Map, Compass & GPS

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

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Compass Navigation - Baseline

Returning to a baseline is a pretty straight forward concept.  The idea is that you leave camp from a known location and strike out in a specific direction such as North, or 000°.  When it is time to return aim to the left or right of camp (like 165°T), hit the logging road camp is on and turn right.  That is the concept but there is a bit more to it.
Let’s go over the tools you need and the process of how it works in more detail.
My recommendation is to first purchase a reliable compass that can be adjusted for declination.  A solid compass made by Suunto, Brunton (the 8010G) and Silva (the Ranger pictured above) are great choices.  Learn how to adjust the compass for the declination or your location.  (Note: declination is the difference between true north and magnetic north.  Declination for your area can be found at )   Note that some of the inexpensive compasses will indicate that it has declination marking/grid on the packaging.  You want a compass that can be mechanically adjusted.
If the sales clerks eyes glaze over you are in the wrong store.
The essence of back country navigation is to keep it simple.  If you are new to compass navigation, having a compass that can be adjusted keeps things simple.  Though the red magnetic needle still points to magnetic north, the rotating dial (that has been adjusted) now provides information in degrees true.  A compass that is aligned to degrees true now works well with the traditional topographic map that is oriented to degrees true as well.  Take a look at June Fleming’s book Staying Found or visit
To read the rest of the post go here.

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