Garmin GPSMAP 66s & GPSMAP 66st – Setup Guide

Posted On 26. February 2019

Garmin GPSMAP 66s & GPSMAP 66st – Setup guide – our recommended settings for hiking. You can use these settings as a template for your own GPSMAP profiles, e.g. for mountaineering, backcountry skiing, …! Or you download our custom profiles for hiking and barometer.

GPSMAP 66s/st – Setup Menu

GPSMAP 66s, GPSMAP 66st - Setup 1
GPSMAP 66s, GPSMAP 66st - setup 2
  • Customized setup menu (MENU button > Change item order): Most used items at the top

GPSMAP 66s/st Setup – System

GPSMAP 66s, GPSMAP 66st - System 1
GPSMAP 66s, GPSMAP 66st - System 2, satellite system
  • Satellite System: GPS only (GALILEO or GLONASS when necessary, e.g. in deep sided valleys)
  • Schnittstelle: Garmin Spanner
  • AA-Batterietyp: Precharged NiMH (e.g. eneloop)

GPSMAP 66s/st Setup – Display

GPSMAP 66s, GPSMAP 66st setup - Display1
GPSMAP 66s, GPSMAP 66st setup - Display 2
  • Backlight Timeout: 30 seconds
  • Battery Save: On
  • Appearance – Mode: Day

GPSMAP 66s/st Setup – Bluetooth

GPSMAP 66s, GPSMAP 66st - Bluetooth
  • Bluetooth: Only for data exchange with Garmin Explore, otherwise disabled.

GPSMAP 66s/st Setup – Wi-Fi

GPSMAP 66s/st Setup – Wi-Fi
  • Wi-Fi: Disabled.

GPSMAP 66s/st Setup – Map

Map setup GPSMAP 66s
  • Orientation: Track Up (sometimes switching to North Up).
  • Dashboard: Custom (When Navigating: Small Data Fields; When Not Navigating: None)
  • Guidance Text: None
  • Advanced Setup: Look at the screenshot
GPSMAP 66s/st Setup – Map Dashboard
GPSMAP 66s/st Setup – Map, advanced setup

GPSMAP 66s/st Setup – Recording

GPSMAP 66 Setup – recording
GPSMAP 66s 66st – recording, advanced setup
  • Record Method: Distance
  • Interval: 0.01km (= 10 m)
  • Auto Pause: Off
  • Auto-Start: Off
  • Advanced Setup: Look at the screenshot

GPSMAP 66s/st Setup – Routing

GPSMAP 66s 66st – routing for hiking
GPSMAP 66s 66st – direct routing for hiking
  • Activity: Hiking (occasionally using “Direct Routing”)
  • Calculation Method: Minimize Distance
  • Lock On Road: No

GPSMAP 66s/st Setup – Expedition Mode

GPSMAP 66s 66st – expedition mode
  • Prompted (turning the GPSMAP off, you can enter the expedition mode)

GPSMAP 66s/st Setup – Waypoints

Garmin GPSMAP 66s 66st – setup waypoints
  • Prefix Enabled: Yes
  • Prefix: e.g. 2019-BY- (BY = Bavaria)
  • Suffix: 0001 (new waypoints are named 2019-BY-0001, 2019-BY-0002 …)

GPSMAP 66s/st Setup – Tones

Garmin GPSMAP 66s 66st – setup tones
  • Tones: On
  • Message Beep: On
  • Key Beep: Off
  • Turn Warnings / Proximity Alarms: On
Garmin GPSMAP 66s 66st turn warnings
setup GPSMAP 66s 66st proximity tones

GPSMAP 66s/st Setup – Heading

Heading Setup GPSMAP 66s GPSMAP 66st
  • Display: Directional Letters
  • North Reference: True
  • Go To Line: Bearing (Medium)
  • Compass: Auto on

GPSMAP 66s/st Setup – Altimeter

Altimeter Setup GPSMAP 66s GPSMAP 66st
Barometer Setup Garmin GPSMAP 66s GPSMAP 66st
Left screenshot: When hiking

  • Auto Calibration: Off (manual calibration by entering the current elevation)
  • Barometer Mode: Variable Elevation
  • Pressure Trending: Save When Power On
  • Plot Type: Elevation / Distance

Right screenshot: GPSMAP as a stationary barometer (a separate profile “barometer” is in use)

GPSMAP 66s/st Setup – Geocaching

GPSMAP geocaching setup
GPSMAP 66 series, live geocaching setup
  • Geocache Live: Right screenshot
  • Geocache Style: Show Names

GPSMAP 66s/st Setup – Sensors

GPSMAP 66 series, sensors
  • Sensors: Off (saves battery), except a tempe sensor (occasionally)

