Garmin Oregon 450

Folk that know me will know that I’m proud of my map and compass reliance that has seen me seriously lost in the Highlands only er, a few times…
But new is good, freelance stuff is demanding that I move with the times and I must admit that sometimes it would nice to know just exactly where the hell I am in a cloud or blizzard. So, in for test from Garmin UK is their Oregon 450.

I was initially a bit intimidated, electronics just isn’t my thing, but I did find I could get it up and running very easily which was something of a relief. It came with Scotland on OS Landranger 1:50,000 on a mini memory card which was easy to stick in and nicely familiar on-screen.
The screen is nice and big, and apart from the on/off button all the functions are controlled from the touchscreen display via simple scrolling pages of icons and sub-menus.

First time I used it was out in the street and it took a few minutes to find me, which it then did very precisely. The second time was on Beinn Fhada where the screen briefly showed home and then changed to my camp site after a couple of seconds which impressed no end. 
On the recent trip to Loch Quoich I compared notes with Phil who had a similar model and that helped me change some of the settings (the one downside of not having a wee manual to carry about, it being a downloadable affair), and I’m now comfortable with the information it’s giving me.
I’ve still to use most of the functions, recording routes and the like, I’m being methodical as it really is all completely new to me, literally “Baby’s First GPS”. There’s a bunch of stuff on there that looks kinda “enthusiast specific” as well, it’s interesting that the GPS has become more than just a tool. I really am lagging behind.

Anyway, I’ll be updating my progress with this as I go, I really hope I’m not the only one out there starting at ground level with this stuff.
I do wonder how it’ll compare to my own built-in nav, I walked right to that cup-marked stone last week with a grid-ref in my head and a map in my hand, will pride will have me arguing with the wee box in times to come when it tells me something I wasn’t expecting?

13 thoughts on “Garmin Oregon 450

  1. Don’t worry ptc, you’re not the only one lagging behind! I have to admit to having a very basic GPS and have used it a couple of times just to double check where I was. Can’t really be bothered with using it for any more than that, give me a real map any time!

  2. I’ve been the same AT, there’s a few times where I know one would have saved my day though, one time in particular on the Cairngorm plateau comes to mind (often!).
    The “Where am I?” function is the only one I’ll use apart from route recording for elsewhere. I know a lot of folk enjoy playing with them, following downloaded routes and the like, but that’s not where I’m at.
    But if I can work the bloody thing, there’s hope for my fellow Luddites who’ve been looking at such things.

  3. I have an old Foretrex by Garmin, routes and plain screen with a route line, really simple to use. I have a Forerunner 405, bike sensor, hrm & more screens, settings and complication than I really need on my run, etc. hell I missed the first mile of a run last week because I pressed one button, not the second then failed to lock the bezel!! But maps, and no doubt even more complexity! No wonder I want my better halves Suunto X10, now that really is a fine outdoors computer! The 405 and x10 designed for people who want OTT watches ;o)

  4. I jammed my watch on “Time Zone Two” last weekend and I had no idea what time it was until I we got down and I continually pressed buttons until the right time came back.
    I sympathise with any feeling of over-complication!

  5. I was sold on GPS after having one get me back from a desert hike years ago with water gone and sunlight fading fast – I often keep one idling in my pack to prevent incipient stupidity while navigating on paper.

    Of course, this allows me to find new sources of stupidity – specifically the different map datums available in a GPS. I was using a Foretrex 101 and UTM coordinates at ~3600 meters hiking along a ridge in Nevada and my most careful (if hypoxic) GPS fix showed me to be about 750m NE of where I was actually standing, and thus ~1000 m in midair. The paper map was on one grid (NAD-83, I think) while I was using the default WGS-84 in the GPS.

    http://www8.garmin.com/support/faqs/faq.jsp?faq=17

  6. It ws the map datum stuff that took me a while to sort out. The menus are intuitive on the Oregon, but only so far to a technophobe like me.

    I think you’ve proved the point about keeping your trad nav in proper working order as well!

  7. Pingback: PTC* » 2010 Top 10(ish)

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