a reply to: Starcrossd
As for resources, there are actually quite a few good sources on the web (we'll get to those in a minute), but first let's talk about compasses, maps
and a couple other things.
Compasses - There are a couple really reputable compass companies out there. Brunton and Silva are two of them. You can spend anywhere from a few
bucks to a couple hundred bucks on a compass. I recommend just starting out with a basic map compass. There is one feature though which is an
absolute must IMO, and this is a compass with adjustable declination. 'Declination', or Magnetic Declination, is the difference between magnetic
north and true north and it changes as your location changes (both lat. and long). Sometimes fairly dramatically depending on your location.
Declination is a difficult concept for many people to understand, and even experienced navigators will make errors sometimes. So, it's worth the
money to get a compass with this feature. One of the reasons declination is hard to understand is that you do one thing to convert from map bearings
to compass bearings, and the exact opposite thing to convert from compass bearings to map bearings. It's easy to forget which one to do, or which
way, especially when in a hurry, under stress or with other stuff on your mind. A compass with adjustable declination eliminates this problem, and
makes things much easier to understand.
Here's a good recommendation for a compass:
Silva Explorer Pro
YOU - The next recommendation has to do with YOU (so nothing to buy here). And this is knowing your stride or pace. Go to your local High School
football field and measure your stride. To do this, do the following:
1. Stand directly on the goal line.
2. Step forward normally with your LEFT foot
3. Now step all the way forward (normally) with your RIGHT foot. This is "one pace", and the next time your right foot touches the ground is "two
paces", etc. (i.e. you're not counting your left step, only the right.)
4. Count the number of paces it take you to get to the 50 yard line (in my case it's almost exactly 25 paces). Write this number down on an index
5. Now, stand directly on the 50 yard line and start over (you can go to the far end goal line, or back to where you started, it doesn't matter).
Count the number of paces again, and write it down. It should be close to the first number.
6. Repeat this process 4-5 times, writing down the number of paces each time.
7. After doing this a few times add up all the numbers and divide them by the number of times you walked the 50 yards. This will give you an average
number of paces to go 50 yards.
8. Now divide 150 (feet) by the average number of paces to cover this distance. This will give you the average distance of your stride / pace (in
feet). Write this number down and keep it. Now when someone tells you something is 300 feet away, you'll know exactly how many paces (or steps) you
have to take to go a certain distance. This is a valuable thing to know. Just remember to always take the first step with your LEFT foot, and when
you step forward with your RIGHT foot count "one" to yourself.
Maps - Next, go get yourself a USGS map of an area you like to spend time in, or are familiar with. Do NOT try to print one out from online, or buy
some other kind of a 'sportsmans map' or anything like that. Get an official USGS map, nothing else (I am assuming you are in the US. If not I can
give you some other similar sources in other countries).
When you get the map, it may come folded, but they often come in a tube unfolded. If the latter, how you fold the map is important:
1. Fold the map in half vertically, from right to left.
2. Now fold the side you just folded back over on itself vertically again.
3. Now flip the whole map over vertically and fold the (now) right side back over itself again vertically (from right to left).
4. Now fold the whole map in half horizontally from top to bottom.
5. When you flip the map back over you should see the title of the map on the lower right. You're done.
The reason you want a USGS map and no other is for several reasons. The most important reason is because the scale of these maps is generally
1:24000. And what this means is 1 inch on the map = 24,000 inches (2,000 feet) in the field. On your compass you'll notice some marks which looks
like a ruler. Those marks are also laid out at the exact same scale as a USGS map (how about that, right?). So just with these three basic things,
you're already in business! Ready to start learning map and compass navigation.
By the way, the official name of these USGS maps is what is known as a seven and a half minute (or "7.5' Quadrangle") map.
This post is probably getting too long, so I'll follow up with another post of some fun next steps and some resources.
edit on 5/30/2020 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)