I have several paper Ordnance Survey maps, but I don’t know how to easily access the back of the sheet without ripping or damaging my map while trying to unfold a very large area of paper. Are there any tips or tricks to help preserve the life of my map and keep it easy to read when I’m on the move?

  • Have OS maps changed? They always used to have blank white on the back side.
    – Martin F
    Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 21:30
  • @MartinF Some of the 'Explorer' range of 1:25k sheets have half the map on each side of the sheet.
    – Nick C
    Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 9:01

2 Answers 2


Unfold the map when you are home and then re-fold so the part you need is on the outside.

If you need to access both sides while out on the one trip, you may find a way to fold so that both parts are easily accessible.

For those trips where you have to use both sides of the map I would suggest to find a spot out of the wind to flip your map with the other side out.
Some people have the solution to have more than one map. Keep one in pristine condition at home and use the other(s).


The laminated OS maps at least won't get damaged, but they're still troublesome in the wind.

When I used to go to Dartmoor a lot, I had 2 maps, one folded to north sheet, and one to south. That's the best way to go if you need to use more than one map,even though on any given hike I only needed one, as repeated folding even in benign conditions weakens the folds (and Dartmoor is always damp which hastens the wear)

  • Thanks, I'd never even considered having duplicate maps!
    – Andy
    Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 9:08

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