The Basics of A Safe and Rewarding Backpacking Travel


Is it your first time to go backpacking? Are you excited? Do you have the essentials needed to ensure a safer and more fulfilling outdoor adventure? So, before you head to the wilderness, it is highly recommended to consult your backpacking checklist and be sure to know the gears you will be bringing.

The expert advices about backpacking are:

Pick an Experienced Backpacking Partner

Go with an experienced backpacking friend. He can give you peace of mind and assurance knowing he has your back. Shared backpacking is usually more fun and exciting than going solo. Been-there/done-that friends can improve your learning curve as they impart the wisdom they have gained of years of backpacking.

Choose an Appropriate Backpacking Destination

When going for the first time, backpacking destination’s length and difficulty is one of the most important factors to consider.

Trip Distance

For new backpacker, one-night trip is good. Standard round-trip distance is 10 miles or less. It is reassuring to realize that going out your comfort zone is not too far distant.

If you decide to go for two-night trips, you can consider setting camp on the first night and then take the hike on the next day. Go back to the base camp the same day that night. In this way, for just two days you can a full backpack.

Backpacking Trip Information

Websites, magazines: There are various hiking websites and they can be great sources however, the reliability cannot be trusted. Magazines are solid resources too, and some national parks and forests keep online trail-condition reports.

You well-travel friends can help recommend you good destinations that fit your abilities and preferences.

Guidebooks: Some of the travelers’ rate their trips not for the adventure but the picturesque quality and this can be very helpful in choosing a major trail. Their 5-star places usually attract crowds; therefore do not expect solitude unless you visit midweek.

Pick Your Backpacking Gear

Your right backpacking travel gear ensures you have the essentials for safety and comfort and prepares you to handle emergencies and disasters. Two the essentials you may never use are the compass or use firestarter but it is good to take them with you.

Stoves, comfortable sleeping pads, camp pillows are some of the home equipment you can have for your lightweight backpacking.

Always think light. Go for pack weight that is convenient, say about 30 pounds. And yes, you can bring camera, headlamp, sunscreen and toilet paper. You can have

Before deciding to purchase a backpacking gear, it is good to try big-ticket items such as bags and tents in order to know your preferences.

How to Choose and Pack a Backpack

Here are the details you have to know when choosing the right backpack:

Capacity. The number in pack names refers to the pack’s volume in liters. A common backpacking size for weekend trips which is about 1–3 nights is 35–50 liters. The packs of 50–80 liters id for the multiday trips (3–5 nights) and for longer travels, or if you’re carrying a lot of winter of kid’s gear is about 70 and higher.

Size. What you do not know is backpacks are measure according to torso length, not a person’s height. You can ask your friend to measure your torso length and it by measuring the distance between the top of your hips to your C7 vertebrae—that bony protrusion near the base of your neck.

Loading and adjusting a pack. Backpacks are designed to carry most of the loads while your shoulders are relaxed. Your heavy gear must be closed to your back and near your shoulders.

Backpacking Clothing

Base layer. Bring clothing made of moisture-wicking polyester or wool as they are dry easier.

Pants or shorts. Convertible pants are popular among backpackers ad the lower-leg portions can be zipped off if they want more air and sun.

Footwear. Full- or mid-cut boots are traditional backpacking footwear, but some prefer using hiking shoes or trail runners. Athletic footwear and tennis shoes are also too comfortable for roots and rocks on trails.

Socks. Never use cotton as they give you blisters while hiking. Wool or synthetic hiking socks are the recommended ones.

Head cover. Use caps, hats, buffs and bandanas. You need to shield your scalp form all-day sun exposure and do not forget to wear sunscreen.

Outerwear. Though the weather is fine, bring rain jacket as it helps you avoid chills early or late in the day.

Food and Food Storage

Dinner. Bring freeze-dried foods that need a few cups of boiling water and 10 minutes of waiting.

Rest of the day. There are backpackers that take time to cook food while others prefer ready-to-eat breakfast. The lunch can be a meal or just snacks such as dried fruit, trail mix, jerky, chunks of cheese and energy foods (including bars, chews and gels).

Coffee. Yes, there are lightweight French coffee presses.

Food storage. Bring a container to store your foods or know how to hang them for consumption later. Never leave your food unattended or else animals will attack them.

Electronics and Apps for Backpacking

When you are in the wilderness, expect to have a low cell phone reception. This is risky especially if you are hiking on the trails you are not familiar with or is new to you. This is where BackCountry Navigator TOPO GPS becomes helpful. Download the app in your smartphone and use your phone or tablet as an offroad topo mapping handheld GPS with the bestselling outdoor navigation app for Android! You can also download topo maps for the US and many other countries in advance, so you won’t need cell coverage for navigation. Use storage memory for maps.

