Practical wilderness navigation is a perishable skill set. If you don't use it, you loose it. I've discovered that most outdoor enthusiasts have little to no navigation or map and compass skills (or at the very least only have some knowledge of the functions of their GPS unit.) "Did I forget the batteries?" This is often troubling to me as I read news article after news article on lost individuals that have been lucky enough to be rescued by their cell phones. That said, it's becoming harder find classes or workshops on wilderness navigation Map and Compass and the proper use of a GPS unit.
There are a few things you can do to improve your ability to use a GPS. I recommend a very fun hobby I play with my family, Geocaching. It is a fun bunny-hunt type game that keeps you in tune with your GPS. You don't have to go to the wilderness to play because there are thousands of caches near you.
Map and compass skills are harder to keep in your head. You can find plenty of books and DVD's on the subject (I'll link to a few in the show notes below.) Don't forget to practice practice practice to fully understand their use. I have never done it, but the sport of orienteering is a way to maintain your skill set. Check out (http://www.us.orienteering.org) for details on the sport. My weapon of choice is search and rescue. I teach our SAR volunteers practical wilderness navigation. It is a weekend class that starts with 5 to 6 hours of classroom instruction than a day and night of map and compass navigation in a wilderness environment. If you think volunteering may be an option, I'll caution you, it's a lifetime commitment.
In today's episode we're going to talk about some of the topics I cover in my search and rescue navigation course; some of the instruments I use for navigating.
Links From Today’s Show
Checkout The Advantage Survival Store
Garmin GPS 60CSx
Brunton 15TDCL Compass
Compass & Map Navigator: The Complete Guide to Staying Found
Wilderness Navigation: Finding Your Way Using Map, Compass, Altimeter & GPS
OA's Guide to Map & Compass
USGS Finding Your Way With Map and Compass
Topo Map Symbols
Nat Geo Maps