HOW TO WATERPROOF MAPS // DIY Waterproof Maps for Hiking and Backpacking

This video shows you a DIY method to waterproof topographic hiking maps for hiking and backpacking. A topographic map is useless if you cannot read it, it is essential that you waterproof your maps. You can purchase commercial waterproof maps or use services like CalTopo+Mountyn and MyTopo to purchase custom waterproof maps. If you print your own custom maps, I will show you two DIY methods to waterproof your maps and keep them from getting wet. The first method of map waterproofing is simply to put it in a ziplock bag. The other method looks nicer and lasts longer to laminate the map using contact paper.


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  • Use a battle board and will be perfect!

  • My God I 💚 nature; Adirondack is always a great hike to appreciate the beauty of real natural surroundings.

  • How to Waterproof maps – Laminate it.

  • Here in the UK OS Maps which covers the whole of England, Scotland and Wales in both 25:000 and 50:000 scales, they come in both Paper and Waterproofed.

  • Thanks for the time and information have you ever used Mapseal, Thompson waterproofing or even a commercial map case?

  • Clever WMS theme. Contact paper laminate reminds me of old Adventure Racing map prep. One tip we learned if it gets tough to separate corner. Simply tear the corner slightly with fingers to make uneven edge and separation is super easy. For large maps 2 separate pieces of contact paper and starting from a a corner seem to work better than the seam method to eliminate bubbles. Another option which seals significantly better than zip lock bags are Alosak bags. Military grade zip lock are incredible. Happy Adventuring.

  • I can still remember the dread I felt when my first flight instructor folded and drew lines on my brand new sectional. That's before I accepted maps as tools to be used and used up. Now I just take my topo, fold it so just my day's activity shows on one or both sides. I draw permanent highlights on the trails I want, then stick it in a ziplock bag. Because I use a GPS for navigation, I rarely need to take my map out during a hike anyway so in the pack it goes and usually stays there until the next hike.

  • Always used zip locks but really like this laminate method!

  • Great video. Many people underestimate the importance of having a map waterproofed in some kind of fashion.

  • Similar to what I do. My WMS was cured last year and hasn't come back! Great job sharing this important cure!

  • Thanks for the tip Mike. I am always folding my map to fit into my back pocket and it’s never folded to the right spot or easy to grab so by the end of the hike it’s either wet or mangled or both. I’m thinking that hanging a laminated map on the back of another hiker’s pack might be a handy way to keep it accessible (assuming I can keep up with them). What do you think, where do you keep your map when hiking?
    – Pete

  • I use the plastic sheet protectors used in 3 ring binders. They work great and then you can easily keep your maps organized in a 3 ring binder for future use. I got 100 sheets from Office Max for $20-ish.

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