Garmin inReach versus ZOLEO Messaging Types

In this video, I’ll expand on a question I got recently which was if it was possible to send messages from a Garmin inReach to a ZOLEO satellite messenger? The answer is yes, but in this video I’ll expand on this to send messages between both devices and see the differences when sending SMS, email and app to app messages.

I’ll be using the Earthmate app with a Garmin Explorer+ and the ZOLEO messaging app on an iPhone. You’ll be able to do the same using an Android phone.



Both devices uses the iridium satellite network for sending messages. The ZOLEO has the added benefit of being able to send and receive messages when your paired smartphone or tablet has access to cellular or wifi. Meaning that when they are available messages sent doesn’t count against your service plan as opposed to inReach where all messages are sent via the iridium satellites.


This is the most basic type of message that both inReach and ZOLEO supports over the iridium network. Both will send messages up to 160 characters in length. Sending a SMS to your ZOLEO is easy as each activated devices is given a DEDICATED SMS number. inReach recycles SMS numbers, so it is hard to initiate a message to an inReach without having the inReach user send the person a message first and then reply to that message thread.


The next type of message available on both inReach and ZOLEO is sending a message to an email address. inReach agains caps the message length to 160 characters while ZOLEO offers over 200 characters. inReach has this message type hobbled as it directs the email message via a no-reply email address and the receiver of the message cannot reply unless they go to a webpage. ZOLEO on the other hand can send emails to any email address and users can reply back and forth just like any other client because ZOLEO also gives you a DEDICATED EMAIL address for each activated device.


Both inReach and ZOLEO users can send internal messages to themselves. inReach users are given an internal email address which must be shared. Again 160 characters length messages for this type. ZOLEO offers over 1000 characters for internal messages and the ability to send messages to users who don’t own a ZOLEO device. Simply get people to download the ZOLEO messaging app just like any messaging app and you’ll be able to send these extra long messages. ZOLEO knows if a SMS number is also registered using the ZOLEO app and will change the character length on the fly from 160 to over 1000.


An un-official message type is weather forecast, both provided by DARK SKY (purchased by Apple in 2019). inReach can request weather from multiple location, while ZOLEO only has the single location. However ZOLEO can request free weather when cellular & Wifi is available. inReach can only get weather via satellites.


Both inReach and ZOLEO can do Check-in and SOS from the device or the smartphone app. SOS monitoring is performed by GEOS (purchased by Garmin in 2021) for both inReach and ZOLEO.

By Jim Cyr

Exploring Nova Scotia with a constellation of satellites to guide me along the way. Producing hiking, outdoors, local drink & food videos, you can find Jim's contributions on and a few other places. Jim carries a ZOLEO Satellite Communicator for all of his outdoor adventures.

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