New Outdoor Gear Technology for Outdoor Ministries

by Ashley Denton

DeLorme "inReach"

People often ask me what are the most critical steps in starting or running an outdoor ministry. One of the first things I ask about is what kind of safety net will be set up for emergencies that come up in the wilderness? This week DeLorme launched a bit of outdoor gear that may  be a game changer especially for start up outdoor ministries.

Rather than having to buy a satellite phone, which can be too costly for a start up outdoor ministry, the “inReach” is a device that links the DeLorme PN-60w GPS device and the Iridium satellite network. The inReach won Popular Science’s “Best of What’s New” award for recreation technology, which says a lot for it:
Cell towers and landlines cover only 10 percent of the Earth, but satellite networks reach pretty much everywhere. The inReach communicator relies on iridium and GPS satellite signals so users can send preloaded messages and allow designated contacts to track their travels. Pair it with an Android smartphone using the free DeLorme Earthmate app to compose and receive texts as well (Popular Science “Best of What’s New 2011”).

If you want to look into it, the inReach costs $249.95, and for a small monthly fee (starting at $10/month) you will have the capability to connect to the satellite through GPS and send and receive text messages while you are in the field.

Most outdoor ministries have some sort of check-in person in the front country who can be called in case of emergency. Now with the inReach technology, you can easily do a daily check in or text details of your emergency situation without having to buy or rent a satellite phone. Especially for start up outdoor ministries, this is a piece of outdoor gear that may be worth checking out.


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2 thoughts on “New Outdoor Gear Technology for Outdoor Ministries

  1. Great device. I’ve got mixed feelings about these types of things though. Like GPS devices and cell phones, they sometimes lead to complacency on the part of some people. These things are great additions but the are no substitution for real navigation and first aid skills. Thanks for the heads upon this.

    • Hey Joel, I totally agree with you.. I for one use a compass and don’t carry a GPS unit for navigation because as you said, if something goes wrong with the GPS, then you are really up a creek without a paddle. The only reason I think this new device is valuable is for communicating from the field with the basecamp or whoever your evac team is in the front country… so I see it as a tool for communication, not navigation. I’m totally with you on that. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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