About topo (topographic) maps: Topo maps show terrain through color and contours, and are useful for navigation offroad. Topo maps and GPS can be used for hiking, hunting, kayaking, snowshoeing, & backpacker trails.

Also, use the offline topo maps and GPS on hiking trails without cell service. The GPS in your Android phone can get its position from GPS satellites, and you do not have to rely on your data plan to get maps. Therefore, conquering the backcountry with this GPS navigation app is safer and more secure.

Portable power sources like solar chargers give you energy to charge to emptied smartphone or electronics.

If You Get Lost

If ever you get lost, remember the acronym the Emergency Response Institute of Olympia, Wash have made: S-T-O-P. Stop, Think, Observe and Plan.

Stop: If you do not feel any secure in your location, do not go any farther or panic. However, the rule changes if you are in the area where it is not safe anymore or someone needs medical attention. Breathe and count to 10, drink some water or eat a little food, it can make your situation lighter and you can better think of the next move.

Think: If something not right happens, can you navigate back? Can you see landmarks like a road or trail? If so, carefully go back to that spot and reassess your options.

Observe: Always be alert and observant of your surroundings. Picture in your mind all the distinctive features you spotted as you arrive to your current position.

Plan: If you are with a group, discuss a plan. If you are not, it helps to talk your plan aloud as if you were explaining to your friend. If it makes sense, follow your plan and if not, review your plan. If the situation changes as you follow that plan, use “STOP” again to reevaluate chances for a safe survival and recovery.

So, planning ahead and having your comprehensive backpacking checklists ensure that your trip come off successfully because the last thing you want to have happen are those unexpected surprises that ruin what should otherwise be an enjoyable and rewarding experience.



Elevation Maps

Elevation maps are the images that you see on the contour lines in a topographic map. Contour lines are distinct characteristics of a topographic map. It defines the line drawn on a map, which connects the differences in elevation of the Earth's surface.

A topographic map is a two-dimensional illustration of a portion of the three-dimensional surface of the earth. It exists to represent the earth's land surface. Topo maps use contour lines to calculate the height of mountains, depths of the ocean bottom and steepness of slopes. These are imaginary lines, which join the inclination of the surface of the land above or below. If you cross a path in the elevation map, you are either climbing or descending.

Remember that in elevation maps: 
  • Close contour lines – means a steep terrain
  • Open contour lines – signifies a flat terrain

The difference in elevation between adjacent contour lines is called contour interval, which shows the natural shape of the terrain.

The general characteristics of contour lines in an elevation map are:
  • Contour lines do not intersect, divide or split
  • Each contour is a line of equal elevation
  • Contour lines courses through valleys and form a "V" or a "U" where there is a stream

A shaded relief added to a topographic map makes the landscapes easier to visualize. Shaded relief or hill shading imitates the shadow thrown upon an elevation map or more precisely, upon the earth's surface that the topo map represents.

Here is a preview of BackCountry Navigator topo map.

Geological studies use the configuration of the earth’s surface through topographic maps. Cartographers use the three-dimensional elevation map presentation on a flat piece of paper by using contour lines. It is through topographic map that horizontal distances and vertical elevations are measured.

Topographic maps benefits hikers, campers, military, architects and mining companies on their activities by giving them an accurate guide or representation of their location. Understanding elevation maps and recognizing the map symbols will greatly lessen the obstacles along the way.  

BackCountry Navigator uses the most easy to understand and updated topo maps for your GPS devices. Its commitment to provide a reliable source for navigation is very important.  

Be safe in the outdoors.


Canada Topo Maps

Canada topo maps, popularly known as Toporama, offers free access to the National Topographic System. These maps uses data from the Atlas of Canada, National Topographic Data Base and CanVec. Topo maps shows Canada's detailed landforms and terrains, lakes and rivers, forests, administrative and populated areas, transportation facilities, roads and railways and other land features.  

Toporama maps are the same in appearance to printed topographic maps except that these Canada topo maps are intended for the internet so some features are somewhat different. The limitations in the size of an average computer monitor changed how the detail is presented. Toporama maps do not have edges unlike printed topo maps, which shows defined areas based on the National Topographic Map Sheet Grid. Toporama is a seamless map using 1:250 000 or 1:50 000 scale data for all of Canada, viewable through a web browser.

