Regarding National Geo Trails Illustrated maps, I find that for some areas they are great as a primary map. For other areas, they are great for overview and planning, but a bit too small scale for routine use in the field. They often try to cram a whole park onto one sheet, which is handy in some ways, but sometimes makes things a bit too small for actual navigation. In those cases I also like to carry a topo map at a larger scale.

I have mixed feelings about the shaded relief on Nat Geo's maps. Some times it is helpful. However, sometimes it is actually a hinderance. The usual convention for shaded relief is the light source is from the upper left, or North West. That works well if you are looking at the map in the usual orientation of North up. However, awhile back I was standing on top of a mountain in Denali National Park, looking south, trying to orient the map to some very complicated terrain. Viewing the map from the North side looking South, the relief was exactly backwards! It made it more difficult to relate map to terrain.

Another good source for printed maps (at least for the far west) is Green Trails Maps. They are available from REI. Note that while REI stores are currently closed due to COVID19, their mail order business is going strong.

More and more I'm printing my own maps at home, using CALTOPO. The basic version is free. They generally have good terrain coverage, and their cultural info (roads, trails, etc) is typically more up to date than USGS topos. You can design your own map of an area, at the scale you want, then print it out at home. Very useful, in my experience.

Also note that if you use Gaia on your smart phone, a premium subscription will let you download Nat Geo Trails Illustrated maps to your phone. This does however, require a paid subscription. Also, not all Trails Illustrated maps are currently available for Gaia, but they seem to be adding more all the time. While I still carry printed maps, I find I'm using Gaia more and more. It is a great app!

Edited by AKSAR (05/01/20 07:10 PM)
"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."
-Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz