Garmin recently released their long awaited refresh to their handheld GPS line. The Garmin Montana offers several different models and is a truly diverse line. The 4-inch display is completely overhauled with a smartphone like feel to it and the ability to customize your homepage and views. The Garmin Montana 600 a 3-axis compass with barometric altimeter, ability to create way points, and satellite imagery. It’s perfect for geocachers, hikers and hunters. The Garmin Montana 680t is the most current top of the line and adds the ability to track both GPS and GLONASS satellites and has preloaded TOPO U.S. 100K maps which includes 1-year BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription. This model upgrades the camera to an 8 megapixel lens with a waterproof casing. Not surprisingly the camera pairs nicely with the GPS side to provide geotags of the photos.
Strangely, in the box are no mounts. I guess this is Garmin’s direction as they did the same thing with the eTrex 10/20/30 line. They figure they are selling you a handheld GPS and that a mount is not needed.
Unlike the eTrex 10/20/30 line, Garmin does offer a fairly robust variety of mounts for this line. They offer three different mounts for the motorcycle and ATV. First up is a Garmin Handlebar Mount for Montana and is pictured alongside this article. This is a complete mount which will hold your Montana and clip onto most circular handlebars up to 1.25 inches diameter. Garmin also provides an Rugged Cradle with Power for Montana which includes a hardwire power cable with cradle but no mount (go figure). This part can be coupled with the RAM Handlebar Mount with AMPS Plate which will attach to the Garmin cradles using the screws and nuts which are provided with the cradle. From a personal perspective, I am a huge fan of the RAM Motorcycle Handlebar Mount for Garmin Montana as it includes a form fitted cradle that the Montana snaps into as well as a metal handlebar mount. You can always run a hardwire power cable to the RAM Mount if power is an issue, but more often than not, the included lithium-ion battery should suffice as it lasts up to 16 hours between charges.
For the boat, try the Garmin Marine Mount with Power Cable which includes a power cable. These bolt to any flat surface and your GPS can pivot and swivel into portrait or landscape.
Powering your GPS should not be too difficult. Several of the mounts already mentioned come with hardwire cables which are typically connected directly to your vehicle’s battery. You can also power these units with any DC power cable that is made for a Garmin GPS. Just be sure it has a mini USB ending and is made for Garmin GPS units. The Montana also comes with a rechargeable lithium battery so depending upon how long you plan to use this, an external power source might not be needed. We wrote a detailed article on hardwiring a GPS which can be read here.
The Montana has a lot of functionality and as a result the areas of use are almost limitless. You may be using this GPS for something other than a vehicle such as Geocaching or fitness. For those purposes a body mount may work better. Garmin offers a variety of clips and lanyards. You can attach the unit top your belt which is handy for running. Garmin offers a lanyard so that you can hang the GPS from your neck which is popular for geocache use. For hiking, attachment to a backpack via a clip is also offered.
We covered a lot of options in this article. We only touched upon a handful of mounts for the Montana. If you don’t find one that matches your requirements, there are many other mount manufacturers that make accessories for this very popular line of GPS units.
I always like to give a word of advice especially on handheld units. I have seen a lot of offers for screen protectors on the market. Save your money and do not buy these. Most GPS units made over the past five years use an anti-scratch lens and under most normal use will not show any scratches. In addition, this is a touchscreen GPS and some screen protectors will render the touch option useless.