Before I go any further, these views and are my own, I am not employed, nor do I have any connections with Memory Map, other than the fact I use Memory Map on my computer at home.
I am employed in the automotive industry and my role involves liaising with engineers in new product development.
Just a little personal background first, which will explain why I have opted to use smaller maps.
As a keen outdoors person, I became involved in Scouting, sharing my skills with fellow adults and young people alike.
I saw an advert in our local Scout circulars, for leaders to partake in a Mountain Experience weekend, where we stayed in a very neat Victorian house in Betws-y-Coed. From there, we ascended Tryfan via the North Ridge from Milestone Buttress, returning via Bwlch Tryfan, Llyn Bochlywd back to Milestone Butress.
Wow, a great day, with qualified ML's (Mountain Leaders), ready to train Scout Leaders for the Terrain 1 and 2 Summer permits. I picked up some very useful skills, shared experiences with fellow outdoors folk and Scout Leaders.
Many more weekends with these guys followed over time and I learnt and acquired great many tips and skills from these guys, many helping me to improve my basic map and compass skills along with group management under good conditions and when things got bad.
Once these guys had got their winter ML permits, the opportunity to go winter climbing arose, using ice axes and crampons. Wow, a dream fulfilled, something I had wanted to do from my very early hill walking days, but wouldn't because of the safety implications.
I digress. One of the tips shared was to make a map compact and usable, no uncontrolled flowing sheets, or the need to keep folding and refolding the map to follow the route. Everything was to hand, tidy, easy to read and plan from.
This is where Toughprint comes in.
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?
Yes, we've all been there.
Then I progressed on to Lamfolds. Waterproof, tough and no need for map cases to keep it dry, but a pain to fold and keep folded. Since then, I've started to replace my Lamfolds with Tuff Maps.
I'll save that for another blog later.
So, tip one, using a large elastic band, wrap it around to keep the map folded. Great until the elastic band breaks.
So I started to print on A4 paper, slide it in a plastic sleeve, seal the end with waterproof tape and off I went.
One problem, trying to take a bearing or reading, the paper moved inside the sleeve.
Then, I saw Toughprint paper advertised on Memory map's website. I had to give it a try.
I purchased Toughprint paper for Ink Jet printers.
Toughprint waterproof paper is supplied in two categories, one for Ink Jet printers and the other for Laser printers.
So I printed a map, using my HP Photosmart Plus B210 printer, with genuine HP ink, showing my intended route plotted, using Toughprint Waterproof paper for Ink Jet Printers.
Well, on my recent walk, Alport to Stanton Moor, the weather was ideal, it was raining, followed by sleet and snow; I had the opportunity to get the map, printed on Toughprint waterproof paper, wet and abuse it.
The objective was to follow a route, in the rain, sleet or snow, whatever the weather threw at me, with normal usage, see how resilient the waterproof paper was.
I folded the map, so I could use it sensibly, kept it out in the wet as much as possible, only twice putting it in my pocket to stop it being blown away while I needed both hands, once while scrambling, the other, whilst eating my lunch.
Perhaps I should have put the map in and out of a pocket more, to create some rubbing and creasing, but the objective was really to see how it faired against getting wet.
I did however, rub my fingers over the printed area to try and smudge the ink or rough up the paper, but it withstood both tests with flying colours.
One thing I noticed while out on my walk, in the rain and snow, the map seemed to become a little tacky to touch. I did think, “Ah ha, sweaty hands, it’s met its demise, its going to start to rough up and disintegrate”.
Even on such a cold wet day, my hands can sweat, but not even that caused any smudging, roughing up or any degradation of the map, which stayed as good as when I started the walk.
The only thing I didn't do was drop the map in a puddle, which I suppose I should have done, to complete the test. But that was remedied back home. I dunked the map in a puddle.
However, on a later wander in the Peak District, I did find some rather peaty water to dunk a map in, and it was still as durable for the remainder of the walk as it was at the start.
|Testing the waterproof paper in the peat waters of the Peak District|
Once again, the surface became a little tacky to touch, but it wouldn’t smudge, rough up or falter one little bit.
I can only guess that the tacky feel I felt while out on the walk and after dunking the map in a puddle was the waterproofing doing its job, protecting the paper and ensuring the ink didn’t smudge.
I can put up with the tacky feel when wet. It wasn’t uncomfortable, I didn’t loose my grip, in fact, it probably aided the grip while the map was very wet.
In future, I will comfortably be using Toughprint waterproof paper for my maps, but, for commonsense purposes, I WILL keep a Lamfold or Tuff Map in my pack as back up.
- Toughprint waterproof paper comes in two categories, one for Ink Jet printers, the other for Laser printers.
- Ensure that you purchase the correct paper for your printer.
- The printer used was a HP Photosmart Plus B210 Ink jet printer
- Ink was GENUINE HP ink
This blog is purely my own view and experiences with Toughprint, with no input from anyone else other than Dave at Myoutdoors http://www.myoutdoors.co.uk/ who assured me the paper would be up to the job. He was very right.
I would like to extend a special thank you to Colin James, Elaine James, Andy Jackson, Sarah Jackson, Gareth Hopkins, Nikki Hopkins, Bob Tansey and Andy Ward, for their support, training and sharing of experiences. Without you guys, I would never have learnt so much so quick and put in to practice, with confidence, these skills. The Woodlands Weekends were a real pleasure, which I will miss.
Finally, I would like to say thank for reading.