Helping You Find the Right Gear for Your Adventure
Out in the wilderness, out of reach of cellular assistance, it’s important to keep your bearings and stay on course. Knowing the layout of your route and where you are in the landscape are fundamental skills, and their importance only increases the further afield you go. Check out the different kinds of navigation devices below and learn why they are all important.
As simple as it gets, the map is a snapshot of the area you are in. It includes details about where water sources are, how far different sites are from each other, and the terrain between them. This information gives you the ability to plan and execute the perfect camping getaway. Make sure to use the map in conjunction with the other tools for the greatest safety and accuracy.
One of the oldest and most common navigational tools, compasses use the Earth’s magnetic field to give you an accurate reading on which direction you are headed. When used with the map, this will allow you to orient the map to the landscape and check your progress on your plotted course, or find your way back to your campsite.
Altimeters let you know how far you are above sea level, giving you the ability to pinpoint your location to a specific altitude. Used in conjunction with a map and a compass, this can tell you where you are even in whiteout conditions. They are also great planning tools. Knowing how long you took to climb 2000 feet can help you determine if you make the next 2000 before nightfall, or are better off camping earlier. Altimeters use atmospheric pressure to tell your elevation, so they can also be weather instruments foretelling incoming storm fronts. Most are very easy to use after a little orientation.
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GPS devices are the final and most advanced piece of the navigation puzzle. The unit communicates with a network of satellites to triangulate your position and tell you exactly where you are. Once again, it is best to use GPS devices as part of a system including the other items mentioned here. While a GPS unit can tell you exactly where you are, it may not indicate the cliff or swamp between there and where you need to go. But used properly they can save you a ton of guesstimation in the wilderness.
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