Feature

Tip of the week: How to use a compass and map

Be the compass; True your north; Find midpoints

Be the compass. GPS devices are great for road trips, but when you’re hiking backcountry, compass skills “still rule.” To plot a hike without trails, you need to determine your relationship to true north by first finding your location on the map and placing the compass over it.

True your north. Locate a visible landmark, such as a hill or stream, that is depicted on the map as being due north, south, east, or west of you. Use the landmark to adjust for the difference between true north and magnetic north, which is what the compass needle indicates. (In the U.S., magnetic north can vary by up to 20 degrees from true north.)

Find midpoints. Note the compass bearing of your desired destination. Choose an intermediate landmark located along the same line, and start hiking toward it.

Source: Texas Monthly

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