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Pages
02-04-2013, 09:47
i just compared the two in a write-up with pictures if you would like to compare for yourself.


http://pagesfromthetrail.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-at-guide-vs-thru-hikers-companion.html


- Pages

Rain Man
02-04-2013, 11:40
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. I liked how you put them side-by-side in photographs and even highlighted what you were commenting about. Nicely done.

Rain:sunMan

.

Pages
02-04-2013, 11:53
thanks rain man

tds1195
02-04-2013, 11:58
Great post Pages. I enjoyed the comparison.

Sly
02-04-2013, 12:38
Yeah, the maps would look similar because David made them both.

Honestly though, I know that hikers like the "bling" but how difficult is it to remember what a certain letter stand for? What would you think C, G, H etc stand for?

Rain Man
02-04-2013, 13:29
Honestly though, I know that hikers like the "bling" but how difficult is it to remember what a certain letter stand for?

Honestly? Very! Perhaps not for a thru-hiker on day 100, but that's an EXTREMELY select group.

For the rest of humanity, such as when I head out on a section hike and it's been six months since the last time I set foot on the AT? I couldn't possibly tell you what A or B or C stands for without guessing.

And since I take only the pages for the section I'm hiking, it does me no good if there's a symbol chart or table for this or that or the other unless it's on the very pages I'm taking.

Rain Man

.

Sly
02-04-2013, 13:51
I couldn't possibly tell you what A or B or C stands for without guessing.

.

I wouldn't know what A or B stand for either but with C, I'll give you a hint, camping. H = hostel, G = grocery, w = water. Pretty basic stuff.

You use about as much brain function to connect an icon with a certain designation.

Here's a good one, what's AT stand for?

atmilkman
02-04-2013, 13:54
I wouldn't know what A or B stand for either but with C, I'll give you a hint, camping. H = hostel, G = grocery, w = water. Pretty basic stuff.

You use about as much brain function to connect an icon with a certain designation.
To this day my favorite is still AYCE. To me it's a no-brainer.

Lone Wolf
02-04-2013, 13:56
all in all the AT Guide is the better book

generoll
02-04-2013, 16:27
I like the green book.

Slo-go'en
02-04-2013, 16:37
I still like the format of Wingfoot's thru-hiker handbook the best. Too bad it's no longer available and my copy is all cut up and I lost all of central Virginia. Plus whats left is 9 years out of date.

Lyle
02-04-2013, 16:55
I wouldn't know what A or B stand for either but with C, I'll give you a hint, camping. H = hostel, G = grocery, w = water. Pretty basic stuff.

You use about as much brain function to connect an icon with a certain designation.

Here's a good one, what's AT stand for?


But what about "S"? South, Shelter, Spring? Then there's "s", same dilema. Is "W" west or water? or was "w" water?

BuckeyeBill
02-04-2013, 20:14
Excellent comparison Pages. As you and some other said, I like The AT Guide better.

Sly
02-04-2013, 20:49
But what about "S"? South, Shelter, Spring? Then there's "s", same dilema. Is "W" west or water? or was "w" water?

Are you serious?

Here's a quick primer, all explained in the intro. E is east (right for nobos, or how the book is written ) W is west (left)there is no south (unless noted) that never changes, especially since maybe 1 in 20 on the AT (appalachian trail) actually carry a compass.

w, as I said before is water. It doesn't matter if it's a spring, creek or faucet, it's all water. S is for shelter.

Here's some others

C—campground, campsites O—outfi tter
cl—coin laundry P.O.—post offi ce
D—doctor, medical R—road access
f—fuel S—shelter
G—groceries, supplies sh—shower
H— hostels nw—no potable water
L— lodging V—veterinarian
m—miles w—water
M—meals; restaurants 

a/c—air conditioning
AYCE—all-you-can-eat
B/L/D—breakfast/lunch/dinner
eap—each additional person

There'll be a test later, with the winner appearing on Are you smarter than a 5th Grader.

Lyle
02-04-2013, 21:13
Being sarcastic and degrading folks doesn't really win people over. Might be better to realize that your notations aren't as good or obvious as they could be, at least to someone who doesn't use them every day. When I used to use the Companion I always had to make sure I brought a copy of the key along. This isn't necessary with the Guide.

