GARMIN’S LATEST GADGETS TRACK YOUR LOCATION, MONITOR YOUR FITNESS, AND KEEP YOU CONNECTED
I had been using Garmin handheld GPS units for many years on my backcountry hunts. However, I wasn’t paying attention to all the recent tech products the company has been offering to wilderness explorers, off-road vehicle enthusiasts, and fitness fanatics.
Garmin continues to introduce new products and to add features to its existing product line, all with the aim of keeping you safe, in touch, and up-to-date on your personal goals, whether those goals entail making it to a remote mountaintop or reaching your peak in physical conditioning. Here’s a look at some of the company’s products.
1. GARMIN INREACH MINI 2
The Garmin inReach Mini 2 is a small device that recently brought big-time peace of mind to members of my family. My daughter Stephanie had about two and a half months before she was to start her medical residency, so she decided to tackle a chunk of the Appalachian Trail.
We knew she would not have cell phone service along much of the trail, so my wife and I bought an inReach Mini 2 for her to take along. It proved to be a great way to maintain contact with her, share in her journey in a small way, and to provide her with a safety net in the event of an emergency.
The Garmin inReach Mini 2 is a two-way satellite communicator and tracker that measures just under four inches tall and two inches wide. It weighs a mere 3.5 ounces. The Mini 2 is the updated version with extended battery life. This newer unit can now provide up to 30 days of use before the battery needs to be recharged.
My daughter was able to send daily updates to us through her inReach Mini 2. Most of the time, she simply sent a preset message that read, “Stopping here for today, everything is OK.” But along with that message was a link. We’d click on that and it would take us right to a detailed topographic map that would show her exact location with the coordinates.
If she had become injured or lost, she could have used the inReach Mini 2 SOS feature that triggers a connection to the Garmin International Emergency Response Coordination Center (IERCC) that’s staffed at all hours. Once the SOS has been activated, the IERCC can communicate back and forth with the inReach user, and notify the applicable search and rescue organization to respond.
The IERCC will deliver a confirmation that help is on the way and provide updates on the status of the response effort. The IERCC may also reach out to the user’s designated emergency contacts.
“…the inReach Mini 2 SOS feature…triggers a connection to the Garmin International Emergency Response Coordination Center (IERCC) that’s staffed at all hours.”
Of course, an injury is a more likely emergency situation because getting lost when you have an inReach would be difficult. The unit passively tracks your movement at intervals you select from every 10 minutes to every 30 minutes. The unit’s navigation capability allows you to backtrack at any time to your place of origin. There’s an onboard electronic compass, too.
To take advantage of the unit’s satellite communications capabilities, a subscription is required. There are three subscription levels available and the nice thing is that you can subscribe for a full year at a time to get the best rates or you can opt to subscribe month to month, which is the way to go if you plan to use the unit only during the summer months, for instance. The least expensive plan is $11.95 a month (yearly plan) and includes unlimited preset texts and SOS, along with 10 unformatted text messages.
By downloading the Garmin Explore app to your mobile phone and then pairing your phone to the inReach device, you can access many enhanced mapping and tracking features. The inReach Mini 2 can be paired with many other Garmin devices, too. The suggested retail price of the Garmin inReach Mini 2 is $399.99.
2. GARMIN EPIX
The Garmin Epix is a multisport smartwatch that features a vibrant always-on AMOLED display, so you won’t have to shield the watch from daylight to view its display.
The Epix provides up to 16 days of battery life before a recharge is needed. It features a sapphire lens and titanium bezel. With the Epix, the wearer can keep tabs on sleep and energy levels around the clock to help crush a new personal record, or train for the next big adventure. The Epix is packed with health monitoring, activity tracking and advanced training features—as well as smart notifications.
With an Epix, you can monitor wrist-based heart rate (with user-configurable alerts for high or low readings), respiration and stress tracking, advanced sleep with Sleep Score and insights, and Body-Battery™ energy monitoring. Epix provides an array of sports apps for gym workouts, pickleball, tennis, climbing, bouldering, golfing, surfing and skiing, just to name a few.
Button controls are matched with a responsive new touchscreen interface for dual utility, improving daily smartwatch interaction and map navigation. Easy-to-follow animated workouts are featured for strength training, cardio and yoga.
Through Garmin Coach, customized training plans for runners are available along with a free virtual personal trainer for added motivation. PacePro™ is another feature. It keeps your pacing strategy on track with grade-adjusted guidance as you run a course. Real-Time Stamina helps to track and manage exertion through activity to avoid burnout. Epix can provide suggested daily workouts, based on the your fitness level, based on your recent workouts, recovery time, training history and biometric data.
