The Spot messenger sits somewhere between the inReach Mini in terms of dual-purpose and the RescueMe PLB 1 as a one-function device. The Spot Messenger functions as a satellite communicator however you cannot receive a reply from your contacts or emergency services. This definitely lowers the usability but the lower initial cost of the device compared to other on this list softens the blow.

Spot Gen 4
Spot Gen 4 - Satellite Communicator
Spot Gen 4 - Size
Spot Gen 4 - Size
Pros Cons
Small and lightweight with the best water and dustproof rating on this list, (IP68). No 2-way messaging as there’s no confirmation on the SPOT that a message has been received.
The most affordable emergency device on this list

The Spot Gen 4 Messenger is available here along with all compatible accessories and a 360-degree product view.

Spot Gen 4 is a great budget option that works well as an emergency device and a way to check-in with your contacts to give them updates about your journey’s progress.

5. GPSMAP 66i Handheld GPS and 2-Way Satellite Communicator - $899 RRP

The GPSMAP 66i is part of Garmin’s flagship handheld range and is powered by their inReach Satellite Technology. The 66i goes beyond the inReach Mini’s versatility by offering a complete GPS navigating solution with the added benefit of emergency and 2-way messaging functionality. With the right maps, the GPSMAP 66i can also be your car navigator, topographic map guide and display marine charts giving it the most utility out of everything on this list. These additional features and benefits come with a significant increase in the physical size of the unit as well as a price jump.

Pros Cons
All in one solution for navigating (Topographic, Roads, Marine Charts)* Expensive
Excellent Screen display Large and Bulky
Capable of messaging on the device or via your paired mobile phone Can’t Hotswap Batteries

*These mapping features are only possible by purchasing the related map additionally.

The GPSMAP 66i is available here along with all compatible accessories and a 360-degree product view.

GPSMAP 66i
GPSMAP 66i - Size
GPSMAP 66i
GPSMAP 66i - Satellite Communicator/Handheld GPS Navigator
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