Waterproofing Your Map
There are several ways you can waterproof your maps, keeping them from getting soggy and becoming unreadable. Once a map becomes smeared and soaked, you'd better hope someone in your group has a photographic memory or that you know exactly where you're going. Your best bet is to prevent your map from getting wet in the first place. Many companies are now producing waterproof maps, especially if they are designed for running rivers or ocean excursions.
The easiest way to waterproof a map is to put it in a clear plastic covering. Sea to Summit and Granite Gear both make a waterproof case for maps. Depending on the size of the map, this option can be very easy and convenient or maybe not so practical. One easy solution is to make a photocopy of the sections of the map you need, label your planned course, and put those in clear plastic coverings (which usually come in the 8x11 size.
Clear Contact Paper:
Another way to waterproof a map is to use clear contact paper. You have to be careful because this stuff is really sticky and won't come off. But it's still bendable and you can read through it easily. Put the clear contact paper on both sides of the map so that it's in a waterproof seal.
There are also several coatings you can literally paint or spray onto your map which will keep the ink from running and the paper from deteriorating for the most part. However, the waterproofing solutions do not make the paper rip-proof .
Map Seal by Aquaseal: http://www.aquaseal.com/map-seal.htmlMap Proof by NikWax and Thompson Water Seal are also popular options.