1. Darren
    Darren January 28, 2014 at 8:01 am

    I too used Erik’s atlas and found it extremely useful. Next time I do the JMT I will tear the pages out so I can fold them and put them in my pockets.
    I also had your book, Ray and enjoyed it for planning.

  2. Jill
    Jill January 28, 2014 at 8:06 am

    Thanks for the review, Ray. I followed Erik’s website just before I bought your book and I’ve been planning on buying his guide once I get closer to my own hike. I keep hoping that perhaps he’ll put out an updated one in the next year but I don’t know if he has any plans for that. His gear lists and things have really helped me out too because I’m looking to very much lighten my load before I go!

  3. Brian R
    Brian R January 28, 2014 at 8:14 am

    As always, thanks, Ray.

    I recently purchased Blackwood Press JMT Atlas. I like it for many of the reasons you highlighted. In comparison to Tom Harrison, I like the waterproof paper Harrison uses. Also, I find that I reach for my reading glasses more frequently with Blackwood because the fonts and lines are not as legible as Harrison. This summer I will be packing The Blackwood Atlas and my reading glasses.

    Finally, with respect to pricing I opted for the $39.95 Blackwood “package deal”. For the incremental $10 I was very disappointed the the quality of the three “digital downloads”. For $3 less, your book is a much better source for itinerary suggestions.

  4. Larry Beck
    Larry Beck January 28, 2014 at 8:26 am

    Hi Ray,

    I planned for my JMT for about 2-3 years collecting information about distances, elevations, etc. I finally hiked the entire trail in 2011. I was hiking with two other guys but about 1/2 way through we hooked up with a brother and sister from Switzerland who were carrying the Erik the Black JMT Atlas. I have to say that the information they had was far superior to mine 🙂

    I purchased one when I got home.


  5. Conrad Stoll
    Conrad Stoll January 28, 2014 at 8:38 am

    Fun fact Ray, I actual used your book on the trail last year a few times for some
    Background info. I carried a Kindle for my books and loaded it up on that as a PDF. Worked great!

  6. Chad
    Chad January 28, 2014 at 9:39 am

    How ironic……I was just looking at this online and was looking at picking it up. Thanks for the review.

  7. mbb
    mbb January 28, 2014 at 10:26 am

    I have the atlas, I think its pretty nice.

    The issue I have is that maps, are for when you need them. You dont normally need much of a map ON the trail. You do need a map if you are confused, take a wrong trail, need to bail out, etc.

    As such, any map with such a limited view of the surroundings as most have, is really kidding yourself as to its utility. The lack of complete mappage of sidetrails out to trailheads is ridiculous IMO.

  8. geekgirl
    geekgirl January 28, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    I am in agreement with you on pretty much all points. I find Eric’s book to be an addition to the Harrison maps, and great for jotting notes and such. I also agree with the profiles issue. Wish this was better handled. I do find that it is impossible to read without my reading glasses, and the quality of the maps is not the best, but it is still a useful little book. The town, and resupply info in it is really great, and particularly the town information can come in handy if you end up having a snafu, and need a new pair of trail runners, or something like that. I use your book for planning, and it’s top notch! But I admit, I do keep a copy on my iPhone!

  9. John Ladd
    John Ladd January 28, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    I think the Atlas has its place and will work for many. Personally I prefer the Tom Harrison maps though I have carried the Atlas at times. What I like least about the Atlas is that the contour lines are unreadable, or were in his First Edition. However, his tables do give elevations of passes, junctions, crossings, etc and that partly makes up for the lack of readable contours. I’m an altimeter navigator, so is an important defect for me, less so for those who don’t use an altimeter.

  10. Oscar
    Oscar January 28, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    Hey Ray, first off GREAT blog! I really enjoy reading your topics. Like most, I’m a big fan of Eric’s map books and I also have his PCT atlas’. What I have done with mine is take them to the FedEx store (formally Kinkos) and have them trim the binding off and replace it a spiral binding. This allows you to fold over the pages on themselves. This makes easier to read/view without that hard original binder and nothing is lost from the cut. It only cost $5 to have it done.

  11. Lori
    Lori February 1, 2014 at 6:46 am

    Can anyone recommend the best territorial map that includes road access to trailheads? I realize this is asking for bulk and weight but feel to be safe in the wilderness one should know how to bail out if needed.
    Plus so many times on the Yahoo JMT forum, people refer to trail access options but unable to find road access to these places on Harrison, Wendt or Erik the Black maps.

  12. Chip
    Chip February 4, 2014 at 5:30 am

    Ray the first thing I bought a few years ago on the JMT was this Atlas. It has taken me longer than expected to finally have the time to get out west to hike it.

    As you noted the Atlas has a lot of valuable information so I will be taking mine on the trail. When I first started reading it I had the feeling the trail didn’t have a lot of hard climbs due to the scale on the profiles. It wasn’t until I started doing a lot more research that I realized there will be a lot more climbing and descending on this hike.

  13. […] website has reviewed the Tom Harrison Map Pack and the The John Muir Trail Atlas by Blackwoods Press. I’ve used both, both have advantages & disadvantages, and both come from small, […]

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