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Toughtprint Paper Test – 100% Waterproof Paper?

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Toughprint is a 100% Waterproof sheet that looks, and feels like paper but with the added bonus of being so tough it won’t tear even when wet. Toughprint can be used for all sorts of applications where normal paper would not cope even when laminated.

Ok. So big claim. Waterproof Paper.

I traditionally have used a combination of a printed LINZ Topo50 Map sealed up safe in a bag (in case I need it), and a smaller A4 printed and laminated section of map – specific to the area I am in.

This has worked well. The only real issue being that the laminated A4 is a bit of a pain to fold up to put in your pocket. So when I saw the Toughprint advertised online, I thought it would be worth a go. There isn’t a whole lot of information available about the Waterproof Paper – it is a hybrid of paper and plastic, is apparently eco friendly, and nearly indestructible. Ok then.

I ordered a box, read up a bit online, and printed a map off. Nothing magical with the printer settings (a Canon MG6360) – though I did decide to leave it a good couple of hours to dry out. We were off for a day in the Waitakeres, so thought it would be a good test. Wrote down some grid refs on the paper (permanent marker), folded it up (much like paper would), put it in the pocket and headed out.

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I did note the the colours we possibly a little lighter than I would have expected. Though, in hindsight, after reading a little online, because I didn’t layer heaps of ink into the Waterproof Paper that may have caused the great results I experienced with this test.

The trip out itself was fairly uneventful. So when I got back I decided on a bit of a torture test.

First thing – chuck it in water – I soaked the central section of the map underwater for an hour, then grabbed a paper cloth, and wiped the crap out of it. Despite getting a little black on the paper towel – the print itself wasn’t noticeably altered. Alright then, something a little more major. I then took the paper, scrunched it up into a ball, flattened it back out, and put it back in the water. Overnight.

No major change – paper towel, this time came off with even less ink on it, and the map was still totally usable. Maybe a little ‘lighter’ on the print – but nothing worth worrying about.

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What did the test prove? If you accidentally scrunch your map up into a ball and leave it submerged at the bottom of a stream overnight while out in the bush – the map will still be readable in the morning. What more could you ask? I don’t know if it burns. Realistically, if you do drown your crumpled map and then manage to set it on fire, it is likely that you have bigger issues going on.

I have read about people having mixed results with this Waterproof Paper online. I think there are two points – firstly – make sure you get the right paper for your printer – there is an inkjet option and a laser option. Secondly, go easy on the ink. If you have an ‘economy’ mode option that might be the better choice. I imagine the paper has a saturation point, after which additional ink will come back out. If this happens then simply wipe off the extra ink, and the map underneath will still be fine.

One thing I am wary of, is that I won’t be able to write on it with a marker pen, then wipe it back off with a dab of alcohol afterwards. This is one of the benefits with using laminated sheets – though, I guess with the paper, I can just print off a fresh map each time anyhow. I did try it. It just smears whatever you wrote on the paper. Interestingly, the map itself didn’t smear though.

Cost wise – $26.99 for 10 sheets – so that works out at $2.69 per print. Not the cheapest option in the world. But then, I also shoot rifles – so I could just take one less shot at the range over the weekend and cover it. 😉

So – your turn – Do you have a foolproof method for keeping your maps dry? Share it below!

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