Many campers and trailer enthusiasts have become dependent on technology to make their lives easier on the road. Whether it’s tricking out an RV or trailer with surround sound and a flat-screen TV or relying on GPS to get where you’re going, there’s no denying technology has made exploring the outdoors and the countryside easier. What happens when that technology lets us down?
Why You Should Never, Ever Leave Home Without a Map
In the case of GPS, what happens if your device or smartphone fails? What if you’re in an area that gets no service? What if your battery dies? Any of these scenarios can happen when you least expect it, and if it happens to you on a trail or back roads, how will you find your way to your destination? All campers, trailer owners, and RV drivers should have a good, old-fashioned paper map on or with them always.
While it may seem cumbersome to have to carry a paper map, it can make the difference between getting lost or being in the middle of nowhere with no sense of direction. Paper maps are updated every year. Every national park, country park, hiking trail and other countryside areas have maps that detail paths, trails, roads and more. Unless you opt to go with a heavy-duty map, you won’t even spend much to keep one handy.
When it comes to buying maps, you don’t necessarily want to go and buy what appears to be the most popular map on the block. If you’re heading to a national park, ask the rangers what they recommend. They know the parks better than anybody else and can give you a better idea of the best map to have on you.
If you’re traveling an area of the country, you’re not familiar with, asking attendants at gas stations or reaching out to the local campground and trailer parks can get you the perfect map, too. There are even maps specifically designed for certain types of road trips which can be beneficial to have, too.
We recommend keeping your map in a Ziploc bag. This will keep it safe from the elements which can become crucial if the weather becomes an issue. You should always mark on your map your starting point, your endpoint and any landmarks between. This can be done before you head out on a trail or the road, or you can do it as you go along.
In fact, sometimes having a paper map out from the area can show you things a GPS or smartphone won’t tell you about where you are or where you’re trying to go. This can be a great way to learn more about a park or campsite you visit. You might even stumble upon a sight you never thought you’d see.
Even if you’re one of those diehard travelers who swear to find their path without a map, GPS or smartphone, we recommend not going it alone. There’s nothing wrong with having a map on you and not referring to it unless you need it, but if you’re out in the woods or a large park, you never know how far you might stray off a path. This can become life-threatening and be able to find your way with a map can mean the difference between life and death.