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Writing on maps

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What does everyone use for writing on maps? My maps are always waterproof so a bit slick and plasticky. For the most part a regular ball point pen works but when the maps are folded and eventually get wet the ink will tend to smudge and transfer to other parts of the map that are in contact with the ink. A Sharpie is probably the obvious answer but I don't think I've tried that. Can a Sharpie survive getting wet in the field?

Alan
 
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I have used a fi e point sharpie with success, as long as the ink has dried for a while, I think the longer it's on the paper the better it sticks

Jason
 
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I have an answer for you. Grease pencils. Crayons essentially. In the army we used to use them to mark our waterproof maps and they are pretty durable but easy enough to wipe off with some elbow grease and a rag. They dont run in the rain.

Christy
 
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My maps never get too wet. I fold them in 2 gallon ziploc bags and only remove to display the correct side of a map. I treat them with Thompson waterseal and dry on the clothes line. Then use the fine tip of a Sharpie to mark rapids, mileage, etc. Never had anything run or smear that I can remember.
 
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Purchased maps I might circle the best campsites, but don't add very much more. Topos I print myself at home I'll highlight the route, as snapper has mentioned, to help me easily see it at a glance. The better campsites will be circled too. These paper maps are sprayed with waterproofing like mark says, but they are ultimately throw aways at the end of the trip. I haven't mastered the art of making my own digital maps.
 
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I'll use pencil while I'm travelling with waterproof maps to mark campsites and other interesting things. When I get to camp, or usually just at home I go over the things I want to save with a thin sharpie. Sometimes I erase the pencil marks, but it seems to stay on there anyway. The sharpie won't run and I've never had them print the image across a fold. As far as wet weather, I use a sharpie doing field work and they survive just fine getting wet, but they won't write on a wet surface. If you get the tip wet you usually have to dry it off with something to get the ink to flow again, then they'll write again on a dry surface.
 
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A plain old pencil, sheesh, now why couldn't I think of that? Just tried it on one of my maps and it seemed to work fine.

Do grease pencils have a fine enough tip for actually writing on a map rather than just marking areas?

I think all my fine tipped Sharpies have dried up. I'll have to get a fresh one and try that out too.

I save my maps both for reference (during and after trip) and as trip mementos. If whitewater is involved I write the rapid classifications (ahead of time if I can get them or my estimates as I encounter them during the trip) as well as portages that aren't in what seems like the obvious place. During the trip I mark down where I camped each night and again mark portages that I've found that don't seem to be in the logical place; or that differ from my pre-trip research. I also jot down areas that look like they might have good camping or areas that look to be devoid of camp sites as I pass them.

My trips are usually long and I often come back on the same route. I've learned that I can forget a lot in 3 weeks so being able to look at the map to see the location of odd portages, known camp sites, and just as importantly to see where I should avoid looking for camp sites, comes in handy. After the trip I have these marked-up maps to rekindle my memories and since I'm not opposed to repeating part, or all, of a route in the future I'll have those notes to reference.

Alan
 
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On "waterproof paper", I use a thin Sharpie or Staedtler-Mars alcohol marker and let it dry. Highlighters also 'stick'. A grease pencil (as mentioned, an old Army trick) is also valuable over a standard "waterproof" map case. I also make photocopies of maps on regular copier paper, add my own notes, and then either laminate it or stick it in a document protector if I'm less concerned with its durability. I do a lot of my own mapping using a GPS to get grid coordinates to key features, then transfer it to graph paper and finish with colored pencil. Helps cement it in my mind. For those trips, I mostly use the document protector method to protect my working copies (graph paper, google maps imagery and terrain shots... holds about 10 sheets comfortably.)

Pencil works ok on 'waterproof paper'. Ballpoint washes off.
 
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I only mark up home printed maps, making sure to spray them with waterproofing and keeping them in clear Ziplock bags for the trip.
 
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