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Discipline Examined: Garmin GPSMAP 66i

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It’s early March 2021 and there’s extra snow than they’ve had in 50 years within the mountains southeast of Whitehorse, Yukon. I’m alone, exploring the world across the off-grid log cabin the place I’m residing for a pair weeks together with my spouse and our toddler. I’m nicely right into a mouth-long journey within the Yukon the place I’ll winter camp, snowshoe, and snowmobile extensively in distant areas.

It’s windy, and I’m snowmobiling via a big stretch of alpine tundra. The path I’m on is blown over and onerous to comply with. I’m returning to the cabin the place I’d instructed my spouse I’d be residence for dinner, however I’m already operating late and dropping gentle. Making an attempt to make time, I’m going off the hard-packed path and my machine begins to sink within the deep snow. I pin the throttle to compensate and buzz via the deep powder, placing each toes on the within runner to steer the machine again onto the packed snow of the path however my flip is slightly too tight. That’s once I run up on high of some dense bushes and get caught. Hopping off, I fall as much as my waist in fluffy sugar snow. Pulling out my shovel, I do know it’s going to take me some time to get out; even after I’m achieved shoveling, I’ll have to start out chopping away in any respect the branches beneath the machine’s observe if I need any likelihood of getting traction.

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

With a Garmin GPSMAP 66i in my pocket, earlier than I begin digging, I pull it out and shoot a satellite tv for pc textual content message to my spouse: “I’m wonderful however I simply received caught so I’ll be late.” My spouse is again on the cabin (which can be out of cellular phone vary) and he or she pings me again utilizing her InReach satellite tv for pc communication system. She says she’ll wait up. Relieved she doesn’t have to fret, I take off my parka and begin shoveling.

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Utilizing the shovel and a folding noticed I all the time deliver within the snowmobile, it takes me a half-hour (and lots of elbow grease) to free the sled—by some means nonetheless making it again in time for tasty moose burgers gifted to us by a neighborhood hunter.


What It Is

Having important expertise utilizing handheld GPS units and sat communication gear over time, I used to be excited to find the 66i earlier than heading off on this Yukon journey. What makes the 66i so good is that it has all of the capabilities of a high-end handheld GPS system, merged with these of a complicated satellite-messaging system.


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

Why We Like It

This system has many options however beneath I’ve included a listing of the primary 66i options I used most.

1) Maps

The system comes with preloaded topographic maps, however you may as well load satellite tv for pc imagery and extra topographic maps into the system.

2) Monitoring

Within the area when I’ve ample battery energy, I depart monitoring on. This implies the system will maintain a document of my progress, which all the time provides me a straightforward breadcrumb path to comply with again residence. After just a few days of exploring a given space, the a number of tracks saved within the unit create an correct path map as nicely.


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3) Waypoints

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

4) Sat Comms

The 66i has satellite-texting functionality that enables me to not solely talk with my spouse’s InReach system, however I also can interact in two-way textual content messages with any cellular phone, and ship and obtain emails too. Emails and texts to cell telephones are despatched with an accompanying hyperlink that enables the receiver to view the precise location of the sender and comply with his or her progress on a map. The 66i may even ship a map hyperlink and textual content publish to Fb and Twitter, permitting others to comply with your progress as nicely.

6) SOS

Doubtlessly the system’s most important save-your-bacon function occurs to even be the one you by no means wish to have to make use of. If and when shit actually hits fan, you’ll want the interactive SOS button. This sends a sign to an emergency monitoring station that may facilitate a rescue wherever on this planet.

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


It is a rugged outside system and due to that final sturdiness, its interface isn’t as user-friendly as a smartphone’s, for one. That disadvantage is principally as a result of it doesn’t have a touchscreen, so texting and map panning take longer. There’s additionally an odd glitch within the firmware, which implies that each infrequently, it’s essential to flip it on and off to reboot. Word that this challenge will possible not persist as new firmware updates develop into accessible.

This system affords extra piece of thoughts, however don’t let it offer you a false sense of safety when you’re within the backcountry. No system (or piece of drugs for that matter) ought to take the place of expertise and ability.


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The publish Discipline Examined: Garmin GPSMAP 66i appeared first on Males's Journal.
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