Garmin GPSMAP 66i Satellite Communicator Reviewed

It is early March 2021 and there’s far more snow than they’ve had in fifty

It is early March 2021 and there’s far more snow than they’ve had in fifty years in the mountains southeast of Whitehorse, Yukon. I’m by itself, exploring the region close to the off-grid log cabin where by I’m residing for a pair months together with my spouse and our toddler. I’m nicely into a mouth-long journey in the Yukon where by I’ll winter season camp, snowshoe, and snowmobile thoroughly in remote regions.

It is windy, and I’m snowmobiling as a result of a large stretch of alpine tundra. The trail I’m on is blown more than and difficult to stick to. I’m returning to the cabin where by I’d advised my spouse I’d be house for dinner, but I’m by now functioning late and getting rid of gentle. Trying to make time, I go off the difficult-packed trail and my machine starts off to sink in the deep snow. I pin the throttle to compensate and buzz as a result of the deep powder, putting the two ft on the inside runner to steer the machine back on to the packed snow of the trail but my change is a little much too limited. Which is when I run up on best of some dense bushes and get trapped. Hopping off, I drop up to my waistline in fluffy sugar snow. Pulling out my shovel, I know it’s heading to choose me a whilst to get out even following I’m done shoveling, I’ll have to commence chopping absent at all the branches underneath the machine’s monitor if I want any chance of finding 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 commence digging, I pull it out and shoot a satellite textual content concept to my spouse: “I’m good but I just obtained trapped so I’ll be late.” My spouse is back at the cabin (which is also out of cell cellphone array) and she pings me back working with her InReach satellite interaction gadget. She claims she’ll wait up. Relieved she doesn’t have to fret, I choose off my parka and commence shoveling.

Making use of the shovel and a folding saw I generally carry in the snowmobile, it can take me a 50 %-hour (and a whole lot of elbow grease) to cost-free the sled—somehow continue to making it back in time for delicious moose burgers gifted to us by a neighborhood hunter.


What It Is

Possessing sizeable encounter working with handheld GPS units and sat interaction products more than the years, I was psyched to uncover the 66i right before heading off on this Yukon journey. What would make the 66i so very good is that it has all the abilities of a significant-conclude handheld GPS gadget, merged with those people of a complex satellite-messaging gadget.


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

Why We Like It

This gadget has a lot of functions but down below I have incorporated a checklist of the main 66i functions I used most.

1) Maps

The gadget arrives with preloaded topographic maps, but you can also load satellite imagery and further topographic maps into the gadget.

2) Tracking

In the area when I have enough battery electrical power, I depart monitoring on. This means the gadget will keep a history of my development, which generally gives me an easy breadcrumb trail to stick to back house. After a couple of times of exploring a specified region, the numerous tracks saved in the device develop an exact trail map as nicely.

three) Waypoints

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

four) Sat Comms

The 66i has satellite-texting ability that makes it possible for me to not only communicate with my wife’s InReach gadget, but I can also interact in two-way textual content messages with any cell cellphone, and mail and receive email messages much too. Emails and texts to cell phones are despatched with an accompanying connection that makes it possible for the receiver to watch the specific locale of the sender and stick to his or her development on a map. The 66i can even mail a map connection and textual content submit to Fb and Twitter, allowing for other individuals to stick to your development as nicely.

six) SOS

Possibly the device’s most crucial help you save-your-bacon feature takes place to also be the a single you hardly ever want to have to use. If and when shit really hits supporter, you are going to will need the interactive SOS button. This sends a signal to an crisis checking station that can facilitate a rescue any place in the world.


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


This is a rugged out of doors gadget and because of that top longevity, its interface is not as consumer-friendly as a smartphone’s, for a single. That downside is predominantly because it doesn’t have a touchscreen, so texting and map panning choose lengthier. There is also an odd glitch in the firmware, which means that each and every at the time in a whilst, you will need to change it off and on to reboot. Observe that this difficulty will likely not persist as new firmware updates turn out to be accessible.

This gadget features far more piece of thoughts, but never let it give you a wrong perception of safety whilst you’re in the backcountry. No gadget (or piece of equipment for that subject) really should choose the spot of encounter and talent.


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