Tuff Maps, laminated Ordnance Survey maps with a detached cover

It says on the sleeve, WRITE ON WIPE OFF!
I've not tried that yet....
I’ll start this blog with the old saying, “Never keep all your eggs in one basket!

I will use whatever means of mapping that is available and suitable at the time.

That might help to explain up front, that this blog, is in no way intended to contradict my previous blog about Toughprint Waterproof paper.

Like many people, no matter what their hobbies are, I’m keen to try new ideas, innovations and variations of existing ideas and kit.

These views and are my own and no one else’s.

If you haven’t read my previous blog, may I suggest you do. It will explain why I’m, eager to use as compact and convenient mapping as possible.

As part of my quest to use a map conveniently and easily, I’ve ditched the everyday paper map and waterproof map case, in favour of compactness and ease of use.

I accidentally stumbled across Tuff Maps, while browsing through an outdoor shop in the Peak District. Curiously, I opened the package up and out fell one laminated map, with the cover still in the plastic sleeve!

At first, I thought the map was either damaged or faulty. However, after looking at the map more closely, it suddenly clicked, it was an Ordnance Survey Lamfold, but with the cover page detached.

I thought, “Brilliant idea”.

I quickly reached for my credit card, grabbed two copies, one White Peak and one Dark Peak Tuff Maps, and paid for them.

Tuff Map sleeve, cover and map

In my previous blog, on Toughrpint Waterproof Paper I raised the question, “How often has it been a pain to fold a map, stuff it in a map case only to find you need to get it out, refold it for another stage of your hike?

This took me from the good old paper maps, stuffed in waterproof cases, on to Ordnance Survey Lamfold Maps, which sometimes, can be just as bigger nuisance to fold as the old paper maps, particularly where the cover, which is larger in dimensions, than the folds of the map, get in the way.

I have used Lamfolds successfully for some considerable time. Especially as over time, the maps became used and abused, would start to fold more easily no matter what part I was using.

So I started to use my White and Dark Peak maps with great ease, folding them just as I wanted, no forcing a crease, particularly where the cover was concerned.

Good bye old faithful map and waterproof case
You've served me well over time
This is brilliant; I can fold the map just as I want and need, depending on the area of my walk. Folding is a synch, no great fiddling to try and make the map cover fold against its will. No messing around when refolding the map to cover the next stage of my walk, my days walk, or night hike, became so much easier.

I was hooked; I wanted to replace my all current Lamfolds with these Tuff Maps. But it would be costly. So I would start with the maps I use most, two of which I’ve already got, the White and Dark Peaks, then next purchase would have to be OL17, Snowdonia, another area I frequent.

Now the fun, searching the web, to try and find who sold them, was proving difficult.

So I contacted Ordnance Survey, because I was under the impression it was one of their products.

I had a genuinely, very helpful reply from OS, who advised me that Tuff Maps were not one of their products, but happily provided me with contact details for the company that prints the Tuff Maps under licence.

Nice and easy to fold and the elastic band holds it all in place
Sadly, this company, Trail Card, doesn’t have a web page, but the gentleman who I spoke to, was extremely helpful.

I managed to obtain a list of suppliers, one of whom was reasonably local to me, with a chain of stores across the country, others that I visit when I’m in the area.

OL17, was coming my way very soon. I phoned my nearest stockist, who had just one on the shelf and reserved it for me. I just couldn’t wait to go and buy my new map, especially as I was heading up to Snowdonia in a couple of weeks time.

Annoyingly, I had only a few months previous, replaced OL17. But, it just had to be done; my new Lamfold OL17 was relegated as a reserve map, where my old 2004 copy of OL17, which had been relegated as a reserve map, was now really tired, could be retired gracefully.

So the opportunity came, to use my newly acquired OL17 Tuff Map, on the Northern Carneddau, a first outing for both me and the map.

Once again, folding the map to expose the area I was walking, while making the next stage easy to find without too much fumbling.

I just loved this, it was so much easier, no map case to get in the way or to be gripped tight in windy conditions and no awkward covers to try and force fold. Things are just so much better with these maps.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m hooked, but budgets dictate, a gradual replacement of maps over to Tuff Maps.

You might consider, as I did, cutting the covers from your existing Lamfolds. No I haven’t cut any covers off, but I had wondered about it.

The side of a Lamfold cover, is glued to the map before laminating.
DON’T do it. The cover of a Lamfold map is attached to the map paper and effectively laminated all in one. If you cut the cover off a Lamfold map, it will leave a gap for water ingress, reducing the lifespan of the Lamfold map in adverse conditions.

On the image to the right, you may be able to see the point where the cover is attached to the main Lamfold map.

One thing I’ve not tried with on the Tuff Map, is writing on them, and then wiping it off.

