Editors' Choice Snow 2014: DeLorme inReach Explorer

DeLorme has finally made one tool that serves as a GPS device, backcountry messenger, and rescue beacon.

We’re running out of superlatives for DeLorme’s reinvention of backcountry electronics. A few years ago, we gave Editors’ Choice honors to the original inReach, a satellite receiver that introduced two-way text messaging to the world of rescue beacons. It worked in tandem with DeLorme’s PN-60W GPS and created a new standard in remote communication and safety. Then we raved about the SE edition, which unpaired the receiver from the GPS, creating a standalone handheld with full messaging and rescue-signaling capabilities. And now DeLorme has launched the Explorer, an evolution that adds GPS navigation and mapping to the SE, allowing backcountry enthusiasts to carry just one tool. Our testers checked off key nav capabilities: We could easily plot routes and upload them, follow the routes in the field with pinpoint accuracy, create waypoints, and capture trip data. Also cool: Two Explorer users can text coordinates to each other in the woods and use the go-to function to find each other. In one trial, a tester found a group 4 miles away in thick British Columbia forest using this feature, bushwhacking to within 5 meters of the other’s original coordinates. As with previous inReach models, you can text your location to friends and post directly to Facebook, Twitter, and DeLorme’s mapping platform. The Explorer’s only Achilles heel is maps: The screen is too small for detailed viewing, and limited memory capacity prevents caching lots of topos. $380 (data plans range from $12-$100/month); 6.9 oz.; delorme.com