Garmin GPSMAP 64s

Is this GPS a waste of time ?

Update 2020

Garmin GPSMAP 64s – A waste of time, so I’ve sold it and bought the Garmin 66i.
It’s basically the same as the 64s but WITHOUT its defaults that I didn’t like. It also has Inreach capabilities. I like it. It’s a far better unit.
My new post about the 66i can be found here :

I’ve just bought a Garmin GPSMAP 64s : this is for when I start trekking in 2018. From 2018 I’m retiring and will have more time on my hands and am looking to add more activities to do. Trekking being the next one to add to my list.

I’d read up on GPS before I bought the 64s. I decided on the 64s as I wanted a fairly big screen for reading maps and following GPX traces. Also I wanted a GPS capable of recording routes while I walked them and for hours on end.

At the time several articles all basically said it was the best around. I have other Garmin GPS’s, A Edge 520 for biking. A Forerunner 220 for running and a Edge 705 (just sold that). I decided to stay with Garmin as I use Garmin Connect to collect all my data. (only to find out later that Garmin Connect and the 64s don’t work together correctly)

Garmin GPSMAP 64s, It has a nice big screen
Nice clear screen with a trace on it, using Openstreets as the map

The Garmin 64s has a nice big screen. The trace that I had uploaded on it before shows up just fine.

So here are my first impressions, or rather the negative impressions :

Garmin Connect

As I stated this is a waste of time with the 64s, as it doesn’t work.

I use Garmin Connect for all my running and biking activities. I used to just plug in my old Edge 705. Or upload the data via bluetooth from my Forerunner 220 or the Edge 520. I thought the 64s would be just the same. After all hiking / walking is just like running no ? it’s a sport no ? and therefore it’s interesting to see how far you’ve walked. In what time. How long you rested. Your heart rate.

So so wrong

Garmin Connect isn’t capable of recuperating the details of your activity. You have to manually export the GPS log in GPX form (copying it from the 64s while it’s plugged into the computer) and import it manually. Sadly it only shows the full time. The kilometres (kms) but not the actual moving time or rest periods. It is so much easier with Forerunner or Edge. In other words the 64s and Garmin Connect is totally useless.

Ok some say you can use Garmin Basecamp. But this is for seeing, modifying routes and tracks. I already use this to check out routes or traces that I want to see or do and modify if need be before uploading to now the 64. but it’s just a mapping program.

Garmin Connect is more for data. Seeing all my activities etc. Worse you can’t even export the data from Basecamp to Connect. Two programs from Garmin both useful in their own right and no way that they can talk to each other.

Garmin, you just don’t understand ….


Now like my old Edge 705, you can have loads of data panels on one big screen, (photo below) this is great. Having mostly all the data that you require while walkingand on one screen.

While I was doing my first hike. I couldn’t understand why at lease two data panels seemed to be giving me wrong information. The trip odometer and the total odometer

At the end of my walk I had only walked 20 kms, but it was showing me 25.1 kms (earlier while I had only 5 kms on my Forerunner it was already showing 7 kms…) worse still the total odometer was at 85.7 kms. Now I’ve only had this machine about a week and this was the first real test with it the rest was just playing with at home

Odemeter, resetting it….

I knew that I had reset the screen while setting up the machine a week ago or so. What I didn’t know is that the total odometer cannot be reset. Unless you do a full hard reset.

Only the trip odometer can be reset before a hike for instance. This I had done again before my walk. Later playing with it the 64 and checking Garmin forums I found out that while the machine is on, the trip odometer ‘counts’ even when you are not moving.

For instance while you take a break or have a rest or even if you place it on a table so that there is no movement what so ever. The trip counts on and on and on…., In other words, leave it for ten minutes and you’ll have a 1KM or so recorded. Of course this adds to the total odometer.

I’ve done one real hike nothing more. At the end I had 25 kms showing on the trip counter, (while only 20 kms using my Forerunner for the same hike) and have already 85 kms showing as my total kms while again only having walked 20 kms.

If you are like me interested in seeing how many kms you have actually walked while using the 64, well you can’t.

In other words until you upload your walk to Basecamp, you have no real idea how many kms you walked. Worse still, imagine that you are doing a several day hike, well you’ll have no access to the real data without have Basecamp and a computer.

This for me renders the 64 pretty useless

Update : I learned that if you modify the following

From the Main Menu > Setup > Tracks > Record Method, set to Distance > Interval. Set it to 0.06 miles or for those using kilometers 0.10 kms. The original setting is less. Also I’ve set it to distance, rather than time or auto.

Now this helps if you are outdoors. Inside it changes nothing. I’m playing with and trying to find out more about this setting, and will try set it to 0000.15 rather than 0000.10 this should allow for GPS wandering and eliminate it. ‘a suivre’ as they say in French…….

Update 23/09/2017

I ran a trail today. As it was complicated I used the 64s to follow the trace. For that it’s ok, the problem is when uploading the trace to Basecamp the recorded trace shown on the map is useless. With points being recorded every 0000.10m its just inusable for anyone else, as you can see on the image.

Ok I was running and moving a little faster than walking (on a bike it would have been worse but whatever, it’s pure crap.

I’m now trying  the setting to Time: every 00:00:02 seconds that gives me a decent trace with more points making it more readable and hopefully will not move the trip counter when resting

Garmin WE NEED AN AUTO PAUSE, it’s not complicated. Its on just about all your other machines……. (UPDATE, in the new 66i has Autopause, problem solved)

Now if only I could to reset the total odometer without hard resetting the machine Grrrrr …..

Garmin how can you be so stupid

Garmin GPSMAP 64s. You can see all details concerning, the distance walked, the grade, descent, speed etc

You cannot reset to total Odometer

Garmin Connect seeing the differences between watch Garmin and the 64s for the same walk
Both activities showing in my Garmin Connect account, BUT I have to manually uploaded the 64 data from the GPX file
Garmin GPSMAP 64s. The correct data showing from the Forerunner 220
Garmin GPSMAP 64s. The correct data showing from the Forerunner 220
Garmin GPSMAP 64s. The incorrect data showing from the 64s
Garmin GPSMAP 64s. The incorrect data showing from the 64s
Garmin GPSMAP 64s, details wrong. Details correct in the Forerunner 220
Screen shots from my Garmin Connect account. The correct information is shown from the Forerunner 220
Garmin GPSMAP 64s,. Incorrect time & distance details 64s
Screen shots from my Garmin Connect account. Information from the 64s , you can see 20,76 kms