We’re big fans of Garmin’s InReach technology, which brought satellite communication to a compact and affordable package. They even combined it with a GPS navigator, so you can stay in touch and find your way along less-traveled path on the same device. The Garmin Montana 700i goes even further by pairing it with a large touchscreen for convenient use while adventuring in the wild.
That’s right, it’s a handheld GPS navigator and satellite communicator in one, so you can navigate the backcountry and stay-in-touch off-grid using the same device. Unlike Garmin’s previous combo device, this one comes with a large touchscreen display, so you can swipe through maps, scroll through sensor readings, and even type messages as comfortably as you do on your smartphone, making it a whole lot easier to use.
The Garmin Montana 700i comes with a full-color 5-inch touchscreen display with 480 x 800 pixels, so while it’s not as sharp as a modern smartphone, there’s enough detail onscreen to show maps, messages, and information clearly. It comes with preloaded street maps and topographical maps for turn-by-turn navigation on both roads and trails alike, so you know exactly where you’re going, whether you’re driving in the city, overlanding in the backcountry, or hiking up the mountain on foot. You can also download satellite imagery directly from the servers if you want photorealistic bird’s eye views of your location, so you can create easy-to-identify waypoints (up to 10,000 of them).
Just like Garmin’s InReach devices, it comes with access to the Iridium low-earth-orbit satellite network, allowing you to stay in communication with people even without access to cellular service. Using the satellite connection, you can send two-way messages to any cellphone number, email address, or InReach-compatible device, as well as post to your social media accounts. In emergency situations, you can also trigger an interactive SOS message to GEOS, a 24/7 global monitoring and response center, so you can get professional help in a pinch, while the InReach weather forecast service can send detailed updates, so you can know what to expect for the day.
The Garmin Montana 700i also has ABC sensors for gathering elevation, monitoring weather, and detecting direction, along with multi-GNSS support, so it can provide tracking and navigation in the most challenging environments. The onboard rechargeable battery can run with the GPS on for up to 18 hours, so you need to keep a power bank on hand if you’re adventuring with this thing for a longer period of time. Alternatively, you can use the expedition mode, which uses an ultra-low-power GPS reference to keep the device tracking for up to 300 hours between charges.
As with many devices for use outdoors, it’s built for rugged function, with MIL-STD-810 rating for shock, vibration, and high temperatures. It can also handle immersion in shallow water for up to 30 minutes, so you don’t have to worry about getting it wet while you’re out in the wild. Oh yeah, it even comes with an optional 8-megapixel camera, in case you want to use it to take pictures, so you don’t need to bring your phone along.
The Garmin Montana 700i is available now, priced starting at $699.99.