Backcountry 101: Intro to Map and Compass: Learn how to navigate in the wilderness
A full-day deep dive into backcountry navigation. Join this class for hands-on practice outside with a map, compass and GPS. An excellent clinic if you’re totally new to navigation, or if you’ve dabbled a bit and want to get more confident with a helpful teacher nearby.
Skill level: beginner
Format: knowledge-based, small group class
How to read features and symbols on a topographic map, including:
- UTM co-ordinate system
- Latitude and longitude
- Contour lines and relief interpretations
- Colour and terrain indicators
- Route planning concepts
Compass features and how to use a compass, including:
- How to set declination on a compass
- How to shoot a bearing from terrain
- How to set a bearing from a topo map
- How to follow a bearing
- Straight-line navigation vs. hand railing vs. aiming off
- Pace, and learning your pace
GPS features and how to use a GPS, including:
- Strengths and weaknesses of using a GPS
- Common features, database options and what all that means
- How to correctly set-up co-ordinate systems and datum
- Inputting waypoints, creating routes and recording
- Pros and cons compared to compass and pace
We’ll have demo GPS devices, compasses and maps to work with; if you have your own compass or GPS, feel free to bring it to the clinic. There’s a ton of useful info in this class. When you’re done, you’ll have basic skills to practice with at home.
Who’s teaching the clinic?
Our clinics are taught by friendly MEC staffers who are ready to answer any questions and share all the stuff they love about being outside. Everyone’s welcome!