Garmin seems to have outdone themselves yet again with the Garmin 64st, a feature-rich, reliable, long-lasting GPS unit that delivers everything outdoors enthusiasts want.
Thanks to technology, GPS navigators are changing the way that people enjoy and explore the great outdoors. Of course, it can be hard to choose between the sheer variety of different trackers and GPS units that are available on the market today. Considering that there are models for driving, commercial fleet use, hiking, marine use, and every other possible need, it can be hard to keep up. Fortunately, Garmin is doing a great job of keeping up with models like the Garmin 64st, a premium GPS tracking solution for hiking, camping, and other outdoor use.
Before you can decide on the best GPS navigation tool, of course, you’ll have to know what makes a particular product worth the investment. Several different features are available, and some will matter more to you than others. To help you get started on your search, we’ll discuss what to look for in a GPS navigator before we get into the detailed review of this particular model.
What to Look for When Buying a GPS Tracking Unit
Portable GPS trackers are changing and evolving on a near-daily basis. Partly, that’s because the features that people demand are increasing and changing and we now have the technology available to make those things happen. When you are in the market for a good GPS unit, you’ll want to keep the following things in mind.
Some GPS units will only tell you what your location is based on your latitude and longitude. This is fine, but some premium models will report altitude, distance, and a grid reference. These features can help you get a more exact idea of where you are or get more information than just the physical coordinates. Make sure that you consider both models and see which feature suits your needs best. Typically, the more detail, the better.
You’ll want to have a model with on-screen mapping. However, you’ll also want to make sure that the maps are made to scale so that you can follow them accordingly in your hikes or adventures. The Garmin unit does a good job of supplying scale maps of topography to help people navigate all types of terrain. It’s not a requirement if you want to go without it, but it’s handy to have more than just some coordinates or numbers and a compass to follow.
Battery life is a big concern with handheld GPS units. After all, you don’t need your battery dying mid-hike. Choose a unit that has battery life between 50 and 100 hours for the best results. That way, you’ll get at least a couple of opportunities to charge it before it gets too low and you risk running out of power. It is also just a good habit to charge the unit every time you get back from a trip or hike so that it’s ready to go for next time. The exact battery life will be up to you, but more is always better.
The memory that a GPS unit has limits how many maps and how much other data it can store. You want to have enough space to save maps and keep track of everything that you want. You might even want to consider a GPS that can take external memory so that you can expand it as needed over time or if you need to keep track of maps for a special trip or event. There are all kinds of memory sizes to choose from, but most feature between 4 and 8 GB with some expandable up to 32 GB with an external card.
Naturally, you’re going to want to make sure that you choose a weatherproof model. Most portable or handheld GPS units are waterproof by design, but it’s still worth double-checking. You’ll also want to consider other weatherproofing or features that protect the unit from the elements, such as screen protection, durable construction, and even things like UV protection or resistance to dust and debris.
Basically, this is an outdoor tool, and you want it to be able to stand up to any outdoor conditions. While you won’t be able to take it swimming across a lake, you’ll be able to go anywhere and do just about anything else with the right portable GPS unit.
Technology doesn’t have it ALL. There’s still a great place for a magnetic compass, even in a device as advanced as this. Otherwise, you’ll have to move slightly and then pause while the unit calibrates your location to point you in the right direction. One look at the compass and you’ll be on your way in a second. Not all GPS units have this feature, so make sure that you consider this carefully. Even if you think you’ve got everything covered, it’s a simple backup feature that usually doesn’t cost much more, if anything, which makes it well worth the investment.
Touchscreens are great unless you’re outdoors in conditions where you need to wear gloves. This is why even the most modern GPS units feature buttons that are accessible and big enough to use with gloves so that anyone can use these units safely and without hassle. Nothing is worse than having to de-glove every time you have to use the touchscreen, not to mention clicking the wrong things because the sensitivity is so touchy.
Get What You Want
These are some of the most important features, but like anything, it will boil down to taking the time to figure out what you want and find the device that offers it. Make sure that you have a priority list so that you choose the most important features first, too. Now that you know more about how to choose the right unit, let’s take a closer look at the Garmin 64st to see if it is the right model for you.