The recent improvement to Canada topo maps are:

  • Most recent data source
  • Easy to read feature names 
  • Roads, rivers and lakes are more detailed and emphasized on the topo maps

The base components of Canada topo maps accessible in the Atlas of Canada are:

  • Drainage: coastlines, rivers, lakes
  • Boundaries: federal, provincial, Canada-Kalaallit Nunaat dividing line
  • Transportation: primary and secondary highways, selected ferry routes, rail networks
  • Populated places
  • National parks

The Atlas of Canada offers free access to Canada topo maps with an easy-to-use mapping tool. 

The links below will guide you to find, save and print the digital maps of your choice. 
Explore Topographic Maps
– go directly to Toporama
Search for Place Names – cities, towns, villages, mountains, rivers, and lakes
Centre for Topographic Information – topographic data

Canada ranks as the second largest country in the world. It has a land area close to 10 million square kilometers. Although tourist attractions are somehow far apart as presented in the Atlas, these are easily accessible by a well-designed infrastructure consisting of a network of road, railways, ports and airports. In Canada, each province promotes its own tourist industry through provincial regional tourist offices, thus topo maps are produced at provincial level.

Tourist attractions are classified into nature-based and cultural. Nature-based tourism is focused on the great outdoors like horseback riding, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, skiing, and cycling. Cultural tourism is centered on experiencing the unique arts, heritage, history, cuisine and special character of each place. Both kinds of tourist attractions are worth exploring.

Natural Attractions
The natural beauty of Canada’s wilderness makes it a popular destination. Canada borders three oceans: the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Arctic. The four distinctive seasons of Canada creates a magnificent change of nature's colors from green to flamboyant red and ochre, followed by white snow. Landscapes vary from majestic mountains, rolling hills, golden prairies, Arctic tundra, millions of lakes and rivers, rugged coast and sandy beaches. Canada's backcountry is a new a adventure anytime of the year.

Cultural Attractions
Cultural tourism or attraction is defined as a trip geared toward experiencing the arts, heritage, cuisine and special character of a place. Canada's cultural attractions vary from historic sites, museums, cultural events, points of interest, learning vacations and other possibilities to explore in a way that is educational and inspirational.  

Canada topo maps include attractions that are recognized by the Canadian government to remember significant tradition-rich places. These sites are located in urban, rural or wilderness and could be sacred places, battlefields or archaeological sites. The sites are fascinating because it's not only an important part of Canada but it depicts what they were.

Toporama, which contains Canada topo maps, are geo-referenced datasets raster images, which combines an area of interest or background data for various applications. This is significant to users of GPS, navigators, hikers, and tourists who are comfortable with digital topographic data.

Enjoy Canada, from Parliament Hill to Chateau Lake Louise to Stanley Park Hollow Tree. Find peace in the beauty of the landscapes and amaze yourself with its history.   

Be safe with BackCountry Navigator and Canada topo maps.


Cross Country Skiing

Cross-country skiing, frequently abbreviated as XC skiing, is one of the winter sports where players push themselves over snow-covered territories using skis and poles. It is mostly well known in places with large fields of snow, which can be found mainly in Northern Europe, Canada, and Alaska. 

This winter sport is widely acknowledged as one of the healthiest. The movement is subtle and easy to the muscles. It uses major muscle groups, burns fat, tones the body and works to improve the cardiovascular system. Some people are annoyed by the snow but for those who are health-oriented, cross-country skiing is an exercise and an adventure.

Cross-country skiing came from prehistoric times in Fennoscandian countries such as the Scandinavian Peninsula, the Kola Peninsula, Karelia and Finland. It was used to move from one place to another during winter. Hunting elk, deer and other animals was done through cross-country skiing and until now, these countries carry the strong tradition of regularly using skis in their everyday activities.

Skiing is categorized into Nordic and Alpine. Cross-country skiing is part of the Nordic sports group, which also includes:

  • ski jumping
  • a combination of cross-country skiing and ski jumping called Nordic combined
  • biathlon

Nordic skiing is a winter sport that includes all types of skiing. The most popular type of Nordic skiing is "cross country". In Nordic skiing, the ski used has the boot attached to the toe only so that the heel can move up and down freely. Nordic skiing is older than Alpine skiing.   

Nordic skiing is normally for terrains that are less steep. The three binding systems used in modern cross-country skiing are:

  • New Nordic Norm or NNN
  • SNS (Salomon Nordic System) Profil 
  • SNS Pilot

There are two main types of cross-country skiing. 

