Do you carry a compass and Topo Map every trip?

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What do you carry for navigation?

Compass & Map
3
21%
GPS
1
7%
GPS & Map
2
14%
GPS, Compass & Map
5
36%
Other
1
7%
Nothing
2
14%
 
Total votes: 14

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kiddiehawk
Posts: 12
Joined: Oct 25 2003 10:14 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Do you carry a compass and Topo Map every trip?

Post by kiddiehawk » Oct 30 2003 1:05 pm

I'm just curious how many people carry a compas and topo map every backpacking trip. I know they can be lifesavers, but actually haven't started that practice, yet due to the mere hassle of buying topos and stuff...

Any ideas on where to get topos inexpensively and easily/quickly or do you always have to go to REI or order them off a website or from the parks dept...?

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bryanmertz
Posts: 115
Joined: Feb 28 2003 1:20 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Post by bryanmertz » Oct 30 2003 1:18 pm

I typically carry a Compass; although I can't recall the last time I used it. A great investment is some TOPO software. The National Geographic TOPO software is very user friendly. You can create custom maps, figure elevation gain, etc. prior to your trip. If you have a few hiking buddies to share the cost it is worth it.

Bryan

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kiddiehawk
Posts: 12
Joined: Oct 25 2003 10:14 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Post by kiddiehawk » Oct 30 2003 1:32 pm

That software sounds very cool. Does it include smaller hikes like in the Superstitions or does it have national parks and more U.S. wide popular hikes?

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bryanmertz
Posts: 115
Joined: Feb 28 2003 1:20 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Post by bryanmertz » Oct 30 2003 1:42 pm

I only have Arizona - and it shows most popular trails, Forest Roads, etc. If you know where you are going - you can create/ print several maps of different magnification. They come in handy if you are planing to go off-trail.

It came in pretty handy on a camping trip at Blue Ridge. From our campsite down to the water was on average a 40+ degree hill - we found a route via the TOPO to get down to the wather much easier (although it was after we made the trek down the steep stuff on day 1.)

If you commonly hike on established trails, it may be an over-kill. But if you go off trail some, or on over-nighters I think it would pay for itself.

Bryan

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Daryl
Posts: 457
Joined: Mar 07 2002 11:18 am
City, State: Lake Stevens, WA

Post by Daryl » Oct 30 2003 2:36 pm

If I'm hiking a trail I've done a million times I don't bring a map or compass.
In areas I'm not real familiar with I always do. I prefer GPS. It's so much easier and fool proof, but it's good to also know how to use a compass as a fail safe.
“Life is tough, but it’s tougher if you’re stupid”
John Wayne as Sergeant John M. Stryker, USMC in “The Sands of Iwo Jima”

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desertgirl
Posts: 197
Joined: Mar 31 2002 5:44 pm
City, State: Chandler, AZ

Post by desertgirl » Oct 30 2003 2:47 pm

I almost always have a compass.....unless of course I am doing a highly travelled local trail that I am very familiar with.

TOPO! software makes it quite cost effective to have a topo map handy. You can have the trail you intend marked out and printed with surroundings that you are interested in. ( Buying topos are expensive & sometimes span multiple maps). I like the profile feature on TOPO...gives you a good idea of what to expect ( most of the time ! & depends on how accurately trace the route). I don't get waterproof prints ( tends to add to expense) but use a mapbag ( whatever they are called - used by kayakers)

On multi-day hikes; I end up with trail segements for each day & associated profiles -- helps in planning and sometimes is motivational!

I like having the topo maps because it allows me to look at features etc along the hike....

I think a topo & compass is a small investment for quite a bit of security (of course knowing how to orient yourself is critical) and information!

TOPO! has packages that trace most common trails in National Parks. Some of the less used trails are not marked but you can find them on the map.

If you are in a large group and willing to carry a GPS (+ batteries) its is quite useful too...much more so on mountains than in deep canyons.

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sidhayes
Posts: 125
Joined: Feb 04 2002 10:17 am

Post by sidhayes » Oct 30 2003 3:10 pm

kiddiehawk, I would have to say that I have never carried a compass or a topo map. I dont know, personally, anyone that does either.

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ajcanable
Posts: 69
Joined: Sep 12 2003 10:50 pm
City, State: Apache Jct., Az.

Post by ajcanable » Oct 30 2003 3:35 pm

I always carry a compass, but seldom do I pull it out. And if I can print a topo on topozone on the internet i am glad to have it. It's nice to be able to identify features along the way.

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Lizard
Posts: 189
Joined: Feb 05 2002 6:40 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Post by Lizard » Oct 30 2003 3:58 pm

I carry a map:
-in an area that is new to me
-On cross-country hikes
-on trails that are unpopular and likely to be hard to follow

I usually don't carry a map:
-day hikes on trails in popular areas
-in familiar terrain

Lizard
"Of course we weren't lost. We were merely where we shouldn't have been, without knowing exactly where that was."

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Abe
Posts: 304
Joined: Jun 09 2002 8:55 am
City, State: Prescott, AZ

Post by Abe » Oct 30 2003 4:03 pm

I always carry a compass. Even on trails I have hiked numerous times. I think this is a carry-over from the days I was stationed in Adak, Alaska when our topo maps served no purpose at all one day after spending a night on the other side of the island. We were engulfed in fog so thick. we could barely see five feet in front of us, much less any terrain features in the distance. But I could see my compass. And it got us out of a bind.

Generally, new areas I will carry a topo map with me. Fortunately, I have a store I can go to, in Prescott, to aquire what I need. I get the map weeks in advance of a hike or backbacking so I can study it in detail in order to get the lay of the land.

