Allan Dickinson in the Drakensberg

Averting a Drakensberg disaster with the inReach mini

Johannesburg based traveler, mountaineer and outdoor enthusiast, Allan Dickinson, can attest to the lifesaving qualities of the Garmin inReach® Mini during a recent expedition he undertook in the Drakensberg.

Allan went on a solo trip to the Drakensberg mountains in March 2021, but found himself trapped at a river crossing at night. He was hiking in the Cathedral Peak area and instead of staying up and waiting for the bad weather to clear, he went down the pass.

“It was probably not the smartest thing to do in bad weather. It started to rain heavily, and I got swept down the river when I tried crossing it. If it wasn’t for my inReach Mini, I would have been in real trouble as the cellphone reception is not the best in the area. I was able to send a satellite message via the inReach Mini to my wife and she then contacted the rangers using the coordinates they were then able to come help me cross the river,” said Allan, who works in the audio-visual industry in Johannesburg.

The reason for the inReach mini’s dependability is due to a 100% global Iridium network that will keep one connected no matter the GPS location. An internal lithium battery will also give up to 90 hours battery life at the default 10-minute tracking mode, with up to 20 days battery life in battery saver mode. The durability and impact resistance are also another key feature of this compact lifesaver.

These are all essentials that helped Allan when he needed help the most.

Allan states that he bought the inReach mini about four years ago and keeps it at hand for every trip.

“It’s indispensable and a must have if you’re going solo or with a group. Especially with the built-in location tracking and sharing. I have the lowest package (safety) which gives me 10 messages a month, but if it’s finished then I will just get billed on my credit card afterwards. There is still an opportunity to use the function even if you are on a cheaper package,” he states.

The inReach mini requires an active satellite subscription which has different plans depending on one’s budget or usage requirements.

“My interest in hiking and mountaineering started when I was still a boy scout. This passion continued as an adult. I really enjoy climbing and spending time outdoors. I find the solitude refreshing.”

Allan is planning on once again using his inReach Mini ahead of a global expedition to the K2 – the second highest mountain range on Earth (8611 meters above sea level) after Mount Everest.

Allan in Alaska expidition.

“I’ve used the inReach Mini during an expedition in Alaska a few years ago and it worked superbly. A couple of fellow mountaineers and I are planning to go to the Himalayas this year. We hope to be the first South Africans to climb K2 and I will definitely take the inReach Mini along with me for the journey,” says Allan enthusiastically.