Just to summarise, as part of my quest to use maps in as compact and convenient form as possible, while I like Lamfolds, they are tough and hard to destroy under reasonable use, I do find that Tuff Maps have the edge, with the detached map cover.
You may initially wonder, what if the cover became mislaid, how would you quickly identify the map?
The map title at the top centre of the sheet
Not a problem, as with all maps, they have the title on the top margin centre and to the top right corner, is the sheet reference number.

While I prefer to use one of those thick elastic bands to keep the map folded, they are supplied with a plastic sleeve, in which you can slide the map ready folded to view the area you are interested in.

The Tuff Map in its sleeve. it will go fully in,
I've just left it part out to demonstrate
However, I felt that the sleeve would eventually tear, particularly if the folding wasn’t compact enough or I was a little rough. Personally, I would rather use the sleeve to keep the map and cover together while on my map shelf, ready and waiting for the next time I need to use them.

You may be wondering about the cost of the Tuff Maps, from all the suppliers I’ve visited, they are extremely comparable to OS Lamfolds.

In my opinion, while you can put a financial value on most things, to put a real value on anything depends on how well it serves you with respect to what you need that item for. With that in mind, I think the Tuff Map is worth having.

Tuff Maps are available as either 1:25000 Explorer series or 1:50000 Landranger series.

Finally, happy rambling and thank for reading.

Peak Rambler


  1. could possibly post the list of online suppliers where i could purchase these, currently can only find Cotswold that supplies online but they only seem to suply the explorer not the landranger

  2. Hi Mike, thank you for taking the time to read my blog and also to share your comment.

    I am purely a hobbyist and not a retailer or paid to test gear, hence no retailer details.

    Sadly, like you, I've not found many retailers of Tuff Maps, apart from Cotswold Outdoor.

    I've even tried to get my local outdoor retailer interested, but it seemed to fall on deaf ears once the manager I spoke to, who shown interest, left the company.

    I managed to obtain the supplier details from Ordnance Survey, who gave me the following contact;
    Trail Card,
    All Industry,
    Unit 5 Goodwick Industrial Estate, Goodwick, Dyfed, SA64 0BD
    Tel +44 1348 874666

    The gentleman I spoke to was extremely helpful and was happy to sell Tuff Maps direct from the printers.

    I hope that helps.

    Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my blog and comment.

    1. Chris is the gentleman's name and his e mail address is chris@trailcard.co.uk as he is a small wholesaler he prefers to take payment by other means than a purchasing card, can provide the maps either flat or foldable. Many thanks for the information, invaluable since I need the whole Welsh coastline for work purposes. Chris sells the 1:50 for £12.99 or 1:25 for £13.99 but offers discount depending on how many you require. Regards A

    2. Thank you A for your comment, I have since spoken to Chris and secured his email address.

      Since I wrote this blog, I've replaced my Cairngorm and Highlands Lamfolds along with my North York Moors and
      Yorkshire Dales Lamfolds, with Tuff Maps.

      The whole of the Welsh Coastline, that's some area to cover. I'm sure you will find those maps extremely useful.

      That makes my knowledge of the North Wales coastline from Port Madoc (inc parts of Anglesey) through to Colwyn Bae seem very modest.

  3. Great article, I bought one (off the shelf) this morning from Cotswolds Outdoors.

    1. Thank you for reading my blog and also for your comment.

      I'm sure, like me, you'll get many hours of pleasurable use from your Tuff Map.

  4. seems OS now do their equivilant called Active map, I have each with me now and they are the same product.

    1. Thank you for posting your comment.

      OS Active Maps from what I've seen, have the cover attached, unlike Tuff Map where the cover is detached.

      Apart from that, they are practically the same map, laminated and write on/wipe off.

      However, if the Active Maps do have detached covers, then I'm more than interested in finding out.


  5. I'll second what you say about Tuff Maps. Much better than Active Maps, because of the lack of including the covers within the laminate. My local Cotswold Outdoors has both the National Parks and the local 1:25k maps from Tuff Map, with the rest of the country unlaminated. Bet that is the same for each shop.

    1. As far as I'm aware, all Cotswold Outdoor shops stock Tuff Maps.

      Sadly, they're not available to buy online from Cotswold Outdoor. However, if a store hasn't got a map you're after, I'm sure they will order for you.

      My local Cotswold outdoor have done for me.

      Thank you for reading and taking the time to leave a comment.


  6. Hello, Mike,

    How would you say that these maps compare to the "Harvey BMC" maps. I have a Harvey BMC map of the Lakeland District and also OS Active maps for the same area, and straight away it is easily discernible that the Harvey maps are much lighter in weight than the OS Active maps, smaller in size (so much easier to handle) and are printed on a waterproof paper. And the folded item fits in the pocket very well.

    I have inquired (via email) of the fine folks at Harvey maps, and they have informed me that it is in fact possible to purchase flat maps as well as pre-folded versions.