  • Classical is often used on prepared matching trails or pistes, which was already cut into the snow. The skis are moved front to back, mostly in straight line, on the prepared trails. The basic methods of classic skiing are classified by flat terrain, uphill, downhill and turning. 
  • Freestyle cross-country skiing is much faster. The skiers push on each ski every time they take a stride but they do not go down steep slopes. Skiers do air tricks and jumps and skis are angled at about 40 degrees. However, freestyle is not always allowed because it destroys the track for the other skiers.

Alpine skiing is a winter sport and recreational activity, which involves sliding down snow-covered hills with long, thin skis attached to each foot. The skis used are fixed-heel bindings. In this type of skiing, the toe is fixed firmly to the ski, but the heel is free.   

In competitive alpine skiing races, four disciplines exist: 

  • downhill
  • slalom
  • giant slalom
  • super giant slalom

Alpine winter sports are popular in countries where there is a combination of snow and mountain slopes in which, a foundation for alpine skiing can be constructed. These countries include much of Europe, North America, and Japan.

Alpine skiing, whether recreational or competitive, is done in a ski resort facility, which transports skiers to the mountains where the snow is groomed, landslides are controlled and the trails are cleared. If the skier prefers to ski in a less guarded environment, it is diversely called ski touring, backcountry skiing, or extreme skiing.

There are three kinds of cross-country skiing:
  • Racing – this combines endurance, speed and strength with tactics and technique.
  • Adventure – is everywhere where there is snow. It could be an adventure, an exercise or a relief for the mind and soul.
  • Backcountry – defies the limit of exploring new territories. It has no rules; you define what you want for the love of snow.

Since cross-country skiing is an outdoor sport, GPS had always been the best tool to ensure everyone's safety. A GPS device paired with one of the best GPS app will provide accuracy in mapping a location, record a track and define waypoints. It will guide you from veering off course in the snow trails.  

Enjoy the snow and take care.


Winter Sports with BackCountry Navigator

Winter sports is a game played on snow or ice. Since winter is finally here, those who have been waiting excitedly for the first snow so they can enjoy their favorite winter sports will be definitely pleased. It is not surprising that there are Android apps in the Android Market for ski lovers and snowboarders.  

If you are headed for the slopes, you need to have a GPS device with you and the best device would be a smartphone with an Android GPS app. It will serve as your company on the ski trail to prevent you from getting lost by providing information from a pre-downloaded map.

Many winter sports rely on GPS especially cross-country skiing where players push themselves across terrains of snow, using skis and poles. Since cross-country skiing is done in places with large snowfields, the players rely primarily on direction. GPS device is a reliable tool to show them exactly where they are and which way they are headed. It keeps them in contact with their companions all the time.

The most popular winter sports are:

Ice-skating is played using ice skates. It can be done either on specially prepared indoor and outdoor tracks, or on frozen body of water like rivers and lakes. It has several purposes aside from winter sports, which are exercise and leisure.

Skiing is traveling into snow using skis that is connected with boots with the use of a binding.  

Skiing is grouped into two categories: Nordic and Alpine. Nordic skiing originated in Scandinavia and an older skiing practice, which uses free-heel bindings. Alpine skiing or downhill skiing came from the European Alps and uses fixed-heel bindings.

Sledding also known as sledging or tobogganing is a winter sport in very cold areas. The term means traveling down or sliding down on a flat surface of snow. It is similar to sliding but the player is seated in a vehicle known as sled in the U.S. and sledge or toboggan in other countries.

Snowboarding, also described as "surfing or skateboarding in the snow," was a raw winter sport in the U.S. around 1960. However, when snowboarding debuted in the 1988 Winter Olympics, it became one of the most popular sports.

The sport involves descending on a snow-covered slope on a fiberglass board resembling a large skateboard attached to a rider's feet using a special boot set on a mounted binding. The rule of snowboarding is to maintain balance while surfing on a ski slope.

Snowmobilers love the sparkle of the pure and untouched mountain snow. For them, there is nothing lovelier than its sight.  

Snowmobiling is a winter sport that uses snowmobiles or little snow machines. It is usually designed for a one-person user to ride in the snow. Unlike snowboarding and skiing, which must be done from the top of the mountain or hill then propels down using the force of gravity, snowmobiles are designed for hills, mountains and elevated or flat lands. Snowmobiles are almost similar to a motorcycle or all-terrain vehicle for winter use on snow-covered grounds.

The benefits of GPS in winter sports are:

Navigation Assistance
Planning with a site-specific snow trail map before the trip will save valuable time. A GPS mapping app, complete with a pre-downloaded most recent snow trail, will be your most valuable possession during a winter sport adventure.

