CDT Prep Part 2: Communication

In the last post (CDT Prep Part 1: Fuel Planning) I talked a little about fuel planning and what I look at when embarking on a trip where towns may be few and far between. I’m going to take a minute to talk about another one of my main considerations, Communication.

Obviously, most people communicate via cell phone and to this point in my overlanding journey, I relied heavily on my ability to get to a signal if I needed to. Just as fuel stops are going to be spread out, I expect cell signal to be extremely spotty and mainly only around the major cities. I, as an aviator who has always taken risk management extremely seriously, decided that a spotty cell phone was not not acceptable as my only means of communication.

Just as I was deciding whether or not to risk it, I saw a Coyote Works video on YouTube called “My Jeep JKU is on fire right now! – LIVE“. Turns out, he was out in the back country and his Jeep caught fire to the point where all he had was what he could grab and throw out before it burned to the ground… bad day. I immediately had visions of this on my trip and decided that I needed to change my philosophy a bit when it comes to emergency situations.

The Solution

The inReach service provided by Garmin is what I am going to use give me and my family peace of mind while I take off into the wilderness on my own. The service can be paid for yearly or monthly with the monthly price being a little more but still very reasonable for someone like me who may only need the service for small periods of time. The service offers periodic waypoint uploads to the interwebs so that loved ones can track you, two-way text messaging through the Iridium satellite network, and an SOS feature where emergency services will be notified in the event you need help.

This will let family members track me, talk to me, and have peace of mind that I can call someone if I need help. To me, this is a game changer.


This service requires a piece of hardware that I had to look into and it was a purchase that I have been extremely hesitant to make. As this trip became more of a possibility and I saw that YouTube video, I decided to bite the bullet and get a DeLorme InReach Explorer. There are two models, the Explorer and the SE with the Explorer model having a navigation feature that the SE lacks. While not a necessity, I found that the price difference between the two on the used market was negligible so I went with the Explorer. Since Garmin bought the service from DeLorme, Garmin has produced their own models of the Explorer and SE but are largely unchanged from the DeLorme models. The DeLorme models are older and cheaper than the new Garmin models. I managed to find one on ebay for $260, well below the retail price.

Current Model Garmin inReach Explorer

Needless to say, the DeLorme unit with the inReach service is my primary means of communication when outside of cell coverage. For emergencies, I also have a handheld HAMM radio that I could use in emergency situations. Basically, I plan on having many means to communicate available, especially with an emergency in mind. Thanks Coyote Works…

What do you use to communicate? Can you spot any holes in my plan or is there a better way that I don’t know about? Let me know!

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