Originally Posted by Sembob
REI has a pretty good price on the Garmin Oregon 600 GPS ($250.00). The most recent Amazon reviews are not that good. Just wondering if any of you have experience with this device or maybe can recommend a better unit.
Yes I did use the search bar but all that info is fairly old now as it seems opinions change rapidly with tech stuff. Thanks for any help.
Jim, I have a Garmin Montana 650T, the big brother to the Oregon and I like it a lot. I don't use it a ton because like mikeslc I use my phone about 90% of the time, off the river. I do use the GPS on the river because it's truly waterproof (mine spent about 15 minutes bouncing down the John Day this spring) and my phone is potentially a more valuable piece of emergency technology (having gps and
communications abilities, I'd rather save it for emergency use). I bought mine for work (actually they bought it) but rarely use it anymore for that purpose. I ended up getting a resource grade gps for field work (nothing against the Montana, just needed better accuracy) and now just use the Garmin for personal trips (as a GPS) and as a camera for work. It does has a fair camera which is beyond useful to me, that's actually most of it's life right now, my geotagging camera. It doesn't take gallery quality photos buy any means but does perfect for project documentation. I don't think the Oregon 600 has a camera, maybe the 650 does?
I agree with Tribri about the touch screen sensitivity to a point...It can get annoying when used to a phone but I wouldn't want it too sensitive or it would be like my phone and constantly squawking, turning on and doing shit in my pocket (or have to use a pin unlock).
I'm not sure about the Oregon series but my Montana batteries last forever. I have gotten two full days of field use with it (on about 8 hours a day) on one charge and on our Oregon trip this year I used it for 4 days on the JD (on and off) and still had half battery life. It boots up really fast so turning it off in between uses is fine. On the river I'd typically turn it on every few hours to check location and progress, then leave it on for the last few miles while searching for camps. Mine has the rechargeable battery pack but can take three AA's. It lasts half as long with the AA's.
The basemap that comes with it (and I'm assuming the Oregon) is OK at best, I've never looked at any of the more costly map data sets but they may be worth it, if place names, creeks, etc. are of high value to your navigation.
Long story short I don't know what to suggest, but I maybe I can help sort out the options. I really like the Montana and would highly recommend that (if you wanted to drop 6 bills) but if the reviews of the Oregon 600 fall short, I'd wonder about it. I think the Oregon 650 has a camera and a few more features but is still smaller and cheaper than the Montana, I'd look that way if $ wasn't a problem...or for the budget the etrex 20 seems to have most of the features of the O-600 with a smaller screen and price tag.
Too me the most valuable aspects of a GPS on the river are quick boot up or good battery life (I'm fine with turning it on and off as long as it doesn't take 10 minutes to find satellites) and detailed location information (i.e. good maps with appropriate label detail). I'd probably rather spend $ on quality maps for a lesser unit than to have a larger screen or more features with so-so maps... If you can't correlate your GPS position with your guide book quickly and easily what's the point?
Hope that helps!