BWCA Best Reliable Maps? Boundary Waters Trip Planning Forum
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05/26/2021 04:56PM  
Looking at a couple of webinar videos, I remember a couple folks recommending some specific makes of maps for the BWCA area, but I can't remember what they are. Anyone have professional insight on map selection for the trip?
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05/26/2021 05:10PM  
Voyageur, Fisher and McKenzie are the big 3. I have the whole Voyageur set and like them, but I have used Fisher also. Comes down to personal preference
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05/26/2021 05:13PM  
All are good, and all are different. I use a mix of McKenzie and Fisher. I prefer Fisher for travel days because I don’t need to re-fold my map as often due to the scale.
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05/26/2021 05:37PM  
All three, plus the newer True North cloth maps (not kidding about this - they are really nice).
Voyageur Maps (for sale on this web site) for large coverage area and fishing information. The back of the map is the entire BWCA, and areas impacted by future copper-sulfide mining.
Fisher Maps are same scale as V.M. (1.5 inch = 1 mile; 1:42, 240).
McKenzie are different scale (2 inch = 1 mile; 1:31, 680) so you get more detail but need more maps if traveling beyond the map area.
True North scale is 1.5 inch = 1 mile, printed on durable, lightweight cloth that can sponge out the canoe and look brand new after laundering. Ten percent of the proceeds go to Save the Boundary Waters.
The Nat. Geo. map is great for the overall picture. I take this one along with the tripping map in case the route changes and I don't have the maps. Nat Geo will at least show the lakes if not the detail.

All are great; people prefer some over others for various reasons.
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05/26/2021 05:45PM  
I recently received my first Voyageur map and was impressed with it. Quality printing on tough waterproof material. Portage length and difficulty are on the map, as well as lake bottom contours. The back side has good reference information and a BWCA overview map.
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05/26/2021 07:30PM  
+1 for the Voyageur maps.
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05/26/2021 07:42PM  
Nat. Geo for trip planning( although fine for navigation), just big. But, I take voyager in canoe with me.
05/26/2021 09:55PM  
Well, they've all been mentioned. :) Boils down to what Cowdoc said - it's all about personal preference.
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05/27/2021 08:23AM  
I use the maps on this site for planning. I like to check comments on portages and camp sites. For in the canoe, I prefer to take screen shots for aerial maps from and paste them into a Word doc. The aerials give me a better view of actual shorelines and island etc. On clear water lakes, you can also see reefs and points. I just put the printed maps in a 1 gal. bag. Pretty low tech. The other maps mentioned are great and I do have a couple.

The only error I know of on most maps is EP33 is in the wrong place on most maps. I contacted True North when they first came out and they have made the correction.
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05/31/2021 03:36PM  
One thing that wasn't mentioned is that Voyager maps are larger than Fisher, so even though the scale is the same, there is more coverage per map. I feel like the Nat Geo map is a must have as a spare and for the "big picture". They have all the details of the larger maps, are actually more accurate in most respects, but the detail is a bit small (1.1 inch per mile). They are perfectly acceptable for navigating and have the west side on one side and the east side on the other. Then just pick one of the big 3 and you are ready to go.
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05/31/2021 06:41PM  
We always bring 2 different maps of the area. Some combo of Voy / Fisher / McKenzie. This way we we have a map in both ends of the canoe, if we lose one we still have another, and if the campsite or shoreline or whatever doesn't match up, we can compare it to the other map. Guess we just st like maps!
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05/31/2021 10:26PM  
Another tip...take a picture of your maps on your phone or whatever camera you will bring along. If you lose your maps, you still have a copy.
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