Review: Garmin Montana 750i

Review: Garmin Montana 750i

Get Toyota Cruisers & Trucks Magazine on the Google Play Store!Get Toyota Cruisers & Trucks Magazine on the App StoreSafety conscious people who wander and explore are typically equipped with a device capable of communicating with satellites for emergency SOS signal in case of a dire situation. As with any electronic device, technology has evolved for these devices, so now they offer additional functionality.


I have an inReach Explorer+ mounted on the dash of my Tacoma within reach should tragedy strike while I am in my rig and outside of cellphone range. I use the belt clip for easy attachment when I go hiking or hunting. One of my favorite features is the ability to pair it with my cellphone and send text messages to my wife when I’m off the grid to let her know I’m okay. Furthermore, I set periodic track points and my wife can view my progress on a dedicated inReach website.

Garmin Montana 750i Toyota Truck Magazine

The downside of the Explorer+ is the small screen. When I want to view the built-in map, my view is limited in size. When I first saw the Montana 750i, I realized Garmin had made this device for those who want a larger screen format for viewing navigation maps. What’s more, this device is an inReach with the SOS button prominently mounted on the right-hand side.

Garmin took the best of various device models and combined them to create this very capable solution. It is a big screen navigation device coupled with inReach SOS, and equipped with numerous apps for all levels of travel.

The 750i is designed for hikers, mountain bikers, hunters, boaters, ATV’ers, and motorcyclists. What about for mounting in the vehicle and using as an off-grid navigation device? There are various motorcycle mounts available that can be converted into something I could mount to my 3TPAM. Since the 750i unit I am reviewing is on loan to me from Garmin, I did not pursue constructing a custom mount. However, if I decide to purchase one, I will come up with something for mounting where the Explorer+ sits today.

The smartphone integration is a great feature. Once paired with the smartphone, the 750i displays incoming text messages and replicates any alerts I have configured on my phone (e.g. breaking news alerts). Garmin offers several smartphone apps, such as Earthmate, Explore, and Connect for integration with the 750i.

When comparing the 750i to the Explorer+, several advantages of the 750i were obvious, such as the larger screen, which allows for a full QWERTY keyboard for easier typing, and the more detailed and expansive view of maps. A built-in camera is convenient for including photos with geotagging. The 750i also features a convenient LED flashlight.

Garmin Montana 750i Toyota Truck Magazine

The build quality is quite rugged. If it falls off my belt or out of my pocket, it will survive the drop since it is MIL-STD 810 rated for thermal, shock, water, and vibration.

Garmin Montana 750i Toyota Truck Magazine

Garmin TopoActive maps for hiking and off-roading are pre-loaded. While driving off-road trails in southwest Texas, I checked repeatedly to see if the trail was on the map and if the trail was named. Every trail I hit was displayed accurately.

Garmin Montana 750i Toyota Truck Magazine

Other helpful features that are included in this device:

  • City maps for and public land boundary maps.
  • Free subscription to satellite photos.
  • Map presentation can be configured by activity so you are seeing only relevant routes (for example: motorcycle trails vs hiking trails).
  • Map customization for visual includes shading, text size, and detail levels.

Features List:

  • Micro-USB connector for charging the battery.
  • LED flashlight
  • Port for running an external GPS antenna.
  • Screen sensitivity can be set to Glove Mode.

Smartphone Similarities:

  • Comes with numerous useful apps.
  • App icons can be moved around.
  • Zooming in/out on the map can be done with either the +/- symbols, or pinching 2 fingers and motioning inward/outward.
  • Travel apps (e.g. lodging, fuel, restaurants, shopping, etc…).

Navigation specific apps:  Tracks, Waypoints, Routes, Round-Trip Routing, Coordinates, POIs, Intersections, Cities.

Garmin Montana 750i Toyota Truck Magazine


Garmin has packaged into a single device what seem to be the best features of their entire product line-up, provided a structural profile that is small enough to be handheld, yet large enough for viewing when operating a vehicle. At $799 for the 750i, this is a significant investment for this powerful tool. The upgraded functionality over the Explorer+ makes this a tempting option for expedition travel where off the grid is the norm.


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