Naturally, because it’s a Garmin, the Epix includes GPS positioning capability with multi-band frequency and multi-GNSS support. The sapphire editions of Epix come preloaded with TopoActive maps with free access to download multi-continent maps from around the world, via Wi-Fi. Skiers can access updated SkiView™ maps, featuring new metrics and an improved activity overview.
Epix allows the wearer to receive notifications for incoming calls, text messages, social media updates, calendar reminders and more. You can download songs or playlists, including those from third-party music services. Incident detection and assistance is available during certain outdoor activities. It enables the Epix to send a message with the user’s real-time location to emergency contacts. Garmin Pay allows Epix users to touch-free transactions at retailers.
The Epix can be personalized, too, by downloading apps, widgets, watch faces and more from the Garmin Connect IQ™ store. A variety of QuickFit™ bands are available for the Epix in metal, leather, suede and silicone. The starting suggested retail price for the Epix is $899.99.
3. GARMIN FENIX 7X
Garmin has updated the fēnix line of GPS smartwatches with the fēnix 7X. The Sapphire Solar-powered fēnix 7X models maximize solar surface area for increased efficiency so they can go even longer between charges — up to five weeks in smartwatch mode and up to five days in GPS mode.
The fēnix 7x also features a built-in, hands-free multi-LED flashlight, great for setting up camp, hiking or running in the dark. Use either a red or adjustable white light to illuminate your path. With strobe mode enabled, the light will match your running cadence, alternating between white and red with each arm swing so you can see and be seen.
When used for physical training, the Real-Time Stamina tool allows athletes to monitor and track exertion levels during a run or bike activity. The Visual Race Predictor feature takes into account running history and overall fitness to provide race estimates and insights into how training is progressing.
The post-workout Recovery Time Advisor takes into account training intensity and other factors, such as stress, daily activity and sleep to estimate the number of hours of rest needed to properly recover before another session of the same exertion. The fēnix 7X can provide daily workout suggestions, too, that are based on your fitness history.
Packed with Garmin’s full suite of navigation features, the fēnix 7 Series supports all major satellite systems along with the additional L5 frequency range for improved accuracy in challenging GPS environments. All fēnix 7 watches are preloaded with the SkiView™ maps and 42,000 golf courses. Standard and Solar models allow for downloadable TopoActive maps from any region around the world. Sapphire Solar models are preloaded with TopoActive maps for your region and also allow users to download any region from around the world.
For competitive runners, the Up Ahead feature provides exact locations of aid stations, trails, next turn, etc. At user-defined checkpoints, a data page displays performance metrics which include upcoming distance and elevation— with a summary of the last split with optional rest timer—all in an effort to help athletes manage their time during competition.
The fēnix 7 Series provides everyday health and wellness tools, too, including Pulse Ox, wrist-based heart rate, respiration and stress tracking, plus Garmin wellness insights such as Body Battery™, Fitness Age and Sleep Score with Advanced Sleep Monitoring. Conduct your transactions the contactless way, too, with Garmin Pay. Playing music through popular streaming services is available on the fēnix device, too. The Sapphire Solar fēnix 7x model has a suggested retail price of $999.99.
4. GARMIN INSTINCT 2
Garmin’s updated Instinct 2 offers rugged reliability and standout style. Features include:
- Slimmer profile and choice of two sizes: 45mm bezel, 40mm bezel
- High-resolution, easy-to-read display protected by chemically strengthened, scratch-resistant glass
- Built to military standard 810 for thermal and shock resistance and is water-rated to 100 meters.
- Available in numerous eye-catching colors, such as Electric Lime, Poppy, and Neo-Tropic
- Compatible with the Garmin Connect IQ, an all-in-one platform for further personalizing the Instinct 2 Series with free downloads of apps, widgets, watch faces, data fields
- Health and wellness features, such as Hydration Tracking, Connect Leaderboard
- Extended battery life – Instinct 2 Solar models offer unlimited battery life in smartwatch mode
- Sleep Score and Advanced Sleep Monitoring
- See key health metrics, such as Body Battery, stress, and heart rate in a single view
- Fitness features such as VO2 Max, Fitness Age, Training Status/Load/Effect, Recovery Time, HIIT Workouts, and Daily Suggested Workout
- Preloaded with sports apps and activities to view total time and distance
- Incident detection feature when paired to Garmin Connect Mobile enables message with name and location to be sent to emergency contacts
- Garmin Pay lets you use contactless payment method at retailers
- Three editions available: Surf Edition for dedicated watersports activities such as surfing, windsurfing and kiteboarding, with tides widget; Tactical Edition popular with military personnel, adds dedicated tactical features such as a Kill Switch, Stealth Mode, Night Vision Goggle Compatibility, Dual Format Position Coordinates, and Jumpmaster Activity mode; Camo Editions available in Graphite and Mist Camo patterns let individuals blend in or stand out depending on their location
The Instinct 2 and Instinct 2S (Solar) have suggested retail prices starting at $349.99.
