Technology has changed the way we wheel. From fuel injection to air bags, we now hit the trail with more reliable and safer rigs than ever before. Technology has also given us great trail tools like portable GPS (global positioning system) units. Not only can GPS offer a number of benefits including keeping you from getting inconveniently lost, it can also potentially help rescuers find you. We’ve read news stories about injured people who could communicate with searchers via two-way radio, but perished because they weren’t able to provide their exact location.
Garmin has been a leader in GPS technology, and they offer a mind-boggling number of portable units. One of their latest offerings is the Montana 650, and this machine is loaded with incredible features—some of which you’d never expect to find in a portable GPS unit.
The Montana 650 has a large, 4-inch, sunlight-readable touch screen display that offers crystal-clear enhanced colors and displays high-resolution images. It has an easy-to-use interface so accessing information is quick and easy. The best part, for those of us who spend the majority of time on the trail, is that the unit is built to withstand the elements. It’s waterproof and impervious to bumps, dust, dirt, and humidity.
The 650 also has a 5-megapixel digital camera. Each photo is geotagged automatically with the location of where it was taken, allowing you to navigate back to that exact spot in the future. Further, you can even show each photo location on a map by simply connecting the Montana 650 via USB using Garmin’s free BaseCamp software.
The Montana 650 has a dual orientation display and it supports multiple mapping options like BirdsEye Satellite Imagery. If you buy the auto mount and a City Navigator NT map it’ll give you spoken turn-by-turn driving directions. Heck, you can even get a mount that’ll work with your ATV, boat, or motorcycle. The Montana 650 works with Garmin’s wide array of detailed topographic, marine, and road maps. It has an electronic compass (tilt-compensated, 3-axis that shows your heading even when you’re standing still, without holding it level) and a barometric altimeter (tracks changes in pressure to pinpoint your precise altitude). It also has 3 GB of built-in memory and it’ll accept a microSD card for even more data storage.
Another cool feature of the Montana 650 is that it has a high-sensitivity, WAAS-enabled GPS receiver and HotFix satellite prediction. This means that the unit locates your position quickly and precisely and maintains its GPS location even in heavy cover and deep canyons.
Other notable features of the Montana 650 include the ability to wirelessly transfer data to other compatible Garmin GPS users and the ability to use either the included rechargeable lithium-ion batteries or traditional AA batteries.
The Garmin Montana 650 is a rugged, cutting-edge, do-it-all GPS unit. Garmin also offers a variation of the 650 (MSRP $629.99 at time of print) called the 650t (MSRP $699.99 at time of print) and it sports all the features of the 650 but comes preloaded with U.S. topographic maps.
Model: Garmin Montana 650
MSRP: $629.99 (at time of print)
Dimensions (in): 2.9x5.7x1.4
Display size (in): 2x3.5 (4 in diagonal)
Display type: Bright, transflective 65k color TFT, dual-orientation touch screen, sunlight readable
Weight (oz): 10.2 (with included lithium-ion battery pack)
Battery: Rechargeable lithium-ion (included) or three AA batteries
Battery life: Up to 16 hours (lithium-ion); up to 22 hours (AA batteries)
Built-in memory: Yes, 3 GB
Accepts data card: Yes, microSD
Track log: 10,000 points, 200 saved tracks