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Garmin Oregon?


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I am rather new to the game but I am already obsessed with it! My boyfriend and I went and found our first cache last night with a Garmin Nuvi 200. It did the job but obviously wasn't as good as a hiking one. I have been reading posts and web articles and comparing everything and I think I have decided that once I am fully committed that I would like to buy a Garmin Oregon. Before I put down the money I want to find more caches to make sure I 100% love it but I would also like to get some thoughts from experienced users which Oregon to buy. (There are so many!) Or is there another Garmin that is better? Going paperless is a major factor in my decision.

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I am rather new to the game but I am already obsessed with it! My boyfriend and I went and found our first cache last night with a Garmin Nuvi 200. It did the job but obviously wasn't as good as a hiking one. I have been reading posts and web articles and comparing everything and I think I have decided that once I am fully committed that I would like to buy a Garmin Oregon. Before I put down the money I want to find more caches to make sure I 100% love it but I would also like to get some thoughts from experienced users which Oregon to buy. (There are so many!) Or is there another Garmin that is better? Going paperless is a major factor in my decision.
The older x00 (200/300/400) series Oregons are not as easy to view out in the daylight as the newer x50 (450/550) series or the Dakota series. In darker settings, the Dakota backlight isn't as bright, but when I'm in the dark with the thing, it is more than adequate. Between the Dakota 20 and the Oregon 450 in the sunlight, I'd be happy with either, but NOT any of the x00 series.

 

The older x00 series has the price of maps built in, but you can get an x50 series without maps and download them for free - don't need to buy a 450T if you can just buy a 450 and get the maps you want for it.

 

I went with the Dakota 20 before the Oregon 450 became available, and prefer it still to the Oregon x00 series. Both the Dakota 20 and Oregon 450 incorporate the improved electronic compass. I don't do the Wherigo games, so I don't miss that one feature on the Dakota.

 

Didn't include the Oregon 550 in my comments since it has features I don't need and therefore wouldn't want to pay for.

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Garmin Dakota 20 or an Oregon x50, the 450 is the least expensive model in that range out now. They're not the cheapest, but they work quite well and there's lots of good quality free maps available.

 

Dakota 20:

- no Wherigo

- max 2000 caches/max 200 files at one time (whichever comes first)

- brightest screen (possibly)

- screen is lower resolution than oregon

- 3 axis compass

- best battery life (possibly)

 

Oregon 450:

- Wherigo support

- max 5000 caches at one time

- brighter screen than x00 units

- higher resolution than Dakota

- 3 axis compass

- slightly less battery life than Dakota (larger screen draws more power)

- more customizable (custom backgrounds, picture viewer, etc)

 

Some of the folk on the forums love the Lowrance Endura series. The Out & Back is significantly cheaper than a Dakota or Oregon *but* it lacks the 3 axis compass and some other features. I've yet to get my hands on one to compare it to my Oregon, but what I have heard is that it's got great Geocaching support but the other features aren't quite up to par yet perhaps. Additionally there seem to be fewer free map resources available - the price difference vanishes when you add in a couple of hundred dollars worth of maps.

 

The best thing to do is find an REI or similar store nearby that has the different models - Garmin, DeLorme, and Lowrance and give them a try. I *really* like the interface on the touch-screen Garmin's, it's very similar to an iPod Touch. Some people don't like it and prefer using joystick+buttons (a-la DeLorme PN series) or the hybrid touch/button interface on the Lowrance. Any of these will support paperless caching and get you to the cache.

 

For what it's worth I went with a Dakota 20 - I did not need Wherigo support and the Dakota was around $100 cheaper than the cheapest Oregon 450 I could find. It's done everything I want/need it to do so far. I've loaded it with maps from gpsfiledepot.com and I've found most of my caches with it so far!

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No need to spend a lot of money - if Geocaching is your primary use - the Oregon 200 offers just about everything you will need. Add a memory card and some of the free topo maps and you are all set.

 

Another unit you may want to consider is the Lowrance Endura line. The low end out&back offers great geocaching features and sells for just $170 or so.