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hegstrom
Posts: 21
Joined: Sep 03 2002 1:35 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Post by hegstrom » Oct 30 2003 7:33 pm

I typically always carry a topo, even on day hikes. I like to know the surrounding area. The names of the canyons, ridges, hills, etc.

I have one of those combo thermometer/compass things that hangs from your pack. I can't remember ever looking at it, other than looking at the thermometer.

So in a pinch (or the fog :-) I hope I'll find my way out as long as I've got the stuff.

I pick up my topo maps at Wide World of Maps, they have every map in stock, unlike REI that only has select maps.

All the discussion on the Topo software however has peaked my interest, I'll have to check that out.
There are 10 kinds of people in this world, those that can read binary ... and those that can't.
http://www.loveliberates.com

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Nighthiker
Posts: 1446
Joined: Feb 03 2002 6:59 am
City, State: Payson

Post by Nighthiker » Oct 30 2003 9:46 pm

I use USGS topo maps (7.5 min. and 15 min.), compass, gps and sometimes the light of the nightsky. I like to hike off trail and hike to the features I have noted while reviewing the map, including old 15 min. series maps. I have been reviewing geologic maps and locating the features I have noted on the maps. Sometimes I just wander unaided.
jk

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ellehcim
Posts: 96
Joined: Dec 01 2002 8:38 pm
City, State: Mesa, AZ

Re: Do you carry a compass and Topo Map every trip?

Post by ellehcim » Oct 30 2003 11:11 pm

In response to kiddiehawk's reply:

The main Mesa public Library has the TOPO maps of AZ on the 2nd floor of the library. For $2.00 or $3.00 you can get a full size copy of any of those maps within 15 minutes.

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Nighthiker
Posts: 1446
Joined: Feb 03 2002 6:59 am
City, State: Payson

Post by Nighthiker » Oct 31 2003 6:49 am

Arizona State Land Dept in Phx sells them for about three dollars less than you would typical pay. Forest Service visitors maps are a lot cheaper at the Ranger District. Plan on a visit to the Public Lands Info Center in Phx on Central Ave.
jk

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overrocked
Posts: 28
Joined: Oct 11 2002 4:44 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Post by overrocked » Oct 31 2003 8:56 am

Even on places I've been before i carry a topo and compass. It's alot of fun to put names to the features you're seeing. I'm going to the Verde rim from the west side this weekend. topozone is what I'm using for Pine Mountain. I print out the area i'm going to and the instructions to the trailhead on the back. I like to leave room for comments, like where there is water or wildlife sightings. When i hiked Lost Dog Wash, the Phoenix Mountain preserve map was useful. And the Beartooths Supersition Map i have is the greatest for any trail I want to explore there, except for maybe Ridgeline. :roll: Then I need a guide :lol:

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Daryl
Posts: 457
Joined: Mar 07 2002 11:18 am
City, State: Lake Stevens, WA

Post by Daryl » Oct 31 2003 10:46 am

Beartooth's superstion map is great.
“Life is tough, but it’s tougher if you’re stupid”
John Wayne as Sergeant John M. Stryker, USMC in “The Sands of Iwo Jima”

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Wiz
Posts: 302
Joined: May 22 2002 3:15 am
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Post by Wiz » Oct 31 2003 12:01 pm

The beartooth map is great until the ink starts rubbing off of the plastic backing!
I also usually have a compass in my pack, but sometimes don't carry a map in familiar terrain. But then, sometimes I do even then. I have a tube attached to my pack to carry it. I get my maps at Wide World too, and ALWAYS get them laminated (cheaper than buying another one after an unexpected rain). DeLorme TopoQuads is very good software too. I have a lot of fun with it, especially the rotating 3-D feature.
"The older I get, the better I was."

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bzachar
Posts: 65
Joined: Dec 10 2002 10:35 pm
City, State: Mesa, AZ

Post by bzachar » Oct 31 2003 6:10 pm

I always carry and use a compass, topo map and a GPSR pre-loaded with waypoints for the trip whenever I go to a new trail... regardless of how popular and well-marked it is.

Why? Practice, practice, practice!

I want to have all my map & compass skills ready to go in case the GPSR fails/I drop it/whatever and the only way to get out is with the map and compass.

I use NG TOPO to build my own custom topos printed with my own waypoints. Those waypoints are then loaded into my GPSR. I print the maps on cheap inkjet paper and carry them in a clear plastic sheet protector shoved in my shirt so I can pull it out easily and reconcile what I see against the map.

You can pickup TOPO at Costco at a pretty good discount. They can give you a demo of all the mapping programs at Wide World of Maps but some of those guys are clueless when it comes to mapping software. (Ask me how I know this). I'd advise getting together with someone who uses any given product all the time so you learn from someone who *knows* what the product can/cannot do.

More info at
http://www.gpsnow.com/maptable.htm

Bill

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Wiz
Posts: 302
Joined: May 22 2002 3:15 am
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Post by Wiz » Oct 31 2003 7:17 pm

bzachar wrote:...some of those guys are clueless when it comes to mapping software. (Ask me how I know this).
How do you know this?
"The older I get, the better I was."

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hegstrom
Posts: 21
Joined: Sep 03 2002 1:35 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Post by hegstrom » Oct 31 2003 7:38 pm

OK, I'm real interested now. What do we have to do to get a poll going of what the HAZers are using? or, is there already one?
There are 10 kinds of people in this world, those that can read binary ... and those that can't.
http://www.loveliberates.com

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