HomeDIY / How ToHow To Navigate Safely by Using a Compass and a Map

How To Navigate Safely by Using a Compass and a Map

How To Navigate Safely by Using a Compass and a Map

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Most preppers are familiar with this concept, but have you ever really tried to navigate to a point using only a compass and a topographic map? If your grand plan for some catastrophic disaster is to Bug Out into the woods, you had better have maps of your area for starters, but these won’t do you much good without a compass and more importantly, the know-how to use it along with a map to find out where you are and get you to where you want to go.

Before we start with the how-to’s let’s see the main parts a compass has:

  • Index line: fixed within the outer edge of the compass housing as an extension of the direction of travel arrow. It marks the bearing you set by rotating the compass housing.
  • Magnetized needle: floats on liquid so it can rotate freely, the red end should always point to magnetic north.
  • Orienting arrow: fixed within the compass housing, aligned to north on the housing
  • Orienting lines: fixed within the compass housing and designed to be aligned with the vertical grid lines on a map. Half the lines are colored red to indicate north.

Main uses for a compass:

  1. Heading: know the direction you are traveling in
  2. Map: align your map to match your surroundings
  3. Bearing: determine which direction or destination lies in relation to your location
  4. Follow a bearing: follow a straight line

How to find out your heading

  • First, hold the compass in front of your chest with the direction of travel arrow pointing in the direction you’re heading.
  • Then rotate the bezel so that N aligns with the red end of the compass needle
  • The result is the number (in degrees) on the rim of the bezel at the index line is your heading.

Set the map with the compass

  • Lay the map in front of you (the map should be flat)
  • Put the compass anywhere on top of the map
  • Turn the map and compass until the needle on the compass aligns with the north-south gridlines on the map. The red end of the needle must be pointing to the top of the map.

In this video, Krik of Black Owl Outdoors uses a Silva Ranger CL compass, explains the basic pieces of a compass, shows you how to orient the map to your location, determine the direction of travel you want to go and then navigate through the terrain to your destination. This is a great video that will introduce the concepts of orienteering to you.



How We Prep

Think of Final Prepper as your brother-in-arms in your hero’s journey to self-sufficiency. Although you shouldn’t be obsessing about it, there is always something new to learn from the ones who are sharing their tested prepper knowledge. Learn more ABOUT US here

Become a Final Prepper

Daily knowledge in your inbox. Please read our privacy policy here

Featured Articles

The oceans contain 97% of all the earth’s water, so if you and your family are searching for a healthy supply, don’t worry about moving your homestead to the coast. It

Read more Read more

A lot of preppers are worried that, in the event, we’re ever attacked with EMP weapons, most of our vehicles will instantly turn to junk. This isn’t a far-out belief,

Read more Read more

I know that even for the most committed preppers, building a nuclear bunker may sound like too much. Perhaps this is only because things are going well right now. Yet

Read more Read more

Land and water temperatures cause drought. As overall temperatures increase more water evaporates and severe weather conditions increase.

Read more Read more

There are numerous concepts used in the Prepping community and the concept of a Get Home Bag is one of the easiest to understand because the rationale is very obvious

Read more Read more

In a disaster our first instinct is to move as quickly as possible to safety or to the closest approximation we have to our ideal of safe. For me, if

Read more Read more

The moments after a crisis or disaster can be incredibly chaotic. In today’s world, we receive near instantaneous feedback from news outlets, images on TV and the internet of destruction

Read more Read more

I’m sure both you and I have come to realize by now, a properly prepared bug out bag can be the difference between life and death in an emergency situation.

Read more Read more

A frequent topic in Preparedness and Survival circles is the subject of Bugging Out and more specifically the question of whether you plan to Bug Out or will you Hunker

Read more Read more

What if the SHTF when you are away from your home?

Read more Read more

I sometimes have to go out of town on business just like millions of other people each year. The distance and locations all vary with the need, but in a

Read more Read more
Send this to a friend