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A.T.C. mapdanna
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Thomas Conly
(conly) - F

Locale: Lots of canoeing and snow
A.T.C. mapdanna on 01/06/2011 12:48:14 MST Print View

I'm planning to hike the Appalachian Trail this summer and I'm still deciding what to do about maps. I've got the first two maps, the data book and the thru-hiker's companion. I'm wondering if I can get by with the mapdannas from Antigravity gear. Any thoughts from people who've had experience hiking the trail or who've used the maps? Thanks.

Anne Walker
(JonnyWalker) - F
Maps on 01/06/2011 13:43:35 MST Print View

I hiked a couple hundred miles of AT last year and I had all the maps. The only time they were usefull was when I blue blazed or had people drop me off at the trail. The A.T. Guide has a decent elevation profile and all the informaton you'll need to get to town.

Patrick S
(xpatrickxad) - F

Locale: Upper East TN
RE at maps on 01/06/2011 14:45:06 MST Print View

You do not need maps for the AT. I carried them until Erwin. I used one in the Whites because I did lots of side trips to hit 4,000 footers, but other than that I'd skip them. Although I wished I had one in Shenandoah because I wanted to do some side trails. I love maps, but you just don't need them for that trail.

Just get a good guide book. I suggest the Thru Hiker's Handbook over at

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: Maps on 01/06/2011 20:42:15 MST Print View

What can I say, I like maps. Sure, you can hike the A.T. using one of the guidebooks and following the white blazes, but maps -- for me, anyway -- add a lot to the experience. Plus they become much more valuable in an emergency, when the little elevation profile in the guide doesn't really provide a lot of info on how to find the nearest road or house.

The Mapdanna is cool, and I own a couple of them, and it would be interesting to hike the A.T. using it as my only navigation aid. But I'd rather have the regular maps.

Thomas Conly
(conly) - F

Locale: Lots of canoeing and snow
Thanks on 01/07/2011 09:00:22 MST Print View

Thanks so much for your insight. Any more would still be aprreciated. I'm thinking I'll get the mapdannas because I'll be carrying a bandanna anyway and I'll use my two books. I'm thinking of cutting the binding off the Thru-Hiker's companion and taking just the pages I need and putting the rest in my bounce box.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
better living through electronics on 01/07/2011 12:45:28 MST Print View

What worked for me was to put AT topo maps on my smartphone. You can get the full set of AT maps in USGS on a DVD (or maybe CD) for something like $25 or $30. Heck, you can also get them for free if you can figure out an efficient way to find and download them. Then with some sort of software to render the maps, ideally integrate with a built-in true GPS, then you're really set, with no extra weight over the phone you're carrying anyway (if in fact you're carrying such a phone ....).

I wouldn't do this on most other trails, I do go with the "should have maps" conventional wisdom, but the AT is indeed awfully well marked and traveled. So a guidebook was enough for me, with electronic map data as a backup.