    The map that I speak of is:
    British Mountain Club
    Lake District
    1:40,000 scale
    2.5 cm to 1 km
    1 inch to 1 km
    "Strong durable all-weather polyethylene map for climbers, hill walkers, and mountaineers.

    I purchased the map as per a suggestion from a man that does a great deal of hill walking in both Peak District and Lake District (Terry Abraham). The map also goes hand in hand with the Fellranger series of guides.

    Harvey also offers a series of 1:25,000 scale maps called the "Super Walker series", which I have ordered in flat version. These maps are also waterproof and are offered for many parts of the entire UK.

    The Harvey BMC map is printed on both sides (map on one side, with much other needed information on the reverse side).

    Website address:

    Street address:
    Harvey Maps
    12-22 Main Street
    FK16 6BJ
    Tel: 01786 841202

    I hope this information is useful to some one. :-)
    Best regards,

    1. Hi Rex,

      First let me apologise for the delay in replying, work got in the way a little.....

      Also, thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my blog.

      OS Active Maps, and OS Lamfolds are practically the same as Tuffmaps, the only difference being is that big orange cover, that can and often does get in the way when folding, is detached on Tuffmaps, making the laminated map that bit easier to fold.

      I have been an active user of Harveys maps for a number of years, along with OS maps.

      If you’re wondering why OS maps feature in my blogs, is for two reasons,;
      1 The less experienced readers will understand and follow an OS easier because they will be more familiar with it
      2 As yet, I do not have an electronic Harveys mapping

      How does it compare to Harveys maps?

      Harveys maps are thinner paper and therefore easier to fold than the thicker laminated paper. However, I’ve had two Harveys 1:40000 scale Maps tear on a fold when wet!

      As yet, the Tuffmaps are not showing any sign of degradation, so for me at least, I feel they are more durable long term.

      For the main areas I walk, predominantly Snowdonia, Dark and White Peaks, I have three maps in my pack, OS Tuffmap and Harvey’s 1:25000 and 1:40000 scale maps, for they do sometimes show features that one of more of the others don’t, for various plausible reasons.

      Currently, my preferred map while walking I print myself from my mapping program on to Toughprint Waterproof paper, which on A4 covers practically the area I’m walking in. I keep the other maps in my pack as back up should my printed A4 become unusable or, due to unforeseen circumstances, had to detour from my route and gone off the area I’ve printed

      I hope that answers your question.

      Once again, thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

  7. I can't agree that these Tuffmaps are good quality at all. Any advantage gained from easier folding or whatever is lost when, on first use, the map starts to delaminate and water gets in. The folds quickly become impossible to use for detailed nav.

    I use these maps a lot (I train Ten Tors teams) on Dartmoor, and they're kept in map cases as well. Just one weekend is enough to see the map badly leaking and hard to read. The teams don't treat them badly, but they are used all the time, as you'd expect. I'm sorry that our supplier Cotswold only supply this make, as other laminates I've used before performed far better.

    1. Roger, both my OL1 & OL24 maps have seen a lot of use, a lot of folding and a lot of mixed weather, and still as good as new.

      I must confess, de-laminating was an initial concern, but to date, that has not happened. Likewise with my old Lamfolds, they have not started to de-laminate.

      Just as you have shared with me, your experiences, albeit non-satisfactory, I have yet to experience the problem, so I can only report as I find.

      I would imagine the company that prints and laminates these maps would be interested in hearing about your experiences. The details are as follows should you decide to pass your experiences on to them;

      Trail Card,
      Unit 5 Goodwick Industrial Estate
      Main Street
      Dyfed SA64 0BD
      Tel +44 1348 874666

  8. Have any of you tried Aqua3 maps, they are waterproof, lightweight and site centred. Strip map versions are also available. See www.aqua3.com

    1. I haven't as yet, though I have heard of them.

      I currently have all the maps I need, but will most likely give them a try at some point.

  9. Hi Mr. Rambler,

    I thought you might find this YouTube video for marking laminated maps interesting.

    Marking up maps using Chinagraph (grease) pencils…: https://youtu.be/BlXjvesQooo

    Thanks for your map advice, I just purchased a Tuff map myself.

    Happy strolling...


    1. Karl,

      Thank you for sending that interesting YouTube clip. I have an old Lamfold, which I've tried various writing implements on, but not chinagraph.

      I'll rectify that one at the weekend.

      The colours the chap used were the same colours I was taught to use for the same reasons when I was undergoing nav training.

      I'm now fully converted to Tuff Maps, buying the last two a couple weeks back. But my Lamfolds are still kept in reserve. ;)

      Another form of mapping I use a lot is Toughprint waterproof paper, where I print my own OS maps on to waterproof paper.

      I can assure you, it does what is says on he label.

      You might like to have a read of that blog, the link below you might need to copy and paste in to your browser;


      Thank you taking the time to read, post the YouTube link and comment. I'm sure you will get as much pleasure from your Tuff Map as I do with mine.

      Happy rambling