We particularly like the Trails Illustrated maps, which are printed on Polyart, a tear-resisitant, waterproof plastic using up-to-date information. Trails Illustrated starts with the most current USGS topographic maps, then adds roads and trail information, along with information about hiking, biking, skiing, boating, and trails, and prints them on waterproof Polyart(TM) "paper". Trails Illustrated has several different series; a National Park series; an excellent trail map series for Colorado and Utah; a mountain-biking series; and an American Discovery Trail series. Most maps are updated either every year or every other year, insuring the most up-to-date maps available. We recommend these maps highly. The maps come folded to a convenient 4 x 9" size.
Trails Illustrated maps (owned by Nat Geo. btw) are good but don't have the flexibility I want. If you aren't in a popular recreational area you won't find one for where you're going. I also like more detail than I usually find in their maps. I am looking at the Isle Royale which is 1:50,000 which is marginal for my uses. Tahoe Basin is 1:63,000 and Joshua tree is 1:80,000. I'd consider that acceptable for ORVing or casual recreation but not for wilderness hiking. I like my maps in the 1:12,000 range.
To get those first buy good mapping software by DeLorme or National Geographic. Then buy your own waterproof printing paper. (Nat Geo calls it "Adventure Paper".) Any color ink jet printer will do but be prepared to go thru a lot of green ink. I print the map up on 8.5x11 or 8.5x14 depending on the needs of the route & fold it accordion style to fit in my pocket. (Big routes = multiple sheets until I can get an 11 inch wide printer.) I usually end up printing one copy on the expensive stuff and three on plain paper. One stays behind with my wife, one stays in the car in the windshield and one gets stuffed into a ziploc and lives in my pack just in case.
This is a portion of a map for the hike I would have gone on today had real life not interfered. Grrrrrrrr.
Never had any luck with printing the maps, always came out small and had to tape a few together, then, didn't have the adjacent area included on the printed map of the hiking. I bushwhack and don't follow any trails, why I like to have a full set of area maps. Usually just go to the Federal Center in town and buy the USGS 7.5 min maps, (1:24,000), which works for me traveling on foot. They last a long time, still have the maps from hikes in the early 70's. I never fold them, always roll them, fwiw.
Fearlessness is better than a faint heart, for any man that pokes his nose out of doors. - Old Norse saying
When it comes your time to die, Sing your death song and die like a hero going home. "Chief Tecumseh"
That's actually "cheap" when you look at it from a value point of view. I'm looking into a high quality waterproof map case that will accommodate several maps. I thought about applying liquid map sealer to maps, but I expect it'd break down over time and possibly hurt the integrity of the map itself.
I like to quarter section my 7 1/2 minute topo maps and have them laminated at Kinkos. They fit perfectly in the pouch inside my pack and I can fit several together in whatever direction I want for whatever route I am following. Snow? Rain? Fog? Accidental stream or river dousing? No problem.
I like to quarter section my 7 1/2 minute topo mas and have them laminated at Kinkos. They fit perfectly in the pouch inside my pack and I can fit several together in whatever direction I want for whatever route I am following. Snow? Rain? Fog? Accidental stream or river dousing? No problem.
That's good to know that I can have maps laminated. As I may have stated before, my commercial maps were laminated when I purchased them and about a decade later and with a lot of use, they are still like new. I'll definitely take that step with any maps that I get from now on. Thanks for letting us know.
"It's better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." Emiliano Zapata