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Montana 700 experience and review


DragonsWest
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For the benefit of those considering this unit, I have it one for over a year.

 

1. Get the AA back.  You will need it.  Eventually you will come to depend upon it.  The power switch on the 700 is too easily bumped, powering it up.  I'm sitting at my desk and hear a Beep, the 700 was evidently on all night and is down to 9%.  This is not the first time I have found the battery running down, usually it's just before I grab it to take on a hike.  The ability to swap in commodity batteries found at any store is A GOOD THING.  The Lithium battery had impressive life early on, but it's already showing some age.  I can go through 60% of it in a day, no problem.  Having a backup Lithium Ion is about $50, nuts to that, I run a lot of consumer electronics on NiMH AA cells and keep a dozen in a Storacell (Glow in the dark) battery carrier in backpack at all times, that's 4 rotations, which is about enough for any weekend camping trip and you can get a dozen, with charger for less than $50.  I use all power saving options, including the double-tap of the power button to darken the screen when not reading (or using the face as a writing surface for signing logs.)

 

2. This GPSr has the feel of the guts of the smaller Oregon (think 600) in a larger package and driving a larger display.  It can be excruciatingly slow, particularly when using TOPO maps.  The touch interface appears less responsive and somewhat indecisive compared to the Oregon 600.

 

3.  So far I have not hit a cap on pocket queries (my preferred means of loading caches.)  I keep various lists (Renowned caches, virtuals, earthcaches, solved puzzles, all caches, etc.) to minimize clutter or maximize my surroundings for attempting cache placement.  I've had over 15,000 caches loaded, no compression.

 

4. The lack of a carabiner to clip easily onto belt, vest or pack strap is a real nuisance. This thing is heavy and bulky.  When just hiking along it is very preferable to have it hung up somewhere, freeing hands.   I bought the bicycle handlebar mount and just use the four screws to clamp in a bit of woven strap through a carabiner and it works well.  It's holds firmly and frees me up to scramble rocks, structures, slippery slopes, etc.  Still more bulky than the Oregon 600, but I need the larger screen so that's the trade off.

 

5.  As batteries run lower, even a drop of 0.1 v, on lithium or NiMH the display still goes nuts and won't show logs, descriptions, flickers a lot.  That's been a problem since the Oregon 600, clearly not addressed in the Montana 700.  Cycle power and you're good to go again.  Beats me why it cares about voltage drop, other than dropping below minimum, which can still be a long way off.

 

6. Accuracy appears to be very good, the external antenna nub seems to provide considerable improvement over the Oregon 600.  It catches on everything, much of the back of the case is that sticky rubber, so just deal with it.

 

7. Most functions are consistent from the Oregon 450 on up.  Short learning curve to get out and caching.

 

8. I still keep all my maps and caches in the micro SD.  These are easily enough swapped if going from state to state.  When I'd attend a Mega or GeoWoodstock I'd usually have a micro SD already prepped for where I was going to, specific maps, pocket queries, solved puzzles, etc.  I have not encountered a common issue with the Oregon 450 and 600, that of caches all disappearing, leaving only Waypoints.  I'm wary that it may yet happen, at the worst possible time (like middle of the night, driving county to county, state to state, where I want to pick up caches in specific locations,) but easily remedied by powering down, removing the micro SD, powering up, powering down, replacing the micro SD and powering up again.  It takes a while to reload all maps and caches, but there they are.  If this malfunction happens with things in the internal memory you need a computer to help you out (copy all maps, queries, waypoints to a disc folder, erase them from the internal memory, cycle power, then write them all back where they came from, cycle power again.)

 

In summary, the Montana 700 works and has a bigger, easier to read screen (especially if you download the larger icon set,) but it still has some of the quirks of its predecessors and you really will need that AA-back, get it.

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I have the Montana 700 over a year, too.

 

1./5. Never had any issues with the battery or power button. Never needed AA batteries. The battery pack can easily last a full cacher's day.

 

2. I use the TOPO maps all the time, but never experienced "excruciatingly slowness".

 

4. To get my hands free, I took a cord from a transceiver. Works like a charm.

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On 9/17/2021 at 1:38 PM, StefandD said:

I have the Montana 700 over a year, too.

 

1./5. Never had any issues with the battery or power button. Never needed AA batteries. The battery pack can easily last a full cacher's day.

 

2. I use the TOPO maps all the time, but never experienced "excruciatingly slowness".

 

4. To get my hands free, I took a cord from a transceiver. Works like a charm.

I totally agree. I put over 100 miles of all day hikes on it since July alone  and never had issues with battery life  or map issues since bought new last winter. I run it all day long and never shut it down until the end of these all day hikes. And constantly have at least 75 % battery life left. 

  I tried the AA pack and found it not only heavier but much more bulkier. The Lithium pack has been awesome for my all day use. Charges fast and last's alot longer then aa's.  I did buy another LI pack for back up but never have used it.  

  The maps load fast zooming in etc for me. I have Garmin only topo's like 24k northeast and most of NH in birdseye installed. 

I've owned many hand held Garmins since 1998 and this is the best for use so far. 

  The only thing I don't like is if I forget to hit the power button twice to put the screen black and in sleep mode while hiking it will jam up the screen so I have to re start it but it doesn't loose the activity or tracking while jammed. Odd. No big deal as I love the unit. 

Edited by capt caper
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My 750i isn't very accurate. The track often wanders all over the place. I feel that at this price point it should be at least as accurate as the multiband units. Maybe the non Inreach units don't do this?

 

That being said, the giant screen is a work of art when combined with a sweet map like Backroad Mapbooks (Canada). How it works with the auto mount is amazing also.

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13 hours ago, MaliBooBoo said:

My 750i isn't very accurate. The track often wanders all over the place. I feel that at this price point it should be at least as accurate as the multiband units. Maybe the non Inreach units don't do this?

 

That being said, the giant screen is a work of art when combined with a sweet map like Backroad Mapbooks (Canada). How it works with the auto mount is amazing also.

Can't you shut off inreach and try the unit then? My track is very accurate. I have saved tracks since 1998 of hundreds of hikes all around the country. And this 700 has been awesome in tracking and accuracy with the Galieo added.

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