I should speak up here since I opened my big fat mouth about the value of traditional topo maps.

What I have actually used for the last few years (at least twelve) are the National Geographic Trails Illustrated Topographic Maps (Revised Regularly. Waterproof. Tear-Resistant). I find the coverage is quite good for my local area - Channel islands National park and Los Padres National Forest.

I buy mine at the local REI store, but the entire inventory I believe is available by on line order.

Nt'l Geo takes the USGS maps, updates them for roads, trails, and cultural features, reducing the size and putting several old style topo maps in a folded format which is fairly handy. On some at least, shaded relief is added, although contour lines are thereby hard to see. This is better in some ways, not so good in others.

I understand the entire USGS inventory is available at:


Most of my USGS maps were purchased (70 cents each) years ago. I still keep them around, referring to them from time to time.

The biggest drawback to the traditional uSGS toposis that frequently cultural features are out of date. This is not too much of a big deal in parks and wilderness areas, but maps of more urban situations can be rather out dated.

I frequently also carried Forest Service maps that showed recent cultural features, but did not usually show the topography. Together with the topo maps you had a workable system. Aerial photos are often useful in this manner as supplements.

For areas where I am walking intensively, I liked to waterproof the uSGS sheets, cut them to squares that would fit in my shirt pocket and join them with map cloth, giving me a map that could be folded an infinite number of times. These served me well for years.
Geezer in Chief