Paper topo maps vs. smartphone maps for MTB

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Paper topo maps vs. smartphone maps for MTB

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    • #216559

      What’s your preference for trail navigation: paper maps or a smartphone app?

      I find both to be useful and clearly there are tradeoffs with either choice. My own preference leans toward paper maps–particularly the large format, waterproof/tearproof type of topo map.

    • #216569

      If it’s a new trail system for me, I like a paper map. If I’m pretty familiar with an area, I can get by with an app.


    • #220551

      The main advantage for a smartphone app, with a GIS-enable map is that you can’t get lost.  The app will show you exactly where you are on the map.

    • #220575

      I prefer paper map and dedicated GPS (Garmin Oregon in my case). Smartphone could be used on a shorter rides but for all-day epic – paper. It’s failure-proof and easier to use

    • #220608

      Trailforks or MTB Project app for me though we always have a paper map as a back-up. As gregval implied, a paper map isn’t much good if you don’t know where you are on the map.

    • #220738

      I have quite a collection of both. I love paper and keep a road atlas in my pickup.  That said I use several apps on my phone: Advenza Maps, Maprika, Trailforks, Singletracks and MTB Project.  I have 95 maps alone in my Advenza Maps app.  I tend to ride solo on new trails while making lengthy road trips, so I like arm myself with all the info available.  My paper map collection isn’t as extensive, but I have several and just recently bought one for the Bozeman, Montana area.

    • #220774

      I have been able to navigate unknown trails mostly using a combination of smartphone apps. During long rides, I put my phone in airplane mode, which makes the battery last a very long time. I often use MotionX GPS for my iPhone, which allows me to download OpenStreetMaps terrain maps and overlay GPX files sourced from multiple websites.

      Lately, I have been able to do something similar with my Garmin Fenix as I learned to upload the GPX track to the watch, albeit without background map.

    • #220789

      I prefer a paper topo map, however as others have said…..Unless you know where you are on the map, it is not much use.




    • #220831

      Waterproof paper map backed up by gps app to find the track we should be on but obscured by heather. Draw the route on mapping software then print off.

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