A GPS device can be used to send a distress signal. Winter sports are not safe all the time. If you are injured, lost or caught in a blizzard, the rescue teams will use your GPS location to find you.

Record Points of Interest
Record favorite spots as well as mark off dangerous areas as you find them on the trail and share it with fellow winter sport enthusiasts.   

Why use an Android GPS app like BackCountry Navigator in your winter sports activities outdoor? Because BackCountry Navigator is your most reliable tool. 

Have fun and take care.


BLM Maps, News and Milestones

The majority of public lands in the United States are held in trust for the American people by the federal government. It is managed by several government agencies. 

Two of these agencies are Bureau of Land Management under the U.S. Department of Interior and the United States Forest Service under the Department of Agriculture. These agencies ensure that its task to maintain the good condition, diversity and abundance of the nation's forests and grasslands will meet the needs of the present and future generations.

Forests are extraordinary places covering almost one third of the Earth's land and are invaluable. It is home to a huge variety of plants and animals, providing them with food, water and shelter. They present the beauty of nature while providing people with food, fuel, raw materials and medicine. However, before 2005, almost 100% of roads and trails in the national forests have not been well defined. It was a disarray of mining, logging and private roads. Racetracks and makeshift public roads were mostly open for use unless specifically designated as closed.   From 1972 to 2001, roads in the national forests were a government issue. The U.S. government's rule to keep public lands roadless caused chaos and a lot of concern among off-road vehicle or ORV traffic.

As of March 4, 2011, United States Forest Service reported that the mapping of the existing roads in the forests is now about 68% done and working on the deadline of completion, which is end of 2011.

BLM Maps
BLM maps for Android
have recently become available for 12 Western States. These maps primarily show the boundaries of BLM land, and secondarily show boundaries between state, federal and public land. These add-on maps are available from the Android Market through Backcountry Navigator PRO under the "purchasing add-ons" menu.   BLM data comes from the State Bureau of Land Management units. Many of you will need this data to:

  • stay off private land and avoid getting shot because of trespassing
  • to comply with the law to explore on public lands only

This is more accurate and recent than what the National BLM office would have.   To help you decide on which state to go, explore and experience, here are the twelve magnificent states in the West.

  • Idaho
  • Oregon and Washington
  • Colorado
  • California
  • Arizona
  • Utah
  • Nevada
  • Montana
  • New Mexico
  • Alaska
  • Wyoming

I hope this information has given an insight about the role of BLM and USFS, why Backcountry Navigator mapping app is important and why BLM add-on maps are the answer.

News and Milestones
  • Backcountry Navigator has a better map source, which is not in anyway associated with MyTopo.com.
  • Our very own CEO/Owner/Developer Nathan Mellor was interviewed and had been featured in TechRepublic, a magazine for the Tech of all Trades. He spoke about the success story of BackCountry Navigator, one of the products of Crittermap Software. He gave valuable and inspiring advice about building a software that people want, purchase, and use.  Read about it here.
  • BackCountry Navigator was listed in the top apps on January of 2011 in TechRepublic and has consistently been in the top five.
  • In July 2011, BackCountry Navigator was featured on the homepage of the Android Market.

Lastly, part of this blog was taken from a webpage owned by BackCountry Navigator, which was featured in Hot Apps magazine. If you want more references about BLM maps for Android and other web pages about BackCountry Navigator, please follow this link.

Have a memorable and safe adventure in the outdoors for the remaining days of the year and see you all as we grow together in 2012.  

Happy New Year!


Android GPS Navigation

Android GPS navigation is one of the three characteristics of an Android GPS app.  

With BackCountry Navigator installed on Android devices, it can specifically answer the question: Where am I?

The first characteristic of an Android GPS app is type of maps, which are street maps, topographic (topo) maps and aerial photography.    

The second characteristic is map access, which are online or offline maps.  

The third characteristic is Android GPS navigation, which consists of turn-by-turn directions, waypoints and following a track. Knowledge of Android GPS navigation is important in choosing the kind of maps to use.

Waypoints are sets of "favorite" coordinates that tells you your distance and bearing to known locations. It can be your parent's address, a business address that you often visit, or the best place in the wilderness to get a network signal for Android GPS navigation.  

Many Android GPS devices are now using base maps. It allows the users to locate a specific point on a map and define it as waypoint. Users may assign a name to each waypoint and use symbols from a built-in library of icons to identify it on a graphic map display. These waypoints could be churches, bridges, shopping centers, parks or tunnels. Waypoint helps maintain safety by showing dangerous areas that you have marked in your previous trips.  

