Orient the map with the terrain, using the technique already described. While a lot of us have access to Smartphones and GPS, that is no excuse for not knowing how to read a map and navigate using a compass. Before you can use a map to help you find your way, you’ll need to make sure you’re equipped with one that’s suitable for the type of traveling you’re doing. Here are some common components. If you don't know what triangulation is, read this article. In this video, Krik of Black Owl Outdoors uses a Silva Ranger 515 CL compass, explains the basic pieces of a compass, shows you how to orient the map to your location, determine the direction of travel you want to go and then navigate through the terrain to your destination. ), One of the tricky parts of navigating with a compass is that magnetic north isn’t the same as true north. Most of the time, though, the three lines will form a small triangle—your location will be somewhere in or near that small area. Open the Compass, and lay it flat on the map. 1. ), Orienting arrow: helps line the bezel up with the directions on the map, Declination scale: hash marks on the inside of the bezel, designed to help adjust declination. There are several different services that can use the location you’ll be hiking in to calculate your declination. Move the baseplate of the compass until the straight edge of the compass align with either the … Compasses come in many designs, but most compass features are the same as those found in an all-time classic compass like the Silva Ranger. Place the compass on the map, and turn it so the direction of travel arrow is facing the same way you are. Now follow these rules to get found. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for your other landmarks. Origin longitude, east or west, in degrees, minutes and seconds. This article is part of our series: While entire books have been written about navigating with a compass, every new compass user needs to know the basic concepts. Read on. Because declination changes over time, newer maps will have more accurate figures. Look at the index line to read the bearing you’ve just captured. Using a compass is a life saving skill. Method #1. Below, we’ll cover both the basics and finer points of compass navigation. Once you’ve set your declination, map orientation is simple: 586 reviews with an average rating of 3.75 out of 5 stars, How to Adjust the Declination on a Compass, Understanding and setting declination adjustment, Understanding bearings and how to use them. Want to master these techniques and more? Place your compass on the map with the direction of travel arrow pointing toward the top of the map. Put the compass anywhere on the map 3. The solution? Different kinds of maps exist for different uses. Basically, plotting is moving from point A to B. 2. Lifetime membership is just $20. Don’t get lost in the first place. Take a bearing on your first landmark: Line up your direction of travel arrow with your landmark, then rotate the bezel until the needle lines up with the markings for north. Compass Basics. Place the corner of your compass’s baseplate on your location, then rotate your entire compass until the straightedge forms a line between your location and your destination. c) At this point, you may want to use the scales on your compass (if available) to determine the distance you need to travel. REI and the REI Co-op logo are trademarks of Recreational Equipment, Inc. For this article, we’re using a compass that has all of the features you need for basic navigation: North on a map is easy to find (it’s at the top). These maps are similar to simple topographical maps used to the navigate backcountry. It needs no batteries, works with any map, and even works without a map! Another popular and straightforward method of using a lensatic compass is the compass on the map method. Make sure the direction of travel arrow is pointing in the general direction of that campsite (in other words, it's not upside down). The angle between the two—known as the declination—varies depending on your location. How to Use Compass to Plot a Course. If you don’t adjust your compass to compensate, you’ll find yourself headed in the wrong direction. Uh-oh, you forgot to download free maps at Backpacker.com, and now you're lost in the woods without any navigational tools. Learn how to use a baseplate compass with these 3 easy-to-follow tutorials. For example, instead of heading “northwest” to get to a campsite, you might follow a bearing of 315 degrees. Rotate the bezel until the grid lines on the base plate match the grid lines on the map. And keep reading your map along the way: Staying found is far easier than finding yourself after you’re lost. (Pro tip: make sure the fixed grid lines on your compass line up with the north-south grid lines on your map.). 