Gear Geek: Travel Art

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Gear Geek: Travel Art

A big map of the world with a bunch of pins—the typical wall décor of most hardcore travelers, whether the places marked indicated where they’ve been, or where they can’t wait to visit. But there are more compelling ways to display your love of travel than by taping a glorified road atlas to your wall. Up your game with one—or several—of these frame-worth travel-centric posters.

1. Muir Way’s Range Series, $79; 2. Propeller Propaganda, prices Vary; 3. 20×200, from $24; 4. Jet Propulsion Laboratory Visions of the Future, free; 5. Jason Munn Concert Posters, $40; 6. Ork City Neighborhood Posters, from $22; 7. ACME Archive Direct Star Wars, from $145.

Photo: Matt Biddulph, CC-BY-SA

Nathan Borchelt is a gear-obsessed travel writer and adventurer whose collection of shoes, backpacks, jackets, bags, and other “essential” detritus has long-outgrown his one-bedroom apartment (and his wife’s patience).

Muir Way's Range Series

San Diego-based Muir Way made waves a few seasons back when they expanded their series of striking topo- and hydrology-based map posters to include some of the country's iconic ski resorts. But now they've really hit a sweet spot with their new Range Series, which combines the data of hundreds of smaller USGS quadrant maps to portray the details of the Rockies, Appalachians, and Sierra Nevadas. No cities, no roads, no towns. Just the rivers, lakes, and contour lines to help illustrate how majestic, compelling, and alluring these North American mountain ranges truly are.
Muir Way

Propeller Propaganda

Propeller Propaganda will appeal to anyone with a passion for both travel and the heady glory days of air flight—you know, back when you wore an actual suit (not a sweat suit) on an airplane. The site serves primarily as a digital gallery of the best vintage airplane post art ever made—Pan Am heading to Hawaii via clipper, Swiss Air flying over Zermatt or promoting travel to Japan. But they also offer hard-to-find advice on where to acquire hard-to-find original posters through resources like online retailers, ebay, and auction houses throughout the world. Or just let this collection whet your appetite, then visit a few used/antique bookstores in whatever city you visit next.
Propeller Propaganda


This one splits the difference between high-end art collector and new-found art fan by leveraging Jen Bekman's NYC-based art gallery as a clearing house for up-and-coming artists. Her staff have found some of the best artists throughout the country, releasing a limited cache of prints in various sizes (from 8x8-inch prints all the way up to 30x24-inches for $2,400). Each size has a limited print run, and come with certificates signed by the artists. Subjects and styles vary widely, from artful shots of dogs wearing roller skates to a collage of 206 circular farms shot from overhead. But travelers will likely gravitate to stuff like Aaron Straup Cope's colorful reinterpretations of city maps ("Chicago," pictured) and Christian Chaize's beach scene photos, as well as the Vintage Editions, which resurrects older works like a print of the Ancient Courses of the Mississippi River Belt or Ansel Adams' iconic national park photos.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory Visions of the Future

Share Elon Musk's wanderlust for Mars—or some other far-flung planet? Then display your galaxy-wide travel ambitions by downloading one of these intergallactic travel posters. This fun, graphic-centric project comes from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and include a handful of cool locales, from big boys like Jupiter and Venus to geek-a-riffic spots like Cerex, 51 Pegasi b, and Kelper-16b, "Where your shadow always has company." Poster-sized files are free for download.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Jason Munn Concert Posters

Concert posters typically document one place in one particular time, with one particular group of people, rather than a boilerplate promotion of a place. But Jason Munn's concert posters should still resonate with travelers, based on both their graphics and the sense of place that they evoke. Plus, he did a great series of posters for Richard Linklater's Sunrise/Sunset series, one of the best rambling, travel-centric flicks ever made.
Jason Munn

Ork City Neighborhood Posters

These posters take the silhouettes of cities from the U.S., Canada, and Europe and then accurately integrating the city's neighborhoods in text format onto the map. From the distance they make a striking, easily-recognizable graphic. Up close, they become an exhaustive resource for learning all the details that define your favorite cities, as well as Canada, the United States, and the Great Lakes region.
Ork Posters

ACME Archive Direct Star

You can travel to Tunisia and take a photo, place it on your wall, and tell people it's Tatooine. But to really display your love of the Star Wars franchise, score one of the travel posters sold by ACME Archive. Artists like Steve Thomas and Kevin Graham have turned iconic locales like Mos Eisley and Coruscant into graceful promotional posters that yearn for the future of space travel, partnered with a full-fledged leap into your imagination. We all know the Millennium Falcon make the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs, but Kessel Run Tours guarantees it!
ACME Archives Direct