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Where to keep the map while walking?
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Antti Peltola
(anttipeltola) - F
Where to keep the map while walking? on 03/14/2011 05:32:41 MDT Print View

I used to keep it in the cargo pockets of my hiking pants, but those pants are quite heavy. I could go lighter with no added money by taking my running pants. The problem is the lack of cargo pocket for the map.

How is everybody keeping their maps if not in the cargo pocket? I tried the side pocket of my backpack, but don't like the idea as I'm not walking on marked paths, so I'm checking the map quite often. I check it usually without stopping, but I'm afraid I might lose something else from the side pocket while taking the map out, or accidentally drop the map when putting it in. I don't like map cases either, they are clumsy and my maps are waterproof anyway.

Ideas how to handle it? Or is the only option to buy some lightweight pants that has good cargo pockets for the map?

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re : "Where to keep the map while walking?" on 03/14/2011 06:03:09 MDT Print View

Mine is in my hand if i'm in unfamiliar terrain. I constantly relocate my position as i walk. If the route is obvious, it's in a side mesh pocket on my pack. The (Ortlieb) map case is attatched to my pack with a length of cord. Long enough so that i can read the map, and put it back whilst walking.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re : "Where to keep the map while walking?" on 03/14/2011 06:50:07 MDT Print View

Yeah, a pant's pocket works well. For most trips, I make a copy of the map I will be using, trim it to the section I will be hiking and fold it into a small snack baggie. This stays in my pocket. My compass is on a lanyard around my neck.

Good for most any weather, and, against wear & sweat.

Pants have been a problem. In the past, most often, I have been stuck using cotton cargo pants. These are heavy and not as water resistant as I would like. About 7-8 years ago, I found some nylon sip-offs cargo pants that were very light. I think these were available at EMS. I picked up 4 pair. They resist abraision well, and are quite durable. The down side is that sparks/embers from a fire can put holes in them. They are not very water resistant, but dry very fast, except the pockets. Body heat alone will dry them in an hour from soaking wet.
Fairly expensive at $35 per pair.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
re on 03/14/2011 07:26:09 MDT Print View

In my GPS

I usually carry a paper map but just leave it in my pack, in case the GPS fails

The GPS screen is small and that not high a resolution, but marginally good enough

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Where to keep the map while walking? on 03/14/2011 08:09:36 MDT Print View

Shirt pocket for me...if a smallish map.

JJ Mathes
(JMathes) - F

Locale: Southeast US
Where to keep the map while walking on 03/14/2011 08:24:45 MDT Print View

I carry mine in the side pocket of my pack

my friend carries hers folded and tucked under her waist belt, there's enough tension from the belt to hold it in place

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Where to keep the map while walking? on 03/14/2011 08:28:14 MDT Print View

I use laminated maps whenever possible and roll them around a water bottle in a side pocket. The only secure ways I know are to use a cover with a tether or the map goes inside my pack. Stopping seems to be reasonable option for not getting lost :)

Hal Potts
(halpotts) - F

Locale: Middle Tennessee
Where to keep the map while walking on 03/14/2011 08:48:41 MDT Print View

I make a color copy and cut out just the part I will be needing for the trip. I put it in a ziploc bag and carry it in my pants pocket if I will be using it often or a side pack pocket if I know I probably won't need it except at the next trail intersection 8 miles ahead.

Evan McCarthy
(evanrussia) - MLife

Locale: Northern Europe
Re: Where to keep the map while walking?" on 03/14/2011 09:06:09 MDT Print View

"my friend carries hers folded and tucked under her waist belt, there's enough tension from the belt to hold it in place"


I love this method. It helps keep the map handy so you don't have to stop moving to take a quick look at it.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Re: Where to keep the map while walking?" on 03/14/2011 15:35:58 MDT Print View

I made a pouch that I hang from the waist belt or the end of the shoulder straps where they attach to the pack down by my waist. The pouch has been made of many things over time, such as a cotton field notes pouch I used in my geology field studies class, a small cosmetic bag I attached belt loops to, a small purse that I cut off some of the more useless parts of. The pouch is nice because I can keep snacks and other things in there as well as maps. I usually have to take the waist belt buckle off to slide the pouch on and/or use safety pins to keep the pouch pushes as far back on the belt as possible.

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Carabiner on 03/14/2011 16:22:12 MDT Print View

I generally use an Ortlieb mapcase, although the NEW Sea to Summit ones look okay too.

