Learn how to use a Backroad Mapbook in 5 easy steps

Someone who has never seen or heard about Backroad Mapbooks may assume that they are just like any other map, bound together into a book format. However, those who have seen or used a Backroad Mapbook know that they are much more than that! Featuring industry leading topographic detail and engaging adventure write ups for outdoor recreation of all kinds, Backroad Mapbooks are the ultimate guide for every adventure.

With so much information jam packed into every Backroad Mapbook, it can be daunting for new users to know where to start. That’s why we have put together a list of 5 Easy Steps on How to Use a Backroad Mapbook, so you will be ready to hit the backroads in no time!

Step 1: Choose Your Backroad Mapbook

The first and most important step to using our Backroad Mapbooks is choosing the book that covers the area you wish to explore. While our map coverage stretches from coast to coast, there is no way we could fit all our maps into a single title. So, our Mapbooks are divided by province, with larger provinces such as BC, Alberta and Ontario further divided into regions. This allows us to pack as much information as possible into each title. Here is a list of our books from coast to coast:

Each of our books feature a map key on page VII and on the back outer cover. The highlighted grid area on the map key identifies the region of the province that each book covers. Each square within the highlighted area is labeled with a number.

The Map Key number is the page of the book where you will find your desired Map. Learn to use the Map Key and you will be able to easily locate the specific area you wish to explore within your Backroad Mapbook.

See an example of the Map Key below. 

For example, if you want to travel to area 30…

The area number relates to the page number of the book. Flip to page 30 to find the map for this region.

Our most recent books list the Backroad Mapbooks titles you will need if you are travelling outside the Map Key grid.

Step 2: Learn the Legend

Get to know the Backroad Mapbook legend to be able to decipher which type of trail, park, rec site or water feature you are looking for.

The Map Legend, which can be found in the Introduction section of each book. Here you will find information on all Area Indicators, Line Classifications and Map Symbols. We recommend you keep this page bookmarked in case you need to quickly navigate back to it while on the trail.

Step 3: Navigate your Backroad Mapbook

Our Backroad Mapbooks are jam packed with maps and information to get you ready to take on any adventure your heart desires. However, before you start routing your next trip, it is important to learn how to navigate through the Mapbook itself.

The Navigating Page, found in the Introduction Section, breaks down exactly what your Backroad Mapbook features and where you will find it. Additionally, you can use the Contents section, the first page in every Backroad Mapbook, to locate each of the various sections.

Step 4: Pay Attention to the Adventure Section

One of the things that makes a Backroad Mapbook so useful, beyond the level of detail that goes into our topographic maps, is the amount of information you’ll find in the Adventures Section. The Adventures Section breaks down each of our 11 Adventure features including:

  • Backroad Adventures
  • Fishing Adventures
  • Hunting Adventures
  • Paddling Adventures
  • Park Adventures
  • Trail Adventures
  • ATV [OHV] Adventures
  • Snowmobile Adventures
  • Wildlife Adventures
  • Winter Adventures

In some books, you will also find adventure sections special and unique to that area. For example, our Kootenay Rockies Backroad Mapbook features a “Huts and Cabin Adventures” section, which outlines all the backcountry hut camping opportunities in that region.

Check out our blog “Be Your Own Guide! Trip Planning with BRMB Adventures” to learn more about what each Adventure section covers and how it can help you plan your next trip to the backcountry. Along with showing you thousands of new places to explore in each book, the Adventure section also makes trip planning extremely easy. Each Adventure section is made up of countless listings and descriptions for each different activity, giving you detailed information of great fishing spots, trail difficulty and length, camping info and much more.

Beside each listing you will find icons and symbols that showcase the various activities available at a trail or park. To help you decipher what the symbols mean, refer to the map legend.

Finally, on each adventure listing we have included a map reference for easy planning and routing. The map reference tells you exactly where to find and explore the specific adventure you are looking at.

For example, this adventure says it’s listed on Map 3/E5 . That means it will be on page 3 and the coordinates are E5.

Thumb to that page and you’ll find the adventure in the book.

Step 5: The Index is your Friend

At the back of our Backroad Mapbooks, behind the Adventure Sections, you will locate the Index. For ease of navigation we have broken it down into an Adventure Index and a Map Index.

Adventure Index

In the Adventure Index, each adventure that has been listed in the adventure section can be found in alphabetical order. Beside the name of the adventure and map page/coordinate, you will also find the Reference Page number, which is where the description of that listing is found.

Map Index

The Map Index section offers a much more comprehensive list of all the areas you will find in that specific book, broken down by name and map page/coordinates. The Map Index is also listed in alphabetical order for ease of use.

Arguably the best part of our Backroad Mapbooks, aside from the thousands of adventure opportunities they offer, is the unique differences from book to book. While we try to ensure the layout of our books is always similar, many of our books have special features and sections such as adventure tips, trail and fish stocking charts and community profiles.

Now that you know How to Use a Backroad Mapbook, you will have no problem finding that perfect new place to fish, stunning photo-worthy vista, great trail to break in your new ATV or the best spot to camp among the trees.

Have questions? Feel free to ask us in the comments below and don’t forget to share your adventures with us on Instagram using #brmb and #brmblife for a chance to win more Backroad Mapbooks to add to your collection!