The Garmin Ecosystem for the Whole Pack

I used to carry a hodgepodge of equipment—anything from Rhino radios, Dogtra collars, a Fitbit tracker, and the latest GPS app with fancy map overlays and traffic updates. But I’m pretty sure that in an emergency, those 10+ apps and half-dozen devices wouldn’t serve me at all. Enter chaos, and the entire piecemeal setup falls apart, leaving me looking like a one-man band trying to juggle knives. Ask me how I know. Come on, ask me! Because it’s failed—terribly.

Garmin, who has a proven history of being the best in the tech business when it comes to outdoor terrain, is now crushing every pillar in my gear lineup. I’ve replaced the previously mentioned mish-mash of devices to create one streamlined system that handles navigation, tracking, and emergencies for me, my vehicle, and my pack. Why? Because each device works flawlessly as an independent unit, but they all work magically as a team, helping and enhancing every stage of the adventure. It’s an investment, for sure, but it’s been worth the peace of mind and ease of use.

Let me paint a scenario for you.

You’re one of those active types. Your vehicle exists with all kinds of aftermarket goodies to reach wild, inaccessible places so that you can enjoy a remote activity with your family, which includes a pupper or two. It’s Friday, and your vehicle is packed. When you start the engine, your Garmin DriveTrack lights up, ready to take you into the middle of nowhere without a hiccup. When you discover your destination (zero people around) and set up camp, those damn dogs take off unexpectedly. But it’s no big deal, really, because you’ve got them hooked up to their Alpha 100, which can not only show their movement on the Alpha, a handheld portable device currently sitting in your pack, but also on your mounted DriveTrack.

The terrain, however, is too intense for the truck, and the pack is stowed somewhere deep, so it’s time to hit the trail run sooner than expected. You have nothing on you but your trusty Instinct Solar wrapped around your wrist, which can also follow their trail (mind blown). As you’re calling and yelling for them to return, all the while making a personal best for speed that’s truly impressive, the dogs have managed to evade you and return to base. Your partner back at camp is now curious where you might be as the pups get a treat, but unfortunately for you, the day isn’t over.

When you notice their diversion and take a U-turn, you miss that giant rock on the way resulting in a twisted ankle. Despite the pain, it’s not an issue because your Instinct Solar syncs with your InReach Mini (a device you never remove from your person), and you can control the SOS feature like a boss. Enter the rescue team, who finds you in no time, thanks to your precise GPS location being readily available, and reunites you with your troublesome fluffers and extremely concerned significant other. Now it’s time for a laugh, despite the chaos, because you can look back at the ground you covered and how far those weenies ran. They win Olympic gold for distance; you win a good ol’ college try beer.

While this scenario may seem implausible, the takeaway is how chaos rears its ugly head in the least expected moments and causes issues, no matter how minor. Garmin’s ecosystem has eliminated any stress around the unknown. Investing in their systems creates a foolproof insurance policy through every stage of the game resulting in more trust, usefulness, and ultimately enjoyment out of your devices. So while I can hear you saying, “But it’s so expensive,” you have to ask yourself what other series of devices can offer this level of cohesive teamwork? I rest my case.

DriveTrack 71

Roll with incredible off-road navigation detail, road maps, and preloaded topographic maps for the US and Southern Canada, plus a 1-year BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription on the house. Of course, it’s touch screen and Bluetooth-compatible for brainless hands-free calling and voice-activated navigation.


Instinct Solar

There’s nothing more satisfying than tracking progress and pretending your day-to-day outings are award worthy. Garmin packed this smartwatch with everything you need to conquer outdoor activities and even included things you forgot you wanted (like your oxygen levels for altitude acclimation and solar, i.e., zero stress about charging).


Alpha 100 Bundle

A GPS dog tracker may seem excessive at first, but frankly, this is a safety system designed to save the day in snafu moments. Think of it like purchasing insurance, only you’re buying assurance. Assurance that you know where your dogs are even without eyes on them, and assurance that the robust range coupled with an emergency light and self-regulating battery will outlast the length of time it takes to reunite with your best friend.


Inreach Mini

Throw it in your pack for the ultimate security net. Not only does this little baby offer on-the-go two-way text communication that provides comfort for family at home, but they can also see your movement in real-time. If you hit that SOS button, the brigade will save you in no time. Did I mention it also provides weather updates?


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