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Camping Gear : Using a Map & Compass for Hiking

Camping Gear : Using a Map & Compass for Hiking


I want to talk now about how to take the map
and the compass and put them together. First thing you’re going to need to do is look at
the legend. Or somewhere on the map and look for where it talks about magnetic declination.
Magnetic declination is the difference between magnetic north is where the needle is pointing
and true north. It’s going to be different depending on where you are in the world. This
map indicates that’s about 6 degrees west of true north. Now a lot of compasses you’re
going to have to do the mental gymnastics each time you put the map and the compass
together. But this compass is kind of nice because it can actually set the declination
and I don’t have to think about it. I take my map and I place the compass on the edge.
The top of the map is always north. What you want to do is orient this so that the north
end of the map is north. Now anything you take off of this map will relate to the real
world. Say I’m at this shelter right here and I need to get to a road real quick. There’s
a road right here. That’s the closest one. And so I can take the straight edge of my
base plate and then turn this dial until the needle is lined up with that little outline.
I call the needle red Fred and I call that little outline red Fred’s shed. So you put
red Fred in the shed and then right there is the bearing that you need to take. And
so when you take it. Hold it in front of you with the direction travel arrow and turn your
body until red Fred’s in the shed and start walking. If you have any questions give your
local outfitter a holler.

17 thoughts on “Camping Gear : Using a Map & Compass for Hiking

  • I've been reading various how-tos on how to use a map and compass, and it never really made sense. Your video made it clear to me. Thanks!

  • The Instructions that come with the Silva Swedish Compasses are quite good and easy to understand, It does not mention Red Fred but it is the same as this Chap.

  • @wwwdarylann No, it wasn't you, as it was a little vague. I found this video for a friend of mine, which he had trouble, too. I live in the most isolated region of the lower 48 U.S., so I am quite experienced at map reading. However, I have a hard time explaining anything to another person.

  • @wwwdarylann I will try to explain this better than he did: You just line up your bearing with the straight-edge of the compass (from where you are to where you want to go), then you turn the N (Shed) until it lines up with the red needle (Red Fred). Now, you have your bearing. You will notice an arrow at the front of the compass: when "Red Fred is Kept in the Shed", that arrow will point to the direction you need to travel to get to your destination. I guess it is pretty simple.

  • OK if I can't get Fred to go into his Shed then when I'm lost in the mountains in South Korea in a month, I'll give my local outfitters a holler.

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