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Map and compass or GPS

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Map and compass or GPS

Postby bandguy5686 » Sat Aug 15, 2015 9:01 pm

Hello everyone. Id like to know if you prefer using map alone, map & compass, or GPS devices when traveling off trail (or on for that matter). Since my times paper maps seem to have disappeared from the scene. What do you folks use instead? Thanks in advance.


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Re: Map and compass or GPS

Postby rayfound » Sat Aug 15, 2015 9:17 pm

Map and compass for me. But I've never needed the compass.

Plus extensive map studying and daydreaming before the trip.
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Re: Map and compass or GPS

Postby rlown » Sun Aug 16, 2015 11:46 am

This is where I got my paper maps: http://www.conservation.ca.gov/cgs/info ... ffice.aspx

Menlo_Park_Office_web.jpg
Menlo_Park_Office_web.jpg (32.57 KiB) Viewed 235 times


My friends and I would spend a few hours browsing there every Spring. I then started ordering them via snail mail and later online and they'd come in those really nice triangular cardboard containers all rolled up and ready. Haven't done that recently, but I have a collection :D . I have the Garmin CD's now and print my maps directly.

If you're expecting bad weather and you need to move during the storm, 1) don't, 2) If option 1 doesn't suffice, then your compass gives you an idea, and 3) the GPS is the backup device. I prefer option 1.

Just know how to use all of them.
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Re: Map and compass or GPS

Postby Chris B » Mon Aug 17, 2015 12:52 pm

BandyGuy,

It depends where you are going but you should always carry a map and compass even if you go for the GPS. You also need to understand that knowing how to use them is just as important as carrying them. Typically I use a map in map case that I can read as I hike, that way I can constantly check may position and progress rather than waiting until I am lost then trying to get a fix. I tend to use my GPS more like a trip computer even though it has maps on it.

I also have to admit that I am a map hoarder so I have plenty to plan future trips. I usually take a couple of different maps of any area I backpack in because different maps often show different details. My favorites are the Tom Harrison series because they are accurate plus they a very lightweight and easy fold so you can see the part you need. I also like the Nat Geo Trails Illustrated series but these are typically a bigger more traditional format.

If you like maps check out Alltrails.com, you can pay for the Pro access then you can print off Nat Geo and other maps specific to you trip. I often do this and laminate them.

If you are hiking in a park with Rangers is always a good idea to talk to a Ranger about your route and plans, I have experienced a number of occasions when a Ranger has suggested better alternatives due to seasonal trail conditions and closures.

Remember the batteries never run out on a map.

Bottom line make sure you have multiple options.

Hope this helps

Chris
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Re: Map and compass or GPS

Postby LightRanger » Tue Aug 18, 2015 9:38 am

I tend to buy Tom Harrison if the area is covered, and use GPS on my phone when I need it with a backup powerbrick. I use the Backcountry Navigator Pro Android app and pre-download maps for the area I'll be frequenting. And then the phone is either off, or in airplane mode, depending on how frequently I think I'll need the GPS assist.

If no Tom Harrison, then print maps using CalTopo or other tool.
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Re: Map and compass or GPS

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Aug 18, 2015 2:33 pm

Map is always faster for me, not to mention always accurate and not prone to suddenly dying just when needed.

a GPS should never be considered a replacement for map skills. without map/compass skills you will never completely understand the GPS. it is a tool to use WITH a map.


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Re: Map and compass or GPS

Postby Cross Country » Tue Aug 18, 2015 4:36 pm

For the first 40-50 days of cross country travel I took a map and compass. I noticed during the last 20-30 I never used the compass. Because I thought it weighed something (it weighs nothing) I stopped takeing it until one time it cost me (us) more than an hour extra. I took one for the next 30-40 cross country travel and again never used it. I left it at home. Later on it cost Mike, Jim, and I an extra 2-4 hours. Always take a compass.
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Re: Map and compass or GPS

Postby maverick » Tue Aug 18, 2015 5:01 pm

Have yet to ever need the compass, but I do know how to use it. For the Sierra, being able to read a map, and understand the nuances of topography is usually enough. With named mountains, peaks, and rivers, it is pretty hard to get disoriented, now in the desert, in slot canyon country, now that is whole different beast.
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Re: Map and compass or GPS

Postby Cross Country » Tue Aug 18, 2015 5:31 pm

The first time I was hiking in a draw and it was drizzeling (no sun). I was trying to stay to the right of the draw because it was wet. We stayed to the right 180 degrees and walked back to the canyon overlook we had seen 30-40 minutes early. Once I saw the canyon I knew what had happened.
The second time we were hiking down the dry creekbed from Avonelle Lake looking for the trail. It was rocky and formed an S there and ahead and when I saw the trail I turned left like I was supposed to but we had crossed the trail in the rocky section and the S curve slowly took as right. We hiked to the overlook of Jack Main Creek. Since we were hiking toward Hetch Hechy this was the wrong diredtion. It was June 21 and 1:00 and the sun didn't help with direction.
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Re: Map and compass or GPS

Postby Cross Country » Tue Aug 18, 2015 5:34 pm

Mike and Jim in Jack Main Canyon. Wilber (Wilma?) Lake.
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M & J in Jack Main.jpg
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Re: Map and compass or GPS

Postby rlown » Tue Aug 18, 2015 5:39 pm

Cross Country wrote:The first time I was hiking in a draw and it was drizzeling (no sun). I was trying to stay to the right of the draw because it was wet. We stayed to the right 180 degrees and walked back to the canyon overlook we had seen 30-40 minutes early. Once I saw the canyon I knew what had happened.
The second time we were hiking down the dry creekbed from Avonelle Lake looking for the trail. It was rocky and formed an S there and ahead and when I saw the trail I turned left like I was supposed to but we had crossed the trail in the rocky section and the S curve slowly took as right. We hiked to the overlook of Jack Main Creek. Since we were hiking toward Hetch Hechy this was the wrong diredtion. It was June 21 and 1:00 and the sun didn't help with direction.


See, Don't move in questionable weather! :D
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Re: Map and compass or GPS

Postby Cross Country » Tue Aug 18, 2015 5:48 pm

Ha Ha. I had to be to work the next day. We were between Bearup and Hetch Hetchy.
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