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Discussion: Map Bags

in: Orienteering; Gear & Toys

Aug 20, 2018 7:31 PM # 
Where can I order larger size poly map bags (that I don't have to order 500 at once)? I saw some on Amazon but I don't know if they are too thin...1mm.
Aug 20, 2018 7:45 PM # 
Aug 20, 2018 8:19 PM # 
We only use 4 mil bags. I also order from Uline, but I'm not sure if you can order less than case quantities, which for many sizes is 500.

If you need a small quantity of a standard size like 12x18, another O' club might be willing to sell you some or split an order.
Aug 20, 2018 8:34 PM # 
Scrimping on map cases isn't even penny wise. Like Mike says, 4 mil. Or don't even bother.

Send me email, let me know what size you need, and I may be able to help.
Aug 20, 2018 8:35 PM # 
I've gotten smaller quantities (100) from Bradley's Plastic Bag Co.. Look for "4 mil Flat Poly Bags" on the website (0.004" thick polyethylene bags).
Aug 20, 2018 10:10 PM # 
Steven, Carrie's map bags and will sell you small quantities.

Full disclosure: is run by my parents.
Aug 21, 2018 3:01 AM # 
Sheesh, next you'll be telling us you're also from Canada!
Aug 21, 2018 7:04 AM # 
Purely in terms of visible cost, what's the problem about buying 1000 at a time?

Related issue, recycling? Other related issue, many events here use synthetic paper, is that OK on the environment? Perhaps they are made from oil.
Aug 21, 2018 10:30 AM # 
In Australia we mainly use Pretex - technical information states it is biodegradable.
Aug 21, 2018 3:01 PM # 
Only for Important Events though (like tomorrow's School Champs) and not for the dozens of other events that may encounter wet weather for which we still use map bags.
Aug 23, 2018 2:17 PM # 
I buy my bag (10x12x4mil and 12x18x4mill) locally (St. Louis) from Checker Bag. I usually order 5000 to keep the cost down. Unless you order locally the shipping cost can be as much as the cost of the bags. We currently have plenty of each size in our club inventory.
Aug 23, 2018 4:50 PM # 
Not sure why anyone should bother with plastic bags any more! Here in the UK (where it's been known to rain a little and mud is not unknown either) maps on waterproof paper have been the norm for at least the last ten years (maybe more) - at all events from the British Champs to the humblest local event.

And all recent WMOCs have used waterproof paper too, so it has IOF approval as well.

There's no appetite I'm aware of to return to the bad old days of bag stuffing, heat sealing etc. It's just a question of finding the right paper … e.g. Pretex works well.
Aug 23, 2018 8:59 PM # 
What is the cost trade-off of waterproof paper vs plastic map bags?
Aug 23, 2018 9:41 PM # 
Pretex is not available here. If I could get it, I would print on it.
Aug 24, 2018 2:43 AM # 
Other waterproof papers that seem to work for orienteering are Teslin and Rockstock. Around here we are somewhat dependant on the paper suppliers that our printers work with, and can appreciate Ed's difficulty. We've tried owning our own paper but wouldn't go there again.

I wouldn't bother with a heat-sealer either, but resealable bags (also called mini-grip) work fine, and cheaper than the extra for waterproof paper. They are our standard for club-level events**. And rogaines, where many experiments have failed to convince us that they are reliable over more than about 3hrs.

**Edit: club-level events and rogaines, where participants bag their maps themselves.
Aug 24, 2018 3:06 AM # 
Pretex wasn't available in Australia either, but an enterprising APer found a supplier in Europe and imports it. You could probably do the same, trade wars notwithstanding.

djm there's concern from some quarters that waterproof paper is 'too yellow', and some organisers are going back to the dark ages as a result. As far as I'm concerned, better yellow* than reflection off a shiny plastic bag.

*Pretex is actually off-white, not a hint of yellow.
Aug 24, 2018 3:32 AM # 
@ RLShadow, bags are probably cheaper, but horrendously expensive if you costed the bag-stuffing at 'real' labour rates. A ream of 500xA3 of Pretex is less than AU$400. Assume 1,000 x A4 maps = AU$0.40 per map.

Our printer* usually charges AU$0.70 per map on 100gsm bond, but when we provide the Pretex (because our printer can't get it themselves) then we get charged only AU$0.50 per map. Effectively, a Pretex map costs us AU$0.20 more than paper.

* Digital - are you listening IOF?
Aug 24, 2018 7:23 AM # 
"there's concern from some quarters that waterproof paper is 'too yellow'"

… it's whiter than white in the UK! In other words, waterproof paper which isn't yellow is available.

"We've tried owning our own paper but wouldn't go there again."

… some clubs here buy their own waterproof paper, purchase an A4 colour laser printer, print all the maps for their small events themselves, and never look back. They wouldn't understand the "wouldn't go there again" comment.

Any unused maps are re-used for subsequent local events - which disorientates the uninformed who try to navigate by the map on the wrong side of the paper!

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