Garmin 64st: An In-Depth Review
As dedicated GPS units become more popular, brands like Garmin are coming back into the arena, offering better GPS solutions than what is available on current smartphones. Not only that, but they feature better communications and satellite connections so that there’s no loss of signal or lack of network in the middle of the wilderness. The 64st looks pretty sturdy, almost so sturdy that it is reminiscent of a 1980s walkie-talkie.
Nonetheless, this is a tech-forward device, despite outward appearances. It has some of the best features and technology of any unit on the market today and would be an ideal choice for any avid outdoors lover or hiker that wants a handheld unit to help keep them on track when they’re out exploring the world.
Features & Benefits
This model offers a host of features that will keep everyone finding new surprises for quite a while. The device comes pre-loaded with 100,000 topographical US maps plus a free subscription to BirdsEye, a satellite imagery tool, for the first year. There is also a wireless built-in altimeter and electronic compass, along with so much more.
This unit is at the higher end of the price range, but with all the features that you get, it’s worth every penny. If you want a premium GPS unit, this might be just what you’ve been looking for. Keep reading to learn more about the best features and biggest perks of the Garmin 64st.
Bluetooth and Wireless Connectivity
This GPS unit features premium wireless connectivity and ensures that you will always have a connection, no matter where you are. There is also the choice to connect via Bluetooth, which is great for the high-tech adventurer who wants to have the best connectivity options both on and off the trail. Plus, you can guarantee that connections won’t drop like they might with your smartphone or another device, which saves a lot of hassle and stress along the way.
8 GB + Memory
Unlike units of the past, today’s portable GPS units have impressive memory capacity. This particular model offers 8 GB of space internally, along with a memory card slot to allow for memory expansion over time. You can even use specific cards to track certain trips or excursions, or just replace them when they are full of data and you don’t want to erase anything. Depending on how you use your GPS unit, you may or may not need the premium memory space. If you do, this device has it.
Quad Helix Antenna
In addition to wireless and Bluetooth connectivity, this unit features a premium Quad Helix antenna for strong connections no matter where you are or what the conditions. this premium antenna takes up a little space, but it’s worth it for the reception and quality that you get with the device, no matter where in the country you take it. The antenna is designed to deliver plenty of reliability and remain durable, thanks to its high-quality construction with sturdy exterior materials.
2.6-inch Color Screen with Anti-Glare
Of course, the fact that this device has a color screen is a big selling point. At 2.6 inches, it’s rather impressive for the device’s size and the color maps are much more accessible for those who want to see what kind of land they’re traversing or get a better sense of different topographical divides or land boundaries. It’s great to have a GPS at all, but the black-and-white screen of days past is just not as functional as a premium color screen. Plus, the anti-glare feature makes sure that you can see in even the harshest sunlight.
Although some will complain that the design is a bit bulky, it does offer plenty of durability and grip when you’re out on the trail. Even if you’re wearing gloves, it won’t slip and you’ll have a secure grip when it’s slick, cold, sweaty, or even covered in water and dirt. This unit even offers an IPX7 rating, which means it can be used in snow and rain and even be submerged in water of up to one meter for 30 minutes without damage. Thus, if you drop it in the stream, it’s not ruined.
Some of the benefits of the Garmin 64st include:
This unit offers so many different functions and tools that it is hard to keep up. It’s one of those tools that amateurs look at and have either one of two reactions: “I’ll never use all that stuff!” or “This is so cool and I’ll probably never use it, but I have to have it!”.
For the experienced hiker or outdoorsman who appreciates a premium GPS, it’s even more powerful. From the easy-use buttons to the functions included for mapping and GPS tracking, and even the premium color screen, it doesn’t get much easier to use than this device.
While the buttons aren’t backlit, the screen is, which makes it a little easier to use in the dark. Fortunately, the buttons are limited so they’re easy to get the hang of, which could also limit the need for seeing them. This unit is all about function, and it delivers in every way, even when it seems like it might have missed the mark here or there.
The Final Verdict
The Garmin 64st is a popular choice for those who want to go all-in with their GPS unit. It has tons of features and is quite reliable. Despite the slightly clunky design, it has impressive battery life and does offer an excellent value for the money when you are looking to invest in a premium hiking or navigational tool to explore the great outdoors. Garmin might be a blast from the past for some, but they’re leading the way into the future of outdoor adventures with premium GPS units like this model. Check one out for yourself or watch some videos to see them in action, and you’ll quickly see why the serious hikers are willing to shell out the cash love this unit.