Important Wilderness Navigation Skills To Have
- Know how to use a compass
- Learn how to read a map
- Learn how to understand weather conditions and what to look for in weather changes
- Plan your route
- Tell someone where you’re going, when you’re leaving, and when you’ll be back.
Navigation skills are a critical component to safe and fun outdoor adventures. Navigating in the wilderness can be a thrilling and rewarding experience, but it’s essential to have a basic understanding of navigation skills to ensure a safe and successful trip. Whether you’re hiking, camping, hunting, or exploring, having the ability to navigate through the wilderness can mean the difference between getting lost and reaching your destination. Here are some basic wilderness navigation skills that can help you find your way in the wilderness.
Wilderness Navigation Skills
The first step in wilderness navigation is understanding map reading basics. A map is a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional area, and it’s essential to understand the symbols and information included on the map. Familiarize yourself with the legend, scale, contour lines, and the different types of terrain represented. Learning these will help you identify important features such as roads, trails, rivers, and lakes.
Learn How To Use A Compass
Another critical skill is compass reading. A compass is a simple and reliable tool that can help you determine your direction and location. A basic understanding of the cardinal points (north, south, east, and west) and using a compass to take a bearing can help you navigate in the wild. Learning how to orient a map with a compass is also important, as this can help you determine your location and plan your route.
Once you’ve got the basics of map reading and compass use, you can practice more advanced navigation techniques. Using a map, compass, and landmarks, you can create a rough plan of your route and track your progress as you move through the wilderness. By taking note of critical landmarks and checking your progress on the map, you’ll be able to adjust your route as needed.
Be Aware of the Weather
In addition to basic navigation skills, it’s important to be aware of the weather and other environmental factors that can affect your trip. Being prepared for changes in the weather and understanding how different types of terrain can affect your journey, like a steep elevation change, can help you stay safe and on track. Before starting your trip, remember to check the weather forecast and pack appropriate gear for any potential weather changes.
Another helpful tip is always to let someone know your plan, including an estimated arrival time and your expected route. It’s also a good idea to carry a mobile phone or satellite communication device (such as the Garmin inReach Mini 2) as a backup but rely on something other than those alone, as batteries can die and coverage can be poor. Having a backup plan is always good if you encounter a problem or need assistance.
Navigation Skills Conclusion
Lastly, it’s essential to practice wilderness navigation skills regularly. The more you practice, the more comfortable and confident you’ll become. The better you are with your skills, the less likely you are to get lost. Take the time to practice map reading, compass use, and route planning before your trip, and consider taking a navigation course or guided trip with an experienced guide. With these basic wilderness navigation skills, you’ll be well on your way to exploring the great outdoors safely and confidently.
Have any other basic wilderness navigation skills? Comment with them below!