Getting your map wet can be as disastrous as losing it. A wet map will tear easily and smudge the ink around making it pretty much useless to use.
Plus sods law it will happen on the bit of the map you need the most!
I would always recommend you carry two maps on any trip so that you always have a backup. So even if you have one of the solutions below, pick another one and back yourself up.
We’re going to go through a few methods of making sure it doesn’t happen to you.
Use a Waterproof Map
Many map companies do a waterproof map that protects your map including a range of maps from Ordinance Survey.
OS Maps make an ‘active map’ counterpart that can still be folded. It has a waterproof layer over the map to keep it dry and also protect it from tearing.
Another plus side to the ‘active’ map is that you can easily draw and wipe off your routes on the map.
The main disadvantage that most people mention is the fact that it makes it bulkier as it folds down to 2-3 times the size of the traditional one.
You can buy these maps from The OS website for £14.99
Also, Cheaper sometimes on Amazon for £6.29
Use a Map case
A map case is a traditional way of keeping your map dry as they are a simple and effective solution.
They are good because you can use any map with your case. They give you a nice flat surface to read your map on and most importantly they keep your map dry. It also protects your map from tears and other damage.
The main disadvantage of a map case, however, is that its sometimes quite hard to get the bit of your map you need to see, in view through the map case. Also on long walks, you may have to reposition the map several times. If it’s wet when you are doing this then the map has a perfect opportunity to get wet.
You can buy map cases pretty cheaply such as this one from All Outdoor for £15
Or this one from Amazon for £8.99
Use a zip lock bag
A cheaper alternative to a map case is a zip lock plastic bag from the supermarket. If you get a medium or large freezer bag then it should fit a map in nicely.
They may not last as long as a map case but they are only a couple of quid for a few dozen bags so the pack will last you a while.
They are also handy to stuff in your bag as an emergency in case you weren’t expecting rain or something happened to your map case.
Best bet is to buy them from your supermarket but you can also get them from Amazon for cheap.
Print out your map
You can now access OS maps online where they give you the ability to print out your maps.
The advantage of this is that you can print off just the area you need. You can print as many as you like for free so you can create multiple backup maps and give them out to others in your group.
Once a map is printed it can also be laminated to make it waterproof.
There are also programs like Memory Map that alow you to plan and plot your routes before printing them as well as automatically making route cards and other helpfull things.
Keep it on a device
With services like the OS mobile app, you can now use your Phone as a GPS. Download maps and plan routes all from your phone.
So as long as your phone works then you have a map. You should never fully rely on technology is if it breaks or runs out of battery then you are screwed so always carry a hard copy alternative just in case.
Although I imagine it hard to do any serious navigation on, http://www.splash-maps.com/ offer waterproof fabric maps.
Not that cheap and more of a gimmick but might be worth a go!