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Caring for Life

Garmin GPSMAP 66i Satellite Communicator Reviewed

It’s early March 2021 and there is more snow than they’ve experienced in fifty yrs in the mountains southeast of Whitehorse, Yukon. I’m alone, checking out the place all-around the off-grid log cabin exactly where I’m residing for a pair months along with my spouse and our toddler. I’m properly into a mouth-extensive vacation in the Yukon exactly where I’ll wintertime camp, snowshoe, and snowmobile thoroughly in remote locations.

It’s windy, and I’m snowmobiling by way of a massive extend of alpine tundra. The path I’m on is blown above and really hard to stick to. I’m returning to the cabin exactly where I’d instructed my spouse I’d be house for dinner, but I’m previously working late and losing light-weight. Trying to make time, I go off the really hard-packed path and my equipment begins to sink in the deep snow. I pin the throttle to compensate and buzz by way of the deep powder, placing both equally feet on the inside runner to steer the equipment back again on to the packed snow of the path but my flip is a very little way too tight. That is when I run up on top rated of some dense bushes and get caught. Hopping off, I slide up to my midsection in fluffy sugar snow. Pulling out my shovel, I know it’s heading to acquire me a whilst to get out even right after I’m completed shoveling, I’ll have to get started chopping away at all the branches beneath the machine’s keep track of if I want any likelihood of having traction.

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

With a Garmin GPSMAP 66i in my pocket, before I get started digging, I pull it out and shoot a satellite text message to my spouse: “I’m great but I just bought caught so I’ll be late.” My spouse is back again at the cabin (which is also out of mobile cellular phone assortment) and she pings me back again using her InReach satellite conversation machine. She suggests she’ll hold out up. Relieved she does not have to stress, I acquire off my parka and get started shoveling.

Utilizing the shovel and a folding saw I constantly carry in the snowmobile, it takes me a fifty percent-hour (and a ton of elbow grease) to free the sled—somehow however earning it back again in time for delicious moose burgers gifted to us by a regional hunter.


What It Is

Possessing sizeable knowledge using handheld GPS equipment and sat conversation devices above the yrs, I was psyched to learn the 66i before heading off on this Yukon journey. What will make the 66i so excellent is that it has all the abilities of a significant-conclusion handheld GPS machine, merged with these of a subtle satellite-messaging machine.


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

Why We Like It

This machine has lots of options but underneath I have integrated a record of the most important 66i options I applied most.

1) Maps

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

2) Tracking

In the subject when I have enough battery energy, I go away tracking on. This usually means the machine will keep a report of my development, which constantly provides me an easy breadcrumb path to stick to back again house. Right after a handful of days of checking out a presented place, the several tracks saved in the unit make an exact path map as properly.

3) Waypoints

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

four) Sat Comms

The 66i has satellite-texting capability that allows me to not only connect with my wife’s InReach machine, but I can also interact in two-way text messages with any mobile cellular phone, and ship and get e-mails way too. E-mail and texts to mobile telephones are despatched with an accompanying backlink that allows the receiver to check out the precise locale of the sender and stick to his or her development on a map. The 66i can even ship a map backlink and text put up to Fb and Twitter, letting other individuals to stick to your development as properly.

6) SOS

Perhaps the device’s most crucial help you save-your-bacon aspect happens to also be the one particular you hardly ever want to have to use. If and when shit truly hits fan, you will need to have the interactive SOS button. This sends a signal to an crisis checking station that can aid a rescue any place in the environment.


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


This is a rugged outside machine and because of that top sturdiness, its interface isn’t as user-welcoming as a smartphone’s, for one particular. That downside is primarily because it does not have a touchscreen, so texting and map panning acquire lengthier. There is also an odd glitch in the firmware, which usually means that each individual the moment in a whilst, you need to have to flip it off and on to reboot. Take note that this situation will probable not persist as new firmware updates turn out to be out there.

This machine gives more piece of thoughts, but really do not enable it give you a untrue perception of safety whilst you’re in the backcountry. No machine (or piece of gear for that make any difference) should acquire the area of knowledge and ability.

[$600 garmin.com]

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