Even with an uncased laminated map though, provided it's no more than A4 size (or A3 folded I suppose) you can put a piece of duct tape in one corner, punch a hole through the map and tape, and clip a small biner on to it. I then clip this to my right shoulder strap, but down low, near my waist. Now I can slide it up to my chest to look at it, without unclipping, and drop it down when I'm finished. You quickly learn to punch the lower right corner of the map for clipping!

Michael Cockrell

Locale: Central Valley, Lodi-Stockton, CA
Waist and pack strap on 03/14/2011 16:48:37 MDT Print View

I also fold over my pants/waist.

Also in one of the loops of my shoulder/chest strap.

I sometimes also tuck it through the "breathing mesh" back of my sjould pack or waist pack. Like a "quick draw" method.

The pants cargo pocket is "kinda O.K.", but hasle if it sticks out and gets caught in brush, limbs, tall growth.

peter vacco

Locale: no. california
dana's ribs worked pretty well on 03/14/2011 16:57:46 MDT Print View

i still use Dana Gleason's original design of a bag that hangs off a packstrap and crosses over in front of my belly. it's a great concept, if not the nasty trick of sewing.
i demo'd an old wet rib and made patterns, from which it was possible to fabricate a new bag, but this time i installed pockets inside to keep all my goodies off the bottom. the map rides in a pouch inside the outer panel, and that partially protects the contents.
thusly, no need to take off the pack to access map, water bottle, camera, gps, moncular, chapstick, p-bars, etc. just plop your bum on a rock, and you're set handy for a nav break.
all very efficient, and fun to use.

quite the pain to make though. nearly worse than a tent window installation.

peter v.

Gregory Petliski
(gregpphoto) - F
re on 03/14/2011 17:33:19 MDT Print View

For dinky local "hikes" in central NJ i used to take a photo of the map (I'm a photographer so the camera is with me on every hike). Hows THAT for light weight, we're talking pixels baby, pixels.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Where to keep the map while walking? on 03/14/2011 19:18:24 MDT Print View

The map goes inside a gallon plastic bag to keep it dry. When I'm not using it, it is carried in the hip belt pocket I bought from MLD a couple of years ago and sewed to the hip belt on my pack.

I generally photocopy the pieces of map I need because, even with the gallon ziplock, they are lighter than those supposedly waterproof maps on heavy laminated paper. With those, I either had to cut off the part of the map that's not needed or I ended up cursing it as I tried to fold it with the needed side up.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Maps on 03/15/2011 12:42:27 MDT Print View

I keep the "real" map (copy or original)in my pack along with two copies. And one in my pocket that I use while walking. My trips are generally weekenders and I kept running into people on the trail asking where we were and they weren't carrying maps. So now I carry extras and will give away all but the "real" map. A couple extra sheets of paper don't weigh much and might keep the unprepared (or those that accidentally left it at home) from getting lost.

Steofan The Apostate
(simaulius) - F

Locale: Bohemian Alps
Where to keep the map while walking on 03/15/2011 13:10:29 MDT Print View

+1 from me, Randy.
Keep one or two extra copies tucked away. The wind has pulled quite a few maps out of my hands.

Rob Wolfenden
(wolverine) - F

Locale: North East
Where to keep the map while walking? on 03/15/2011 15:02:57 MDT Print View

I'm usually hiking with someone, so we each have a color topo print out in a ziplock. Usually pants pocket depending on how well I/we know the area. For solo hikes I keep one in my pack and one in my pocket.

Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
McHale hip pocket on 03/16/2011 11:23:58 MDT Print View

my McHale pack has a nice hip pocket that i usually put the map in. it's out of the way but at hand when needed.

joseph peterson
(sparky) - F

Locale: Southern California
Where to keep the map while walking? on 03/16/2011 11:37:29 MDT Print View

I love maps and always have them out on breaks even when I am staying on trails. When hiking off trail, I have hiking stick in one hand, map in the other. When its not in my hand it's in an accesable zipped or velcroed pocket.

Was on a solo cross country hike once, reached for my velcro-ed back pocket, and the MAP WAS GONE!!! I don't use or even own a GPS, so I needed it. I backtracked down the incredibly steep slope I was on and miraculously found it 800 feet below me, glaring at me reflecting how foolish I was. The only sign of human life within miles and it was potentially the most important thing in my pack. Lesson learned, make double sure pocket containing map is closed!

Edited by sparky on 03/16/2011 11:39:05 MDT.