Lone Wolf
02-04-2013, 21:17
Being sarcastic and degrading folks doesn't really win people over. Might be better to realize that your notations aren't as good or obvious as they could be, at least to someone who doesn't use them every day. When I used to use the Companion I always had to make sure I brought a copy of the key along. This isn't necessary with the Guide.

sly is the companion editor so he's a little sensitive to any criticism

Drybones
02-04-2013, 21:27
Give me about two weeks on the train and I can give an honest opinion. I used the Companion last year, but everybody else seemed to have the AWOL guide. I bought an AWOL to use this year for about 700 miles. My initial thought is I like the Companion better because of the way it shows services. Offhand the only thing I see in the AWOL version that I like better is the elevation graph and the fact that each page represents about 20 miles, which is what I'd like to do each day. I'm sure either one will get you down the trail.

max patch
02-04-2013, 21:39
[QUOTE=Drybones;1409719I'm sure either one will get you down the trail.[/QUOTE]

True; and isn't that what really matters?

Something that rarely comes up in this discussion is that profits from the Companion flow to ALDHA and the ATC. Profits from the AT Guide flow to an individual. I find it strange that this is never part of the decision making process.

max patch
02-04-2013, 21:42
especially since maybe 1 in 20 on the AT (appalachian trail) actually carry a compass.



Wow, is that true (or even close to being true)? Sad commentary if so.

Trillium
02-04-2013, 23:03
Something that rarely comes up in this discussion is that profits from the Companion flow to ALDHA and the ATC. Profits from the AT Guide flow to an individual. I find it strange that this is never part of the decision making process.I was just about to say that and you beat me to it. This is a big part of the reason that I am joining ALDHA and ordering the Companion.

Pages
02-05-2013, 08:24
i bought the companion this year to specifically support the atc and aldha. sly and these orgs put a lot of time and effort into the companion. But the guide works better for me. personal preference, not a judgement on the companion's quality.

- pages

10-K
02-05-2013, 08:36
I used to buy both just to support each - for the same reason I buy a BMT Guide and MST every time one is released. No matter how you look at it I doubt anyone is getting rich off making AT (or BMT) guides.

<I don't buy the companion anymore because I earn my free copy by keeping the section between Hot Springs and Erwin updated.. :) >

fredmugs
02-05-2013, 08:46
Wow, is that true (or even close to being true)? Sad commentary if so.

What is sad about not carrying a piece of completely useless equipment?

Sly
02-05-2013, 10:53
I used to buy both just to support each - for the same reason I buy a BMT Guide and MST every time one is released. No matter how you look at it I doubt anyone is getting rich off making AT (or BMT) guides.

<I don't buy the companion anymore because I earn my free copy by keeping the section between Hot Springs and Erwin updated.. :) >

Thanks 10K!

Since it appears back orders are being filled, you should get the 2013 edition soon.

Sly
02-05-2013, 10:57
i bought the companion this year to specifically support the atc and aldha. sly and these orgs put a lot of time and effort into the companion. But the guide works better for me. personal preference, not a judgement on the companion's quality.

- pages

Of course, all sales help but no problem. It's just the silly comparisons like it's easier to remember an icon rather than an initial get frustrating.

BuckeyeBill
02-06-2013, 02:07
Early I said that I like the AT Guide better than the Companion, but after going through both of them to set up an itinerary, I think you are best served by using both for this purpose. In the Companion it is easy to see what services are offered at the various road crossing and cities, whereas in the Guide you need to read about the services to see what is offered. The guide offers better onroute descritptions that will help you determine where you are, but the companion offers better descritptions. Even though Davis may do both maps ??? the maps in the guides helps me find things quicker with the Icons. So as you can see when you in both in conjunction with each other as well as your maps you can have a much more enjoyable Hike IMO.

max patch
02-06-2013, 11:49
Back in the day you needed to carry the ATC Data Book and one of the Handbooks. And a few people (guilty!) also carried the ATC State Guidebooks. Add the always carried 2 paperback books (and a Sunday paper if leaving town on Sunday) and I was a walking library.

takethisbread
02-08-2013, 09:28
I think the companion is the best book since the Bible. I buy a new one every year. It's great bathroom material. That said it should come with a digital download for the mobile version that can be updated annually. I wouldn't take it with me. But I would use my phone.

