There is no substitute for a paper map in the woods.

The first time I hiked on the Appalachian Trail was in 2009 with my college buddies.

We didn’t really realize it at the time, but looking back none of us had smartphones and none of us had an electronic map.

All we had was a national geographic paper map.

It was an awesome experience leaving society behind, being in the woods with no electronic devices.

Those were the good times.

Fast forward to today, smartphones and electronic maps are ubiquitous.

Even though GPS and electronic maps give us a sense of comfort in the woods, I highly recommend not using mapping apps in the woods.

First, learn land navigation, how to use a compass, how to navigate terrain with your eyes.

What makes paper maps better?

  1. They can’t send us push notifications
  2. They can’t serve us ads
  3. 100% private
  4. No social media
  5. The battery never dies

Use electronic maps less

You don’t need an electronic mapping app. You don’t need social media. You don’t need trail ratings.

Just grab a paper map, get outside, and go.

“Absorb what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own.” - Bruce Lee