Map, Compass & GPS

Map, Compass & GPS
Wild flowers along Fall Creek on the way to the Green Lakes - Oregon

Monday, July 25, 2016

Snake Safety

My latest issue of Field and Stream arrived the other day.  On page 14 there is a short article about a fellow who is bitten by a timber rattle snake in Mississippi. His self aid procedures sounded good which were primarily keep calm and get to the local emergency room.  Glad to see there was none of folklore techniques for medical care.

12 vials of anti-venom later he probably thought he was bitten again when the hospital bill rolled in with a charge of $420,000.00.  Though not mentioned, this fellow must have had a pretty lengthy stay in the hospital.

Check out my earlier post on Snakes .  Lots of good info on what to do when hiking in snake country.

If you hike with your pup take special precautions.  For example, I live in the high desert region of Oregon.  Right now I won't let my labs romp through the green foliage near the river and I keep them on a leash.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

GPS Waypoints - Dump the Junk

GPS 

 Managing Your GPS Waypoints

Robin is one happy GPS user.  He has owned his Garmin GPS 60 for two years.  The Waypoint file is full of entries.  He had recorded hunting trips, camping expeditions with the kids, a few geocaches, and of course the favorite fishing spot.  His GPS receiver will hold 500 Waypoints and he has over 350 saved.  What a collection of data.  But is Robin really managing his Waypoints effectively?

 Nope.

 Lots of things can happen to a GPS Waypoint or data file.  You can put data in. You can take data out.  You can lose it (the GPS breaks or the wrong button entry is selected.)  But be careful, far worse, too much data can make your navigation difficult.

 In my land navigation class I stress keeping your navigation simple.  Frequent and simple Waypoint management is essential to GPS use.  When it’s time to return to the truck, it should be obvious what GPS Waypoint to select. 

 Dump the junk before the start of a trip.  As you leave the trail head your GPS should have only necessary data saved on your GPS.  That Waypoint for the fishing hole is important but needs to be saved elsewhere.

 Start by deleting Waypoints that really are not needed.  Free those data bites to the atmosphere.

 To save your “got to have, must save Waypoints:” 

             1.            Use Garmin’s “Trip and Waypoint Manager.”  It probably came with your GPS.  It can also be purchased from Garmin for about $30.00; www.garmin.com.  Down load those Waypoints to your PC.

 2.            If you don’t have the Garmin program, consider “Easy GPS.”  It is free and available at www.easygps.com.

            3.            Log the important data in a notebook.

 Electronic storage allows you to save Waypoints and track data (that bread crumb trail on your map screen.)  Further, you can upload old Waypoints another day for a trip to that special fishing spot.  This data can also be down loaded into your friends GPS too.  It can also be uploaded to your new GPS in the future.

 Remember though; when you receive or transfer GPS Waypoint data always verify that you have the compatible map datum and coordinate system set on your receiver.

 Finally, give important Waypoints a name.  It’s easier to remember a Waypoint named “CAMP” instead of 21 (or was it 25.)

 Now, when Robin is ready to return to the trail head he’ll see 30 are saved instead of 350.  His navigation is a bit simpler and should he have to navigate under stress due to weather or injury it will make more sense and eliminate mistakes.





Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Buying A Used GPS Receiver

Used receivers in thrift stores, estate sales and auctions are generally overpriced and outdated. I have seen many used or re manufactured receivers fail during classes that I teach.

If the hiker is in need of a back-up receiver here is what I would suggest:

·       Keep an eye on the blog www.gpstracklog.com.  The blogger keeps an up to date site on what is happening in the world of GPS receivers.

·      Identify what models are of interest and then visit Ebay, Amazon and WalMart.com to get a price baseline.

·      Get a relatively current model.  For example, Garmin models such as the 60 or eTrek series should have the following nomenclature next to the model name such as H, or HCx (Garmin GPSmap60CX.)

·      A receiver is in reality a hi-tech piece of equipment.  If the viewing screen is badly scratched or the case is cracked or showing signs of rough wear walk away from it.

·     Never buy a receiver without a demonstration.  Take some AA batteries with you when you go shopping.

·     The receiver should track satellites within a few minutes of being turned on and should be locked on, ready to navigate in 4-6 minutes (ball park estimate.)

·      Determine how much mapping capability it has.  For example, my old Garmin GPSmap60 receiver had the capability to store 100 mega bites of data which approximated to about half of the state of Oregon.  Receivers with micro SD cards offer more capability.

