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How many can use a compass well? Are there any things i can do to practice? Like going to the range to shoot to get better with my firearm is there something similar i can do with map and compass. I think GPS units seem cool but I'm not buying one..especially for shtf situations compass seems the way to go. I know some basics and have a silvia trekker and a military lensatic compass and was just thinking about this recently. I know I need more practice, something in a day trip kind of thing. Anyway if anyone knows any tips, websites etc let me know.
 

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I learned how to use a compass years ago. I do practice using it regularly but whats more important is to practice determining and remember which way is which at any given moment during your travels around town. The best thing you can do, aside from having a good quality compass in the first place, is to get a set of good quality maps of the area(s) your interested in. If possible get some plastic coated ones. They are much more durable. A grease pencil would be a good investment too.

Learn and know which direction major landmarks are, maybe marking them on your maps in permanent ink/marker.

I agree while GPS is nice, one should learn analog skills as well. After all when the zombies invade and the power goes out, all those shiny GPS and microwave units won't be working very well,... :)
 

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I use GPS to track my hunting dog. But I always take a compass incase the batteries die on me.

I am by no means a compass master but I always use a map and compass to determine what direction roads are running because they usually go north/south or east/west.

That way ono matter how far I go into the woods I just glance at which way I head in. Then I can determine roughly where the road is and find my way back out without doing circles.

If you want to learn how to use a map and compass to take headings and travel long routes you can probably find an orienteering class around you. I always thought it would be neat, but not really necessary for what I use the compass for.
 

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Get a topographical map of an area where you hike, camp, etc. It's okay to use a GPS, but start using a compass along with it. When I first started using topo maps many years ago we didn't have GPS.

Interestingly enough, I just got back from a research project in Northern California with UNR. Another group ended up with our GPS one day and I found our location using the map and compass, just like the old days. Others in the group had to ask me how I did that--almost like it was magic.

GPS is very useful, but it can get lost, it can break, batteries can go dead. You brain, a map and a compass can continue to work well without the newest tech.
 

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great topic, good thinkin!

There's lotsa how-to on the web... i have a friend who built a maps course for the local scouts. Even the Army comes and "borrows" it's use. I wonder if anyone local would have something like that around you? If not then get a nice topo map of your fav. park, a good compass, study the articles ya find, and JUMP-in! ha.

Good on ya for it too!!
 

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GPS is very useful, but it can get lost, it can break, batteries can go dead. You brain, a map and a compass can continue to work well without the newest tech.
AND they might shut-down/disable the satelites... especially if tshtf. Space war is a very real concern.
 

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Street maps use real north, I believe topo, like navigation charts, uses magnetic north. Something to keep in mind.
You can also find north usin a watch. I have read how to do it about 4 or 5 different ways, but this is the most simplest way I have ever read it,,
If you have a watch, you can point the hour hand at the sun. Then find the point directly between the hour hand and the 12. That's south. The opposite direction is, of course, north.
Nother thing is to use way points and aim for them. -->reason,, you can set a course up where you are heading in a direction toward a way point, say 1/4 mile. Pull you hat brim down so you can only see the compass, not the way point and go for it. You will notice by the time you get to the 1/4 mile (or less) you are way off. That's because the minerals in the ground will throw the compass off a bit as you are movin. It's a fun thing to try.
 

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the top of a paper map is ALWAYS north no matter what. electronic or GPS maps are different. i learned how to use a compass in the army and it never left me.

SW
 

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True north, not magnetic north. He said he wanted to use a compass.
 

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FWIW. magnetic north moves a few miles east every year. That's why when I would sail, I (like every one else) would have to buy new navigation charts every few years. (coastal sailors that is, blue water sailors needed to get new ones every year)
 

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I do wish more people would use or at least make themselves more familiar with the compass. The masses have moved into the electronic dependent realm so fast it makes my head spin. With that being said, I to use a GPS for marking my hunting stands, rub lines, favorite fishing holes, work related stuff, etc...but there is always a map and compass in my bag.

Almost every day I get calls or people stop in and ask "how do I get to..." or "can you give me GPS coordinates" or the dreaded "my GPS told me to turn and now I am lost." I always want to tell these folks to throw the thing out the window and stop at the next store and buy a map. For just a few dollars you can get a decent map that will never malfunction or need new batteries.
 

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check the web for magnetic north variances in your area.

Bible says "the CORNERS of the earth", our globe may not have corners, but look at the way the mag variances lay on the earth & it's near spooky.

:wideeyed2:
 

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"civilians" call the skill orienteering. There may be a local group near you if you search the web. Not knocking other services but the Army manuals on land navigation are available on the web. Funniest thing I ever saw was an SF guy "running " a compass course with a GPS in 1992. All the guys using a compass had finished and we were wondering if he had gotten hurt and should go look for him. Get a good topo map of an area with woods and practice, remember to keep a pace count and turn and look behind you periodically. Check the "marginal" information on the map for the last time it was actually updated/surveyed.
 

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I can use one but my skills need polishing. One of the items I always have in my car with my auxiliary BOB gear is a state Gazetteer. I bought it when I was driving 1,000 backcountry miles for the Gov't. It has every back road, county road, two-track, and cow path in the state. Very handy in SHTF situation because you can navigate around obstacles/towns &c. as necessary.

-'b
 

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Yes. While I carry a GPS these days as well I do know how to use a compass like a champ.

Topic is great.

The military does not require land nav any more. I shart you not.

Back in the day my day yes. The wife still being in they are moving away from the skill and towards the GPS.

Electronically dependent MIL these days. Sad.
 

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Yep, between Scouts, the Army, and being old enough to consider GPS "new-fangled", I'm well versed in the use of the compass and topo map.
 

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A compass is just flat fun to use and is useful in almost any situation. It does require some skill but if we could use in the Boy Scouts at nine years of age it should be no problem for us. An essential item to say the least.
 

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I was in the sea scouts... a compass is my go to in my bug out bag
 

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Always heard Sea Scouts were a blast but never had the chance to find out. One of the nice things now is that maps can be downloaded now for almost any area you might want to get except some military reserves. Just make sure the scaling is correct when you print them.
 

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Yes. While I carry a GPS these days as well I do know how to use a compass like a champ.

Topic is great.

The military does not require land nav any more. I shart you not.

Back in the day my day yes. The wife still being in they are moving away from the skill and towards the GPS.

Electronically dependent MIL these days. Sad.
Umm, that's a broad statement. I will guarantee you that in my unit in the Army Infantry we absolutely still learn and practice/use land nav with a compass and a protractor. The days of shooting azimuths and knowing and using your pace count aren't over, I just wish more civilians knew how.
 
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