Survival Guides – Compass Basics

Survival Guides - Compass Basics

It’s very simple to get lost while in the woods, or for that matter just about anyplace. I actually have been lost many times and am not ashamed to admit it. Getting lost is that the simple part and may be accomplished through complacency, certainty or just poor dumb luck. There have been times where i was one hundred and tenth sure that as shortly as I crested alittle hill, passed through a tree line, came out of a swamp, that I might be specifically in the place I had planned to go, only to finish up standing there confused and wondering wherever the heck I was at. Throughout all of my adventures one essential tool remained at my side and that was the compass. I should note here that the compass never made a mistake or miscalculation, of course anything that had to do with me getting lost can be attributed to human error.

What I would prefer to address today are some very basic uses and tips for utilizing a compass. None of those are beyond day one JROTC instruction. In addition there’s no requirement to own a military style topographical map to follow on. I select to do it this way because the reality is while most preppers do have a compass in their job they might be lucky to own a road atlas in there too, much less a 1:50,000 MGRS topo map. You’ve got to crawl before you can walk and walk before you can run. Think about this the crawl phase of compass basics.

What a compass is: A compass is a navigational instrument that measures directions during a frame of reference that’s stationary relative to the surface of the earth. The frame of reference defines the four cardinal directions, or points – north, south, east, and west. Intermediate directions also are defined. North corresponds to zero degrees, and the angles increase clockwise, so east is ninety degrees, south is one hundred eighty, and west is 270. These numbers enable the compass to show azimuths or bearings, which are usually stated in this notation.

Translation: A compass will tell you which direction you’re going and pretty accurately too. It doesn’t need batteries, is cheap to get, is durable and will fit in your pocket.

Basic uses for a compass

  • Calculate Cardinal Direction. It’s pretty easy, the compass knows which way is north. If you don’t have a military style compass pull out your iPhone and open up your Compass utility just to get a basic idea of what I’m talking about. If you change one spot and slowly turn you will see that the needle continuously points towards north, I’ll get into the different kinds of north in a bit. This matters as a result of having a compass will assist you to keep up your directional heading while in the woods. You might suppose you’ll be ready to track the sun, the North Star or find moss growing on a certain aspect of a tree however a compass will prove a lot of accurate in just regarding each circumstance.
  • Orient a Map. In most instances the top of a map is north, be it a military map or a road atlas. This is vital as a result of combining the map together with your compass can assist you to establish which direction you’re facing relative to the map. Let’s say you lay your road atlas down on the ground and then your compass on top of it…

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