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lsglass
01-19-2011, 18:27
My impression is that few people carry maps on a thru-hike. True or false?

lsglass
01-19-2011, 18:29
Meant to say AT thru-hike.

Lone Wolf
01-19-2011, 18:30
most carry maps. it's the smart thing to do

Ender
01-19-2011, 20:54
Back in 1998 it was probably 30% carried, 70% didn't carry. I don't know about now, but I expect that ratio would probably have switched by now to 70/30.

I've always said, if you have to ask if you need to bring the maps, then you need to bring the maps. (But, admittedly, that's off topic from what you asked.)

ChinMusic
01-19-2011, 21:07
My impression is that few people carry maps on a thru-hike. True or false?
If I were doing a thru I would just have the 24K maps on my iPhone. I wouldn't carry the paper. You can download maps (I'd prob have the next 200 miles loaded at any given time) as you move north and delete the maps after you pass through them. In case you had to get off trail that would more than suffice. The added benefit of the smartphone is you get the you-are-here GPS function as well.

BrianLe
01-19-2011, 21:21
"If I were doing a thru I would just have the 24K maps on my iPhone."

This is exactly what I did last year (okay, not an iPhone, but a smartphone anyway). Worked great. With an early start I fired it up a couple of times in the snow, but for the most part didn't need the maps. I also had a more conventional type of car-based map software. Lots of road crossings on the AT, so I thought it could be useful. Didn't need it, but I already had that on my phone and again, no added weight.

For the guidebook, indeed you can get the Companion in pdf format, but I personally do suggest carrying a paper guidebook. I had the prior-year Companion on my phone, and looked at that a couple of times as a cross-check or to see if it had data that my paper guidebook did not (I used Awol's guide). I suggest this approach too, i.e., pdf companion but carry a different type of guidebook in hard copy.

lsglass
01-19-2011, 21:49
Let's just say you don't own a smart phone. Then I need to pony up $200 for the ATC complete set, right?

kayak karl
01-19-2011, 21:54
Let's just say you don't own a smart phone. Then I need to pony up $200 for the ATC complete set, right?
NO.. post want to buy maps. last years maps are fine. maybe someone will sell them cheap. i doubt many came home with jobs last year.

Torch09
01-19-2011, 22:47
Maps are unnecessary. Buy a guide book.

lsglass
01-19-2011, 23:28
Definitely taking a guidebook.

But in looking at that big box of maps in the illustration for the ATC set, just looks awfully cumbersome to manages all that along the way. (Yes, I know, smart phone is the way to go.) Just surprised they haven't evolved into a more compact, user-friendly format over the years. Oh well.

Ender
01-19-2011, 23:30
It's really not that hard to deal with all the maps. Just take the first few, and mail the rest ahead to be picked up further along the trail.

ChinMusic
01-20-2011, 00:03
I find paper maps very helpful when planning a trip, no so much once I'm on it. The you-are-here function from a GPS (standard GPS or smartphone) is something I desire once on a hike.

There really is no map planning for an AT thru. Your route is set.

If the feces hits the fan you will want something (either electronic or paper) that will show you the fastest way to help. You need something IMO.

weary
01-20-2011, 11:24
Let's just say you don't own a smart phone. Then I need to pony up $200 for the ATC complete set, right?
You missed the annual sale, which runs from Thanksgiving through Christmas if I remember rightly.

But it is not entirely a loss. The sale of maps is an important source of funds for protecting the trail for ATC and at least some of the maintaining clubs.

The Maine Appalachian Trail Club earns $25,000 a year from the sale of its maps and trail guides -- a significant chunk of our $200,000 annual budget, which is wholly dedicated to trail needs.

10-K
01-20-2011, 11:43
I like maps. I like elevation profiles. I like laying in my tent at night figuring out tomorrow's itinerary. I like looking at my map when I'm eating lunch.

Often I'll pull out my guidebook at the same time and think about my plan.

If nothing else, it gives me a chance to engage a part of my brain that doesn't get used most of the day when I'm hiking.

Grampie
01-20-2011, 11:49
Maps are not needed to do a thru-hike. Maps are very good to have when you thru-hike.
You will not need a map to follow the well marked AT. It's nice to have a map when you want to plan your hiking day, check on the elevation comming up, see what is near by that a guide book won't show. If you have an emergency and need help, or have to get to help a map is very handy to have. Maps show so much more than what's in a guide book.
I started my NOBO thru without any maps. I soon discoverd how handy they were and purchased them along the way where I could.

max patch
01-20-2011, 11:50
I don't have a smart phone, but I wonder if the maps would be useful (big enough to show detail) if one got lost and really needed their map. Doubt it.

