The Garmin inReach Mini does just what it promises. It allows me to be able to contact my family and let them know I'm fine, and to communicate any changes in my plans. The setup takes a bit of time but is well worth it. It worked perfectly during my initial outing the the Olympic National Park. Even when in the forest, it was able to find the sattelite and send a text and/or email. I found a great online review which analyzed all the optional subscription options. I was able to make an informed choice. I tested it in town first. Everything has worked fine. And it is considerably smaller and lighter than any other option.
I just go back from my first Backpacking trip with the InReach Mini, and got to put it through it's paces. While it's diminutive size mean's the UI on the devise is limited, when paired with a phone you can use an App which can control the InReach through Bluetooth. This works seamlessly and provides a great user experience. I had zero issues with GPS Tracking, Sending and Receiving messages, and getting Weather Reports. I would recommend this model of Satellite Communicator to most people, and currently it's the smallest 2 way Satellite device on the market.
Bought this after returning SPOT X (see my review). The UI is a bit of a pain and takes some getting used to, but it works. Longest wait for a message to be picked up or received has been about 3 minutes, with no failures at all. Tiny display is crisp and easy to read, even in bright sun. I wish this had the physical keypad of the SPOT X, or that the SPOT X used the more reliable Iridium satellites. Maybe someday....
I had one of the original inReach devices. it died a month or two ago after years of rough use. This new mini is great. It is expensive, sure. But if you ever need to press the "oh, shoot" button, it will seem really cheap. My only real complaint is the menus are a confusing mess, and they seem to change. It's not intuitive how to mark a message read to clear the home screen bubble showing new messages. I used this for a week in Grand Staircase, and it did the job well. I used the tracking and messaging more than usual just to get familiar. Everything worked as advertised. I suggest you spend plenty of time building the prewritten messages. It's a bit of a hassle to type on the device, or connect to a smartphone. Much faster to simply select a contact and a pre-written message to send. Think about the most common generic messages and sync the unit before your trip. I use this for backpacking, ocean sailing races, travel in developing countries, and CA earthquake readiness. This one is so small, it will fit inside my inflatable life vest with an AIS beacon and strobe. Generally, I leave it turned off most of the time to save battery for an emergency. I'll send my wife a tracking point maybe once a day. Minimum subscription is fine.