Waterproof Paper

Waterproof paper stands up well to rain and moisture. They are great for printing maps, taking notes in wet weather, and for use where your notes might be subject to contact with water. They can can be laminated, cut, and hole-punched. Read the Ultimate Map Tools article to learn how to print your own topographic maps for free.

Both sides of these papers have equal printing characteristics. For best results, one-sided printing is recommended. When large amounts of ink are applied, such as when printing maps or bold text, two-sided printing might result in ink bleeding through the paper. Also, when ink becomes wet from exposure it can be mobilized. This can allow it to absorb more deeply into the paper (resulting in bleed-through) or transfer to the back of a sheet above it in a booklet or stack of paper. If you do decided to print on two sides allow a few minutes drying time between sides. We recommend testing to see if your printing process will produce documents that will stand up to your anticipated conditions.

We recommend printing using the "normal" or "standard" settings of your printer. Printing in "high quality" or "dark" mode usually applies more ink than the paper can absorb. That will cause ink smearing or ink that does not dry. If the ink smears or does not dry in "normal or "standard" mode see if you can print with a "light" or "economy" mode. For best results use the lightest printer setting that produces readable print.


Most people who use the ink or toner cartridges supplied by the manufacturer of their printer have great success. Refilled cartridges and generic cartridges sometimes provide poor results. The ink or toner that you use can break down with exposure to direct sunlight, water or humidity. Ink usually fails before the paper during sun exposure. For best results use the ink and toner cartridges recommended by your printer manufacturer and be aware that exposure conditions will limit the life of your document.

Waterproof paper might last outside for a few weeks (more or less), depending upon climate and sun exposure. They will not last through repeated or prolonged exposures to hot, cold, sun, wind or other harsh conditions.

All of these papers have been used for underwater writing while scuba diving. If you are diving more than a few feet deep you will need a paper that accepts pencil. The air pressure in ink pen refills is lower than the water pressure at more than a few feet deep. That will cause water to flow into your pen's refill and dilute the ink. Be sure to test your pen, printer and paper combination before going into the field or starting a project.

Waterproof Paper Brands
Sheets 50 25 25 25
Inkjet Printer Very Good NR* NR* Excellent
Laser Printer Very Good Excellent Excellent Good
Plain-Paper Copier Very Good Excellent Excellent NR*
Write with Waterproof Ink Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
Resistance of Waterproof Ink to Smudge
(Immediate / after 8 minutes)
Excellent/Excellent Poor/Excellent Poor/Excellent Good/Excellent
Write with a Pencil NR* Excellent Excellent Good
Resistance of Pencil to Smudge NA** Very Good Good Excellent
Tear Resistance Good Poor Excellent Very Good
Puncture Resistance Good Poor Excellent Good
Folding Ability Good Excellent Very Good Very Good
What is it? synthetic paper coated paper synthetic paper synthetic paper
Weight of the paper? 10 mil plastic
similar to 24# bond
similar to 20# bond 4 mil plastic
Similar to 20# bond
similar to 24# bond
Surface Luster matte matte pearly matte
Recycling with bulk plastics with paper with bulk plastics with bulk plastics
*NR = not recommended. **NA = not applicable. The information provided on this page is our opinion. Your experience using these papers could be very different from ours because you might use them with different types of printers, different types of ink, different writing tools or under different conditions. Also, your opinion of "good", "excellent" or "poor" performance might be different from ours. We provide the opinions above for general guidance. They are not meant to be a critique or promotion of any product.

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