In any event, having your maps on a device that requires a battery doesn't strike me as a good idea. Murphy's law and all that.

ChinMusic
01-20-2011, 12:01
I don't have a smart phone, but I wonder if the maps would be useful (big enough to show detail) if one got lost and really needed their map. Doubt it.

Your doubts would be incorrect. The maps available to smartphones have the same 24K detail as the large paper maps. In addition they tell you where you are, no guessing. Remember you DO NOT need cell coverage for full function.

IMO they are not just adequate, but superior for such a task.

10-K
01-20-2011, 12:02
Your doubts would be incorrect. The maps available to smartphones have the same 24K detail as the large paper maps. In addition they tell you where you are, no guessing. Remember you DO NOT need cell coverage for full function.

IMO they are not just adequate, but superior for such a task.

I don't doubt it but I can usually find where I"m at on a regular paper map within a quarter mile most of the time. It's just about being aware of where you are (and where you just were...)

Pedaling Fool
01-20-2011, 12:03
My impression is that few people carry maps on a thru-hike. True or false?
No need to, just look at mine, that's what everyone else does:D

tawa
01-20-2011, 12:16
Now I see why my pack is often heavier than others---lol---ie: hey can I look at your maps again---and your data book---can I borrow your jet-boil---do u have a first aid kit I can use--do u have a swiss army knife I might use etc.--lol So much for LW backpacking.
Amazing how some that brag about their low pack weights are constantly asking others to borrow their gear. lol

ChinMusic
01-20-2011, 12:26
I don't doubt it but I can usually find where I"m at on a regular paper map within a quarter mile most of the time.
I think "most of the time" is the operative segment here. I would think that most folks wouldn't "need" the GPS function, even once, for their entire thru. But, I would also think they wouldn't "need" their map either.

There could be a case, missed turn, snow, fog, etc., where the feces hits the fan and that GPS function comes in handy.

If I were to ever get truly lost, I want the GPS. I'm sure some grizzled vets can get their position on a paper map, in the fog, but I can't.

DripDry
01-20-2011, 12:37
I needed a map once and wished for a map a few times Springer to Harpers Ferry last year. The "once" was when we ran into a sick hiker in a shelter near the GA/NC line who needed a short cut to get out. We really had no idea where any of the Blue Blazed trails led and couldn't help. In future long-term hikes I will carry something (paper or electronic) to help should a situation like that happen again.

Blissful
01-20-2011, 13:49
I needed a map once and wished for a map a few times Springer to Harpers Ferry last year. The "once" was when we ran into a sick hiker in a shelter near the GA/NC line who needed a short cut to get out. We really had no idea where any of the Blue Blazed trails led and couldn't help. In future long-term hikes I will carry something (paper or electronic) to help should a situation like that happen again.

Good example. And I had many places, esp at road crossings where there are NO blazes. And hikers asking where to go. And very glad I had my map when I had to trudge down roads to intersections. esp for some of us, its important we are aware where to go so we look like we know what we're doing to weirdos out there.

Also early on or late even with snow, blazes are hard to see.

emerald
01-20-2011, 14:22
If long distance A.T. hikers are to be worthy of all the fuss accorded them, then they ought to set an example for others to follow. Anyone who has the good fortune to receive this gift should partake of it with the utmost gratitude and respect toward the resource base upon which it depends.

Toward this end, hikers should endeavor to learn as much as possible about the A.T. and make themselves useful by providing information and sound advice. One of the best ways to be of service to others is by carrying maps.

Jack Tarlin
01-20-2011, 14:37
Don't know about percentages, but most prudent people buy, carry, and frequently use the best, most recent Trail maps they can find when hiking on the A.T.

Non-prudent people (or let's be blunt: we're talking about cheap people) elect to mooch off of these other folks and will ask to see and use their maps at every available opportunity.

So the answer to your question is that in fact, everyone relies on Trail maps on the A.T. and will consult them whenever possible.

But not everyone pays for them.

JaxHiker
01-20-2011, 15:05
I like maps. They're bulky and the 24K grids don't cover a huge area but I like taking GPS readings and plotting my rest stops, vistas, etc. when I take breaks or get to the shelter.

max patch
01-20-2011, 15:13
Your doubts would be incorrect. The maps available to smartphones have the same 24K detail as the large paper maps. In addition they tell you where you are, no guessing. Remember you DO NOT need cell coverage for full function.

IMO they are not just adequate, but superior for such a task.

I don't own a smart phone so I'll take your word on it.

However, still doesn't address the issue of having your maps on an electronic device that can break or have a dead battery.

