How is the Oregon GPS?

My old Garmin Legend is ready for replacement, and I saw today that Garmin has a $50 rebate on the Oregon and Dakota models. The lady at West Marine was really pushing the Oregon. It has coastal and river corridor maps already installed, and the touch screen operation look good. The unit is much more compact than the 60 and 76 models.

Anyone have one to report on?



– Last Updated: Apr-02-10 3:15 AM EST –

I have the oregon 400i model ( "i" stands for inland lakes and waterways) ....good GPS, easy to use touch screen but it's a battery/power hog....the AA's don't last long it seems. the 400i has a place for a SD card , and i have topo 's on that plus the waterway maps that come pre-installed on it. the antenna seems really good at reception compared to the eTrex legend i used before. it locks on fast. doesn't lose it's signal. the 400i came with a carbiner style clip for attachement to a vest or backpack or belt loop.
PS: I forgot to mention garmin is phasing the 400i model out in favor of the latest, greatest models. that might be the reason for the rebate and the sales person is afraid they'll get "stuck " with it , if they don't sell it soon. the sales @ BP in auburn told me the 400i and other models were being phased out. I bought the last 400i they had.

The Oregon line is excellent. Easy to use, good reception. The downside is that the screen is hard to read in direct sunlight. I understand the new generation of Oregons (350, 450 and 550) is better in that regard.

I own two Oregon gps units: a
400t and a 550. I’m really happy with the units. I originally bought the 400t to replace an older Magellan. I joined the county SAR unit and wanted something that was easy to use in the field. In fact the first time I used it in the field was during a call out in the black of night and in a heavy rain. The more I use the unit the more I like it. It is very flexible and you can easily modify any screen, e.g., add data fields to the map screen so that you can see your location and elevation, etc.

Our SAR unit uses NAD27, UTM, the phone company uses WGS84 Lat Long (d.mmmm) and some search helicopter use NAD27, Lat Long. With the Oregon I just set up a profile for SAR, Phone company and SAR helicopter and change to the different profile setting with one touch of the screen.

I don’t have any problems acquiring satellites in the forests of Southern Oregon.

I recently joined the SAR dog team and we train twice a week in the field. Frequently, I’m a “hider” and use the gps tracks I save to compare with the dog handlers search patterns. I’m also a member of the SAR ATV team so I also use the gps in the ATV field training. We never cancel training for the weather and I’ve spent many hours in the rain and snow using the unit. Also, SAR searches usually involves extreme bush whacking in heavy vegetation. The Oregon so far hasn’t disappointed me.

My wife joined the SAR unit and I got her the 550 so that we have a waterproof camera out in the field.

I loaded the Garmin NW 24k maps on the unit on a 8 gig micro SD card on both units. I’d suggest not paying the extra hundred dollars for the preloaded maps rather buy the maps and load them yourself since you can only use the preloaded maps with that unit. I never use the 100k map.

I bought a smart Nimh charger and several 2500 milli amp batteries which will give me about 16 hours of battery life. I haven’t had any battery problems and usually leave the unit on the entire time in the field.

Check out this site: The Garmin manual only tells you the very basic operations and you need to spend some time learning its many options.