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Thread: maps or not?

  1. #41
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkeeterPee View Post
    Did some experimentation with the PA maps. A picture did not work well. Very hard to get quality image you can zoom in on. But I tried my printer/scanner and one map took 9 scans. for total of about 15mb. I then mailed them to myself so they are on my phone. I can zoom in on these with great detail. Also, I could easily print them in a library of hotel if they have a printer center. I may try it this way on the next section hike.
    All that is well and good, but give Caltopo a try. It's free, you can zoom to any scale you want, with all sorts of map layer option (NGS topos, but I like the "map builder" topos better, seems newer). Then you can make Jpegs or Pdf's to your hearts content and load those directly to your phone. Easy peasy, once you get past about an hour's worth of learning curve.

    Here's an example, the AT from Hot Springs north maybe 10 trail miles or so, took 3 minutes to generate
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  2. #42

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    If you have to ask you probably should bring them.
    "No Worries" 2015 GA-ME; 2016 LT End-to-End

  3. #43

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    Just print the halfmile maps. Done.

  4. #44
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    If you dont even understand whether you need a map or not you shouldnt be hiking.

  5. #45
    Registered User El JP's Avatar
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    Like a few above i'm using the National Geographic map books.

    I'm having them mailed to me and am switching out at resupply spots. I really like maps and though things can be done via phone i would prefer to keep battery usage to an absolute minimum. In planning for the next day, the map will help me get an idea about the hike and let me see about certain terrain features and changes which will have to be dealt with and also note spots to use as waypoints along the way. To be able to plot things out in emergency situations is a big bonus

    It's a fact that you can do the AT without a map, but to me at least it's nice to be able to picture what's ahead rather than hearing a hazy description or so of at a shelter.

  6. #46

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    You don't need maps. A guide is sufficient.

  7. #47
    Registered User Turtle-2013's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scrabbler View Post
    If you dont even understand whether you need a map or not you shouldnt be hiking.
    While that might be true in many places, and possibly even some stretches along the AT ... it is a rather HARSH statement that reflects little understanding when it comes to hiking on the AT. I like maps, I use maps, I often bring maps, I taught my daughter how to use a map ... but on MOST of the AT while a map might be useful, it is clearly un-necessary ...

    As swjonhsey said it "You don't need maps. A guide is sufficient." ... with the understanding that there might be a few sections that it is HIGHLY advised because of the confusing of cross-trails and fewer trail signs. I will actually go far as to say that in a few sections even the trail guide is only to help you know the minor things that are coming next, since there are so many signs that will keep you on the path and keep you informed about how far it is to the next major landmarks.

    My best advise is to bring a map if the section looks confusing, or if you like to have a map for general information, or if you just like maps, or if you pack is too light, or if you want one for any other reason. But, if none of those reasons apply ... don't worry about it and have fun hiking and follow the white blazes ... the RIGHT direction Happy Trails

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattp View Post
    Hi everyone - I'm planning a NOBO thru hike for this coming spring, and one topic I can't find a whole lot of info on is whether or not to bring maps? I was planning to use the AWOL guide and have the Guthook app/maps on my phone for backup info. However a part of me feels like I should have maps, since they've always been such a critical part of by backpacking safety planning in the past. It seems kind of crazy to set off without them!
    I'm sure there are many schools of thought on this topic, but I'd love to hear your thoughts.
    Thanks,
    Matt
    To me maps are one of those things like a first aid kit. 99% of the time you don't need it but when you do bad things can happen if you don't have it. Never trust a cell or GPS. I have even had compasses fail.

  9. #49
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    very foolish to hike without maps

  10. #50

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    I just really like maps (even in my car). Even if most of the time I don't actually need a map while hiking, I enjoy being able to identify what I see at viewpoints and to get more of a context to areas the trail passes through. I should mention also that I'm a section hiker who has almost finished the AT and a retiree, so time and miles are not the focus for me. And yes, I agree that maps are essential for the Whites, where blazes are limited and local trail names prevail.

  11. #51
    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turtle-2013 View Post
    As swjonhsey said it "You don't need maps. A guide is sufficient." ... with the understanding that there might be a few sections that it is HIGHLY advised because of the confusing of cross-trails and fewer trail signs. I will actually go far as to say that in a few sections even the trail guide is only to help you know the minor things that are coming next, since there are so many signs that will keep you on the path and keep you informed about how far it is to the next major landmarks.
    Are you referring to the ATC guide books by state or the other guides like the Thru Hikers Companion or AWOL? If the later, they are pretty much useless for navigation.
    More walking, less talking.

  12. #52

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    Unless you find getting lost appealing I'd bring a map.

  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Francis Sawyer View Post
    Unless you find getting lost appealing I'd bring a map.
    Why should someone get lost? Just follow the white blazes.

  14. #54
    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    No one should get lost, but they do.
    More walking, less talking.

  15. #55

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    Someone who can't follow white blazes and a guide book is unlikely to be helped much by maps.

  16. #56
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    Lol...don't buy them, just wait until you start. You will find plenty of maps in the hiker boxes in GA. Nobody carries maps on a thru hike of the A.T. Get one of the paper guides and guthooks for your phone if you want. This is a very amusing thread. You just don't have to have maps for the A.T. Carrying them is an added weight and logistic issue you just don't need.

  17. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by DownEaster View Post
    Why should someone get lost? Just follow the white blazes.
    White blazes don't really come into play finding water off the trail, just one of the many uses a map provides those who understand how to use them.

  18. #58
    1,630 miles and counting earlyriser26's Avatar
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    Cell phones are handy devices. Want a compass? Use your phone. Want a map? Use Guthook. It all works until it doesn't. I found out two years ago on a winter day hike that almost turned into a very bad thing if I had left my paper map home. My phone was dead. I was able to find an escape route without doing something crazy like trying to bushwhack out.
    There are so many miles and so many mountains between here and there that it is hardly worth thinking about

  19. #59
    Registered User Turtle-2013's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soilman View Post
    Are you referring to the ATC guide books by state or the other guides like the Thru Hikers Companion or AWOL? If the later, they are pretty much useless for navigation.
    As you saw I was quoting swjohnsey ... but ... as to the guide books I have multiple versions of every ATC guide books, I have as well ATC maps for the entire length of the AT, often several versions dating from the early 1980's. I KNOW how to navigate, I know how to read maps ... BUT, the AT isn't about navigation MOST of the time, any more than getting on I-81 and driving from Abington, VA to Winchester, VA is navigation. While there are a handful of sections of the AT that SOME navigational skills are useful, MOST of the hikers on the AT, follow the blazes, and the signs, and RARELY do they have any difficulties. AND, most of them that do, wouldn't know what to do with a map anyway. SO, while I like the full text of the ATC guide books, often the Data book is more than enough information, ditto with the AWOL guides. Really, the guidebooks are about way-points, not navigation. They help plan stops, and water, and camping/shelters, etc. Please Note: I'm ONLY talking about the AT ... none of the other places I have hiked (mostly out west) would I venture without maps and my navigational skills. But, people don't need super maps skill, or even advanced maps skills to do well on the AT ... as evidenced by the majority of AT section and thru hikers.

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    In 2000 miles my experience is they are not worth the weight. I make copies of whatever book, use the reverse side for small bit of journaling. Honestly, where I have needed guidance is in some of the towns such as Port Clinton, Pa. In the early days I carried maps, enjoyed looking at them but most time in the woods was not sure where I was anyway, just kept following the white blazes. One simple trick that helped me is if not sure that I am still on the AT, turn around, often there was a blaze on a tree close by going in the opposite direction.

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