Sea to Summit – TPU Guide Map Case


Review by Fiona McIntosh
RRP: R640

I’ve been trying out a lot of extreme weather gear of late in training for a 520-kilometre World Series Adventure Race (Expedition Africa) that, by the time you read this, will have taken place on the Garden Route. The full gamut of weather conditions is pretty much guaranteed on this rather foolish exercise, with good navigation being the key to success. No GPSs are allowed, so keeping maps dry is of paramount importance. Sea to Summit have come up trumps with their TPU Guide Map Case, which has withstood being folded, crumpled and stuffed into backpack pockets, mounted on a map deck on bike handlebars and dangled and dropped in scratchy fynbos, on jagged rocks and muddy riverbanks on numerous occasions.

Made of, you guessed it, TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) the case is light, yet seriously robust and resistant to abrasion. Despite getting soaked, splattered and generally abused, the dirt has been easy to wash off and there are no obvious creases, scratches or scuffs that detract from the clarity. Phew.

A strong ziplock closure and welded seams keep out water and dust, and the anchor points on all four corners and the detachable neck strap give you the option of either slinging it around your neck or clipping it, using lightweight ’biners, to your pack. A tip: When out hiking, we found it handy to have the map clipped on to the back of the leader’s pack for the rest of the group to quickly check. There are three sizes, with the large, which weighs only 102 grams for its 332 x 430-millimetre dimensions, being the most versatile. And you don’t have to use it full-size. Velcro closures on the top and bottom of the case mean that you can easily reduce it to half the size if you want to keep things simple by focusing purely on the relevant section of a large map.

Using a map case again made me quite nostalgic for my homeland, bonny Scotland, where I wouldn’t have dreamt of going into the hills without one. It also made me realise that I’ve become a bit of a fair weather mountaineer here in sunny SA!

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