Garmin GPSMAP 66i Satellite Communicator Reviewed

It’s early March 2021 and there’s more snow than they’ve experienced in 50 years in the mountains southeast of Whitehorse, Yukon. I’m by yourself, discovering the space all over the off-grid log cabin where I’m living for a pair months together with my spouse and our toddler. I’m nicely into a mouth-long vacation in the Yukon the place I’ll wintertime camp, snowshoe, and snowmobile thoroughly in distant areas.

It’s windy, and I’m snowmobiling by way of a significant extend of alpine tundra. The trail I’m on is blown above and hard to comply with. I’m returning to the cabin wherever I’d informed my spouse I’d be residence for dinner, but I’m now jogging late and dropping mild. Making an attempt to make time, I go off the really hard-packed path and my device commences to sink in the deep snow. I pin the throttle to compensate and excitement by means of the deep powder, placing both of those feet on the inside runner to steer the equipment back again onto the packed snow of the path but my switch is a small too tight. That’s when I run up on best of some dense bushes and get caught. Hopping off, I tumble up to my waistline in fluffy sugar snow. Pulling out my shovel, I know it’s going to just take me a though to get out even right after I’m done shoveling, I’ll have to begin cutting away at all the branches beneath the machine’s observe if I want any prospect of receiving traction.

Jim Baird

With a Garmin GPSMAP 66i in my pocket, before I start digging, I pull it out and shoot a satellite text information to my wife: “I’m fantastic but I just received stuck so I’ll be late.” My wife is back at the cabin (which is also out of mobile mobile phone range) and she pings me back applying her InReach satellite interaction machine. She says she’ll hold out up. Relieved she does not have to worry, I consider off my parka and commence shoveling.

Utilizing the shovel and a folding noticed I constantly deliver in the snowmobile, it normally takes me a 50 {2429e7921b5e8c5cac99fc8a9c6a7860ed0b2b8af72470116d047870fe4c2698}-hour (and a lot of elbow grease) to free the sled—somehow nonetheless building it back again in time for tasty moose burgers gifted to us by a neighborhood hunter.


What It Is

Owning substantial knowledge working with handheld GPS products and sat interaction devices over the several years, I was energized to find out the 66i right before heading off on this Yukon journey. What tends to make the 66i so fantastic is that it has all the capabilities of a substantial-conclude handheld GPS product, merged with those of a advanced satellite-messaging product.


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

Why We Like It

This product has lots of options but below I’ve included a list of the most important 66i attributes I employed most.

1) Maps

The gadget comes with preloaded topographic maps, but you can also load satellite imagery and supplemental topographic maps into the machine.

2) Monitoring

In the discipline when I have enough battery power, I depart tracking on. This signifies the unit will preserve a report of my progress, which usually gives me an uncomplicated breadcrumb trail to observe back again house. Immediately after a handful of days of exploring a presented spot, the several tracks saved in the device develop an exact trail map as nicely.

3) Waypoints

I mark a waypoint to get me to (or again to) a thing particular like an ice fishing gap.

4) Sat Comms

The 66i has satellite-texting capability that enables me to not only connect with my wife’s InReach gadget, but I can also interact in two-way textual content messages with any mobile cellular phone, and send out and acquire e-mail also. E-mails and texts to cell phones are despatched with an accompanying backlink that lets the receiver to check out the exact site of the sender and stick to his or her progress on a map. The 66i can even deliver a map backlink and textual content publish to Fb and Twitter, enabling many others to abide by your progress as well.

6) SOS

Possibly the device’s most crucial save-your-bacon aspect comes about to also be the just one you never ever want to have to use. If and when shit genuinely hits supporter, you’ll need to have the interactive SOS button. This sends a sign to an emergency monitoring station that can facilitate a rescue anywhere in the world.


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


This is a rugged outside product and simply because of that best toughness, its interface isn’t as person-welcoming as a smartphone’s, for one. That downside is largely due to the fact it doesn’t have a touchscreen, so texting and map panning take more time. There is also an odd glitch in the firmware, which suggests that just about every when in a even though, you want to switch it off and on to reboot. Note that this difficulty will probable not persist as new firmware updates turn into out there.

This device delivers far more piece of brain, but really do not allow it give you a fake sense of security while you are in the backcountry. No system (or piece of gear for that make a difference) really should choose the place of experience and ability.


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