If you are walking on a trail, you might want to mark a specific intersection so that you can later view it on a map. Saving a location is marking a waypoint of that location. Recording your breadcrumbing activities can also be called marking a waypoint.  

Following a Track
A track is a newly created trail or path and saved in the map from breadcrumbing. 

It is a chronological collection of GPS points. If you have a track file of a specific trail, you can pass the information to another so that they can re-trace the original path that you took. Once a track file has been transferred, the recipient can load them into their GPS devices and use an app to guide them through online or offline Android GPS navigation.  

An Android GPS app will display it on the map as a jagged, colored line and one can virtually see their location corresponding to the line.  

With Android GPS app, GPS navigation in smartphones is better than other handheld devices because it is flexible to do more tasks.  

Enjoy your favorite outdoor activity and be safe.


Wyoming BLM Maps for Android

Since 1986, interest in the historic trails has steadily increased in Wyoming. The historic trails are its major attraction. However, these trails aren't fully mapped.

BackCountry Navigator is the number one Android GPS mapping app with an add-on BLM maps for Wyoming. For Android users who are interested in visiting the Wyoming trails, these maps are essential.

Wyoming is the tenth biggest state in the United States but not populated. Over 17.5 million acres of public lands and 40.7 million acres of federal mineral estate in Wyoming are being managed by the Bureau of Land Management. 

Wyoming's reputation for its legendary trails gave a substantial contribution to America's history. During the 1800's, Wyoming became the focus for Western expansion. 

Historic Trails in Wyoming
Lander Trail (1841-1868)
The Lander Trail was a cutoff between South Pass and the Snake River country. It is the only stretch of the Oregon Trail system to ever be subsidized and constructed by the federal government. More than 13,000 emigrants traveled it in 1859, its first year of use.  

The route is well marked in most places. For Android travelers using Wyoming BLM maps for Android on this trail, creating waypoints would be easy.

Hams Fork Cutoff (1841-1868)
By 1850, the Oregon-Mormon Pioneer-California trail system had developed almost as many shortcuts as there were wagon masters. The emigrants called these shortcuts "cutoffs".  

This trail is unmarked and located mostly on private lands. Since this trail is unmarked, any visitor with BackCountry Navigator Android GPS app can use breadcrumbing and mark waypoints in this trail.

Overland Trail (1862-1869)
Ben Holladay established this new trail through Bridger Pass as a shorter, safer route for his Overland Stages that had previously been operating along the Oregon Trail system through South Pass.   

The Overland Trail is not well marked and the trail is mostly on alternating sections of private lands and BLM-managed public lands. BLM maps are needed to navigate this trail.  

Bridger Trail (1864-1900's)
This road was intended to be a safe and acceptable alternate to the Bozeman Trail, connecting the Oregon Trail at Fort Caspar with the gold fields in western Montana via a route west of the Big Horn Mountains.   

The Bridger Trail is not marked and is still not well known. Once in the Big Horn Basin, most of the Trail is on private land. To avoid trespassing on private lands while hiking, a BLM map from BackCountry Navigator would be helpful.

Bozeman Trail (1864-1868)
John Bozeman pioneered this route as a shortcut between the Oregon Trail at Fort Laramie and the gold camps recently opened in western Montana. The Bozeman Trail, located along the eastern foothills of the Big Horn Mountains, became the most hated of all the western emigration trails. Bozeman's route violated the cherished home and hunting grounds of the Sioux. Red Cloud and his allies vowed that no white man should invade this territory. The battles fought along the Trail were the most violent, frequent and devastating of any during the Plains Indian Wars.  

The actual route of the Bozeman Trail is not well marked, although numerous monuments and informative signs are located at places where the trail intersects modern public roadways. Much of the trail is located on private land. BLM maps are often used to distinguish public from private land on this trail.

Stage & Freight Trails (1869-1900's)
With the completion of the Union Pacific Railroad across southern Wyoming in 1869, a series of stage and freight wagon roads were developed to serve fledgling communities to the north. Two of these roads, the Bryan-South Pass Road and the Point of Rocks-South Pass City Road, were both established to serve the boom town of South Pass City that sprang to life following gold discoveries along the upper Sweetwater region in 1867. Soon a new stage road, the Rawlins-Fort Washakie Stage Road was developed to serve the headquarters of the Wind River Indian Reservation.  

