By Dan Kidder

Managing Editor

Over the past few years, those who spend time in the outdoors have come to see the benefits of a GPS loaded with detailed topographic maps for navigation. Not only can these devices help guide you back to camp or to your vehicle, they can help you find your way to your destination without forcing you to take a straight line over difficult terrain.

Additionally, thousands have found themselves lost, injured, or in some other type of trouble and have relied on the inReach communication technology to contact help. The inReach technology uses the Iridium satellite network to provide coverage anywhere on the globe. Coupled with 24/7 monitoring from the GEOS emergency response team, inReach can contact rescuers on your behalf and let you know they are coming and how long it will take them to get to you. But it is much more than just a rescue beacon. The inReach can also be used to easily send and receive SMS text messages to family and friends and will also update them via a web portal of your location and any updates you make.

Garmin has paired these technologies into a robust device that provides unparalleled navigation with best-in-class satellite communication in their new GPSMAP 66i.

The Garmin GPSMAP 66i includes detailed Birdseye Imagery on the device without an additional subscription. It can also update you of changes to the weather and provide detailed forecasts.

In addition to waypoints, tracks, and breadcrumbs, all features you expect from a GPS, the GPSMAP 66i has detailed topographic mapping pre-loaded to show you elevation changes, terrain, features of interest, boundaries and borders, and landmarks.

This is an upgrade from the standard Garmin inReach Explorer that required the use of your smartphone to access this detailed information.

Garmin has also beefed up the battery on this new device, providing up to 200 hours in Explorer mode with tracking every 30 minutes, or 35 hours of battery life in 10-minute tracking mode. It uses a built-in rechargeable lithium ion battery that charges via micro USB, so it can be recharged on the go with a battery brick or solar panel.

The unit is waterproof, shockproof, and very rugged. It meets MIL STD 810G for durability in extreme environments.

Whether you are out exploring off the beaten path, fair-chase hunting in rugged terrain, or looking for the honey hole filled with monster Pike your buddy gave you coordinates to, the GPSMAP TOPO mapping will ensure you are able to get there and back without scaling steep mountains or needing a rope and harness. If you are interested in the peace of mind that should someone get injured you can initiate a rescue, or even if you just want to check-in to see how your kid did in their soccer game, you will have the ability to stay in contact with anyone with SMS texting service back home from anywhere on the planet and even send text messages and location data to other Garmin inReach users in your party.

Check out the Garmin GPSMAP 66i and the various subscription options available at your local Sportsman’s Warehouse.