No announcement yet.

which topo map for AT backpacking

  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • which topo map for AT backpacking

    I just bought me a Fenix 5X sapphire from BikeTiresDirect. Excellent price and love the watch; I am very familiar with Garmin products (own FR305, Edge 500, Edge 520, and several running and biking sensors), but ...

    This is the first time I will be using digital navigation for hiking/backpacking. I will be backpacking at the end of January for 6-10 days in the Appalachian trail and I need a high detailed 24k topo map. I saw that garmin sells the Trailhead series - Appalachian trail for $50 but I could also get the US southEast 24k [hopefully cheap on ebay] which has a much larger coverage (including the area that I am planning to operate); It is safe to assume that the SouthEast version does not contain as many details as the AT version for this particular adventure so,

    what do you suggest?

  • #2
    I'd load the open streetmap version and see if it has enough detail for your use. I suspect it will be quite good.


    • #3
      As much as I love my 5X, I'm not sure how much detail you really need (or can use) in a map on a tiny screen so I'm with nmyeti - you will likely find that OSM is more than enough - I'm assuming that you will have a 'real' map and compass with you anyway as a backup!


      • #4
        I've been really pleased with OSM and 24k Garmin Topo maps. I did some backpacking in the Pecos Wilderness in NM that involved some off trail travel. It was very nice to be able see the trail I was trying to reach on the watch's map. Route planning in basecamp seems to be easier on the Garmin map as more of the trails are routeable.

        Having the map on the 5x has been more useful than I expected. I'd still keep a paper map as a backup (didn't do this in the pecos, know my way around there), but even with the small screen, the information given at a glance is quite useful.


        • #5
          What I've learned about maps on GPS devices is, don't rely on just one. One may have a trail that others don't, and that can include maps sourced from OSM data. I've settled on three maps for my 5X and Oregon 700.

          Garmin 24K

 (specifically, Garmin OpenTopoMap (ASCII))


          • #6
            Go and check the area you'll visit for detail. Then try some sources that'll work in your watch. I prefer the one from and


            • #7
              Thanks, I downloaded US_South_Atlantic_OSM_Topo_v26.7z from and after checking it in basecamp (trail routings, generating tracks, etc), I proceeded to upload it to my device.
              I have it disabled by default and when I am at a suitable scale I just turn it on, otherwise the zoom/pan would be painfully slow