How to Fold and Care for a Topo Map

For those interested in exploring the lays of the land, topo maps are great. These maps show the topographic features, distances and even contours. The map is useful for planning country tours and can be a life saver when you get lost. You can also jot down your own notes on it about your favourite routes, best way to take etc. Since they are made up of paper, such maps are very fragile and need utmost care.  It is important to know how best to fold your map and take care of it.

Things Required:

– gallon size plastic bags
– zipper lock


  • 1

    Make sure that you find a nice dry flat surface that can handle the size of your map. Place your map on this flat surface as it should lie flat face-down. Now fold the top edge of the map to reach the bottom edge. Crease the map in the center part lightly with pressure from your fingers. The crease should be light as a hard crease will make the paper break down quickly. Try not to make the crease over critical features of the map so that you do not have any difficulty in studying it. Be very careful while making any folds or creases in your map as you do not want to damage the features making it hard to understand the details.

  • 2

    Now fold the top edge back to the crease you made earlier. Flip over the map to the other side. Fold the remaining edge to the crease so that both sides of the map are folded back. All this folding is going to give you the map in a long and thin rectangular shape which can be opened and folded like an accordion. This makes folding and unfolding really easy and the light creases prevent any tearing up of the paper, extending the life of the map. Always gently open and close the map when you need to use it as you  do not want to damage the paper that the map is on.

  • 3

    You can now place your map in a gallon size plastic bag. This bag should have a zipper lock so that you can easily open and close it to use the map. The advantage of plastic bags is that they keep out moisture from the map. Moisture destroys the paper and the markings. Another benefit of using plastic is that you can even read through the plastic so you do not have to take out the map for every time you need it.

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