I think it would be prudent to carry the paper maps as a backup.

BrianLe
01-20-2011, 15:29
"However, still doesn't address the issue of having your maps on an electronic device that can break or have a dead battery."

It's a balancing act, additional safety vs. the associated costs. We do this all the time in backpacking, for example deciding what things we'll take in a first aid kit for a particular trip and what we deem too heavy. If we never "compromised on safety", we would all be hauling 10 pound first aid kits !

On most trails I would agree with you, take the paper maps; for the CDT next year I'll have GPS and multiple types of paper maps. But for the AT, I think it's quite fine to make this trade-off, particularly for someone going during "normal" thru-hiker time when snow isn't covering much of the trail and there are lots of people out.

FWIW, in two thru-hikes now my smartphone never "broke" nor had a dead battery when I needed it. Of course that can happen, but other gear can break or be lost too --- we just deal with those issues if they arise.

I think it's of course just fine for folks to bring paper maps, but for someone who has balanced out the issues and knows what they're doing, an "electronic maps only" approach seems fine to me on the AT. With, I suggest again, a hard (paper) copy of one of the guidebooks.

ChinMusic
01-20-2011, 15:38
However, still doesn't address the issue of having your maps on an electronic device that can break or have a dead battery.

I think it would be prudent to carry the paper maps as a backup.
A possibility, but one I would consider somewhat remote. There are many more things bad that could happen to one on the trail for which they have no backup. I don't have a backup for everything.

For the AT I would def NOT carry paper maps and count on my electronics. If I were bushwhacking in Alaska, I certainly would have a paper map for backup, and pray nothing happens to my Sat Phone.

Kerosene
01-20-2011, 17:35
To me, I think you can boil this down to a simple decision: If you go to the effort of bringing a first aid kit, an extra flashlight, or any other kind of just-in-case emergency gear, then you bring a map of the area you're hiking. If you don't need any emergency gear then don't bother with the map.

Of course, you don't have to bring the biggest maps out there, but you do want to be able to figure out how to get yourself off the trail in an emergency, quickly and safely. While I use my maps to plan my days and mark my progress, I also recall using them at least 5 times over the years to figure out how to get off the trail, for myself or another party.

Again, if you bring other emergency gear, then bring the #[email protected]% map. If you don't feel you need any emergency gear, then at least consider buying wilderness rescue insurance so your rescue is not coming out of my tax dollar.

jersey joe
01-20-2011, 18:11
My impression is that few people carry maps on a thru-hike. True or false?
I would guess that at least half carry maps. As many others have said, you don't need them but they could prove useful. Though, I'd argue there are more useful things to bring that are cheaper should you have an emergency.

DavidNH
01-20-2011, 18:32
no need to carry maps on an AT thru hike. They are fun to consult but not necessary. The AT thru hikers handbook is all one needs.

I don't see how anyone could possibly get lost on the AT. The whole trail is marked with nice white blazes. The trail is well traveled, too well traveled.

DavidNH

ki0eh
01-20-2011, 21:12
Just surprised they haven't evolved into a more compact, user-friendly format over the years. Oh well.

What would a "more compact, user-friendly format" be?

ChinMusic
01-20-2011, 21:27
What would a "more compact, user-friendly format" be?
Electronic.........;)

DapperD
01-20-2011, 21:57
You missed the annual sale, which runs from Thanksgiving through Christmas if I remember rightly.

But it is not entirely a loss. The sale of maps is an important source of funds for protecting the trail for ATC and at least some of the maintaining clubs.

The Maine Appalachian Trail Club earns $25,000 a year from the sale of its maps and trail guides -- a significant chunk of our $200,000 annual budget, which is wholly dedicated to trail needs.I agree with you. I mean, it does seem like a lot, but I purchased the map and guidebook set while they were on sale from the ATC and I feel also that at least some of the money is going to help funding for the trail and the ATC, and the supporting clubs. Also the maps are important when you are out there, and may even prove themselves invaluable if you were to become lost or in need to get off the trail quickly in an emergency, etc...and as other's have said in wintery conditions the white blazes will all but disappear so an auxiliary navigational aid is a smart tool/investment to have access to.

lsglass
01-21-2011, 02:55
What would a "more compact, user-friendly format" be?

I'm going by the 'loose hodge-podge in a box' that is used to illustrate the product on the ATC website. I need to send the ATC a email to find out how much they weigh in total, how many pages, one-side or double-side printing, etc. (I could ask y'all, but that would be lazy of me.)

I would point you to the PCT Atlas (www.pctatlas.com (http://www.pctatlas.com)) for an example of a compact, user-friendly format. (Just don't believe the elevation profiles!)