Starchild
02-08-2013, 10:12
On thing I really like about the companion is that distances off trail to resupply services are clearly and easily visible on the 'spreadsheet'. That is it's biggest plus over the guide that has you refer to the page to see the distances off trail to the services. Besides that the Guide's use of graphic icon symbols is a big intuitive plus over the Companion's letter symbols, which are to many and similar to really use this system.

Sly
02-08-2013, 10:52
Besides that the Guide's use of graphic icon symbols is a big intuitive plus over the Companion's letter symbols, which are to many and similar to really use this system.

LOl... I just went through that. There are about 1/2 dozen common symbols and an equal number of not so common initials. They're really not that hard to remember. Here's your test.

R (E–0.6m L, f, )
(W–1.8m PO, G, L,
M, O, cl, f)

answers below...


























Road, (east 0.6 miles to lodging, fuel.) ( West 1.8 miles to post office, grocery, lodging, meals, outfitter, coin laundry, fuel.)

Starchild
02-08-2013, 12:18
LOl... I just went through that. There are about 1/2 dozen common symbols and an equal number of not so common initials. They're really not that hard to remember. Here's your test.

R (E–0.6m L, f, )
(W–1.8m PO, G, L,
M, O, cl, f)

...

Yes I'm sure I could learn it, but to me icons are so more intuitive, I don't need to learn them, letters I sort of do and I have had to look at the key more then a couple of times. I'm sure for a thru one would become much better acquainted with the meanings. I also realize that those letters work better for some then others, I am more of a graphic symbol person, though my ex hated that and would much rather have letters, so there is some personal inclinations and preferences in that as well.

Peace

WildFireKNits
02-08-2013, 12:36
I much prefer the Companion and I have both books (The 2012 AT Guide and the 2006 & 2013 Thru Hikers Companion).

I find the charts much easier to quickly read than having the mileage info spaced out irregularly on the elevation chart. I prefer the layout- it has all of the mileage charts for each section together, followed by the description section instead of interspersed like the Guide has. I like the fact that all text is in the same direction in the companion, so you dont have to hold the book one direction for mileage info, and another for the descriptive town info. I also prefer the having the additional information the Companion provides about shelters and other points of interest along the trail in each section (the Guide seems to reserve description sections for town), the fact that post offices are marked on the mileage charts, the post office and hostel appendices in the back, and the to-scale town maps with grids.

I do prefer a couple of things about the AT Guide however, -it does have a handy envelope symbol next to businesses that accept mail drops in the description section, whereas in the companion you have to read through the description for this information and the section on getting to the termini provided more shuttling info. The Guide is a bit lighter.

I was a little disappointed that the Companion was not spiral-bound this year-which made it easy to tear out pages or look at thru a ziplock, but I still prefer the binding and feel of the book (size and shape make it easier to flip through the pages) to that of the AT companion. Because of how much I prefer the Companion, I had honestly thought that the reason for the Guide's popularity was that its easier to find (available on amazon). I'm sure that each book has it merits, and it is definitely helpful to have some kind of side by side comparison, whether in person in the pics on your blog. . .

WildFireKNits
02-08-2013, 12:42
Well actually, I guess that both books intersperse information, it's just that the guide does so by breaking down the trail into logical sections, and heads them so each is like its own chapter (Georgia, North Carolina, Great Smoky Mountain National Park, etc. I probably enjoy this not just because it feels more organized, but because I feel a certain sense of accomplishment as I finish each section as designated by the companion.

Lyle
02-08-2013, 13:07
Yes I'm sure I could learn it, but to me icons are so more intuitive, I don't need to learn them, letters I sort of do and I have had to look at the key more then a couple of times. I'm sure for a thru one would become much better acquainted with the meanings. I also realize that those letters work better for some then others, I am more of a graphic symbol person, though my ex hated that and would much rather have letters, so there is some personal inclinations and preferences in that as well.

Peace

Now, now, don't argue. Sly has explained that those of us who prefer the Guide are just wrong. We simply are not intelligent enough to use the Companion. There is absolutely no room for improvement in their superior product. No need to even consider making it more user friendly, no matter how many folks suggest it.

