Planning the trip is, in many ways, the best part of the experience. Researching, mapping, looking for short-cuts, or in our case interesting “long-cuts” is as integral to the adventure as the trip itself. Just like other aspects of taking on an adventure, the proper gear can greatly impact the level of enjoyment.
Mapping tools come in a bunch of different flavors and styles. Some are best suited for keeping you from getting lost. Some are made primarily for tracking and recording your movement. The function that we were seeking out when we found Furkot.com is trip planning. On the whole, this feature set does not seem as common among mapping tools, and the Furkot system includes some very handy functions.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of what Furkot offers nor is it intended to be a tutorial on how to use the system (we’re not sure we have it all figured out), but here are the cool things we found:
It is free:
Yep, we’re cheap and we like our stuff free. The nice thing here is the folks at Furkot.com don’t clutter up the functionality of the site in their effort to make a buck . In other words, the site doesn’t bombard you with pop-up ads that bother you while your trying to build a route. Instead, the tool offers intuitive options on places to stay and they get kick-back from the companies you visit… or at least that seems to be the plan for making a buck. Regardless, the free user experience is uncluttered and you don’t even feel like they are data-mining during your usage of the tool.
It is super easy to build multiple trips at once. We’re still trying to decide if it is best practice to build a new trip for each day of our Long Way to Pikes Peak adventure or if the entire multi-day journey works best as one trip in the Furkot System, but either way, it is great to be able to easily create separate trips on the system.
There are some very unique parameters that we haven’t found on other systems that make the Furkot.com mapping tool super cool (the killer functions of the Furkot system as far as we’re concerned):
- Day time: You can enter the time you want to travel during the day.
- Daily Mileage: How far you want to travel during the day.
- Fuel Range: How long you can go before you need to stop for fuel.
- My Speed: Your projected average speed.
Using these parameters the system automatically suggest fuel stops and lodging locations. This approach is very unique, at least from our investigations of trip planning. We found it to be incredibly useful and a perfect fit for the somewhat meandering wondering style of trip planning we are looking for the Pikes Peak adventure.
There are many mapping tools that focus on finding trails, tourist attractions and special places, Furkot.com does this under the “find” tab. You can choose the type of attraction you would like to show on the map, and then choose if you want to show “over the map”, “around the stop”, or “along the route”. This combination makes it super easy to find places to stop… and there are a bunch of useful options. From trails, sightseeing spots, fuel stops, lodging, camping, museums etc… there are over 30 “find” options to choose from.
Exporting & Sharing
Furkot.com allows you to share your trip and work collectively with others to build your trip, or post a map on your website or blog to let people know where you are going. It also allows you to download the plan to use on GPS systems. This is awesome if you have ever experienced the frustration of trip planning on one of those little devices – they are great for tracking and directions… not so much on the planning phase.
We have to admit the learning curve was a little bit steep on the Furkot system, and we experienced some funkiness in the interface. Specifically, when had unexpected things happen a few times when toggling destinations on and off (especially as the map gets larger for a longer trip). We also had a tough time getting used to the “alternate route” function, but once we figured it out, it is very useful – even if still a bit confusing.
Overall, Furkot obviously isn’t going to be replacing google maps when you’re looking to get directions to a new restaurant. But, when it comes time to plan an epic road trip, the Furkot.com feature set of trip parameter and finding stuff is going to keep it on our list for planning the route, and we highly suggest you give it a try too.