Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Vancouver Canada
I never have coverage so my goto ap has been Garmin Canadian topographic map set running on a Garmin Etrex or better colour gps.
This of course can connect into a laptop( too cheap to have bought a ssd and disk hard drives don't stand up so I don't often use a pc ). The etrex and higher levels of Garmin gps will also connect into a good marine or aviation Nav system, but sadly not an under performing automotive system.
Android mapping aps have improved but are only for light weight, front country trips. Most smart phones are too fragile and hard to keep charged up (darned if I'll remember the backup power pack). They have however gotten me home in time for dinner occasionally when my local crew has gotten lost and I've whipped out Nagago off line maps.
The ap probably doesn't matter as much as to have one, any one loaded, and be familiar with how to use it, AND having fully charged batteries.
The paper map is always handy as backup and with a bit of elementary surveying knowledge precise enough.. If I can actually see a couple of landmarks.
Roads and trails change yearly with floods, fires and logging. So I carry a forest service map, a hunting and fishing map and a topographic base map. The inaccuracies and errors on one usually stand out in comparison to the other maps and older alternative routes are sometimes helpful.
The small Etrex that I use has a small display, takes good eyesight and it is slow to register locations. This tech has improved markedly but be prepared to spend $600 + for a pro level backcountry/marine compatible Y Nav system with a big fast readable display.
The etrex is small and light enough to take everywhere, rugged and rainproof and fits in a shirt pocket. The bigger display versions are bulkier and heavier.
Some of my SAR friends absolutely hate the folks that just go out with a smart phone map, they have had to haul so many of them back from the boonies, that they are just fed up with them. Same for the coast guard.
Smart phones and automotive gps also have to reputation of being sufficiently dumb that they lead the uninitiated on roads that look like they continue from point A to point D, leaving them stuck at pt B on a mountain pass in a snow drift, or in the middle of the outback on a dry washout at pt C with no feasible way forward or back.