Bicycle Travel > GPS & Digital Data Discussion

GPS or ACA app, or both?

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I'm based in the UK and I'm riding the Trans America Trail starting in July. I have downloaded the entire map set onto my phone and I'm very impressed, and it's already useful.
I don't ever use a GPS here in the UK when touring, I just use OSmaps, Google or my nose lol.
I'd rather not add to the pile of expensive things I've already bought, so my question is, would it be advised to use something else as well as/to back up my phone and the ACA maps?


I still like paper maps for ACA routes, but having them on a phone or a small tablet works too.  On the TA I took a handheld GPS, didn't use it, and ultimately mailed it home.  Using the phone for directions in town or once in a great while just to verify a location is helpful, but most of the time mine is turned off to save battery.

I can see using the app though and may do that in the future at some point

Cheers, interested to hear others' views on this

i have always used paper maps but purchased a Garmin 1030 Plus for my TransAm tour in a couple of weeks and love it. I have been in IT all my life but tended to avoid technology when hiking, etc. just to get away from it all. With a TransAm tour you are talking around 10 weeks, not just a 10 day excursion, so this time I embraced the technology. I have also invested in the Garmin rear facing radar after several other riders in the group bought one. Pretty pricey but again, knowing how many cars are about to pass you and how fast to me has been invaluable. I run a dynamo hub so charging is less of an issue. If you are on a budget then the setup I have is a lot of $$$ that could probably be better spent on lighter/better gear.

For my modified Northern Tier, I purchased ACA maps and manually inputted the route into RideWithGPS.  I did this so I could use RideWithGPS's turn-by-turn directions - sometimes helpful, but mostly not needed.  And by entering the route into RWGPS, I became more familiar with the route and was aware of congested areas where I'd need to pay better attention.   I do not have a Garmin so I don't know if it would be beneficial, but I managed quite nicely with my Android phone.  I've not used OSMaps but imagine it can be used for navigation similar to RWGPS.  I also had ACA's Bicycle Navigator app but mostly did not use it.  I found the paper maps and RWGPS to be very adequate.


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