JTT: Getting the Most Out of Your Map


[Today’s post is made possible by JTF Awesome Team Member Grey Ghost Gear]

Just the Tip: Getting the Most Out of Your Map

Mara Geirsodd

In a world of smartphones and GPS, maps might seem quaintly old school. But anyone who’s met Murphy knows better than to put all their eggs in a battery-powered basket. Land navigation is still a useful skillset, requiring very few tools (preferably a map, at the very least). Like all tools, a map requires care and preparation.

Number your gridlines

Folding your map makes it more manageable and easier to use, but will often obscure the gridline numbers, depending on your type of map. Write the gridline numbers down, taking care not to obscure important features. Highlight the numbers with a circle or highlighter pen for ease of use.

Nifty. You’re gonna navigate the SHIT out of this map.

Waterproof your map

Obviously, you’re a high-speed, low-drag operator who would never leave home without a waterproof map case. Failing that, there’s clear contact paper, or a variety of commercially available sprays and sealants. (Lamination is also an option, I guess, if you like carrying a couple square feet of unwieldy, un-foldable acetate. Whatever, you do you.) Whichever option you prefer, waterproof your damn map. If you’re in a pinch, on a budget or a bear ate your fancy map case, your simplest option is a clear plastic bag and duct tape.

Anything durable and transparent will work. It should be big enough to hold your whole map, once it’s been folded in half; that way you can see both sides of your map without having to open the bag later. Additional folding can be done after waterproofing.

Fold the map to size; insert into the bag and tape off the opening with duct tape, or whatever durable, waterproof tape is available (yes, even if it’s a zipper bag; especially if it’s a zipper bag). Make a hole at the bottom. Using something large and flat, smooth out as much air as possible, thereby vacuum packing your map. Cover the hole with tape when you’re done. Presto: quick and dirty map case.

Pros: Relatively quick and easy. Doesn’t permanently alter the original map. Hard to fuck up.

Cons: The plastic will wear out eventually, particularly at folds and corners. The plastic will also get scuffed (and less transparent) with use. Too bad that bear ate your map case.

If all you’ve got is shitloads of clear tape, you can manually laminate your map instead. It’s better than NOT waterproofing your map, but it will take for-fucking-ever. Additionally, you risk fucking up your entire map if you get wrinkles or air bubbles under your tape. For the love of all that is holy, tape your map down on a flat surface before you start.

Grey Ghost Gear


I mean, it’s *doable*, but so are you after seven shots.

Remove permanent marker from your waterproofed map

If you’ve got something sharpied on your (waterproofed) map that you need removed, e.g. drawings of dicks an old ops overlay, the easiest way to remove the ink is with rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer.

If you don’t have either of those, you can use a whiteboard marker instead. Whiteboard markers are also useful if you want to erase small areas of your overlay, without smudging the whole goddamn thing. Just write over whatever parts you want removed, let it dry, and wipe it off.


Don’t use a red pen

If you’re planning on reading your map under a red light, don’t use a red pen on your overlay. Unless you’re writing a really shitty secret message in reverse invisible ink.


Shit, there’s dragons?? … wait, never mind.

Carry a spare

Last, but not least: always bring a spare map. Because Murphy’s Law. And bears.


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Mad Duo Mara drawing dicks - must be the MOS

Mad Duo Mara - on patrol - AfghanistanAbout the Author: Mad Duo Mara Geirsodd is female combat veteran of the Danish infantry (yes, it seems counterintuitive, but it’s true) assigned to a mechanized infantry unit. She’s been a rifleman, Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle gunner and team leader, which is roughly equivalent to a U.S. fireteam leader but with 3 soldiers instead of 4. She’s deployed a few times, including with KFOR in Kosovo and to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, twice so far. An inveterate smartass who is surprisingly savvy about the ongoing ‘women in the military’ argument, she’ll hopefully be writing for us until the Taliban or a bear smells her while she’s on her period and kills her.

Mad Duo Mara - on the job

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More about Grey Ghost Gear: This Pacific Northwest Powerhouse has been putting out badass gear from the word ‘Go’. Most companies would be more than satisfied with that–but no, no they didn’t stop there. They launched a lethal armament branch and named it Grey Ghost Precision. Some of the finest examples of both 5.56 and 7.62N AR’s can be found there, and they’re even bringing some new stuff into the mix (read more about our SHOT Shot adventures with them here). You can find Grey Ghost online here and on Facebook here. You can follow them on Instagram (@greyghostgear). And if you prefer Twitter, you can locate them here.

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