Refolding topo maps to make them more manageable

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Joined: 15 May 2018, 10:33
Full name: Tim Vollmer
City: Blaxland
State: New South Wales

Refolding topo maps to make them more manageable

Post by T2 » 24 May 2018, 22:18

One piece of gear that is absolutely necessary on every trip is a topographic map.

Anyone who has ever used a topo map knows that the way they are folded when you buy them is far from ideal. They are large and unwieldy, and to read them you often need to open them up completely. In good conditions you can get away with a poorly folded map, but when the rain comes down, the wind is howling, or you’re stuck in thick scrub, you can very quickly destroy one of the most important items in your kit. The process of using the map also becomes slower, so people either look at it less — increasing the risk of navigational errors — or they waste time folding it back up.

The following technique for refolding maps was taught to me during my Army Reserve training. I have been informed the same advice is provided by the US military. Whatever you might think about the armed forces, they have spent rather a lot of time over the years navigating in far flung places, so are likely to have learnt a thing or two about map management.

Below is a video I made quite a few years back that shows the process. I've also published step-by-step instructions (with photos) here: ... topo-maps/.

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