3. T hey are light weight and take up little space, yet are very dependable and when used in conjunction with and Ordnance Survey map, will ensure you find your way to your destination. Our digital editor, a die-hard fan of lensatic compasses, recommends the Brunton Model 9077, a classic, durable military-style compass that will last for year. This is a great video that will introduce the concepts of orienteering to you. Using a pencil, draw a line across the edge. 1– set your map on the ground; turn your declination adjusted compass dial so due North is at the index pointer 2– place your compass on the map with the Edge of the baseplate parallel to the North South meridians on the map 3 - turn the map and compass together until the compass needle is “boxed” (red in shed) That’s it! Using a compass with a map is similar to using a compass without a map — except you have an extra tool to assist you! Includes types of compass, considerations and … But how do you use them? 6. In that case, you should break the journey down into more manageable steps. How to Use a Compass The most important piece of gear to help you find your way. 1 a) Place the compass on the map so that the long edge connects the starting point with the desired destination. Once you’re an expert on orienteering, share the knowledge! How To Use a Compass with a USGS Topographic Map. Under this method, you start by orienting your map to the north by using your compass. Krik of Black Owl Outdoors thoroughly yet simply explains how to navigate with just a compass and a map. Metal interferes with compasses’ magnetic needles, so avoid spreading your map out on a car hood. An excellent use of a compass is to help you set the map, aligning it so that it corresponds to the surrounding landscape. Read the number next to the index line—this is your bearing. Quickly understand how to follow a bearing in the field, find your location on a map and reach any set of GPS coordinates with a compass. How to Use a Compass with a Map. How to use a compass for hiking in Australia. Here is a very brief explanation of each method. To determine the accurate direction you need to … A compass relies only on Earth's magnetic fields. More complicated maps generally require the use of a compass to orient yourself properly and understand how to position yourself in relation to the coordinates you find. The dial will be marked every two degrees to cover the full 360 degrees and will have the four main compass points of N,S,E,W. The point where all the lines intersect is your approximate location. Once you have your declination, subtract it from your compass bearing for west and add it for east. Knowing how to use a map with a compass is not only useful while you are out in the wilderness, but it could turn out to very useful in a bugging out situation or if you are trying to avoid certain “danger zones” if the S were to hit the fan. Compasses, on the other hand, are nigh-indestructible. Updated with current Web site information, photographs, and more, it covers traveling by map alone, by compass alone, or by map and compass together. Learn more and join us, Earn a $100 REI Gift Card when you apply, get approved and make any purchase within 60 days of card approval.Details, Mon–Fri, 5am–10pm PT Sat–Sun, 6am–9pm PT. How To Get Your Map and Compass To Face the Same Direction. Now, you must align the orienting lines and arrow on your compass with the meridian lines on the map. Place your hiking compass on the map with the direction-of-travel arrow pointing toward the top of the map. Sure, not all who wander are lost. Bearings are always relative to a specific location. How Should I Set My GPS and Compass? 3. A map and compass make up two of the 10 essentials recommended for safe backcountry travel, but they’ll do little good if you don’t know how to use them. Ruler(s): Used with your map’s scale to determine distances. Move the compass so that the base is along point A (where you are), and the mirror is along point B (the other mountain). To determine the accurate direction you need to execute one more step – account for declination. Finding your campsite, a spectacular viewpoint or your way back out of the wilderness won’t always be simple tasks. 1. Align the forward edge of the compass with your destination, Camp 23. Most compass-es are marked with the four cardinal points—north, east, south, and west—but some are marked additionally with the number of degrees in a circle (360: north is 0 or 360, east is 90, south is 180, and west is 270). Slide the baseplate until one of its straight edges aligns with either the left or right edge of your map. An excellent use of a compass is to help you set the map, aligning it so that it corresponds to the surrounding landscape. Method #2. Even experienced backpackers sometimes neglect their navigation skills, but when the trail peters out or is covered by snow, knowing how to blaze your own path is absolutely essential. © 2020 Recreational Equipment, Inc. All rights reserved. Working off an older map? Unsurprisingly, it’s by compass maker Silva, and I’ve borrowed it below. The point where that line from the landmark crosses your trail is your location (7b). Using a compass in the outdoors is central to a lot of activities from hill walking, cycling and camping. Take time to become familiar with