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Thanks for all the tips so far!! I definitely will look for a store that I can look and feel the different models. I am so glad you posted that website, jopasm! I wondered if the 450T was really worth the extra money over the 450. Now I know it's not really. I don't know about using it for hiking/biking at this point. I would love to and I am sure we will use it for that purpose sometime in the future but right now I want it specifically for geocaching. Is there something best for hiking/biking/geocaching? As for storing caches, I can't imagine having more than 2000 on there at a time! I have to read more about Wherigo because I don't understand it yet and that may be the deciding factor.

 

But really, thank you all so much for the help!! I really do appreciate it :anibad:

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For biking the Dakota 20 is brighter than my Oregon 400t. The Dakota is usable, the 400t isn't. I'm testing the 450 on the bike, hopefully tomorrow.

 

The Oregon x00 series may be discontinued in the near future. It will still be supported, but may not get as many new features added via firmware updates as the x50 series. It's unknown what new features will show up, but they may be of more value for backcountry navigation than for geocaching.

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I have a Colorado 400t, and a friend just got a Oregon 400t. I played with the Oregon and was highly disappointed in the screen visability outdoors, my Colorado was much brighter. In fact I would have to say the screen visibility would be a deal breaker for me. As mentioned, I would look at the x50 series Oregons or a Dakota.

Edited by Geo Fan
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I have a Colorado 400t, and a friend just got a Oregon 400t. I played with the Oregon and was highly disappointed in the screen visability outdoors, my Colorado was much brighter. In fact I would have to say the screen visibility would be a deal breaker for me. As mentioned, I would look at the x50 series Oregons or a Dakota.

Not having owned a Colorado, I found the Oregon 300 dim, but usable. Two things that improves visibility is to turn the backlight to maximum and to switch the background to white.

 

If I'm buying today I'd get the 450. It's supposed to be brighter, and I could sure use the 3D compass and 5000 geocaches limit.

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I'll agree with the other posters that the 450 would be a better choice on today's market (or the Dakota 20).

 

However if you aren't opposed to used I wouldn't count out a well priced Oregon 400 or 300 model.

 

While the x00 screens are not as 'bright' as the x50 series models they are very adequate for most uses. Biking would probably be one of the uses that would be the worst for an x00 series unit since it's hard to adjust the viewing angle. However when using in hand or mounted in a car it works fine and the screen is perfectly readable in virtually any lighting condition (for me anyway).

 

So - if you can find a good deal on a used Oregon x00 series, I wouldn't hesitate if your primary use will be caching and hiking. If you can afford it however step on up to the newer x50 units.

 

I have the Oregon 400t and have been very very pleased with it (used as a hiking, caching and sometimes as in-car navigation). If I were buying today it would be the 450 or Dakota 20 with a preference for the 450 due to the larger screen and the fact that while I'm frugal price wouldn't have to be too big of an issue.

 

Good luck and have fun caching. I'm so glad its warming back up and my work load is letting up a little.

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I'll agree with the other posters that the 450 would be a better choice on today's market (or the Dakota 20).

 

However if you aren't opposed to used I wouldn't count out a well priced Oregon 400 or 300 model.

 

 

yea i found an insane deal on my 300 because the 450 was being rolled out, over 50% discount on the unit and in all honesty i would rather have that sort of saving then the trivial extras that the 450 have over the 300

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I am rather new to the game but I am already obsessed with it! My boyfriend and I went and found our first cache last night with a Garmin Nuvi 200. It did the job but obviously wasn't as good as a hiking one. I have been reading posts and web articles and comparing everything and I think I have decided that once I am fully committed that I would like to buy a Garmin Oregon. Before I put down the money I want to find more caches to make sure I 100% love it but I would also like to get some thoughts from experienced users which Oregon to buy. (There are so many!) Or is there another Garmin that is better? Going paperless is a major factor in my decision.

 

I have the Oregon 400T and except for the paperless feature I've been very disappointed with it. If you already have the Nuvi, which can easily take POI's for paperless, I would recommend the GPSMap 60CSx. It's a much better dvice for accuracy and stability.

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