The Beginner's Guide To Using A Map And Compass
Getting lost in the outdoors can be a scary and dangerous experience, but if you have a compass and know how to use it, you can navigate your way back to safety. Here are some tips for using a compass when you’re lost in the outdoors.
1.Understand Basic Compass Anatomy
Before you can use a compass, it’s important to understand its basic anatomy. A compass consists of a baseplate, which is a clear plastic plate with a ruler on the side, a rotating bezel or compass housing, and a magnetic needle. The needle points to magnetic north, which is different from true north.
2.Orient the Map
To use a compass to navigate, you first need to orient the map. To do this, place the compass on the map so that the direction of travel arrow on the baseplate points toward the top of the map. Rotate the bezel until the orienting arrow on the bezel lines up with the magnetic north on the map. The map is now oriented to magnetic north.
3.Determine Your Location
To determine your location, you need to find two identifiable landmarks on the map that you can see in the field. Take a sighting on the first landmark by pointing the direction of travel arrow at the landmark and rotating the bezel until the magnetic needle is inside the orienting arrow on the bezel. The bezel now shows the bearing or direction of travel from your current location to the landmark.
4.Set Your Bearing
Repeat step 3 with the second landmark to get a second bearing. Then, place the compass on the map with the edge of the baseplate connecting the two landmarks. Rotate the bezel until the direction of travel arrow points toward the second landmark. The bezel now shows your bearing or the direction you need to travel to reach the second landmark.
5.Follow Your Bearing
Hold the compass level in front of you with the direction of travel arrow pointing away from your body. Turn your body until the magnetic needle is inside the orienting arrow on the bezel. The direction of travel arrow now points in the direction you need to travel. Follow this direction until you reach your destination.
6.Adjust for Declination
If you’re in an area with significant magnetic declination, you’ll need to adjust your compass readings to account for the difference between magnetic north and true north. To do this, look up the declination for your area and adjust the bezel accordingly.
In conclusion, knowing how to use a compass can be a lifesaver when you’re lost in the outdoors. By understanding the basic anatomy of a compass and following these steps, you can navigate your way back to safety. Remember to always carry a compass and a map, and practice using them before you head out on your next outdoor adventure.