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Old 04-30-2021, 11:42 AM   #1
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Maps: Boondockers NEED GOOD MAPS

We are shutting down everything at home. Refrigerator gets filled tomorrow after being hooked to house electricity and then will be on Propane the evening before we depart. Looking at three weeks, weather permitting and then it could be more... or less.

The DeLorme (State) Atlas & Gazetteer for the States you want to Boondock is a must have. We have them for each State we may find ourselves. They may have 120 pages that cover an entire State. Some are currently updated. Since the roads we travel have been around since the Pony Express... an old Atlas gets so worn out, we get a new copy. We MARK each campsite onto the map. Always can find a camping spot if needed. (Ask Thalweg. He is a Map Man. He makes them.) These are handy, but NOT detailed enough, once you are Off the Grid.

Some DeLorme, if not all in the Rocky Mountains areas have different NFS, BLM, County, State, Local and who knows where the numbers came from... on Roads in the Bush. We write the current number from those roads that have some form of marking. Experienced OTG Boondockers do not get hyper anxious as even those who made the maps followed... the WRONG ROADS. Yep... even the Pioneers had BAD Maps.

Travel in the High Country in October in the Rockies? You had better plan on camping until the Spring Melt if you do not watch the Weather Reports. Those are not printed... Weather is reported on the Radio. Eating Snow and Squirrels does not make for a Fun Trip. A big Snow in April... the same, but you wait a few days and will be eating that Double Cheeseburger and Fries at Dennys.

The BEST and most detailed Maps are from the National Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management in PAPER Copies. I scanned some for you to get an idea. Many of the roads can become trails and then disappear to a dead end at a mesa. The 600 foot drop off the ledge is not mapped, so be careful.

We now are trying out a Garmin Overlander that came with a $200 debit card from Garmin. We also have a GPS in our Ford... if it is operating in the Forest. Ford says they are working on the problem of the chip(s). Maybe after the warranty is expired. Back up.

But PAPER Maps are MY favorite. I am PRE COMPUTER Stone Age compliant.

You can probably order NFS and BLM maps on line. Some foldout and can fill up the table in your Airstream. They are made of a higher grade printed 'paper' that is not like your Free State Map from AAA.

- DeLorme for overall map guide
- NFS and BLM for detailed maps with more accurate numbered roads +/-
- A Garmin or other Brand of satellite mapping (Thalweg may climb aboard to help in this area).

Anyone from the rest of the USA have helpful hints? This is important. I know the Rockies. I have a carton of maps. Many gathered when I was buying Geology Books from retired Geologists. They love maps. Maps also do not get lost, they get loaned and get then lost. So sad...
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Old 04-30-2021, 01:13 PM   #2
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Great new thread . . . FEI your earlier DeLorme thread, and mentions of that brand all over:

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f38...ff-146957.html
https://www.google.com/search?q=DeLo...=airforums.com

. . . including their mapping software and database.

Happy Trails.

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Old 04-30-2021, 02:36 PM   #3
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Maps are fun!!! I'm such a geek. I primarily use electronic maps nowadays. However, I pretty much always have a paper backup with me because the batteries on paper maps never die.

You can do amazing stuff with Google Earth and other on-line mapping products, however sometimes it takes some skill and training to interpret what you're seeing. I'm pretty close to an expert on the topic, and sometimes I can't tell a 2-track road from a fenceline, or pipeline scar on the aerial photography. So a real map is very valuable. The BLM has done a good job of updating their maps over the last few years, but I've even found errors on those. They don't ground-truth all of them, so I've encountered pipeline scars shown as roads. Like a Marine, you always need to be prepared to adapt and overcome. One thing about the FS and BLM maps; they don't show topography. You can't beat the USGS 1:24,000 topo maps for that. Even the 1:100,000 are good enough for most purposes. If my memory is correct, the Delorme atlases are 1:250,000. The USGS maps are downloadable to an electronic devise for free. You have to plan ahead though, as you will rarely have a cell signal or wi-fi anywhere that you'd need the map.

Never trust the GPS in your vehicle. Oftentimes they just see that there is a route from here to there and send you on your merry way without considering the type or condition of the road. We often hear of folks following the GPS and getting stuck in snow on roads that are closed seasonally. A couple of years ago an 18-wheeler got stuck in Crazy Woman Creek Canyon just south of Buffalo, WY by following his GPS. I don't like taking a normal car through there. You need some ground clearance, and the canyon gets really narrow. I'm not sure how they ever got the truck out of there, but it's gone.
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Old 04-30-2021, 03:09 PM   #4
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In the West, also have Benchmark maps - similar to Deloren. Compare and get the one that works best for you ( we chose Benchmark and our friends chose deloren - as we traveled we were happy to have both).
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Old 05-01-2021, 09:18 AM   #5
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Have a look at Gaia GPS app, it contains very detailed backcountry maps along with tracking and routing functionality. Very useful when hiking and off-roading.
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Old 05-01-2021, 01:37 PM   #6
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We love Benchmark ( many states already sold out online) and then getting to the local ranger station to pick up the BLM or natl forest maps for areas we are going to explore in depth. This is really difficult to do in the early planning stages unless you know exactly where you want to be because often one natl forest, for example , will consist of several different ranger administrations—meaning several different maps. I also love talking to the folks at the ranger station for local tips. If you don’t seem like a jerk but a respectful outdoors lover, they will steer you to some lesser known spots or point out what to avoid. We were headed for a place in Wyoming, only to find out it was opening weekend of antelope hunting and the place would be crawling with atv/truck bands of hunters and their after parties.
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Old 05-01-2021, 08:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
Have a look at Gaia GPS app, it contains very detailed backcountry maps along with tracking and routing functionality. Very useful when hiking and off-roading.
Indeed! And just plane driving.

