WhiteBlaze Pages 2022
A Complete Appalachian Trail Guidebook.
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  1. #1
    Registered User foodbag's Avatar
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    Default Far Out or old-fashioned paper guidebook? Opinions?

    In 1999 I attempted an AT thru hike, unsuccessfully. Back then all I used to navigate and get trail info was Wingfoot's guidebook, which seemed adequate enough, for the most part, although there was always an opportunity for uncertainty to arise in some situations. The only device I carried was a compact Olympus film (!!!) camera, as cell phone technology was pretty much non-existent.

    Fast forward to 2022, and of course the world has changed, to say the least. I'm headed out for a big section hike in October, SOBO from Duncannon, PA to (hopefully) Daleville, VA, and I am wrestling with the question of how much tech I ought to have, i.e. should I get Far Out's Android app for my phone, or go sort of old school and just use paper? I've already bought a paper guidebook, in loose-leaf format, so that all I have to carry is the pages related to my hike.

    I don't mind spending the money for Far Out but I'm wondering if I really need it, and would it detract from the adventure somewhat when most trail topics are no longer in doubt.

    What say you? I'd like to know what people think. Thanks!
    Long-distance aspirations with short-distance feet.... :jump

  2. #2
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    I use a paper map, and now and then a page out of a guidebook. The phone is off, stowed in the pack, used for calling home, hostels and hotels. I've spent the last 40 years looking at screens of various sizes, the last thing I want to do on the trail is look at another screen.

  3. #3
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    Default Far Out or old-fashioned paper guidebook? Opinions?

    I'm in the same camp...use copies out of AWOL's guidebook and a NatGeo map. I stare at a screen all week and the reason for me going out is to not look at one for a few days. The couple times that I tried to use my phone using various apps, I found myself not looking at trail and not being present for the hike. Just my reaction.

  4. #4

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    First, I am planning a NOBO section Daleville to (maybe) Port Clinton, beginning mid-September, so perhaps we'll pass each other along the way!

    I have done two long sections over the past couple of years and used only an AWOL guide (also looseleaf version, so only the pages I needed to carry).
    I didn't always know EXACTLY where I was, but most of the time that was just fine with me. There were a few times when it would have been nice : )

    I don't have a smartphone yet, although that may change this fall.... verizon will no longer be supporting my old 3G flip-phone, so it's probably time!

  5. #5
    AT 11,000 Miler
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    The FarOut app is hands-down the most popular trail guide/app in use. Once you use it you will find out why. This is especially true for the section and month you are hiking. You'll really appreciate the recent comments about which water sources are flowing and which ones are not.

    When I started hiking Wingfoot's book was the guide to have. I really miss the little tidbits of information Wingfoot included about plants, animals, history, etc. Unfortunately, the FarOut app has very, very little of that.

  6. #6

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    My AT experience was primarily with AWOL's guide. I did have Guthook's App, which I only used about a dozen times. When thinking I was off the trail, Guthook is a great tool to have, but any electronic source as the primary should have a backup.

    I will say on the PCT there is no AWOL guide and I learned to rely on Guthook as the primary app, with my Garmin GPS watch as the emergency backup.

    To answer your question, either will work, AWOL and Guthook have much the same info, but Guthook has GPS mode and recent comments. AT is so well marked and blazed it is hard to stay lost very long.

  7. #7

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    Why not have both. Far Out because it will have more up to date water info, GPS location data,etc.. The paper guide as a back up. You’ll have your phone anyway, and the paper pages won’t weigh much.

  8. #8
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    Having thru hiked using only a guidebook and maps, I would do it again that same way. Though having Guthooks would have eliminated some route-finding adventures in the thick of winter when there's no trail and the blazes are caked over with snow. That being said, those adventures and challenges are some of my fondest memories. I'm also the type who avoids screens and doesn't tweet, tube, blog or facebook and accept it's not for everyone. If loosing the trail is something that would cause one to immediately panic, I'd recommend an app.

  9. #9
    Registered User HeartFire's Avatar
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    I used Wingfoot back in 2006 - I liked being able to write notes on the pages - and, it's easier to flip through a real book then trying to look back and forth on an app. But, I do use GutHook now.

  10. #10
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    Agree on the AT being a tough place to get lost for long. As Capt Blue mentioned updates on water/not water, closed or new hostels ahead is helpful. Be advised those and other updates are dependent on users; Farout themselves are slow to update. That point was driven home for me after walking half mile for a non available egg sandwich.

    I did not feel like the app kept me on my phone much. You should download maps and photos (in “Tools” > “File Manager”) when you are at home, so you can use the in airplane mode.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by HankIV View Post

    I did not feel like the app kept me on my phone much. You should download maps and photos (in “Tools” > “File Manager”) when you are at home, so you can use the in airplane mode.
    I was just wondering about this, because cell phone service is non-existent in many places along the trail.

