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Topo Maps

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Topo Maps

Postby oldhikerQ » Thu Apr 11, 2013 6:52 am

How do you carry your topo maps? Do you keep them on your person or in your pack? If they are in your pack, can you get to them without taking your pack off?
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost



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Re: Topo Maps

Postby gary c. » Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:21 am

I wear convertable pants with cargo pockets while hiking. My useable map for the days in carried in one of the cargo pockets where I can reach it easily.
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Re: Topo Maps

Postby maverick » Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:11 am

Gary C wrote:
I wear convertable pants with cargo pockets while hiking. My useable map for the days
in carried in one of the cargo pockets where I can reach it easily.


Same here in a ziplock bag, but sometimes it is in the side of my camera waist pack, the
only thing with this method is it easily slips out when going up hill over rocky/bushy terrain.
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Re: Topo Maps

Postby sparky » Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:14 am

I carry them on my person, and they need to be easily accessible, as I look at them a lot, depending on terrain. I carry a Tom Harrison map, and home printed USGS 7.5 maps in areas I feel I need more detail. I keep my maps in my back pocket. I have had my map fall out of my pocket before :eek: I study topos so much that I could pretty much find my way out of anywhere if I had to
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Re: Topo Maps

Postby Troutdog 59 » Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:47 am

I'm nearly identical to Sparky. For an overnighter or 3 day trip thats on one or two 7.5' Topos, I use those. For longer trips or those ones that fall right on the corners of the 7.5 minute series, I bring maps like the Tom Harrison Maps as a regional map and some hand printed topos for cross country sections. I keep them in a ziplock or two. I keep the map Im using at the time in a pocket either on my shorts or in my hiking shirt. The rest I keep in an external pocket on the back of my pack.
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Re: Topo Maps

Postby Fly Guy Dave » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:12 pm

gary c. wrote:I wear convertable pants with cargo pockets while hiking. My useable map for the days in carried in one of the cargo pockets where I can reach it easily.


Exactly the same for me, but in a ziploc bag as well.
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Re: Topo Maps

Postby rlown » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:19 pm

i carry backup copies in the pack for the area. also, another set is ziplocked in my cargo pants pocket. And also loaded on the GPS.
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Re: Topo Maps

Postby oldhikerQ » Thu Apr 11, 2013 1:02 pm

I carry a Tom Harrison map as my base map, augmented by 7.5 min topos for XC sections. Maps go into Gregory pocket office (high tech version of Colin Fletcher's office on the yoke). Pocket office also holds wilderness permit, notebook, pen and compass. It's kind of unwieldy and weighs almost 4 oz, but everything is kept close at hand. I wish that there was a lighter replacement, but all that I have seen are made to hold stuff instead of maps. Don't carry any backups, since all of the group have their own maps and/or GPS.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost
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Re: Topo Maps

Postby Tom » Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:39 am

I carry my maps in the top pocket. If I have to I am able to get them out of there without taking the pack off.

However, Most of my destinations are fishing spots and I will have lived on the maps the weeks before a trip. Even some of the cross-country jaunts into spots have been memorized and Google Earth consulted so that it all seems familiar. I usually consult the map for the next day in camp the night before.

The 2 times (in 40 years) that I have been lost involved taking the pack off, fishing, consulting the map, walking for an hour and then repeating the process.
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Re: Topo Maps

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Apr 16, 2013 6:56 pm

I carry maps in my pocket, sealed in a zip-lock bag. When off-trail through difficult country, I actually have the maps in my hand a lot. I am old, and memory is failing. I do not seem to remember more than a few footsteps ahead! Another method for those of us who have poor memories, is to consult the map, look where you want to go, find a landmark to head for, and then get the map out again when you reach that landmark. I aslo draw on my maps as I go. Be aware that a map printed on regular paper on your home printer will likely run if it gets wet. USGS maps are somewhat waterproof. They my get soft, but the ink does not run. I have had home- printed maps in my pocket get sweaty and smear really bad.
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Re: Topo Maps

Postby LMBSGV » Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:12 pm

For the last few years, most of my maps are created from downloaded 7.5 USGS maps. I prefer the USGS maps to the National Geographic topo maps for when I hike since I’m used to how they look after so many years - I’m comfortable with the contours and colors. I’ll combine various maps to conform to my route by putting them together in Photoshop. I play with the contrast and other values to get them looking as sharp and clear as I can. I print them on an Epson photo printer on 11x17 stiff matte paper, using both sides. I print two copies since, as WD said, the colors may run if they get wet.

When hiking on trails, I leave them in a zip-loc bag in my pack. For cross-country, I fold it up and put it in my front left shorts pocket or have it out in my hand - it depends whether or not I think I need to refer to it.

Before I switched camera bags from a Lowepro Photorunner to a Think Tank, I sometimes stuck the map on the top of the camera bag under a strap. The problem was the map would sometimes slip out. When I was on the approach below Harrison Pass going over a short stretch of big flat talus blocks, the map slipped out and fell into one of the cracks between blocks. I couldn’t see where it landed. So I took off my pack and spent about twenty-thirty minutes trying to find the map. I even got out my flashlight to peer into the cracks. I finally gave up and so went over Harrison Pass and exploring the Upper Kern without a map and relying on memory. In certain respects, it was a lot of fun to explore without a map and following where the landscape led me. Three days later, a couple of guys came up from the lake below to the lake where I was camped while I was packing up (the first people I’d seen in 5 days). At first, they were rather incredulous when I went up to them and asked if I could look at their map. Why would I want to see their map? It took several minutes of explanation to convince them I wasn’t this nut case they’d run into at this remote off-trail lake. The look at their map helped confirm where to go the next two days before I hiked out over Kearsarge Pass. Since then, I’ve always appreciated wandering around off-trail and only referring to a map when it becomes absolutely necessary. There’s a sense of truly being alone in the High Sierra that is spiritually exhilarating and liberating.
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