It is just so frustrating to have to keep correcting us about our opinion. :)

Chaco Taco
02-08-2013, 13:08
Love both. Really enjoy being part of the Companion and ALDHA. AWOL has a great thing going as well and I also buy each edition. Great sources of wonderful information

FarmerChef
02-08-2013, 17:27
I buy both each year and take both with me for reasons others have stated. I'm grateful for the effort all put into their guides and agree that you can successfully hike thru or in sections with each guide. I used the Companion for the first 1/4 of the trail before I started also carrying the Guide. The only thing I found challenging was remembering the initials in the Companion as others have stated. If it was really that bad, I could take the time to copy the key down and bring it with me or rememorize it before I start my next section. But all in all I've still been able to figure out enough to get me what I need. In the Guide, I really like having the elevation profile right on the page instead of having to unfold the entire map for the section. It's also considerably lighter than the map.

To me comparing the two maps is like comparing a Red Delicious to a Golden Delicious. They're both apples, both sweet and delicious as well as healthy and nutritious. In the end, the real choice is what you prefer.

Awol2003
02-09-2013, 09:03
Thanks for posting your write-up, Pages. Doing a hands-on comparison is the best way to choose. Anyone who does so, and prefers to keep another book can return mine for a refund.

An earlier post suggests “a reason for the AT Guide’s popularity was that it’s easier to find.” In truth, the Companion enjoys MUCH greater exposure. Both books are on Amazon, but many hikers start their AT planning by looking over the ATC website and literature that steers them to the Companion. Dozens of hikers who buy the AT Guide tell me that they didn’t start with it and switched only after learning about the AT Guide while on the trail.

There are a couple of big “cumulative” differences that can’t be shown with side-by-side page comparisons. The ATG has 800 or so more landmarks, which means many more mentions of water, trail crossings, etc… Of the hikers switching books, they cite this as the reason more often than the profile, the icons or the weight of the book. Another difference that’s not readily apparent is that there are more than twice as many town and area maps (Roan Mtn, Marion, Beuna Vista, Warwick, Falls Village and about 30 more). It’s hard to fully appreciate that until you’ve made resupply visits to a number of towns.

Karma13
02-09-2013, 09:26
many hikers start their AT planning by looking over the ATC website and literature that steers them to the Companion.

I'll second that. I had a copy of the Companion before I ever heard about the AT Guide. I have both now, but I got two copies of the AT Guide this year and that's the one that's coming with me in print on the trail, although I'm also taking my pdf of the Companion.

drifter
02-09-2013, 09:40
It's great that we have both and the ability to choose! I personally buy and study both along with the state guidebooks on the shelf. As a section hiker I do like the loose leaf guide (or the spiral bound Companion) for ease of making copies. Thanks for doing the side by side comparison.

Mountain Mike
02-09-2013, 09:42
There are numerous points for buying each one. If you are considering a long hike on the trail what's the cost of buying both as opposed to just one? A night at a hostel or a dinner? Nothing wrong with getting a second opinion, sometimes it helps.

moldy
02-09-2013, 09:58
Besides the big beer party every year, does aldha ever do anything for hikers?

Mountain Mike
02-09-2013, 11:45
Besides the big beer party every year, does aldha ever do anything for hikers?

Do you mean the Gathering with seminars where friendly hikers can meet & share & newbies learn stuff? I can see why your're not interested.

Chaco Taco
02-09-2013, 15:09
Besides the big beer party every year, does aldha ever do anything for hikers?
Many ALDHA members, organize the various Ruck events. Sly is always the first one you see when you arrive at many of these various events and the last one to leave. The Gathering is an outstanding event and yes there is beer, you should have one moldy :banana

Sly
02-09-2013, 15:45
Besides the big beer party every year, does aldha ever do anything for hikers?

Yeah really since hikers are such a needy bunch what would you have them do? I'll bring it up in front of the board and general meeting.

In the meantime, along with beer and bacon, they have the Gathering which has helped 1000's on hikers with various trails, run several work trips a year in including sprucing up hostels and such and write the the guide you seem to hate with a passion.

rocketsocks
02-09-2013, 16:09
i just compared the two in a write-up with pictures if you would like to compare for yourself.


http://pagesfromthetrail.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-at-guide-vs-thru-hikers-companion.html


- PagesI too have both, really nice write up Pages. I seem to always reach for AWOLS, but either would get a body there.

