Ray Mears explores the Oregon®

Yesterday’s Mail on Sunday ran a cracking review of the Oregon 550T GPS handheld by famous survivalist and bushcraft expert Ray Mears. No stranger to roughing it, Mears put Oregon through its paces as he navigated the wilds of Sussex.


“I’m not sponsored by Garmin, but it’s been my GPS of choice now for years”

Ray has long been a faithful fan of Oregon's predecessor, the powerful greyscale Garmin Geko, which even helped relay his coordinates to emergency services after a helicopter crash in Wyoming. “At moments like that a GPS is your best friend”. But how did the all-colour Oregon measure up to his loyal ally?

“Carrying a GPS can be the difference between life and death”

Mears bundled the Oregon with him on an array of adventures over the space of a month. He was impressed with the compact dimensions: “It’s very small and very light, which for me is a wonderful feature as portability is absolutely crucial in the wild”. But he also found it robust enough to battle the elements: “My first impression was just how strong the Oregon is. It’s a really crucial consideration for something that is bound to take a few knocks out in the field”. He also commended its usability, saying: “It has a very friendly, intentionally basic design, meaning there’s very little to go wrong.”

“I trust and rely on its products implicitly”

His main praise was reserved for Oregon’s digital compass and the way the GPS seamlessly meshes with paper maps via geo datum settings for absolute situational awareness. ”It’s an ideal handheld device for anyone considering hiking, mountain walking and, of course, travelling in remote areas. Once you get used to it, I’m sure you’d be lost without it.”

Ray Mears

Knowing Ray Mears relies on Garmin GPS should be essential reassurance for every Oregon owner – whether you are planning your first extreme adventure or regularly wander the wilderness.