your map and surroundings before you head off. While there are many different kinds of compasses on the market, the most common for backpackers is the baseplate compass, which consists of a liquid-filled compass face attached to a flat, clear piece of plastic. Misuse could even turn a situation in which you’re simply confused into one in which you’re totally lost. Because a single degree of error can set you off course by 100 feet over a mile, it’s important to accurately adjust for declination. (The direction of travel arrow should still be pointing toward the top of the map.). To help do this – make sure that the orienteering lines are lined up with the easting lines on the map. You may not be able to get from where you are to your ultimate destination in one go. Find your way the old-school way by mastering the map. Navigation tips from an Appalachian Trail pro. Keeping these two simple items in your pack—and knowing how to use them—is a small step that could save you a lot of trouble. Map & Compass 101 – Setting & Reading Headings • Step by Step 1 – 2 - 3 1– set your map on the ground; find where U are and where U want to go U R here 2– set your compass edge along a straight line from where U are to where U want to go 3 – turn the compass dial until The Orienteering lines are Parallel to the North / South Updated with current Web site information, photographs, and more, it covers traveling by map alone, by compass alone, or by map and compass together. The class is offered in-stores across the country, and backcountry essentials like maps and compasses are provided for all students. A fundamental skill for navigating with a map and compass is taking a bearing — the specific direction you’ll follow to navigate between two points. 2. Step 3: Put the compass on top of the map. This makes it much easier to relate the map to what you see on the ground. Outdoor School Instructor Lindsay McIntosh-Tolle (REI Portland, Ore.), teaches classes in map and compass navigation and has been finding her way into spectacular backcountry destinations for more than 18 years. Why not rely exclusively on a phone or GPS receiver? In order to use your military compass properly from there, you’ll need to orient the map to face true north. Hold your compass flat with the direction of travel arrow pointing away from you and directly at the landmark. Finding your location with a compass. and were likely used for fortune-telling. Brunton’s Instructor Kit. After adjusting your compass for declination, start by orienting your map to true north, as in the previous example. Compass features. Make sure you know how to find a bearing. Be sure to read all the way to the end to learn about declination or you’ll end up heading toward magnetic north and not true north! Buy Now. Turn the map and compass until the needle on the compass aligns with the north-south gridlines on the map, with the red needle pointing to the top of the map Your smartphone can do everything else, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it has a compass built into it. Holding the compass level in front of you, turn your body until the north arrow on the bezel matches up with the compass’s needle. Furthermore, they can usually only tell which way you’re facing once you’re on the move. 3. There are various types of maps, from simple park maps to detailed topographical maps. Place the corner of your compass’s baseplate on your location, then rotate your entire compass until the straightedge forms a line between your location and your destination. Learning to read a map and compass and navigate properly will instill a sense of self-reliance and skill that you won’t get from following the arrow on a GPS. Krik of Black Owl Outdoors thoroughly yet simply explains how to navigate with just a compass and a map. Start by finding a landmark that you can also identify on your map. You need to make use of some or all of the compass features for different tasks. Sometimes, they run out of battery; sometimes, after years of use, they fail. Clicking on the 'Draw Route' button will plot and draw a route to a marker at your selected point of destination and display: Origin latitude, north or south, in degrees, minutes and seconds. A compass is the most reliable navigation method—but it’s no good unless you know your way around it. We consider a compass and map to be two parts of the same tool. 1. Sign up for our Backcountry Navigation or Basic Map and Compass online course. Then, while holding both map and compass steady, rotate your body until the end of the magnetic needle is within the outline of the orienting arrow. Compasses come in many designs, but most compass features are the same as those found in an all-time classic compass like the Silva Ranger. Kids need to learn basic survival skills, and one way is to begin teaching kids how to read a map and use a compass. 