Paper maps are fine for getting your overall bearings, but Gaia is great.

Topo maps, NatGeo maps, USGS topo maps, satellite topo maps and more.

You can save routes, way points and other stuff.

We upgraded the head unit in our RAM with a 10" touch screen and CarPlay. The Gaia app shows up great.

Maps can be downloaded, so you don't need any cell service.

$30 a year for premium membership.
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Old 05-01-2021, 10:28 PM   #8
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I use the usgs quad angle maps,have most of ca and half of nevada. I carry smaller maps rolled up in my waterproff tube: hooked to my backpack. I do downloads to my laptop to zoom in on areas. I trained some young boys about maps and a compass: 6 weeks of frustration at times.
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Old 05-02-2021, 08:32 AM   #9
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Youngest son is in the Army. He was the only one one in his class that passed the map and compass maneuvers class on the first run during his training. The fun bit is that heís an officer in the medical corps, and heís better at it than the infantry crowd.

Must be because he happens to be a well-trained Eagle Scout from an earlier period of his lifeÖ
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Old 05-02-2021, 09:25 AM   #10
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I love maps too, years ago (40?) I bought these detailed maps of Arizona, similar to USGS maps but easier to read, I don't think they are available anymore but many areas are still accurate.
Speaking of the USGS maps there is a program that allows you to download and print any sector you wish but quite pricey. There is a great store in Santa Fe called The Travel Bug that has the program and a large printer, a few bucks per map if I recall. I was doing some genealogy exploring and had him print out all the areas I needed before I left the pavement.
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Old 05-02-2021, 11:14 AM   #11
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Thumbs up

Nice maps, and a good suggestion for the customized ones IMO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ITSNO60 View Post
. . .
. . . I was doing some genealogy exploring and had him print out all the areas I needed before I left the pavement.
I recall your 2017 post in the OTRA II music thread, Brian, about the church in Chacon NM built by your great grandfather in the 1800's.

Cheers,
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Old 05-02-2021, 01:04 PM   #12
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All of the USGS 1:24,000 maps are available for free download here: https://www.usgs.gov/core-science-sy...pographic-maps

The site is geared toward mapping professionals and for apps to access, but if you play around, I'm sure most folks could figure it out. The easiest way to find what you want is to use the Historical Topo Maps tab. Historical appears to mean anything prior to today. I just dowloaded some 2019 maps. I have the best luck with GEOTiff's or GEOPDF's. Once you download them you can print them if you want, though few of us will have the ability to print large maps.
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Old 05-03-2021, 12:37 PM   #13
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Great Thread

Love maps, great resources mentioned here.

Good source for maps of the western US: www.publiclands.org

Also, the mobile app "CarryMap" provides access to download NM Hunting-Recreation maps. These maps are available when you are offline (most of NM!) and provide detailed road maps and land ownership info. Very helpful for boondocking in the Land of Enchantment.
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Old 06-09-2021, 06:35 PM   #14
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Driving up to Phoenix tomorrow to visit the "Wide World of Maps" store on Indian School Road. https://maps4u.com/
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Old 06-09-2021, 07:31 PM   #15
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Love them. One of our very favorite stores. Years of great service there way before there was any gps.
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Old 06-11-2021, 07:29 AM   #16
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Times are Changing for OFF the Grid campsites :(

Maps... for Off the Grid on 'public lands'.

Nice to have for a 'reference'... but... do not expect many older maps to be accurate. Modern maps may use the OLD map as a Reference. Private Land property maps need to be accurate... Buy some Real Estate and don't have it Surveyed before purchasing.

You may find yourself moving fences and roads to save a few bucks. I use a metal detector to find the 'buried nails or spikes'. The new survey and the old spikes had better be close to one another.

Public Land...? just sometimes, but not as important.

The roads change numbers and may not even be a road but now a gulley. NFS and BLM road 'signs' are often driven over, wind blown over or the number(s) do not match the map nor the 'official NFS or BLM' map.

Road numbers may change while you are driving Off the Grid. Make a note on the map and you may be able to find your way OUT. Been doing since I had perfect eye sight. Now... GPS, Atlas, NFS/BLM maps and still have no clue in some areas where we will end up.

'Map Editing' we call it. Columbus did not use a map, only a compass. Eventually you will also Run into Something... a tree or a washed out road... but you will also get there. Breaking up is hard to do? Try Backing OUT for a quarter mile. Sore neck? You betcha!

That makes it Off the Grid. The Road Signs are NOT SUPPORTED BY MANY LOCALS. They will drive over them. We prop them up with large stones, if available.

This year in New Mexico. Area not being disclosed, but near Reserve and Quemado... that this Spring NO sign... but this June... had signs closing access to nice campsites. This may be due to the Fires to the West caused by... TENT CAMPERS and maybe those who play with matches and leave...

This changes everything for US. We clean up sites and do not drive around the open areas. Our New Mexico Boondocking is coming to a close sooner than later. Fire fighting is expensive. I cannot blame the NFS. Old Neanderthals remember the good times and will miss them. For us... we have to evolve but not to a RV Park... just yet. Those are for Old People who have NO good maps.
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Old 06-12-2021, 12:57 PM   #17
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Always well advised to check the LOCAL management agencies website, be it BLM or FS just before heading out. Closures should always be posted there.
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