Originally Posted by D.carden
I agree with ^^^^This^^^^.... It's not that hard to learn. I prefer the UTM system. Get a lensatic compass and a few compact protractors that fit your scale (i use 1:24k maps). Orient yourself, learn to read contour, shoot an azimuth.... It's really simple actually. I even detail my maps. I fold a 24x36 map down to eight 9x12 sections so it will fit in a map case. Each folded section has a hand drawn declination arrow in the center for faster orientation without having to unfold the entire map. Give it a try before taking a class if map/land nav are only what you're after.......
Great tip with the declination arrow! Here's another tip for those 7.5 minute angle maps (or any topo for that matter). I got this tip from a forward ground controller in the Marines....
To protect your topo, go to Von's, Ralph's, Albertons, (whatever) and buy a roll of clear shelving paper. Lay out your flat map on a table and laminate it with the clear shelving paper.
The clear shelving paper is very soft and pliable (unlike true heat laminated material), thus allowing for easily folding the map. Shelving paper is very strong and durable, almost like a flexible vinyl surface. It's also water proof and non glaring with the sun (unlike heat lamination). You'll find it sold in rolls, usually on the aisle that carries pots and pans etc, or kitchen cleansers.
If you can, do the shelving paper (comes on a big roll) on a flat smooth surface, or a piece of glass works best. Ten use an Xacto type knife to cut off the excess along the edges.
I have maps now that are 20+ years old that I used the shelving paper idea in. It's not necessary to laminate the back side, but you can if you want total water proofing. For simply durability, laminating just the front is suffice.