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  1. #1

    Default What's the difference????

    In viewing the many up to date resources available for purchase, one cannot help but ask, what's the difference?

    Appalachian Thru Hikers Companion
    A.T. Guide by Miller
    A.T. Data Book
    Any others that I cannot find at this moment lol

    Which do you find to be the best? Why?? Are they essentially the same?

    Looking forward to everyone's input here.

  2. #2
    Registered User lonehiker's Avatar
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    As I understand it, I'm certain I will be corrected if wrong, that all the guidebooks take the base data from the AT Data book. The rest of it is simply personal preference as to format and whatever additional information they provide. I personally have had success using Appalachian Pages which is now the AT Guide. But, any guidebook will suffice. I think most are probably using Guthooks app by now...
    Lonehiker

  3. #3
    Wanna-be hiker trash
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    Short Answer: The A.T. Guide (aka AWOL) is made for people who want to be infuriated by trying to deal with a book that is inexplicably bound in landscape orientation.

    At this point the Thru Hiker’s Companion and the A.T. Guide are basically on par with each-other, just with different layouts. For several years the A.T. Guide was legitimately better, but the Companion has caught up. Personally I have a bit of a preference for the Companion since I’m a section hiker and I find its layout a bit better for planning section hiking logistics. The A.T. Guide has a more stripped down layout that seems to have thru hikers in mind and I can see the appeal of the design if I was hiking hundreds of miles at a clip and not worrying about trailheads and parking as much.

    Never used the databook, so can’t comment on that.
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

  4. #4
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    STE offered a good run down. The more guides become more stripped down the more the specific info(sites, water sources, CS's, etc) in the guide tends to get beaten down. It's happening on the PCT and JMT as well. Personally. I'm not a big fan of such stripped down SUL guides. It leads too often to a this is how to hike the AT mindset resulting in concentrated impacts and more often those not HYTOH but hiking someone else's hike.

  5. #5

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    I finished up the AT using just the Data Book. Clear, concise, portable.

  6. #6
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    You forget to mention the Philosophers Guide https://www.atmuseum.org/1983-philos...to-the-at.html

    And do course Wingfoot's guide. This was "the guide" for several years but there was lot of criticism that it publicized folks who did trail magic. What was originally random acts by folks along the trail turned into "must dos" for thru hikers. There was also an underlying smugness by the author on occasion that rubbed folks the wrong way.

  7. #7

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    I started out with the data book, which only listed mileage between POI and how for away a town was and what services it had (L,M,G). Very basic. Going to town was always an adventure, since you had no idea exactly what you'd find or where to find it.

    At the time, the data book was the only publication to cover the whole trail. Otherwise you had to buy the guide book for each division, about a dozen of them.

    Wingfoot's guide was a game changer. I really liked his format and the size of the guide.

    I'm not sure when the ATC's companion came along, but I think it was in response to Wingfoot's guide.

    When Wingfoot stopped publishing, AWOL's guide came along to fill the void and became the standard.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  8. #8
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    I started out with AWOL and guthooks and stopped using the former after about 100/150 miles. I kept it pretty much the whole way out of fear that my phone would crap out (which was very possible - I have a wonky phone). But guthooks - at least to my (millennial) mind - is far more intuitive and useful. I also found the conventional wisdom that AWOL was better for information related to towns to be exaggerated if not bogus.

  9. #9

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    FWIW - I have always used the ATC guide. The trail information is accurate and it supports the organization.

  10. #10

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    Has anyone done a side by side review/comparison of the various guides? It could make picking the right one for me easier. Or I could follow my normal course with such things and buy a bunch of stuff (smile).

    I'm not suggesting a review that says get this one not that one, but rather, this is the layout, this is the info provided, this is the weight, this is the cost, etc. It seems to me there is enough experience on this thread to put such a review together.

  11. #11
    Registered User Christoph's Avatar
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    I used the AT guide (.pdf) on my thru. I found it's very "thru hiker" oriented as in everything is point A to point B. It'll definitely get the job done. I also found the Guthook app gives more info on side trails and sights (waterfalls, towns, general info), a lot having to do with reading the comments sections. This was especially helpful when people ahead were saying that certain water source wasn't up to par, shelter's is full, etc... But, to me that also takes the fun out of the adventure staring at the phone knowing exactly what lies ahead. Using the AT Guide, I'd plan my day at night just before bed and not open it again until the next night. Haven't used any others though, hope this helps some.
    - Trail name: Thumper

  12. #12
    Registered User Elaikases's Avatar
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    I also like the Whiteblaze guide. Just bought two (one for me, one for family while my wife and I are on the AT. She talked me into retiring this March 15 and we will hit the trail thereafter).

  13. #13

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    Thank you everyone for your input. I really do appreciate it. I have the current data book and they hikers companion, but Iíve never seen the awol guide. Iím going to have to get one to see how it is.

  14. #14
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    Guthook's app worked well for me, but also used the AWOL guide for planning a day or two ahead. Only concern is that Guthook is a load on the phone battery.
    Simple is good.

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