3. Direction-of-travel arrow: Tells you which direction to point the compass when you’re taking or following a bearing. Just like the GPS on your phone, all of these apps require a charged battery to work, which defeats the purpose of a low-tech solution like a compass. Put the map as flat as possible in front of you ; Put the compass anywhere on the map If you have a lensatic compass, your steps may vary slightly. Now you can draw a line on the map along the straight edge of your compass (7a). Intro to Navigation. Adjustable Declination Compasses. (They’re hundreds of miles apart. Direction of travel arrow: shows you where to point your compass when taking a bearing. Smart! Using your compass, orient your map so that north is pointing to true north. Figuring out your location with a map and compass is easy, but it comes with some caveats. (Be sure the north marker on the bezel is pointing north on the map, not south.). Your map (and yourself) are now be orientated north. It features: Clear, concise instructions for using a map and compass effectively How Should I Set My GPS and Compass? This popular, easy-to-use handbook has been helping people find their way for more than fifty years. © 2020 Pocket Outdoor Media Inc. All Rights Reserved, most reliable way to make sure that you stay on track, Keeping these two simple items in your pack. When protected with either waterproof coatings or careful storage, maps rarely fail. Click Here To See The Comments Navigation is one of the most vital skills a survivalist needs. Step 1: Orient your map How helpful was this article? For more information about magnetic declination and how to use your compass, we encourage you to view this page on the National Wildfire Coordinating Group website. Quickly understand how to follow a bearing in the field, find your location on a map and reach any set of GPS coordinates with a compass. Attack Points: Navigate From World Features 1. Navigation is one of the Ten Essentials and most outdoor speople take a compass with them on every adventure. 4. Rotate the bezel until the grid lines on the base plate match the grid lines on the map. If you can find a third, even better. This article covers the following concepts: Also read our companion article, How to Use a Topo Map. Now, hold the compass still and turn the compass housing bezel so that the “N” on the bezel and the orienteering arrow are point to grid north (the top of the map). Somehow, in just one minute, they layout how to use a compass to find your way from one point on the map to another. First, you’ll need to be able to find at least two known landmarks. Make sure you never get lost again by mastering the underappreciated art of navigating with a compass and map. Their Map and Compass Navigation Basics class will teach you the different parts of a compass, how to read a compass, how to read a topographic map, and how to use those two tools together. Welcome back to the Art of Manliness Land Navigation Manual. https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/navigation-basics.htm With the right app (try Digital Field Compass for Android, or Smart Compass for iPhone), you can use your phone as a navigation device, no GPS required. Learn More 2. It also gradually changes over time as the Earth’s tectonic plates shift. There are two ways you can take a bearing out on the trail – by map or by sight in the field. How to Use a Compass with a Map. We have become so spoiled to GPS systems on our phones and in our cars, that many children no longer understand how to look at a map for directions. (2) Center the compass where your drawn line intersects the map border, align the compass axis N-S or E-W with the border line, and read on the compass circle the true bearing of your drawn line. GPS dead? 1. But when you’ve been walking in circles for hours and your day hike is stretching into an overnight, that saying is cold comfort. Using a compass and a map, you can find your location with a few simple steps. And even in the age of GPS and smartphones, the most reliable way to make sure that you stay on track is by using a map and compass. Put the map as flat as possible in front of you 2. It is very important to know where North is on the map and make sure that the orienting arrow is pointing toward North. north. A lensatic compass is also known as a military compass, and these compasses are used to cross terrain that may not have trails or may be more challenging to navigate. Learn to navigate using a topographic map and a compass. Rotate the bezel until North matches the maps north, and the meridian lines line up with a … The ruled edge helps with triangulation and taking your bearings. Set the compass on the map so the edge of the base plate (remember what that is?) Baseplate: a clear back that lets you see the map underneath. Method #1. Because batteries can die and gadgets can malfunction. T always be simple tasks same destination underappreciated art of navigating with a map and skill... Basic concepts, not south. ) Essentials and most outdoor speople take a with... Items in your pack—and knowing how to use your military compass properly from there, you ’ totally... You find your location how a compass with the direction of travel should! 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