·       Retain all paper work and warranty info supporting re-manufactured product.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Smartphone Navigation Apps

It's common in my navigation classes to be asked - what is better, a standalone GPS
receiver (such as a Garmin 64) or smartphone navigation apps?

Philip Werner's blog has a fine post that takes a look at what hikers are using on the trail for backcountry navigation. His post offers a survey of what is most common in the hiking community.

I was gratified to see that a large majority use a traditional paper map and compass.

Smartphone navigation App use is large and from my perspective getting larger.

Thoughtfully, Mr. Werner provides a nice listing of popular smartphone navigation app.

Personally, I'll stick with my waterproof and reliable Garmin 64s.



Considerations When Buying a GPS -

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Navigation Book to Read

Recently, one of my students showed me a book by Greg Davenport. This was a new one for me.   Davenport's book Advanced Outdoor Navigation is a great read.

This book is very detailed and is an excellent resource for the backcountry navigator.  I found a copy on Amazon.  My copy was printed in 2006.  The GPS section needs to be brought up to date.  

I wish it was still in print as I'd use it as the required reading material in my next class.




Thursday, June 2, 2016

Wilderness Survival: You're Lost





I came across Ryan Tipps' post on Outdoorhub today.  This material can not be repeated often enough.
"Face it – getting lost happens to the best of us. Maybe you were tracking an injured buck too long; maybe the batteries on your GPS gave out; or maybe you hadn’t brushed up on your map and compass skills like you planned. Bottom line: You are where you are – wherever that may be."

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Best Ways to Cut Weight for a Backpacking Trip

This post was written by guest author Rhett.
Backpacking can be a great way to experience the beauty of nature and get away from the
chaos of everyday life. However, if you find yourself weighted down with a pack full of heavy equipment, you may have a hard time enjoying the journey. You will find that you can still carry everything you need down to your camo wallet and be lightweight enough to hike with ease. Here are 4 practical ways to cut weight for your next backpacking trip.
Clothing
What you wear while you hike can make a big difference in the overall weight you are carrying. The most important place to cut weight with your clothing is your hiking boots. Heavy boots will weigh you down, creating greater fatigue in your knees and legs with every step.
Look for comfortable, durable, lightweight hiking boots. Try them on before purchasing to be sure they fit your feet well. If you have to purchase boots online, check the weight specs so you can tell if the boots you are ordering are truly lightweight.
Pants, shirts, and socks should also be lightweight. Clothing made of breathable, synthetic materials can provide extra comfort as they often wick moisture away from your body. Try to avoid cotton as it is bulky, relatively heavy, and absorbs sweat. While these pieces of clothing are not going to make as big of a difference as your hiking boots, cutting their bulk and weight will still make hiking easier.
Equipment
The heaviest piece of equipment you will have is your tent. You can cut weight here by purchasing a lightweight tent or if you can't purchase a new tent, check the weather before you leave. If there is no chance of rain, you may be able to leave the rain fly at home. However, you do risk getting caught in an unexpected storm.
Another possibility is to bring a ground cover and/or tarp to create a shelter that allows you to sleep under the stars. In this case, you lose the weight of tent poles, rain fly, and ground cover. Be sure to practice making your shelter before you go so that you are prepared to set it up.
Food
Food makes up another significant portion of the weight that you carry. Replace your food with freeze dried meals because they are lightweight and easy to prepare. These meals have zero moisture, which means you are carrying only the essential nutrients. As long as you have access to enough water on the trip, you will have all the food that you need. Along with your food, a small, simple way to cut weight is to use plastic eating utensils. A plastic fork, spoon, knife, and plate eliminate the extra weight of silverware.
Use Items for Multiple Purposes
You can cut weight without having to invest in more lightweight gear by rethinking what you are already taking with you. For example, instead of packing a pillow, stuff your extra pants and shirt inside your coat or sweatshirt and use it as a pillow. Instead of packing pajamas, either sleep in your clean clothes and wear them the next day or sleep in your dirty clothes and put on your clean clothes in the morning.
Backpack with the Essentials
As you take the time to go through your backpacking equipment and clothing, you will start to find the items that can be purchased in a lightweight or smaller version. After going through those items, creative thinking will help you to reach the pack weight that you want. Once you've gone lightweight, you'll be able to enjoy your trip more fully.

Outdoor enthusiast, turned blogger Rhett Davis brings his passion for all things outdoors into everything he writes. Rhett’s perfect Saturday is a morning on the lake, afternoon with the BBQ and an evening with family.