Letter Re: Durable Paper For Printing Maps and Crucial Documents

Wednesday, Nov 7, 2012

Some time ago, I sent you an e-mail about durable printer paper. Since then, the HP LaserJet Tough Paper that I then recommended has been discontinued.

I found this out when I tried to order some more, and this forced me to do some research. I found a replacement for the Tough Paper (in fact, I suspect Graytex may be the original supplier of Tough Paper as well as iGage Weatherproof Paper), and a few more options.

So here's a summary of what I found:

There are some good "paper" products for printing documents that need to survive exposure to the elements—emergency contact lists, customized topo maps, equipment operating instructions, radio frequency lists, etc. I use the quote marks because some of them are plastic, not paper.
Rite in the Rain makes paper that is chemically treated to be water repellant, but it’s still paper so it can still tear and abrade fairly easily. On the plus side, it’s available in subdued colors.
iGage’s Weatherproof Paper is actually made of plastic. It’s very strong, to the point that you can’t really tear it without cutting it first, but it’s still compatible with laser printers, Sharpie markers, and Fisher space pens:
Graytex’s Power Paper appears to be similar (and may indeed be exactly the same stuff), but I haven’t tried it.
They also sell a treated paper that seems similar to Rite in the Rain.
Finally, note that none of these synthetic papers can be written on with pencil; the surface is too slippery. Pencils work fine on Rite in the Rain and presumably Graytex’s Ruff-n-Tuff, but if you need a pencil-compatible synthetic paper, then I can recommend Yupo. Used with pencils made from plastic rather than wood, this creates a solution that can be used and even stored under water. Best Regards, - P.N.G.

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