GPSMAP 66i vs InReach Explorer

gpsmap 66i vs inreach explorer

Meta Description: Do you know the difference between GPSMAP 66i vs InReach Explorer? Check this article to choose the right one for your outdoor navigation needs.

Using a GPS device for navigation is essential when it comes to spending time outdoors. But when spending in places where cell phone service is unavailable, two Garmin GPS products stand out for usage; the GPSMAP 66i and the InReach Explorer.

But what is the difference between the GPSMAP 66i vs InReach Explorer? The GPSMAP 66i is Garmin’s top-of-the-line handheld GPS device with built-in INREach satellite communication capability. The InReach Explorer is a handheld satellite communicator with GPS navigation. Check this article to know the difference between these two GPS devices.

Feature GPSMAP 66i InReach Explorer
Internal Storage 16 GB 2 GB
Battery Life Lasts Up to 35 Hours Lasts Up to 100 Hours
Price More Expensive More Affordable
Display Screen Larger Display Screen Smaller Display Screen
Durability Extremely Tough Average

Internal Storage

The first obvious difference between the GPSMAP 66i and the Inreach Explorer is in the internal storage of these two devices. The GPSMAP 66i has greater internal storage than the Inreach Explorer’s memory capacity. And the difference is significant.

The 66i model comes with an internal storage space of 16 GB. On the other hand, the InReach Explorer will only get 2 GB. With this shortage of memory, you will not be able to download data and files when using the InReach Explorer.

Battery Life

When spending an extended period outdoors, battery life is essential to using a handheld GPS device. The GPS user might not be able to charge on the outside, which makes the battery life imperative.

When it comes to battery life, the InReach Explorer performs better compared to the GPSMAP 66i. When it is fully charged, the GPS device can last up to 100 hours. The 66i device can last up to 35 hours, but it depends on how the GPS user uses it outdoors.

The GPSMAP 66i will last up to 35 hours when it is set at 10-minute tracking and up to 200 hours when it is set at a power-saving mode which is a 30-minute tracking. On the other hand, the InReach Explorer can last up to 100 hours when it is set at 10-minute tracking.

It will also last up to 75 hours when it is set at 10-minute tracking with 1-second logging. The InReach Explorer can last up to 30 days when it is set at a 30-minute interval which is actually a power-saving mode.


The price of these GPS devices can also be used to compare or differentiate them. With all its added features and functionalities, it is understood that the GPSMAP 66i is more expensive compared to the Inreach Explorer.

Physical Design

Another physical feature we can use to compare these two handheld GPS devices is the screen display. The GPSMAP 66i has a much larger display screen than the InReach Explorer. Since it has many functionalities, the 66i also has more button options.

It is also crispier when it comes to moving around the menu page or opening the various apps of the 66i device. Besides these physical differences, these devices also share the same physical features, such as mark and page buttons and the lightning button.


The GPSMAP 66i also differs from the InReach Explorer regarding durability. The 66i is more rigid and stronger compared to the InReach Explorer. In fact, the 66i comes with a MIL-STD 810G certificate.

This certificate is a U.S. military standard when it comes to the durability and robustness of a particular device. The 66i has undergone a series of tests, including several factors such as drop resistance, wind resistance, vibration resistance, and many others.

Preloaded Maps and Other Features

These two devices also differ in the built-in maps they are using. The GPSMAP 66i uses the Garmin Topo Active Mapping. On the other hand, the InReach Explorer uses the DeLorme mapping, which uses various data sources such as the open street maps.

It should be noted that the 66i device uses some INReach Explorer capability, particularly on the InReach messaging system. The 66i device does not do the InReach weather feature but can provide weather data when paired with your phone. I can say that the messaging of the 66i device is inferior compared to the InReach explorer.

But for the 66i device, the ability to add additional Garmin maps is very helpful in the navigation, including the street map. The device can even provide you with direction when you’re driving, especially if you want to use this feature. The device can use the Garmin Connect + and the Garmin Explorer for this functionality.

On the other hand, the InReach Explorer provides messaging and weather data. It comes with an Earthmate app which will provide all the functionalities of the InReach Explorer for an android or an IOS device.

The Earthmate app is best when it comes to exploring an area as the app provides sufficient mapping data. But again, you will need to use other mapping systems to navigate a particular place.

Satellite Functionality

You can also tell the difference between these two GPS devices by their satellite functionality. The GPSMAP 66i uses the Iridium satellite network to send and receive messages. It can also be used as an emergency trigger as an interactive SOS while having 24-hour search and rescue monitoring.


The two popular handheld satellite communicators with GPS navigation systems are the GPSMAP 66i vs InReach Explorer. Comparing these two devices is essential to know what is the right one to be used when you are spending outdoors. There are many differences between these two devices, but choosing them will depend on your preference.

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