The stage roads are located mostly on BLM-managed public lands but are not marked or well mapped. Portions of Highway 287 from Rawlins to Lander parallel the Fort Washakie Road. BLM maps for Android would prove to be handy in this trail.  

Texas Trail (1876-1897)
Along this trail passed the greatest migration of men and cattle from Texas to replace the fast vanishing buffalo in Wyoming and Montana. Used from 1876 to 1897, the trail entered Wyoming where the town of Pine Bluffs now sits. It extended north through eastern Wyoming on a line parallel to today's US 85, connecting to the current I-90 corridor at Moorcroft, then up the Little Powder River into Montana. Much of the trail paralleled the Cheyenne-Deadwood Stage Route.

Cheyenne-Deadwood Stage Road (1876-1887)
This trail tells the story of gold-laden Concord stagecoaches rocking wildly on leather through braces, pulled at top speed by perfectly matched six-horse teams; of outlaws hidden along the road, willing to do anything to get the gold; of Sioux warriors gathering on the ridges, angered at the white man's intrusion into their sacred Black Hills; of Wyatt Earp as shotgun messenger, George Lathrop as driver with Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane and Buffalo Bill as passengers; of the US Cavalry charging across the prairie to protect the coaches and cargo. It was a clash of cultures and values that could only have happened in Wyoming.  

The Cheyenne-Deadwood Stage Road is marked by monuments and informative signs at intersections with public roads. Most of the actual trail is on private land, but much of the route is paralleled by improved county and state roads. 

Oregon-California-Mormon Pioneer-Pony Express Trails
Oregon Trail (1843-1868)
The route was known to mountain men, fur trappers, traders and missionaries in the 1820s and 1830s but was not successfully negotiated by a wagon train until 1843. The trail entered Oregon Territory when it crossed South Pass in what is now western Wyoming. 

California Trail (1841-1868)
This trail is best known for the incredible amount of traffic it carried during the California Gold Rush years of 1849 through the mid-1850's. The California Trail shares its route with the Oregon and Mormon Pioneer Trails from Fort Laramie through South Pass.  

Trail marking and land ownership patterns are the same as the Oregon and Mormon Pioneer Trails.  

Mormon Pioneer Trail 
This 1,297-mile trail links Nauvoo, Illinois with Salt Lake City, Utah. The western stretch of the Trail across Wyoming was opened in 1847 when church leader Brigham Young led a pioneer party of 148 Latter Day Saints and 72 wagons from the Missouri River to their new, permanent home in the Salt Lake Valley.   

The Mormon Pioneer Trail through Wyoming is roughly identical to the Oregon Trail from Fort Laramie to Fort Bridger. The same patterns of land ownership and trail markings apply.

Pony Express Trail (1860-1861)
For eighteen months starting in April 1860, the Pony Express was the talk of the nation. Since that time, it has become a legend the world enjoys. The completion of the transcontinental telegraph in October 1861 signaled the end of the Pony Express. 

The route is well marked, both along the actual trail and on parallel highways and byways. Much of the trail is on BLM public lands, west of Casper.

Here's a video with some awesome shots of Wyoming. Enjoy your trip in the land of trails and be guided with BackCountry Navigator Android BLM maps.


Alaska BLM Maps

Anybody would love Alaska. Any wise traveler would also love Alaska and will not forget to bring BackCountry Navigator's Alaska BLM maps to get the most from the beauty of the place and not waste time in getting lost. 

Alaska is magical and wonderful. It haunts those who had seen it to return and be with the magnificence of the place again while it beacons those who had never been to her land.

Alaska, the Land of the Midnight Sun is one of the most beautiful places to be in the world. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, its land size is approximately 75 million acres of federal public land. BLM Alaska divided its land management into two district offices, which are Fairbanks and Anchorage. 

BackCountry Navigator, the number one GPS app in travel category, has its own Alaska BLM maps available as an add-on purchase to BackCountry Navigator PRO. It can be accessed by going to "purchasing add-on" menu.

Alaska Map

While a cell phone may help in an emergency, do not rely on your cell phone. Cell coverage outside established towns may be poor or unavailable.

This important information gives emphasis on the importance of bringing an Android GPS phone, with a GPS app that can read  BLM maps of Alaska in offline mode like BackCountry Navigator. Safety precautions including lack of cellphone coverage in Alaska's famous recreation places can be found here.

Alaska offers a wide variety of outdoor recreation opportunities and experiences for those looking for an adventure. Whether you want a backcountry hiking alone or a guided river rafting, these experiences will reduce your stress. You'll feel good about yourself through bonding with your companions, increase your knowledge of Alaska and invigorate your tired spirit with nature.

