GPS (Global Positioning System) dominates today when it comes to all kinds of navigation. Every smartphone is capable of getting you from point A to point B more efficiently than we could have imagined just a decade ago. The triangulation of its many satellites orbiting the earth will put you at the feet of any point on earth. If your batteries are full and you can get a signal, you have no excuse to get lost in the woods.
Yet these are two very important and sometimes unreliable "ifs". There is a simple way to make them irrelevant - learn to use a compass for backup and always carry it with you.
The most important common point of all orienteering compasses is that one end of the needle is red. The red tip of the needle always points north. Remember - red always points north.
Orienteering compasses all have a flat, see-through rectangular base plate. The compass needle is surrounded by a dial that you can turn. This is called housing. The outer edge of the enclosure is marked with N, E, S, W and is further divided by hash marks representing 0 to 360 degrees. Inside the housing there is a special arrow that runs from the axis of the needle to the edge of the dial. usually made of two sticks topped with an arrowhead. If you remove it, it should look like a small hut for a stickman. Remember this - this hut.
The base plate is engraved with a direction arrow. This is usually a thin line with another arrowhead on it. For fun, we will call this direction arrow “Fred”. Remember this – Fred.
Here's a simple rhyme that will get you out of the woods: "Put the red in the hut and follow Fred." You don't even need a map. You just need to know the general direction you need to travel for the rhyme to work.
For example, let's say you park the car at the intersection of two roads, the north/south road and the east/west road. You headed southeast, towards a special part of the stream where you always wanted to fish. Taking a walk at sunrise was easy because you knew that if you held the sun in your left eye, you would be on the right track to reach the current. Now, it's time to hike out, but rolled in the clouds. Even the fog is starting so you can't really see the forest very far away.
You know you have to go northwest to get back in the car, or at least hit one of the roads you can get back to the car. Here's what you'll do:
Pull out your never-fail compass and turn the case so that it aligns with Fred's base (direction arrow) northwest or 315 degrees, then turn it all the way around with the compass lying flat in your palm and Fred pointing straight ahead. trunk, until red lines form in the hut.
You are now looking directly northwest. Select a prominent object in front of you, such as a tree, rock, or clearing, as far ahead as you can see it. Walk towards it and stop.
Bring the compass, put red in the shed and follow Fred to the next obvious object on the northwest line.
You will soon be in your car or crash into one of the roads not far away.
Now, a navigation compass combined with a good topographic map and more advanced compass capabilities can provide any accuracy in a GPS.