One of the few pieces of gear that is absolutely necessary on a trip is a topographic map. For many easy trips you won’t even need it, but in an emergency — where circumstances force a change of route — you’ll be thankful that it’s in your pack. Of course you still need to know how to use it, and that’s a whole other topic, but this post is about a handy way to refold your new maps — which are large and unwieldy — to make life easier when you use them in the bush.
I always shake my head when I see people using a map still folded in a store-bought manner, having to pull the whole thing apart every time we walk off one edge. In good conditions you can get away with it, but when it is raining or the wind is howling you very quickly end up destroying one of the most important pieces of kit you carry.
The video below runs through the simple process — which takes less than a minute — of making your map easier to work with.
The first thing to do is open the map up completely and lay it out on a clean, flat surface. Have the topographic side facing down.
Next you need to fold it in half, along the horizontal axis. From here you move to one end (my preference is the panel with the map name on it, which I place face down), then simply fold each panel in alternate directions along the entire length of the map. Make sure you press down on all the folds at the end so the map holds its new shape.
It is now finished and ready to use. Once you’re in the bush it makes it much simpler to use as you walk off the edge of the map. It also makes it a perfect size for most map cases, so you can keep it clean and dry when you are walking.
– Tim Vollmer (video by Dyson Vollmer)