Garmin GPSMAP 66i – I like it

You can see that the battery is still half full after 9 hours being on.

A while back in 2017 I wrote about the Garmin 66s that I had bought but wasn’t really happy about some of the workings on it, even if it did get better with updates after a rather long wait

This year I bought the Inreach 66i model, basically the same but with Inreach capabilities, now what the hell is that?

In a nutshell, it means that the device is capable of calling for help when you need it even with no telephone reseau available as it uses satellites and not the telephone reseau.

I’ll try very briefly to explain but there are lots about in on the web and better written than me.

Last year while out trekking I got caught out in an area with no telephone reseau whatsoever, yes yes this does exist and so I couldn’t get hold of my wife just to say all, okay, no problems, tent up, etc and of course if, and I repeat if I had hurt myself, fallen down, broken a leg etc. well I would just have to wait hoping for passers-by, last year and now this year where I hiked passers-by can be very rare in some places.

So I decided on the Garmin Inreach 66i, quite expensive to purchase, just over 500 euros plus the cost of the Inreach ‘plan’.

Cost: yearly about 50 euros and monthly, (three different plans to choose from), starting from around 20 euros per month, but the monthly plans can be suspended when not being needed.

In other words, if you use it twice a year for treks in two different months  where you want the Inrecah capability, the cost would be 50 + 20 + 20 euros, so not the end of the world

You can use the 66i without the Inreach capability, but for the peace of mind especially if you go out alone like me, I feel it’s worth it. I actually used it once in June 2020 where I’d finished my daily trek, set up camp only to find no telephone reseau, so with the 66i just sent out pre enregistered message to my wife to say all okay. Wife happy… so me too… 🙂

The 66i other than that is basically the same as the 66s, clunky interface if you are used to Garmin older models like me, then it’s not a real problem, but sometimes it’s a weird way of changing screen, getting into the settings etc, just takes some getting used to.

The screen is slightly bigger than the 66s and was perfect for reading the GPX trace that I had recorded to do the GR440. When I hike I always download the GPX trace to follow, just in case I need it.

Also, the battery life was far better, last year, I had to charge it every night, this year I could have managed two days so that’s a big improvement.

I like it, it’s like the 66s but better and of course newer, It’s tough, I just hang it from my rucksack and let it dangle away but do add a screen protection film on it before you start using it though. For me there are loads of stuff that I’ll never use, best times for fishing, Geocaches that I no longer do, but it’s good and I like it

This year I don’t use Basecamp as I’m now running Linux instead of Windows, (Garmin programs, BaseCamp and Garmin Connect on a Linux are a no no) so I use a program called QMapShack, this works fine with the 66i, I can do my GPX tracks on the computer and it will send them directly to the 66i

There’s a pretty active form on it for more help and details