GPSMAP 66s/st Setup – Fitness

GPSMAP 66 series, fitness setup
  • Auto Lap: Off
  • Activity Type: Hiking (for a proper classification in Garmin Connect)

GPSMAP 66s/st Setup – Marine

GPSMAP 66s 66st, marine setup
  • Sorry, no experiences (all items are turned off)

GPSMAP 66s/st Setup – Menus

Menu setup, Garmin GPSMAP 66 series
  • Menu Style: Small Grid
  • Main Menu: Customized (order look at the screenshots, 1st row)(main menu is opened by pressing the MENU button twice)
  • Page Sequence
    1. Page Ribbon Display: Off
    2. Edit Page Sequence: Map / Trip Computer / Altimeter / Recording Controls (look at the screenshots, 2st row)
  • Setup / Find: Customized (Setup: look at the screenshots in the first section of this page; Find: Most used items at the top, e.g. tracks, routes, waypoints, use map)
main menu 1, GPSMAP 66s 66st
main menu 2, GPSMAP 66s 66st
main menu 3, GPSMAP 66s 66st
page sequence, GPSMAP setup
page sequence items, GPSMAP setup

GPSMAP 66s/st Setup – Position Format

GPSMAP 66 position format UTM UPS
  • Position Format: UTM UPS
  • Map Datum / Map Spheroid: WGS 84

GPSMAP 66s/st Setup – Units

units, setup GPSMAP 66 series
  • Units: Look at the screenshot

GPSMAP 66s/st Setup – Time

time setting GPSMAP 66 series
  • Time Format: 24 Hour
  • Time Zone: Automatic

GPSMAP 66s/st Setup – Profiles

Custom profiles, Garmin GPSMAP 66s
  • Custom Profiles: Barometer, MyHike, Alarm clock, Play (for testing)

Written by Joachim Bardua


  1. I found that the following fields have not cleared after deleting the activity: (Ascent Total, Descent Total, Min Elevation, Max Elevation and Calories). So every next track resulting in erroneous data output. How can I reset the data mentioned above ?

  2. I am struggling with my 66S – I bought it as a replacement for my 62ST for the bigger display – the fitness features (everything needing to be an “activity”) are really irritating me (I have a vivoActive strapped to my arm – I don’t need another fitness device). I tried not starting an activity, that didn’t work for the obvious reason that the receiver then didn’t save a track log at all (after all, “GPX only” isn’t even an option). I was also shocked to find that deleting an activity also deleted the GPX file logged and stored in current.gpx (I thought it would only delete the .FIT file).

    For a while I thought I could get away with simply keeping an “activity” going forever (well, presumably a .FIT file would keep growing so I’d have to do a cleanup every now and then – but that would be manageable). What I found, however (and this is really the reason for this post) is that despite having the altimeter set to auto-calibrate on startup, that does NOT seem to happen in the middle of an “activity”. I might turn off the device at a (correct) elevation of 20 metres but on restarting it the next morning, find the altimeter reading 100 metres (pressure changes tend to be both rapid and large here in Iceland). My assumption is that the device is simply picking up where it left off – with no auto-calibration. Saving the current activity and starting a new one seems to force a re-calibration. Does this match your observation?

    • Hi,
      no, I did not checked this case, so I can not answer your question (and I’m not a fanboy of auto-calibration, it’s always turned off).

  3. Thank you for this 66st setup information which I used to tweak some of my settings.

    May I ask why you do not use Autocalibration of the altimeter? I have read elsewhere (Geocaching Forum) that once you have done a manual calibration at the starting point (the best method) and allowed say 15 minutes, then turn Autocalibration on for the rest of the hike. The time interval is needed so that the Autocalibration uses the newly entered manual elevation and not the previous one. This is claimed to give the best altitude accuracy.

    Also, have you found that the 66st always dramatically overestimates the total ascent on the trip computer and in the summary data of the exported GPX track?

    I have found that if a single trackpoint is deleted from the GPX file in BaseCamp to force a recalculation of the summary data, the total ascent immediately drops down to a much more realistic figure (but still high compared to manually counting contours). Do you see this behaviour too?

    I look forward to your reply.

    Thanks again

    • Hi Mick,

      I found that the best results are provided when manual calibrating at the starting point and re-calibrate on tour, e.g. at a mountain hut with known elevation and at a summit; 2nd best method is as you described, but autocalibration depends on GPS accuracy, e.g. in canyons with bad GPS reception the height might differ and this influences the altimeter reading … – that’s the theory, when I’m lazy or do not need exact altimeter readings I prefer you method! Regarding your other questions, I did not checked it, I will keep an eye on it.

      See also:



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