As budget-minded backpacker, it is good to know that the good people at GPSFileDepot have made available some very detailed topo maps that are free to download. These topo maps can be imported into the Garmin Basecamp software that can be used to map out a track, transfer maps to handheld units and so on. Very powerful and convenient tools!
First step is to get to the GPSFileDepot website. Apart from maps for download, it also has many excellent tutorials on using GPS, topo maps, etc. Highlighted below is the link to look for maps in any particular state:
For this example I selected the state of California and was then transferred to another page with the list of available maps. The one I circled was the California state topo map.
Once you click the link, it will send you to a page with the options to download either the windows or Mac version of the topo maps.
Apart from Garmin Basecamp, the other software you need to install maps on a Mac computer is the Garmin MapManager which is also available for free. With MapManager, you can install the topo map you just downloaded. Note that the topo maps are in the gmapi format.
Once you have installed the map, it will be available in your Basecamp. You can make it visible by going to “Maps” on the menu bar.
Viola! You are now on your way to view and map out your next adventure.