TheChop
01-21-2011, 03:20
I like maps. I like elevation profiles. I like laying in my tent at night figuring out tomorrow's itinerary. I like looking at my map when I'm eating lunch.

Often I'll pull out my guidebook at the same time and think about my plan.

If nothing else, it gives me a chance to engage a part of my brain that doesn't get used most of the day when I'm hiking.

Every time I read a post of yours I think we're hiking brothers or something.

This is exactly the way I hike. I like visualizing ahead and knowing more or less the kind of day I'll be having and think about two to three days ahead with gradually increasing detail the closer I get to tomorrow. It's nice knowing I've got a big 1,000 foot climb first thing in the morning and then some rolling trail and then I'll have lunch at X shelter and then... etc. etc. It's a way to relax, take stock and get out of trail mode.

TheChop
01-21-2011, 03:24
What would a "more compact, user-friendly format" be?

Those maps they used during World War II. You know the scene in Band of Brothers where Captain Winters gets out his flashlight and puts the map on it and makes the map appear on the ground.

Mühly
02-06-2011, 22:14
Every time I read a post of yours I think we're hiking brothers or something.

This is exactly the way I hike. I like visualizing ahead and knowing more or less the kind of day I'll be having and think about two to three days ahead with gradually increasing detail the closer I get to tomorrow. It's nice knowing I've got a big 1,000 foot climb first thing in the morning and then some rolling trail and then I'll have lunch at X shelter and then... etc. etc. It's a way to relax, take stock and get out of trail mode.

I also like to "see" the trail ahead, but, as my uncle used to say, "life is what happens when you have other plans.:p" My trail motto? Be prepared - stay flexible!

While hiking the CDT in Wyoming, I never used maps, just my guide book. Never even got my GPS out of the pack. Everything was very well marked. Good thing I never needed to ask for directions because I never saw anyone, Rawlins to Dubois.

asumda
02-07-2011, 11:26
What iPhone or smartphone app is worth using as a GPS for the trail?

ChinMusic
02-07-2011, 12:25
What iPhone or smartphone app is worth using as a GPS for the trail?

Lotta good stuff in these threads:

http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=68513&highlight=iphone

http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=60450&highlight=iphone

blitz1
03-13-2011, 09:20
What iPhone or smartphone app is worth using as a GPS for the trail?
I've been looking around for this too, have pretty much decided to get Accuterra unlimited based on what I've been reading about other peoples experiences with it.

fredmugs
03-13-2011, 09:55
I over plan my trips and I love having information available to me so I have a complete map set. I like knowing where the roads are and the elevation profiles. I like to find a spot 2 - 3 miles down the trail and then hike until I get there for my next break.

Having said that: If I were to do it all over again I would get a good GPS unit instead of buying all the maps. You can find GPX track files for pretty much the entire trail that you can have pre-downloaded into your GPS.

I will be hiking in Maine in July and I found GPX tracks for each section in Backpacker magazine. The files listed water sources and road crossings that weren't in the guidebook.

lilroo
04-15-2011, 17:46
Every time I read a post of yours I think we're hiking brothers or something.

This is exactly the way I hike. I like visualizing ahead and knowing more or less the kind of day I'll be having and think about two to three days ahead with gradually increasing detail the closer I get to tomorrow. It's nice knowing I've got a big 1,000 foot climb first thing in the morning and then some rolling trail and then I'll have lunch at X shelter and then... etc. etc. It's a way to relax, take stock and get out of trail mode.

Well guys, I must be your hiking sister :) I am the same way. Last year, on a section hike, I bought the official maps for TN/NC. Loved looking at the elevation, etc. But I ran into a bunch of people who had a print off of a map w/elevation plus info that looked like it was from the Companion Guide. Do you know anything about that? I just downloaded the Thru Hiker's Companion Guide and there are no maps (just overviews of cities you pass thru).

Anyone able to help on this?

lsglass
09-01-2011, 22:09
Ok, having finished my thru-hike...I'll answer my own question. I carried no maps and didn't really miss them. When I was uncertain about where I was, backtracking and finding blazes solved the problem. The couple of times I went the wrong way, it wasn't because I was uncertain and lacking a map, thought I was on the right track and never would have consulted a map. It would have been nice to have maps to examine prior to entering an area, so as to be familiar with/identify what lay around me, but not nice enough to pay for and carry. I did buy maps for NH and ME per someone's earlier suggestion, but I didn't use them.

Regarding the discussion of elevation profiles, the AT Guide has a running elevation profile embedded in the data portion of the book. It is perfect, as far as I could tell.