Top tips for map han­dling

Trail (UK) - - CONTENTS -

QI’m getting the hang of tra­di­tional nav­i­ga­tion, but how can I make my maps eas­ier to han­dle? I al­ways seem to get in such a ker­fuf­fle!

Trail says

Be­ing able to nav­i­gate with a map and com­pass is an essen­tial skill for any would-be wilder­ness ex­plorer. But those big old map sheets can be hard to get to grips with, and in a strong wind and hefty rain it can be­come a full-on wrestling match. How­ever, there are steps you can take to make your maps more man­age­able:

Fold and flat­ten

You may need to re­fold the map to get the area you’re nav­i­gat­ing in one easy-to-view frame. This might mean in­tro­duc­ing some extra creases into your map, but don’t be afraid to do so – it’ll make us­ing it much eas­ier.

Re­move the cover

It might keep you map look­ing pretty, but those stiff card cov­ers get in the way when try­ing to fold your map into the right shape. They’re eas­ily re­moved on OS maps (Har­vey Maps have done away with the stiff cover al­to­gether) and you should do this for on-the-hill use.

Add notes

Cus­tomise your maps with the ad­di­tion of notes and high­lights. Cir­cle a par­tic­u­larly nice wild camp spot; pen­cil on your planned route; high­light po­ten­tial water sources. It’s not ran­dom graf­fiti – it’s mak­ing the most of a nav­i­ga­tion tool.

Use a map case

Even wa­ter­proof maps, like Har­vey Maps, ben­e­fit from a ro­bust map case. It will help keep your re­folded map in place, pro­vides extra weather pro­tec­tion and, per­haps most im­por­tantly, can be used to keep the map teth­ered to you.

Print your own

In a merg­ing of tra­di­tional and dig­i­tal, you can print map­ping from the web. Ser­vices like Ord­nance Sur­vey’s on­line OS Maps (free with a Trail sub­crip­tion) al­low you to print cus­tom maps of your cho­sen area, with the same level of de­tail as their usual prod­ucts but in more man­age­able A4 or A3 sizes.

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