I’m usually torn when it comes to map cases. On some level, I think they’re useless and a waterproof map serves the purpose much better. On another, they work out cheaper if you need to buy loads of maps rather than just a couple. So when on home turf, I’m usually found with a waterproof Harvey’s Mountain Map or a laminated OS Explorer that pay for themselves with the use they get. Even my Ben Nevis & Fort William laminated explorer has seen enough action to justify the expense.
Of course, there are some maps that may not get more than a few outings (Linconshire Wolds South – hills?!), and a laminated map is then a luxury. That’s where map cases come in. I’ve used Ortileb cases in the past, and they’re amongst the lightest and most reliable you can get. The downside of that is that you need to fold the map in such a way as to ensure the map is stiff enough to use for navigation. if you’ve ever tried to use a laminated A4 map, or even just a printout, for proper navigation then you’ll know what I mean.
The Berghaus map case is rather sturdier than the Ortileb map cases, and as a bonus has a compass pocket. So even if it is a little heavier, you don’t need a compass case or the extra expense to buy one. It only works out only slightly heavier (115g for an ortileb and silva compass case, vs 142g for the Berghaus). If you’re doing any sort of serious walking then your compass needs to be looked after, and if you don’t keep it protected you could be in trouble. It also protects the markings on the compass and lets you store useful extras such as 1:40k romers and pacing ready reckoners.
This case does exactly that, and folds nicely over into a compact little package you can fit into your chest pocket. There’s the usual neck strap, so you can put the map case around your neck where it’ll probably be in the way and flap like bu**ery in the slightest breeze. The strap on the Berghaus will please those who want to use it in that way, but is rather sturdy for my liking and I’d prefer a lightweight cord. It can still be useful to keep hold of the map in strong winds when you’re trying to navigate, but can be a liability around the neck!
So with your map inside, nicely waterproofed, the eagle eyed among you may spot it as being a waterproof Harvey’s Mountain Map. I couldn’t find any non-laminated local maps in my collection, even so you can still use a map case to make such maps last longer. The pocket is just a little too small, as if it were a tad wider you’d fit a Cicerone guide in there. As it happens, you can still get a Pocket Mountain guide in there, or some of the Cicerone skills guides such as Navigation which is handy if you’re polishing up on your nav skills.
Summary: Sturdy map case that has a handy pocket for keeping your compass and smaller guidebooks.
Purchased the item from Simply Hike Berghaus store, and just thought I ought to plug the informative videos that they’ve got on their site. They’ve got more information on the item than the Berghaus homepage and they’ve been a reliable source for gear for a while now. Here’s the video from their site for this item.