Everyone says you have to have maps of your area in your gear. That’s true, but how much time did you spend deciding exactly what kind of maps to take. If you just stuck a state road map in your Bug Out Bag, then you should reconsider and take the 3 types of maps that should be in your survival gear.
1. Detailed Local Map
You need the most detailed local street map you can possibly get. By local I mean just your town, or if you are in a large city, your neighborhood and the areas you frequent. Here many people might say, “oh I know my way around my town like the back of my hand, I don’t need a map for that.” We’ll maybe you do.
In an urban survival regional emergency, like a flood, hurricane, or other man made disaster any number of things could happen that will be much easier navigated with a super-local map. Maybe a couple of the roads you usually take are blocked or flooded. Maybe you need to get out of town in a direction you don’t usually go. (One of these should also be in your Get Home Bag)
2. Regional Topo
If you think of the maps you need in an expanding circle, after your detailed local map you are going to need a regional topographic map. In the event of a serious regional problem or a total collapse scenario you are going to need to head towards important natural areas like a water source.
Whether walking or driving there will certainly be chaos on the major roads and the smart people will be cutting across country. You need to be able to plan around mountains and rivers.
3. Extended Area
Wherever you might be going, it’s almost certain that once you get outside of your local area you don’t know all of the roads. Taking an extended area road map, like your state road map that I mentioned earlier, and the surrounding states if applicable, just makes sense. This can be an important tool, not only for roads to follow, but for noticing cities and roads to purposely avoid.
Do you pack any other types of maps? If so tell us about them, and why you think they will be useful.