WildFireKNits
02-09-2013, 17:25
Hmm. . . the landmark thing is making the AT Guide look real good to me now that you've pointed that out AWOL. I don't know how I missed that (I've been pouring over it for months!). I guess I hadn't given the book a proper chance since I'm so used to the Companion from my last long distance hike. I'm not sure which one I'll carry with me now on my thru hike. I definitely think both books are worthwhile to have.

alxflwrs
02-09-2013, 20:19
LOl... I just went through that. There are about 1/2 dozen common symbols and an equal number of not so common initials. They're really not that hard to remember. Here's your test.

R (E0.6m L, f, )
(W1.8m PO, G, L,
M, O, cl, f)

answers below...


























Road, (east 0.6 miles to lodging, fuel.) ( West 1.8 miles to post office, grocery, lodging, meals, outfitter, coin laundry, fuel.)


You seem to be incredibly defensive of people offering their opinion. It's my understand that you do help to work on it but let people have their opinion man!
Look up the graphic designer Tufte. He's got some work on visual explanations. It's a well known fact amongst graphic designers that visual symbols are much easier and catchier to the eye (and thus to the brain) than simply letters-as-shorthand...

I had NO idea what you were trying to convey with your cryptic R (E0.6m L, f, )(W1.8m PO, G, L, M, O, cl, f). I guess I fail that test you were talking about--must be a 4th grader and an awful hiker... That's quite convoluted and cryptic, and I'll stick with my visual symbols.

alxflwrs
02-09-2013, 20:27
Now, now, don't argue. Sly has explained that those of us who prefer the Guide are just wrong. We simply are not intelligent enough to use the Companion. There is absolutely no room for improvement in their superior product. No need to even consider making it more user friendly, no matter how many folks suggest it.

It is just so frustrating to have to keep correcting us about our opinion. :)


I like how Sly can tell us we're just unintelligent and likely illiterate because we don't like the book put out by the ATC (and so we're unsupportive of the atc and aldha) yet AWOL literally comes in and says, "Here's why this one is better. But you're entitled to your opinion and I'll even take my product back if you decide it's not for you."

Everyone forgets it starts with HYOH...

Sly
02-09-2013, 20:55
I like how Sly can tell us we're just unintelligent and likely illiterate because we don't like the book put out by the ATC (and so we're unsupportive of the atc and aldha) yet AWOL literally comes in and says,

Did I call you unintelligent, apologies if I did. I'm mostly speaking as a hiker and have used other guidebooks for the AT and other trails, none of which had the icons, and I never gave it a second thought until someone here said they were easier to remember. Seriously?

Otherwise, it was just a joke about the smarter than a 5th grader and taking a test.

Jcmyers78
02-10-2013, 13:48
I have both the Guide and the Companion and used both to plan my hike, but I am taking the Guide with me on the trail. There are places, though, that I will makes notes on the Guide from stuff in the Companion. I am only taking the pages I need until the next mail drop at which time I will get the next batch of pages and I will send the ones I do not need any more home. I n

moldy
02-10-2013, 15:35
"Yeah really since hikers are such a needy bunch what would you have them do? I'll bring it up in front of the board and general meeting."
From what I can tell by asking the thru-hikers(one would think aldha might try asking the hikers), they would like more white paint, more picnic tables, some trash containers at road crossings, they would like more, bigger and better shelters and they would like the the so called hiker organizations to stop discouraging people from putting out trail magic. Right now aldha is just another version of the atc or amc or patco. bring that to the meeting.....

Chaco Taco
02-10-2013, 16:10
Im sure either group would love to hear your concerns. Hiker ARE a needy bunch, its all over this particular website and you see it up and down the AT every year.


"Yeah really since hikers are such a needy bunch what would you have them do? I'll bring it up in front of the board and general meeting."
From what I can tell by asking the thru-hikers(one would think aldha might try asking the hikers), they would like more white paint, more picnic tables, some trash containers at road crossings, they would like more, bigger and better shelters and they would like the the so called hiker organizations to stop discouraging people from putting out trail magic. Right now aldha is just another version of the atc or amc or patco. bring that to the meeting.....