Chart Case -- what to get now

I’m out of options for good chart cases…

Seal Line – has a heavy duty ziplock type closure that is hard to seal fully and tends to fail and leak after a few dozen uses; plastic gets cloudy with use and hard to read through

Voyageur – I thought this was the one: nice dry-bag style wrap-down closure with a final velcro seal; plastic retains read-through property; easy to expel the air by rolling from the bottom before sealing… BUT mine has now failed after a couple years of moderate use – coming apart in several places; I see that REI is discontinuing them (wonder if that’s because they fail).

So, what do I get now?

Thanks. --David.

I wish I had an answer…

– Last Updated: Sep-12-06 11:09 AM EST – I've had nothing but bad luck with chart cases, too. The best solution I've found it to copy/print the charts I want and laminate them at the local Kinkos. Barring that, Ziplock freezer bags are usually good for an outing or two before they begin to leak.

Agree with Brian
Copy and laminate is the best option if you can’t find a waterproof version of the chart you need.

If you laminate a chart you can use the back for other useful infos like tide table, campsite locations, etc.

Oh, I’ve got lots of laminated charts…
… especially the places I go frequently. But it’s a lotta work.

Also, the biggest drawback is having to pick – way in advance – the exact area to put on each face of a laminated chart. But you often don’t know until pretty close to launch – or even after – exactly where you are going. So at best you wind up with a nasty split in your trip, half on one side, half on another, which complicates setting courses, measuring against distant objects, etc. At worst, you actually omit someplace you want to go.

Waterproof charts are another partial solution, since you can dispense with the chart case altogether. Or, if you’re worried about wind, you can continue to use a crappy case and not worry about it leaking.

But I’m sorry to hear that there is no good solution. The Voyageur would be terrific if it were engineered better for durability. I’m half inclined to ship my disintegrating one back to them in hopes they will replace it out of embrassment.

Maybe we should think of them as consumables. For their closeout REI is cutting the price, so maybe pick up a couple cheap and hope they’ll last a year or two each.


Ready for this…
at Wally World. They come three different sizes to a package.

They are Coghlan’s, and are great.

Ours are ten years old and have never leaked.

They get used almost every day straight through Jan Feb and March.

I hope they still carry them.



Coughlans waterproof pouches?!

– Last Updated: Sep-12-06 8:27 PM EST –

Is this it -- #8415 - Waterproof Pouch -- on this page...

If so, I'll look for a retailer. I've been using the smaller "#9710 - Three Piece Set Rainproof Pouches" as organizers and dry-bag-within-a-dry-bag for my wallet and cell phone, and they are terrific for that.

My concern with the pouches is being able to read the chart through the cloudy vinyl. Also, 10.5 x 13 is not as big as I'd like.

I guess these are not strictly speaking chart cases. But that may be the secret -- real simple pouches. The downfall of the Voyageurs is all the tricky interfaces between various parts -- they come apart after a while.


How about Map Seal?

Does it work – (a) stands up totally to water, sea water; (b) you can fold the chart as much as you like?

Thanks. --David.

I have a Prijon/Wildwasser, but …
I think it’s pretty durable and all, but they printed (screened) their logo right on the view window. Doesn’t show logo on this picture.


Coghlans not waterproof

– Last Updated: Sep-12-06 9:22 PM EST –

The Coghlans pouches are not waterproof. Splash proof only. I've used the big one for current charts and waypoints, and they've been ok for splashes.

I tried one to carry a wad of cash and a few credit cards while snorkling. Soaked.

I have a nylon dry pak from these guys:

It is waterproof as deep as I can free dive. They make a map case.

I have heard good things about these:

But have not tried them myself.

Yes, and …
on our decks going through splashing wave, etc they have always been waterproof.

They are also easy to read through.




– Last Updated: Sep-13-06 12:47 AM EST –

There is only one realy good chart case left on the market since Mariner Kayaks stopped selling theirs a number of years ago. Look at Ortlieb;s slection. They are waterproof, they are clear after more than 2000 miles of paddling, and they are strong. $25-30

Ditto on the Ortlieb ‘document’ cases…
Have used 'em for years. You might find a slightly weathered one (with maps and compass as well as a map measurer!) stuck in a eddy on the Pipestone in Ontario, or maybe it made it’s way into Hudson Bay by now. Very nice see through material as well as a BOMBER closure. Ortlieb makes 'em down to passport size, as well as rather large sizes.

3M plastic paper
3M makes a durable plastic paper that can be printed on in a laser printer. Enough rubbing and the print will come off but it takes quite a long time for the bungees to do that. I’ve used this for my River Connection cards that I keep in my pfd. I’ve turned too many regular business cards into paper mache’. If you print on this stuff it’d eliminate the need for a map case all together.

Otherwise the Wildwasser Info-Center mapcase is about the best I’ve experimented with.

See you on the water,


A third vote for Ortlieb
The roll-down closure beats the zip-lok variety hands down. One grain of sand in a zip and you have a breach. The urethane material of the Ortlieb is very strong, somewhat flexy, and easy to use.


Another for Ortlieb
My case has worked well over a few thousand bike touring miles (where I’ve been through far too much rain) and plenty of days on the water.

Good flexible material and solid closure. Some clouding of the material after several years, but still plenty usable.

water seal does a pretty good job of waterproofing charts. I have a couple I did a few years back and they’re still serviceable. I do go the laminated route for the areas I paddle most though. I got the Thompsons in the spray can. Use it only in a well-ventilated area and let it dry thoroughly before using the chart. Way cheaper than that map waterproofing stuff though that works OK as well.

Can’t remember the name
Body, Boat, Blade sells some cases that they swear by. I think they are from England and they have roll closures that roll the charts along like a scroll and are water tight.

Nothing at BBB; but see new Seal Line HP

– Last Updated: Sep-14-06 7:23 AM EST –

There are no chart cases on the BBB web store -- doesn't mean they don't have one; maybe I'll call.

There is a link to Cascade Designs which makes Seal Line, and they claim to have a ~new~ chart case ( they call HP, for High Performance, against, I suppose, their old Low Performance model ( I can't tell for sure from the picture, but it looks like the HP still has a ziplock type closure, which will, I fear, suffer all the old problems of that technology. It's certainly not a roll-down.

Has anybody seen it?