Thursday, 20 October 2011

First outing: Memory-Map Toughprint Paper

I went on my first tramping trip in a long-time last weekend. One of the things I tried out for the first time was Memory-Map’s Toughprint™ Waterproof paper.


Most of my maps, are now on a projection that is no longer used so I used the Memory Map software, and my inkjet printer to print the maps of where I was going, instead of trying to track down the correct map sheet in one of the tramping shops in town. I printed the 40km journey on two sides of the same sheet of Toughprint™ paper.


I was dubious, as to whether, regardless of the waterproof paper my run of the mill Brother Inkjet printer could really print waterproof maps. To my surprise, it worked out far better than I ever imagined. Even a deliberate dunking in the Mangatoetoe Stream at the end of the trip has failed to cause ink to run, or the paper to tear. I was quite impressed.


When printing your own maps, ensuring the hardcopy that comes out of your printer is at the correct is one of the challenges. The Memory-Map software addresses this, by changing the selection order in that you first select your paper-size and your margin-size before offering you the opportunity to select the area of map that fits those dimensions. When measuring with the ruler on the compass I could distinguish any scale inconsistencies in either the lounge, or out in the hills.


Not worried about map destruction, and a smaller size with less unfolding it was certainly far more convenient to keep a copy of the map in my pocket to constantly refer to throughout the weekend - especially in the less than perfect weather.


Following the trip, I have noted black ink has run through the paper, in that it now visible from the opposite side – particularly in the blue (sea) areas of the map. This is possibly related to the dunking in the stream.


I also think, one needs to be careful at not being too minimalist when printing their own maps. The coverage on two sides of A4, at 1:50,000 is not great, and if inclement weather, or an injury changed route plans it is possible that you may want to travel outside of your self-printed  map sheets. Including escape routes is vital.


Ultimately, I think in future I will use a mixture of official map sheets, and self-printed map sheets depending on the nature of the trip and the size requirements of the map sheets.


I am without doubt, that an A4 waterproof map in my pocket will be invaluable in critical navigation portions of future backcountry journeys.

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