Garmin has introduced three rugged, weather-resistant devices in its popular Tread series – the 10-inch Tread XL Overland Edition, the 8-inch Tread Overland Edition, and the 8-inch Tread SxS (side-by-side) Edition.
Available in vibrant 10-inch and 8-inch displays, the durable Tread Overland editions include these features:
- Turn-by-turn trail navigation for unpaved roads and trails using Adventure Roads and Trails map content comprised of OpenStreetMap (OSM) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Motor Vehicle Use Maps
- Stay in touch from anywhere with built-in inReach® technology for global satellite communication, two-way text messaging, location sharing, and interactive SOS (requires an active subscription)
- Track friends on a compatible smartphone or Tread device when the user and other riders in a group use the Tread app’s Group Ride Mobile feature
- Includes topography with 3D maps, iOverlander points of interest and Ultimate Public Campgrounds to seek well-established, wild and dispersed campsites
- U.S. public and private landowner information
- Subscription-free Birdseye Satellite Imagery
- Custom street routing for the size and weight of a rig
- Use the Tread app on a smartphone to plan routes with the same maps, vehicle profiles and route preferences available on the Tread device
- Works with other off-road devices including Garmin’s Group Ride Radio
- Garmin PowerSwitch digital switch box to centralize control over a vehicle’s 12-volt accessories from the Tread device
- With select Garmin GPS dog trackers, you can track dogs from a vehicle
TREAD SXS EDITION
For side-by-side enthusiasts, the 8-inch Tread SxS Edition incorporates all the navigational features found across the Tread series and includes Group Ride Radio with the push-to-talk fist mic so off-roaders can stay in communication with other Tread-equipped friends in the wilderness. In addition, this new powersport device is uniquely rugged and forged to military-grade drop-test standards to withstand rough rides on more challenging terrain. These Tread devices have suggested retail prices starting at $1,299.99.
The Edge 1040 Solar is Garmin’s latest GPS bike computer. As the name implies, it features solar charging with the Power Glass™ solar charging lens, giving cyclists even more ride time between charges – up to 100 hours in battery saver mode.
The Edge 1040 Solar also features multi-band GNSS technology that provides more accurate GPS positioning in challenging ride environments, such as dense urban areas or under deep tree cover. This device, with its 3.5-inch touch-screen display, gives cyclists easier access to key information thanks to an improved ride summary view and customizable home page.
“The Edge 1040 Solar includes Trendline™ that highlights popular roads and trails…users have uploaded to Garmin Connect.”
The Edge 1040 Solar includes advanced navigational tools, such as Trendline™ that highlights popular roads and trails based on billions of miles of ride data that other users have uploaded to Garmin Connect. Turn-by-turn navigation and alerts notify riders of sharp curves ahead.
You can pause route guidance when you get sidetracked purposely or receive off-course notifications when you’re sidetracked accidentally. Route guidance can be turned back on at any time to get back to the original route or starting point.
ClimbPro lets riders see the remaining ascent and grade for each climb when following a course and review their performance on the climbs post-ride right from the Edge 1040 Solar or in Garmin Connect.
Trailforks is an app you can download to the Edge to view routes and trail details from more than 80 countries. When using the Trailforks app, Forksight mode automatically displays upcoming forks in the route and where a rider is within a trail network.
When it comes to training and performance, the Edge 1040 can monitor and track exertion levels during a ride, classify your strengths and weaknesses as a cyclist, and recommend power targets and workouts to attain those goals. It can even let you know when you need to refuel and rehydrate.
The Edge 1040 has safety features, too, including incident detection and assistance. LiveTrack lets others follow your real-time location and view your entire preplanned course. Edge 1040 Solar is compatible with the Varia™ line of cycling awareness devices, including the Varia RCT715 rearview radar with camera and tail light, so cyclists can see, be seen and continuously capture video footage during their ride.
The Edge 1040 Solar also works with Garmin inReach devices so cyclists can view and reply to messages, share trip data and trigger interactive SOS alerts with an active inReach subscription. The Edge 1040 Solar has a suggested retail price of $749.99.
A version of this article first appeared in the August 2022 issue of American Outdoor Guide Boundless.