Best GPS and or communicator

XC500mod

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Guys I’m in need of advice, looking to buy a new piece of equipment that can function as a gps. Things I need:

ability to track a course, save the course to a computer, and possibly reload the course for future rides. we go to new places all the time so I want to save them. This is for sledding, hunting, fishing, sxs etc.

as I research more im between the inreach, rhino, the gps maps 66 series, and the Montana. I want the TOPO maps for all the activities above. I also want it to be simple, intuitive, and quick to use.

inreach would be nice for emergencies but also nice because my white tail stands are not in cell signal and I take call so people can get a hold of me.

It would also be nice to link up units so we can see each other on Our own units. Another guy would get a rhino if I did. Oh yeah we have bca radios for snowmobiling so communication on the mountain is less important.

Garmin does a poor job of comparing and contrasting on the website so I thought I would come to a place that uses them in real word conditions
 

Reg2view

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hikingguy.com has some good functional reviews and comparisons of Inreach Explorer, Inreach mini, 66i, eTrex, PLBs, etc. Will take awhile to read. Short answer - Inreach won't navigate for you like a GPS at this time. Role of your phone and messaging is important, too.
 

NorthMNSledder

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I just picked up a Garmin GPSMAP 66i with the Inreach service two weeks ago and have been testing it during hunting season here. So far I have been very happy with the unit itself. It has a nice screen size (not as nice as a Montana) and is very usable with gloves on. I'm still learning the inreach side of it but during testing the text feature has worked well and the live track is really cool to let people follow a long to what you are doing. I picked it up as I'm starting to travel more by myself and wondering more alone with the SxS. I also liked the idea of the safety communication when traveling in the back country "just in case".

I also own a Garmin Rhino I use as a sled radio at time but I have always hated the GPS side of that. I did have a Garmin Montana before that I was pretty happy with as a GPS only unit.
 
Nov 25, 2018
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hikingguy.com has some good functional reviews and comparisons of Inreach Explorer, Inreach mini, 66i, eTrex, PLBs, etc. Will take awhile to read. Short answer - Inreach won't navigate for you like a GPS at this time. Role of your phone and messaging is important, too.
I've been looking at the inreach explorer+ w/topo maps and nearly picked one up yesterday (work schedule conflict). What do you mean it won't navigate for you like a GPS? I'm looking to get one because I'm new to Utah and want to have the ability to navigate backcountry trails, and also have the text/SOS feature. The explorer+ looked like it was the best option.
 

XC500mod

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Yeah can you elaborate? I don’t need anything too fancy I just want to save my tracks from favorite areas so we can hit them in the future. I think the inreach explorer will do this right??
 
Nov 25, 2018
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I did some more digging and it looks like the inreach mini is better for navigating because you can bluetooth it with your phone, preloaded with earthmate app, and have maps offline that you can use without cell signal, utlizing the satellite signal from the inreach mini.

I've got a few more weeks before ride-able snow, so i'll be researching a bit more and I'll post findings here.
 

Timbre

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If you are wanting to use your phone for navigation, there is an app called Backcountry Navigator PRO (soon becoming Backcountry Navigator XE), that works very well. Download maps over wi-fi and use them without cell signal in the backcountry. PRO is $12 for the app, and XE will be $15 to $20 per year, depending on what maps you want to use. I have used this app for 2 sledding seasons now and for 3 summers ATV riding and it works VERY well.
 

Reg2view

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InReach Explorer + has map display without requiring a phone, has quite abit longer battery life (were talking days here), and is larger to carry. You can communicate with SAR and send SOS with both the Explorer and Mini (and the 66i). The Explorer +'s strength is a standalone backup GPS, and you don't have to charge it as often. You won't breadcrumb and do detail ride planning/following and tracking with an Explorer, at least not easily - that's not what it does well. If you want a single go-to device for nav, SAR and sat com, the newer 66i is the best solution. The mini is a great add-on to a phone or phone/GPS combo. None of the Garmin units have the full capabilities of a 406 PLB rescue device. All the Garmin units REQUIRE a subscription for sat com, uses a third party SAR notification service and the Iridium sat network, and do NOT access the 406 PLB NOAA COSPAS SAR sat network monitored globally. A 406 PLB requires no service plan, one and done for five years or so - when the battery needs to replaced at a service center. You want the best, most proven, bullet proof device when you need a chopper or rescue, nothing will beat a 406. For average backcountry sledders, the mini with a phone and GPS app is a great all around solution. But each is different - 66i full blown GPS, Explorer, Mini, and 406 PLB. If you ride the high country, you need at least one and need to know how to use it. This isn't black or white, figure out what you need and can afford, and prepare to have it obsoleted within 5 years. Not addressing the SPOT device, another viable option, but with yet a different network and level of quality, and a Spotty history.
 
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XC500mod

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i've tried OnX last year, it didn't work well. I downloaded all the maps and used them off line. it seemed like the phone couldn't keep up to snowmobile speeds. this experience mad me hesitant to use gaia or backcountry navigator.

Timbre, there is no backcountry navigator PRO app on the iTunes app store. is there another place to get it?
 

HenryTheHammer

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Check out the new Trailtech Voyager Pro. My crew all run them and they are fantastic. Basically replace your entire dash for all engine monitoring, the GPS and track is fantastic, and the buddy system is incredible for keeping an eye on everyone. The icons will flash if they stop moving and there's even an sos function.
 
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