Below is a travel guide to the places that you can go in Alaska, with Alaska BLM maps as guide:


  • Campbell Tract
  • Iditarod National Historic Trail
  • Pinnell Mountain National Recreation Trail
  • Steese National Conservation Area
  • White Mountains National Recreation Area
  • Beaver Creek Wild and Scenic River
  • Birch Creek Wild and  River
  • Delta Wild and Scenic River
  • Fortymile Wild and Scenic River
  • Gulkana Wild and Scenic River
  • Unalakleet Wild and Scenic River
  • Dalton Highway
  • Denali Highway
  • Steese/Elliott Highways
  • Taylor Highway
  • South Richardson Highway
  • Edgerton Highway
Historic/ Cultural Interests
  • Fort Egbert National Historic Site
  • Tangle Lakes Archaeological District

There's a lot of outdoor recreations that you can do while in Alaska, in fact, you can almost do everything. However, ensure that you are not doing it in private land that isn't part of the BLM recreation area. Here's a long list of what you can do in Alaska. Chose and enjoy:

  • Camping
  • Cultural and Historic Tour
  • Fishing and Hunting
  • Gold Panning
  • Mountaineering
  • Orienteering
  • Outdoor Education
  • Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV)
  • Public Use Cabins
  • River Boating and Rafting
  • Scenic Driving Tour
  • Trails
  • Hiking/backpacking
  • Horseback riding
  • Mountain biking
  • Skiing and Snowshoeing
  • Watchable Wildlife and Birding
  • Wildflower picking

Aside from Alaska BLM maps, BackCountry Navigator would gladly share an app to its users, which can be downloaded FREE from this link

We call it GPS Airtime, which help Android GPS device users on Airplane Mode to get an easy GPS fix. Android GPS users often prefer to switch on Airplane Mode to save battery life while searching for a GPS signal. 

Get GPS Airtime, use BackCountry Navigator PRO to navigate the pre-downloaded Alaska BLM maps offline and save yourself from getting lost.

Don't forget to taste cedar-planked wild salmon to complete your stay in Alaska.


New Mexico BLM Maps

Hikers in New Mexico have been arrested in the past for trespassing on private lands. That's why every outdoors men and women are careful while on trail. A dispute with private landowners will ruin the planned adventure.

BackCountry Navigator Android GPS app have thought about a solution and decided to add New Mexico BLM maps to BackCountry Navigator PRO.

New Mexico has 13.4 million acres of public lands plus 26 million acres of federal oil, natural gas, and minerals. These lands contain nationally significant energy and mineral resources, a variety of great wildlife and an abundance of recreational opportunities. New Mexico BLM maps are always used to explore these recreational land areas.

The BLM protects and promotes the enjoyment of New Mexico’s cultural resources on public land. In addition, the BLM actively promotes the use of cultural resources for scientific study, classroom education as well as heritage tourism. With over 30,000 sites recorded on just the ten percent of BLM lands in New Mexico that have been inventoried, BLM New Mexico manages the agency’s largest cultural program. 

The BLM also places a strong emphasis on government-to-government relations with all the American Indian tribes in the four-state area. Many Tribes and tribal members do business with BLM. The BLM works closely with tribes to conserve and protect cultural and natural resources on public lands while ensuring that private lands are untouched. These American Indian tribes and BLM uses New Mexico BLM maps to define public land areas for conservation and protection.

New Mexico has outstanding national monuments and wilderness areas, unique historic and prehistoric sites, and developed recreation sites.  Public lands in New Mexico offers breathtaking sceneries from rolling prairies,  open woodlands, desert peaks – everything that distinguish the iconic landscapes of the American West.

Here's a video why New Mexico is called the "Land of Enchantment":

The most popular recreation areas in New Mexico are found in Carlsbad, Farmington, Las Cruces, Rio Puerco, Roswell, Socorro and Taos.

Outdoor activities vary from hiking/backpacking, fishing, boating/kayaking, off-highway vehicles, caving, hunting, mountain biking, camping, target shooting, horseback riding, geocaching and wildlife viewing.

Hikers, bicyclists, equestrians, hunters, OHV users and other public lands users have a certain thing in common – a love for the outdoors. However, they must stay on existing or designated roads and trails unless an area is specifically opened for cross-country travel. They must have the New Mexico BLM maps stored in their Android smartphone to guide them. This BLM add-on maps can be purchased from BackCountry Navigator PRO. Simply go to "purchase add-on" menu. 

Have fun and take care. Don't forget the maps.