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Survival Essentials: How to Navigate With a Map and Compass

Many people today have no clue on how to navigate — except from using Google Maps or their car sat nav. Both of which can easily break or go down during an emergency. The same goes for your standard hiking GPS.

In this article, accompanied with instructional videos, we’ll take a look at how to properly navigate with a map and compass — in theory and in the field.

This is an essential skill, and something every man and woman should know. Knowing how to navigate, and practicing and honing old school navigation skills, may very well save your life one day.

Map and Compass Navigation Part 1

This is a lesson on map and compass navigation declination and finding map bearing.

Personally I recommend that you get a splash proof map case, and a quality compass. It doesn’t have to be expensive, a cheaper model like the one in the video is more than enough.

I bought a handful of these from Suunto (same as in the video above) to keep in my bug-out bag, in my hiking jacket and a few spare ones — so I can teach my grandchildren this essential skill when they grow up.

They’re plastic, but they last (Suunto is a quality brand, and these can take a beating) and they’re around 15$ at Amazon.

For splash/water proof cases, anything will do really — as long as the map is protected from water. I have this one. It’s cheap, nothing fancy, but it does the job.

Map and Compass Navigation Part 2 (In The Field)

In this video i navigate to a lake with map and compass only.I lace my snowshoes and head in the forest bushwacking to my destination.

If you’d like to learn more about navigation I can highly recommend the book “Be Expert with Map and Compass” by Bjorn Kjellstrom. You can pick up the third edition here.

Featured photo by Marcus Ramberg, Flickr CC

Written by Jeffrey Webb

I’ve been a consultant in the oil industry for most of my professional life. Since retiring a few years back, I’ve been spending my time traveling the world with my wife. I have always had a passion for travel and living abroad— maybe from working in oil fields all over the world? I guess it’s hard to settle down and do nothing after all these years.

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