April 17, 2024

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Garmin GPSMAP 66i Satellite Communicator Reviewed

4 min read

It’s early March 2021 and there is far more snow than they’ve had in 50 a long time in the mountains southeast of Whitehorse, Yukon. I’m on your own, discovering the area about the off-grid log cabin where I’m residing for a few months together with my wife and our toddler. I’m well into a mouth-extended vacation in the Yukon exactly where I’ll winter season camp, snowshoe, and snowmobile thoroughly in remote parts.

It is windy, and I’m snowmobiling by means of a huge stretch of alpine tundra. The trail I’m on is blown around and hard to follow. I’m returning to the cabin in which I’d explained to my wife I’d be property for meal, but I’m previously functioning late and getting rid of mild. Hoping to make time, I go off the really hard-packed trail and my equipment commences to sink in the deep snow. I pin the throttle to compensate and excitement by means of the deep powder, putting equally toes on the inside runner to steer the machine back again on to the packed snow of the path but my turn is a minor way too limited. Which is when I operate up on major of some dense bushes and get caught. Hopping off, I drop up to my midsection in fluffy sugar snow. Pulling out my shovel, I know it’s heading to acquire me a even though to get out even following I’m completed shoveling, I’ll have to start off chopping absent at all the branches underneath the machine’s track if I want any prospect of receiving traction.

Jim Baird tests the Garmin GPSMAPS 66i while snowmobiling in the Yukon.
Jim Baird

With a Garmin GPSMAP 66i in my pocket, right before I start digging, I pull it out and shoot a satellite text information to my wife: “I’m wonderful but I just acquired trapped so I’ll be late.” My wife is again at the cabin (which is also out of mobile cellphone array) and she pings me again working with her InReach satellite communication device. She states she’ll wait up. Relieved she doesn’t have to stress, I take off my parka and commence shoveling.

Making use of the shovel and a folding observed I generally deliver in the snowmobile, it takes me a 50 percent-hour (and a great deal of elbow grease) to absolutely free the sled—somehow continue to generating it again in time for tasty moose burgers gifted to us by a community hunter.


What It Is

Obtaining major experience working with handheld GPS units and sat conversation equipment over the a long time, I was fired up to explore the 66i right before heading off on this Yukon journey. What makes the 66i so very good is that it has all the capabilities of a large-conclusion handheld GPS device, merged with all those of a complex satellite-messaging system.


Jim Baird tests the Garmin GPSMAPS 66i while snowmobiling in the Yukon.
Jim Baird

Why We Like It

This unit has lots of characteristics but under I’ve bundled a list of the main 66i functions I applied most.

1) Maps

The gadget will come with preloaded topographic maps, but you can also load satellite imagery and extra topographic maps into the device.

2) Tracking

In the industry when I have ample battery power, I leave monitoring on. This implies the product will continue to keep a file of my progress, which always gives me an quick breadcrumb path to observe again home. After a couple times of checking out a specified area, the multiple tracks saved in the unit create an correct trail map as well.

3) Waypoints

I mark a waypoint to get me to (or back to) some thing specific like an ice fishing gap.

4) Sat Comms

The 66i has satellite-texting capability that allows me to not only communicate with my wife’s InReach gadget, but I can also interact in two-way text messages with any cell telephone, and send out and receive email messages way too. Emails and texts to cell phones are despatched with an accompanying hyperlink that enables the receiver to look at the actual area of the sender and abide by his or her development on a map. The 66i can even send out a map link and textual content publish to Fb and Twitter, permitting other people to observe your progress as well.

6) SOS

Probably the device’s most vital conserve-your-bacon element transpires to also be the just one you by no means want to have to use. If and when shit truly hits enthusiast, you are going to want the interactive SOS button. This sends a signal to an crisis monitoring station that can aid a rescue everywhere in the entire world.


Jim Baird tests the Garmin GPSMAPS 66i while snowmobiling in the Yukon.
Jim Baird


This is a rugged out of doors product and simply because of that final longevity, its interface is not as consumer-welcoming as a smartphone’s, for a single. That disadvantage is mostly for the reason that it doesn’t have a touchscreen, so texting and map panning take for a longer time. There is also an odd glitch in the firmware, which indicates that just about every once in a while, you require to convert it off and on to reboot. Observe that this difficulty will very likely not persist as new firmware updates come to be obtainable.

This device features more piece of mind, but do not let it give you a fake feeling of stability while you are in the backcountry. No gadget (or piece of gear for that make any difference) must consider the place of expertise and ability.

[$600; garmin.com]

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