Plan the Perfect Trip | Get Maps and Go | Websites and Tech Tools
Here's how to get started the high-tech way.
4 TRIP-PLANNING SITES
The best places to scout, research, and map out new hiking routes
- Backpacker.com Our (completely) unbiased pick to browse thousands of editor-approved hikes on Google Maps, skim reader trips, post your own treks, send waypoints to your GPS or phone, and get free GPS software.
- Trails.com This pay-to-play site turns guidebooks and USGS quads into printable PDFs. A $50 annual fee gives you unlimited access to scanned pages and seamless maps. trails.com
- National Geographic TOPO! Explorer Launched in April, NatGeo's new mapping home meshes USGS maps, aerial imagery, detailed points of interest, and elevation modeling into a single downloadable SuperQuad. ($25 for the software, plus $1 per download, topo.com)
- Google Earth Your one-stop shop for viewing interactive 3D maps, scouting unfamiliar terrain, or just zooming around a digitally miniaturized globe. It's the indispensable tool for planning (and later, sharing) a digital hike. (free, earth.google.com)
PIMP YOUR TECH TOOLS
3 sweet upgrades for trail gadgets
- Brunton Solio 7.5 This 12-oz. portable battery ($65) stores extra power for USB-chargeable gadgets. Add the Inverter ($49) to juice up with a wall charger. brunton.com
- Purosol Optical This natural cleaner leaves your optics streak-free, and it comes with a non-abrasive microfiber cloth. $10, 1 oz.; purosol.com
- SD/SDHC Memory
These wafer-like camera cards store photos and video. SDHC cards hold 4GB and up. Pack 512MB per day for photos, and 2GB a day for videos. ($20, amazon.com)