This is an accessory I was quite pleased to hear and see for 2022, and one many of you have contacted me for more information. I got a chance to ask Arctic Cat Product Manager, Peder Erickson, a few questions regarding the new Garmin Tread GPS offerings. Peder covers some of the features, a bit of the development history and even a nod to the future…
AI: I was looking through the 2022 Arctic Cat accessory offerings and was pleasantly surprised to find the Garmin TREAD GPS kit. Was this a joint development project between AC and Garmin? How long was this in development?
Peder: This project has been in the works for some time. In 2020 Arctic Cat brought Garmin on board as a development partner in bringing cutting edge GPS technology to our vehicles. We’re proud now to announce the result of these efforts.
AI: I’m seeing a lot of snowmobilers using GPS units. Why should they buy this one? What are the features?
Peder: We’ve observed this trend also, and as riders ourselves, we’re excited about the functionality this system brings to the table. In addition to the bright, high-resolution 5.5” touch screen, this GPS comes preloaded with terrain/road/land maps and navigation tools. Riders can easily download and install trail maps for their region. This unit is Bluetooth capable for pairing with a phone or hands-free device, and is Wi-Fi enabled for updates. The Garmin Tread app allows users to access live weather, music, and more from their phone through their GPS.
The feature we’re most excited about though is the Group Ride Radio, available in the Premium Tread kit. This allows ride tracking for up to 20 riders and two-way communication up to 1 mile, even in areas with little or no cell coverage. It’s really nice for tracking progress and finding your buddies when they get stuck or make a wrong turn!
AI: The mounting system looks like it was made for the snowmobile. Was this designed by AC? Can you remove the GPS from the mount?
Peder: Our talented engineers created two unique mounting solutions with specific groups of customers in mind. The TRAIL version is mounted above the vehicle gauge, just a glance away from the rider’s line of sight in a seated position. All components and cords are packaged tidily behind the windshield area under a sleek pod and the Garmin Tread will tie into the snowmobile’s accessory power under the hood.
For our MOUNTAIN riders we went a different direction, with the GPS mounted on the cowl in front of the handlebars for optimal visibility from a standing riding position. This also serves to protect it from brushes with obstacles and in upside-down situations. A hinged lid gives access to a bonus heated storage compartment for carrying a pair of goggles, phone, etc. When you’re done riding, a quick-release feature allows you to take the device with you for peace of mind.
AI: How will the Garmin Tread handle cold weather?
Peder: This unit is rated for -40F. We’ve tested at -30F and it still works well with gloves on.
AI: Is this GPS something I could also utilize on my Wildcat XX this summer? Are there any additional mounts and wiring I’d have to buy?
Peder: The team has some exciting things up their sleeve allowing Tread buyers to enjoy the same level of integration on their off road machine with a plug-and-play kit. Stay tuned for an announcement in the coming months!
AI: Where could I find trail maps to upload, and how does that process work?
Peder: Users can visit the their state/province’s DNR or NRC website to find snowmobile trail maps in downloadable .IMG format. Numerous riding destinations also have third-parties dedicated to providing these types of resources. Once downloaded to a computer, maps may be installed in a few easy steps:
1. Connect the Tread to a computer using the provided USB cable.
2. Open the Tread drive from Devices.
3. Open the Internal Storage drive and create a new folder called Map.
4. Click and drag the .IMG map files into the Map folder.
5. Disconnect the Garmin Tread. Trail maps are now visible for navigation!
AI: I’m happy to see Arctic Cat’s Accessory department innovating. I gotta ask, will we see this on production snowmobiles in the future?
Peder: The Tread is the next step in bringing new software technology to our machines, and we’re very excited to bring it to market. However, we’re never content and we don’t stop innovating. The Cat faithful can rest assured, we’re just getting started!
RIDING RADIO FOR GROUP GETAWAYS
The included Group Ride Radio (Premium Kit) allows tracking for up to 20 riders with no cellular coverage needed. Plus, the push-to-talk fist mic (available as a Garmin accessory) lets you easily stay in communication with your Group Ride friends. Pair Tread with your helmet or headset (not included) enabled with BLUETOOTH® technology for hands-free communication.
Purpose-built for all-terrain use, Tread stands up to anything the elements can throw at it. It’s IPX7-rated for water-resistance and built to the U.S. military standard 810 for thermal and shock resistance.
With its ultrabright 5.5-in. glove-friendly touchscreen, the Tread navigator is designed for easy viewing in bright sunlight or pitch dark. It can be mounted in portrait or landscape mode.
KNOW YOUR BOUNDARIES
Access public land boundaries for national forests, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), wilderness areas and more. Also, see private land boundaries and landowner information for parcels greater than 4 acres.
Download high-resolution BirdsEye Satellite Imagery directly via Wi-Fi connectivity, with no annual subscription required.
EASILY SYNC YOUR DEVICES
Use the Tread App to sync waypoints, tracks, routes and collections across your devices, including your mobile device, computer and Tread navigator. Easily import and share GPX files, too.
A built-in media player lets you easily control music loaded on your compatible smart phone on the navigator’s display — and hear your tunes through your helmet or headset (sold separately) enabled with BLUETOOTH technology.