Belknap’s River Guide Map Board



I still really want something to train and restrain a folded open Belknap’s River Guide.

I’m thinking of DIYing some kind of long, narrow double-clipboard for just that purpose. I’d still need a map case for my non-waterproofed paper topos and other maps, but it would be handy to have a Belknap’s guide held folded-open on a map board.

A map board would hold a Belknap’s unflappably, make it easier to changes pages and be easier to read without the “clear” vinyl map case smear that becomes increasingly obscured when rain or splash covered.

I wanted something thin, lightweight and waterproof for the Belknap’s backboard. I have a stash of Coroplast corrugated plastic yard signs salvaged from the dump last election cycle*.

They are the near perfect size to hold open a folded out Belknaps, 17x6 inches.Two cuts and I have the perfect backboard dimensions, made from lightweight freebie material.

I might as well cut out a few while I’m at it. Very patriotic; Maryland State Flag and a bit of Stars and Bars. I wonder if the latter was a subliminal campaign message.

Now, how to secure the Belknap’s Guide to the board?

I use binder clips for a variety of things in the shop. They worked well hold the map in place securely and made it easy flip pages. But they would rust, and I’d lose them, or at least one of them, which would make the map board useless.

Maybe something elastic. Rubber bands. I usually have some rubber bands along on a trip. Those work, but they are a PITA to grasp when changing pages.

Ok, something elastic that is easy to grab. Well DUH, tarp bungee balls.

That was seriously way too quick and easy. I may stick a grommet or two through the board as attachment points, but that bit of Coroplast KISS does the trick.

*Those Coroplast campaign yard signs are worth saving from the landfill, which is where they go en mass after an election. At our dump there is a specified date for campaigns to dispose of their yard signs.

Coroplast is great for cutting out templates and trial designs with a band saw or razor knife. You can pick up a lifetime supply for free at the dump post-election, and if your screw up a template just toss it and try again.

OK, I didn’t even need to go to the dump on yard sign day. I chatted up a friendly campaign worker who stopped by the shop and he promised to bring me some after the last election. I should have specified how many.

He dropped off a truckbed sized bundle, which was quite a few more than I wanted or needed.


That looks good Mike.
You mentioned Belknaps maps in another thread and I wasn't sure what what maps you were talking about .

I added a grommet through the Coroplast backboard, with a cord and nylon clip, so I could secure the map board to the front thwart.

Those Belknap River Guides are OK. I supplement them with topos or software maps in a waterproof map case.

Just “OK”. I like the margin notes on history, ruins and early river runners. But I prefer to have the map oriented in the direction I am travelling. River Maps = down river.

Oriented that way all of the margin text and photos are upside down.


More Coroplast Sign Material “Map Boards”

I like the Coroplast map boards I made for our Belknap’s waterproof river map books, but I am more often carrying a topo map in a double-window map case, strategically quarter folded, or next map on the backside.

I like my ancient Gaia, the thick cordura edges help make the case semi-unfloppy, but it is 15 years old, oft used/abused and the beefy Zip-lock closure has seen better days. It is semi-unfloppy, but now only semi-waterproof.

P6160017 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The current alternative, likewise double sided and sized to accommodate quarter-folded topos, is a SealLine map case. Not the easiest thing to access and change maps with Velcro closure flaps and four-foldover vinyl, but that awkward closure is pretty damn waterproof.

The Sealline is way too freaking floppy to lay flat readable across a thwart, flopped down I can only see part of the map. Even held in hand it is too damn floppy, any wind and it is like trying to read passing butterfly wings.

P6160021 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

That’s a nope. Coroplast to the rescue once again, an 11” x 14” piece of Coroplast to stick in the middle of the folded topo.

P6160024 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Worked wonders as a stiff map board

P6160026 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

That same piece of Coroplast fits the Gaia. It weighs nothing and stiffens up even that cordura edged map case nicely.

Next election I’ll be there when the polls close to resupply my Coroplast stash.
Aug 29, 2017
Gaithersburg, MD
Nice solution. I've got the same SealLine map case and I have to admit it is kind of annoying how floppy the thing is.

And I happen to have a yard sign that a friend in Maine liberated for me (during not after an election). He grabbed it because he noticed the candidate's name, "Jon Gale", is my son's name. With any luck, I can cut it to size while saving the last name and thus end up with a monogrammed backer for my map case.