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What You Get For Your Money #83
Date first written: 2000.01.01 Review Date:2016.07.20
Although there is a lot of information on Bivouac for free, such as all the mountain pages, there is a lot more if you pay. Below are some of the things:
Feel Good about yourself! Paid subscriptions are the main thing that keeps the website running and pays for the costs of running the servers. Most newspapers charge 19.95/month for subscriptions which is $240/year. Bivouac is only $25/year.
- Human support
If you can't figure anything out, call me at 604 734-3644 in Vancouver or send me email by clicking the "Contact Us" link on the front page. I've learned with other products that this type of support really helps me, and so it's worth doing the same for Bivouac users. I spend hundreds of hours replying to emails and answering phone calls.
- Trouble Ticket System
Bivouac has a really good trouble ticket system. Anything broken or that you can't figure out, send a trouble ticket. All trouble tickets are visible to all users, so you can verify that they really are fixed.
- Roads and Trails
There are over 4000 backroads in bivouac, each one digitized so you can see it on the built in topomaps. And 3000 trails. Both roads and trails have dated bulletins describing the exact condition of the road, bridge condition, water bars, etc. And you can download a .gpx file for each of them.
- Trip Reports
Over 1500 high quality trip reports, each indexed with lat-long waypoints, and containing quick reference map. The trip reports are not just off the cuff postings, most are the same quality as in a guidebook. I have spent hundreds of hours working with the authors of the bivouac reports, and they are the highest quality anywhere. See Trip Report Samples.
- GMap Overlay
Bivouac has a customized topomap system called GMap. There is a GMap link on every mountain page. (Try it out with your free login). However, a paid user gets much more. They see all the Bivouac roads, trails, and peaks superimposed on the map. This is one of the most useful features of the website. When you are planning any trip, you immediately see the relevant roads and trails.
- Support for GPS (Upload and download Gpx files)
You can download a gpx file centered on any mountain which contains all the surrounding trails, roads, cabins, campsites and mountains. I have written very systematic instructions on how to use most models of GPS. In particular, how to download .gpx files for whole sets of roads, trails and peaks. I support both Garmin GPS units and smartphone GPS Apps. If you have any problems loading bivouac roads and trails onto your GPS just contact me.
- Photo Essays (Feature Photos)
Over 10,000 photo essays. Every photo has the vantage point, and quality description. The vantage points can be displayed on topo maps. In addition, the system has a "photomap" function link shows all the vantages around a given peak.
- Equipment Reviews.
These reviews follow a common structure, and are based on real experience from other members. You can easily email any member to ask more questions about the review. And you can see exactly what their level of experience is by reading their trip reports. Thus you have some assurance the person has REAL EXPERIENCE.
- Reference Articles
With well researched articles on subjects relating to navigation, digital maps, photography, etc.
- Ability to contact any other member via blind email. Addresses are verified regularly. This is done via a "Blind email" scheme, whereby the system sends a message on your behalf.