I'm hoping this community can provide meaningful input to help me make a decision. I've researched a lot of brands and devices and am now down to these two options:
EITHER a 66i OR an InReach Mini plus a 66st (separate devices for messaging and GPS)
Here's what I've learned (I think - please correct) concerning benefits.
1-device advantages (66i all-in-one):
- [Longer battery life for GPS usage] - Not material
- Single-device convenience
- Less total weight than 2 devices - especially if I don't need to bring a power pack
- About $100 cheaper than 2 devices
2-device advantages (InReach Mini for messaging plus 66st for GPS):
- Longer battery life for messaging (set it and forget it unless there's an emergency - most activity on the 66st)
- Easy-to-find batteries for the 66st
- If one device fails, the other still works
- Ability to carry a single, smaller/lighter device if I don't need GPS (e.g., I know the area well = just bring the Mini)
Please chime in with other pros/cons if you think of something I missed.
The big unknown for me is real-world battery life. Is it reasonable to expect the 66i to last for a 3-day/2-night trip without recharging (occasional GPS usage, expedition mode, 1-2 messages a day...just basic usage)? Longer? For the 66st, I would plan on rechargeables and a power pack (more weight) - will I be disappointed having to charge every night / multiple times a day?
Is there any consideration I haven't thought of? Any advice is appreciated.
Edited to adjust advantages lists above