Most helpful positive review
117 of 118 people found the following review helpful
The most comprehensive, intuitive, and functional AT guidebook on the market
on March 15, 2011
The A.T. Guide is without question the most comprehensive, easiest to use, and most creatively formatted Appalachian Trail guide available to hikers. I used this guide extensively on my recent Appalachian Trail thru-hike and I would especially recommend this guide for any prospective AT thru-hikers. This is the ONLY book you will ever need to prepare for your hike, as well as during your long journey.
The A.T. Guide contains profile maps overlaid upon mileage/data, allowing you to judge distance and elevation gain/loss on a single page. This is hands-down the most creative format for a trail guide that I have encountered. It proved a refreshing and easy way to obtain information at quick glance during my AT thru-hike. No fumbling with other maps, no hidden climbs or descents between landmarks, and no cross-referencing multiple pages. All the information you need is right there, simple as that.
Additionally, no other Appalachian Trail data book contains both the quantity and usefulness of landmarks represented within this guide. With this book, you always know where you are on the Trail. Every water source, campsite, shelter, road crossing, trail intersection, vista, and even ice cream stand is represented in this book. Other guides leave you guessing as to how many more miles you have to reach a destination. With the detail of The A.T. Guide, you always know where you stand and how much distance remains--as well as the difficulty of the terrain during that distance. This book also contains the most detailed and useful town maps of any AT guidebook that I've seen and contains the most complete town services data.
During my AT thru-hike I experimented with other guides, most notably the Thru-Hikers Companion. That book proved to be inferior among its content and general lack of landmarks. It was also confusing when referencing town information. I constantly had to scan multiple pages ahead or behind to cross-reference data represented on one page that was detailed on another. And it's lack of elevation information was infuriating. All too many times I would press on from one shelter to the next because it was only a few more miles, yet this book failed to portray the 1,500 foot climb up a mountain and down the other side before reaching my final destination. The elevations of both shelters were listed, but not the giant mountain in between them. I never had this problem with The A.T. Guide because of its elevation profiles superimposed of the data and landmarks.
If you are trying to make the choice between the two popular data books, it should be an easy one. The A.T Guide is hands down the superior guidebook. If you don't choose it now, you'll switch to it on the Trail later and end up wasting your money on the other.
The evidence is on the Trail: by the time I reached Maine on my A.T. thru-hike, nearly every thru-hiker was using The A.T. Guide as their data book. If you don't take my word for it, take it from everyone hiking the Appalachian Trail.