  12. #12
    Registered User One Half's Avatar
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    I was always a guidebook, trail map (and compass) user. This year on maybe my 3rd or 4th hike I finally ditched all the paper and the compass and just used FarOut on the southern portions of the AT I hiked. I have found the trail maps to have very little info of use these days as they are just a "strip map" for the most part. The app has up to date water source info, can track your location even in airplane mode, and has info on shuttlers and hostels and resupplies etc. The only place I think I would go back to map and compass would be the White Mountains. Just my opinion. And you don't really need to be looking at the phone much anyway as it's super easy to just follow the trail. I do use WhiteBlaze Pages prior to my trips for planning purposes.
    https://tinyurl.com/MyFDresults

    A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by HeartFire View Post
    I used Wingfoot back in 2006 - I liked being able to write notes on the pages - and, it's easier to flip through a real book then trying to look back and forth on an app. But, I do use GutHook now.
    We used AWOL 2010-2020. I also liked the ability to write on the paper. I photocopied the pages for whatever section we were doing, and marked it up to show intended mileage, camping, and other info. I don't feel secure relying on a phone, though they are helpful.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Blue View Post
    When I started hiking Wingfoot's book was the guide to have. I really miss the little tidbits of information Wingfoot included about plants, animals, history, etc. Unfortunately, the FarOut app has very, very little of that.
    Agree that the FarOut doesn't have this, but the AWOL guide does have information scattered thru it about plants and such. With AWOL you also have choices. Buy the bound version for home use, buy the loose sheet version to take the sections you need, and download it to the phone.
    I get the AWOL loose sheet for hiking and also have FarOut on the phone.
    For a couple of bucks, get a weird haircut and waste your life away Bryan Adams....
    Hammock hangs are where you go into the woods to meet men you've only known on the internet so you can sit around a campfire to swap sewing tips and recipes. - sargevining on HF

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by HankIV View Post
    Agree on the AT being a tough place to get lost for long.
    Probably 90% of the trail, this is true. But, as Inchworm's sad story attests, it is very possible to get lost and in serious trouble on the AT.
    "I am learning nothing in this trivial world of [humans]. I must break away and get out into the mountains to learn the news." --John Muir

  16. #16
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    Well I have always been a paper guy but will supplement with electronics when appropriate. Looking at 2024 and thinking...

    Far Out App for up to date information from the comments.

    AntiGravity Map sets to satisfy my preference for paper. I have seen this in a store once and it looked like a good overview for orienting and planning/measuring daily mileage. Anyone use these maps and have comments to share?


    https://antigravitygear.com/shop/pro...file-map-sets/

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old_Man View Post
    Probably 90% of the trail, this is true. But, as Inchworm's sad story attests, it is very possible to get lost and in serious trouble on the AT.
    Very good point. And certainly not a bad idea to have both, guidebook pages and an app. You can use the app as little as you like if it seems to detract from the adventure, or use the pages as only a back up in case your phone dies. Those, along with a fairly basic understanding of self-rescue (follow the stream down if capable) can be the difference between an ordeal and an adventure even if the spot or phone dies and the pages blow over the cliffside. Inchworm's tragic case was the perfect storm of misfortune, and goes to show that it can happen to experienced hikers. Thoughts and prayers to her family and friends.

  18. #18
    Registered User Kaptainkriz's Avatar
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    On the front page of this website is a link to Whiteblaze Pages - an affordable and very comprehensive guide available in PDF. I find it worth having a copy.
    Plaid is fast! Ticks suck, literally...
    Follow my hiking adventures: https://www.youtube.com/user/KrizAkoni
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  19. #19
    Registered User One Half's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kittyslayer View Post
    Well I have always been a paper guy but will supplement with electronics when appropriate. Looking at 2024 and thinking...

    Far Out App for up to date information from the comments.

    AntiGravity Map sets to satisfy my preference for paper. I have seen this in a store once and it looked like a good overview for orienting and planning/measuring daily mileage. Anyone use these maps and have comments to share?


    https://antigravitygear.com/shop/pro...file-map-sets/
    the map set is essentially what I call a "strip map." While it's good for planning mileage it will do you very little for up to date trail info or if you do get lost (like in the White Mountains) or need to bail in a place like the WMNF due to serious weather etc.
    https://tinyurl.com/MyFDresults

    A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

  20. #20
    Registered User One Half's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Half View Post
    the map set is essentially what I call a "strip map." While it's good for planning mileage it will do you very little for up to date trail info or if you do get lost (like in the White Mountains) or need to bail in a place like the WMNF due to serious weather etc.
    I wanted to add that I prefer WB pages for this as the "map" doesn't really add much that the guidebook doesn't have other than pretty colors.
    https://tinyurl.com/MyFDresults

    A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

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