Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Navigation Primer Suggestions?
Display Avatars Sort By:
Timothy Reynolds
(magrenell) - M

Locale: New England
Navigation Primer Suggestions? on 08/04/2011 08:12:19 MDT Print View

I'm embarrassed to say that for years now I've been navigating by the seat of my pants; some magical-thinking-type relationship with my map and compass, and diligent looking out of blazes on whatever trail I'm on, seem to have gotten me home each and every time.

But I'm 'fessing up -- I really don't know what the hell I'm doing...

I'm planning a trip out West in the Spring, and I really need to get my navigation chops down before then. Can anyone suggest a book or a website that would cover the basics of map and compass use and knowlege, with a view to going on to learn more about GPS etc?


Phew... Feel better now that my dark secret is out in the open :-)

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Navigation Primer Suggestions? on 08/04/2011 12:16:27 MDT Print View

Check out the navigation essay by Dick Blust.

Brendan S
(brendans) - MLife

Locale: Fruita CO
Re: Re: Navigation Primer Suggestions? on 08/04/2011 12:28:14 MDT Print View

Roger C posted this a while back...

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Re: Navigation Primer Suggestions? on 08/04/2011 15:51:37 MDT Print View

This book is a classic - been around a loooong time. There is also a DVD at this site.

Hart -
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
Get a GPS on 08/04/2011 17:56:56 MDT Print View

You and probably just about everyone else :) I'm better (not great!) with the map and compass now that I have a GPS (Garmin 60CSx) and some experience with it. A new gadget is a good motivation to start understanding this stuff.

Edited by backpackerchick on 08/04/2011 17:58:27 MDT.

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
Good, basic site on 08/04/2011 18:09:27 MDT Print View

Of course, the best way to learn is get out there. :)

Many local colleges, outdoor groups, outdoor stores, etc. offer basic classes for free to little cost (enough to cover the materials).

I took a map and compass class through the RI chapter of the Appalachian Mtn Club back in 1997. I learned off a topo with 10' contours!!!! :D

But, the basics stuck with me and those original lessons apply whether on the Continental Divide, the Utah dessert or in the gently rolling terrain and woods of my native RI.

We did one class day and one field day. The field helped A LOT.

Oh yes..realized you asked about GPS, too
If you can count to 10, you can use a GPS (UTM coords!)

This site works well:

A GPS is basically for UTM coordinates.

You can learn more of an overviews of the bells and whistles at a class typically offered at REI, but it is all about base 10. :)

Edited by PaulMags on 08/04/2011 18:13:50 MDT.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Navigation Primer Suggestions? on 08/04/2011 18:10:06 MDT Print View

Local orienteering club. Would give you some real world experience.

GPS is a crutch.

Edited by kthompson on 08/04/2011 18:10:58 MDT.

Hart -
(backpackerchick) - MLife

Locale: Planet Earth
REI on 08/04/2011 18:41:41 MDT Print View

The REI navigation courses (both map/compass and GPS) I've taken ARE really good. In SoCal, there is usually an evening session at the store and a corresponding weekend day outing. You sign up for them separately. The courses are quite basic though.

As for GPS being a crutch, I'd argue that a map and compass are also a crutch.

Orienteering is a really neat community. I'd like to get some point.

Edited by backpackerchick on 08/04/2011 18:44:42 MDT.

Timothy Reynolds
(magrenell) - M

Locale: New England
Thanks! on 08/09/2011 07:59:38 MDT Print View

Thank you all for your wisdom and suggestions.

Yep, I remember a smattering of compass knowledge from some orienteering I did as a teenager growing up in Ireland. But I do need this firmer footing.

I'm going with the Bjorn Kjellstrom suggestion above as a starter (with video, so I can re-enforce things with my hiking buddies).

All the best,