Archive for the ‘Tour Divide Quest’ Category

I can’t decide which I should pick?

I need GPS to bee ready for my summers MTB bickpacking journeys but I stuck between thees two GPS devices because I really like hiking too! 😀

Oregon 550tcf-lg (1) cf-lgEdge 800

Training Features

I found out if you’re seriously into training, and you need/want training-specific features like a pace rider, work/rest intervals, pace alerts, in addition to heartrate and cadence…then stop right here and go get an Edge 800. The Oregon 550t has none of these features.

On the other hand, the Oregon 550t does connect to heartrate and cadence sensors via bluetooth and displays this data. So if you all you need for training are these two metrics, you’re good to go with the Oregon.

Size & weight

The Edge 800 (5.1 x 9.3 x 2.5 cm) is smaller and slimmer than the Oregon (5.8 x 11.4 x 3.5 cm) as well about half the weight (Edge = 98.0 g, Oregon = 192.7 g). So if you’re the kind of biker obsessed with shaving every milligram off your gear, then you’ll like the Edge. The Oregon is by no means a “hulking box” on your bars—it’s also small enough to easily fit in the palm of your hand…so we’re kinda splitting hairs here. (And the Oregon has an excellent mounting plate).

Display size

This is where the Oregon wins hands-down. The Oregon has a larger display size (3.8 x 6.3 cm) diag 7.6 cm and 240 x 400 pixels) than the Edge (3.6 x 5.5 cm) diag (6.6 cm) and 160 x 240 pixels). On devices this small to start with, the Oregon’s larger display makes a BIG difference. Everything is easier on the larger display—buttons are bigger, scrolling maps is easier. Both devices are touchscreen, so that’s a wash. And importantly, the Oregon’s higher resolution display means tiny details on the screen are easier to see and read.


Again, the Oregon wins here, with 850MB internal (read: faster) memory, where the Edge 800 has a mere 105MB of internal memory. Both units accept Micro-SD cards, so that mitigates the Oregon’s advantage to an extent…but internal memory is always faster regardless, and the Oregon has the “edge” here.

The Oregon has a far greater capacity for waypoints, with a max of 2,000. The Edge allows 200(no, that’s not a typo—only 200).

And the Oregon can store a far greater number of routes in internal memory.


In short term the Oregon wins here in my opinion, simply because it uses easily-replaceable AA batteries – (huge advantage in remote places with out charging options). The Edge has a rechargeable non-replaceable internal Li-Ion battery –  (advantage in long term, saves your money, no needs to buy AA batteries). The Edge’s battery life is rated at 15hrs…and the Oregon’s at 18hrs.


This category is basically a tie, with both units having identical features…except I give the nod to the Oregon simply because of its larger display size—all maps are a LOT nicer to use and view on the larger display, period. Both have basemaps loaded (which are really useless because they lack detail), both allow you to load more detailed Garmin maps…and both support Garmin’s custom maps.

Other features

This is a wash. The Edge 800 records temperature, which is pretty nice (but obviously not necessary)…and the Oregon 450 has sunrise/sunset times, tide charts, moon phases, etc (obviously not necessary). Both units have barometric altimeters.

The bottom line: Price

This is where I think the Oregon shines. Checked prices, the Oregon goes cheaper then Edge. So you’re basically paying more for the Edge to get a few extra training features and a slightly smaller package.

It’s important to note that neither unit comes with heartrate or cadence monitors—you’ve got to fork out for those separately.

So as I said above, if you really need or want the training-specific features of the Edge 800, then you’ve gotta go with the Edge. Otherwise, if you’re fine with just heartrate and cadence monitoring, the Oregon 450 is a far better value.

The Oregon 550t has:

  • Longer battery life.
  • Bigger display.
  • More internal memory.
  • More waypoints.
  • Camera
  • Geocaching
  • And otherwise offers 100% of the features found in the Edge 800 (except training-specific features).

I know from hiking I should choose Oregon but I can’t convince my self.

Can you help me to choose?


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I decide to share all my findings and experience with you while am preparing my gear and carrying out research what to take on Tour Divide race.

Now you are wondering what is bikepacking?

The short answer: it’s bikepacking with a bike.

Longer answer: cycle touring off-road, any ride that includes an overnight stay. This could be anything from ultralight singletrack tours to fully loaded dirt road touring.


This is a typical bikepacking setup.

  • It is designed to keep the weight securely attached to the bike as close to the center of mass as possible.
  • The bags have a limited carrying capacity which forces you to load them with only what you need.
  • Bike remains “thin” which aids in geting over obstacles and facilities.
  • If you are fast enough it also keeps wind resistance to a minimum.

Of course you can fit panniers and racks to most mountain bikes, but they end up being the weak spot in the bike so you have to slow way down and worry to break something. Your handling is also compromised so that technical riding becomes hard to impossible.

So why soft bags are better idea for a dirt road or mountain bike trail tour than standart touring panniers.

  • Standard panniers and racks are stiff and heavy.
  • They hard mount to your bike which means every bump gets transmitted very efficiently from your bike to the racks and then to the panniers.
  • Eventually that will break something. Even if you are lucky and don’t break your gear you will spend your whole trip taking the easiest/smoothest path to reduce the beating your bike.
  • With soft bags the attachment points to your bike are secure, but they can absorbs the shocks without stressing out and breaking them.
  • The upside is that you can ride your mountain bike like a mountain bike while carrying food, water and gear.
How to pack?

The key to a great bikepacking setup is the ability to carry the gear you need on your bike with as little impediment to how it rides off pavement. Bellow in picture where you can see how to pack your gear


Top 5 bikpacking bag manufacturers:

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