Just like smashing the wrong puzzle piece into your jigsaw puzzle can lead to confusion down the line, folding a topographic map incorrectly makes things less convenient. The beauty about the correct topo fold is that it allows you to see the area's name on the front and back of the neatly folded map. So if you have a nice collection of maps, you can easily find the right one for your trip without opening all of your maps (and then lamenting over the number of topo maps you need to refold).
The topographic map fold is an easy one; no origami skills are required. Learning this map folding technique will help you fold new maps correctly and re-fold your used maps non-begrudgingly.
How to Fold a Topographic Map:
Step 1: Place your map on a flat surface with the front facing you.
Step 2: With the map facing you, fold your topo map in half.
Step 3: Grab the open part of the fold and align the left outside edge of the map with the creased part of your first fold. Make a new crease here. After making this fold, you shouldn't see the back of the map at all.
Step 4: Flip the map over so the back of the map is facing you.
Step 5: Grab the open part of the fold and align the outside edge of the map with the creased part of the fold. Make a new crease here.
Step 6: Check your map. The right side of the map should be facing you. You should be able to see the name of the map at the top and at the bottom.
Step 7: Grab the top of the map and fold it in half so the top and bottom edges are aligned.
Step 8: Grab the open part of the fold and bring it toward the folded crease at the top. Make a new crease here. Now you should be able to see the name on the top of the map.
Step 9: Flip the map over.
Step 10: Grab the remaining bottom part of the map and bring it toward the folded crease at the top. Make a new crease. You should be able to see the map's name.
After going through these steps, you should be left with a folded square that shows the map's name on both sides.
Need a better visual? Watch this video:
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