10 minute tracking and two-way communication, battery life about 100 hours (use when moving only it's good for a two week trip, bring a small powerbank and it's good for a month.
Flexible subscription options.
There are "similar" devices from SPOT, Zoleo and probably others. I use the In Reach so that's what I recommend. Second choice would be a SPOT, I'm not convinced about the Zoleo as it's smartphone required for some operations.
If tracking is the ONLY thing you want there are lower cost devices but for paddling I think the ability to communicate two-way is paramount.
If I have a stroke, I want a chopper IMMEDIATELY, If I broke my wrist and can't paddle but are otherwise safe and secure a pick-up in the next 24 - 48 hours would be fine and I'd be happy knowing help IS on the way.
I had to set off a SPOT (orginal model) emergency signal once, it was psychologically painful waiting and hoping that the message got through and help was coming. It wasn't until a Hercules flew over and dropped a radio that I was able to explain the situation and relay the message that it was not exactly a critical situation and waiting a couple of days for extraction was not a problem.
I carry the unit in my pfd pocket so it's with me in the boat and usually on the portage trail as well. On a solo trip I carry it with me even if I'm just going into the woods to collect firewood.
The three mentioned above are good, plus there’s a few other brands out there. ACR makes a couple as well. They were the company I ever heard of to make such a thing and at the time they were very pricey and bulky.
I personally have a Spot device and like the easy non mistakable buttons, bright color, no screen to crack (which probably isn’t a real concern), and flexible plans. However, I do wish that I paid a little extra for the InReach. Garmin is on their game when it comes to GPS and the InReach is a little smaller that packs a few more features.
I carry an InReach. As mentioned above, plans are flexible and, although purchase price is higher, Ongoing costs seemed less than competitors. With the mapshare function, those at home can view your location in real time as long as you have the unit turned on. Preset messages are free and you can preset 3 different messages (you have to have wifi service to change or add recipients though so set them before you leave home)
Note: As recped points out, (whatever you buy) keep it on your person at all times. I turn mine off at night while in camp but I even take it with me in the event of a midnight bathroom run. In the case of a debilitating injury, you might as well stick to soup cans & string unless you have it within arm's reach when you go down.
We carry and like an InReach. We have the Explorer+ model which comes preloaded with topographical maps of the US, Mexico and Canada. We carry it as an emergency contact device, but use it mostly for weather reports which are really good.
InReach Explorer+. I have it for emergencies and value the two-way communication capabilities. Not all emergency situations are alike so, as has been said, it's nice to be able to let people know exactly what the issue is and how quickly you need assistance. I can also communicate with local outfitters who can help arrange for appropriate assistance without involving the Search and Rescue people.
I like paper maps so don't normally use the GPS functions but I really like having the GPS just in case I get temporarily misplaced. I don't use the tracking but I do like that messages home and elsewhere include a link to a map.
My InReach has about 100 hours of active time on a full charge, at 8 hours per day that will give you 10-12 days. A 10,000Mah power bank will charge it 3 (maybe 4) times and will be sufficient for 3 - 4 weeks of travel. Most of the devices have similar are similar when it comes to battery life.
The newer Garmin models don't have quite the same use time per charge especially if you are referring to the GPS frequently.....it's all about screen time use as far as battery life goes.
Not quite in the SPOT 1 range where a single pair of lithium AA's would provide several hundred hours of use.