Tips and tricks to help you navigate safely and effectively in the outdoors
Navigation is the art of getting from one place to another. It’s about making a plan around how to get from place A to place B, and then actually getting from A to B.
While navigation may seem like a big and scary topic, everyone can navigate! Think about it: every morning you get up, navigate from the bedroom to the bathroom and then out the front door. Navigating in the bush is the same, it’s just a little more complex. Learning to navigate around your house just means learning a few routes and remembering them. But in the bush, navigation involves working out and following a new route each time, and the landmarks are unfamiliar. There’s also more pressure to get it right on a bushwalk because getting lost in the bush is a bigger deal than getting lost in your hallway!
Navigation is a skill acquired by experience, study, and observation. It takes a long time to master. When starting out, it’s easy to be wrong. Unfortunately, the only way to get better is to persevere and keep on going! Navigation is a fun skill to learn, and many bushwalkers find that learning to navigate gives them a whole new appreciation of the landscape.
How to ...
Finding your way doesn’t have to be scary! Zac, from We are Explorers, has put together a beginner’s guide to navigating with a map and compass so you can get out there (and back) without a worry.
Source: We Are Explorers
This manual provides guidelines and information for safe and enjoyable community-based bushwalking across Australia.
Section: Practical Navigation
- Map and compass basics
- Navigation Techniques
- Navigation in difficult conditions
- Mobile phone navigation
- Handheld GPS navigation
- GPS sports watches
Source: Bushwalking Victoria
Advances in GPS technology are no replacement for basic navigation skills.
With the advent of GPS technology, navigating by compass is a skill that seems to be rapidly falling by the wayside. Because a GPS unit is only as good as the battery or satellite signal that guides it, your ability to determine location and direction by compass is as important as it ever was. Even if you never need to use classic orienteering techniques, becoming proficient with a compass is a process that puts you into even closer contact with the outdoors. The basics can be broken down into three categories:
- Setting the Declination
- From Map to Field
- From Field to Map
Using a map and compass may seem antiquated but it could save your life. So when traveling in the backcountry it is always a good idea to carry a map and a compass with you even if you have a GPS device. But they are only good if you know how to use them!
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