2018 UPDATE: Since this article was first written, many things have changed for reasons of simple improvement or ease of use. In fact, this material has matured greatly since the time of this writing and there have been dozens of refinements. Take my Wilderness Navigation Course if you want to get more detailed information (compasses also available for sale on the course page). For now, two of the more important changes are as follows:
- Book time is measured using 3 minutes per 100 feet of gain, plus 3 minutes per tenth of a mile. This makes the math a lot easier.
- I stopped recording a back-bearing in parentheses. Instead now relying on the sheer simplicity of using “black to get to back.”
Now, here is the original article:
Two of the best ways to ensure you don’t get lost in the woods is to always know where you are and where you’re headed. If you know those two things you’re not lost. It doesn’t even matter what basic tools you use to know these two bits of information. Knowing is knowing. You might be a GPS user, and that’s okay, or you might use a map and compass only, and that’s fine as well. Since the common argument is that a GPS might malfunction or run out of power, HikeSafe recommends using a Map and Compass combination as one of the ten essentials — items you shouldn’t be without in the mountains.