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Before Heading Out

Before Heading Out

When heading out for a hike in an unknown environment, details and preparations are crucial. Remember to take enough water and supplies for your stay, and make sure you have the right equipment to keep you dry and comfortable


Before heading out, plan your trip. Take a good look at the map, and learn to read the graphics of the map. Then you can find which route is the most suitable for your hike, already in advance. Mark good spots for pausing, or where you’ll find a nice view or a beautiful scenery.


When planning and travelling, use significant terrain objects to mark your route. Examples include rivers and lakes, hills, fields, paths, roads and power lines. By holding onto this visual “handrail” you travel faster and more safely, reducing the number of possible route-finding errors.


The weather can change quickly in the mountains or at sea. To stay safe, and to be sure to find your way home, learn how to use a compass and how to read a map – and practice it often!


Using a map and a compass is just as much about getting lost as it is about staying on course. With the right knowledge you can safely get off — and back on – your planned route, and go wherever you want to go. Stay calm, and enjoy your hike, run, walk or wander. Navigation is a life-long learning process, and there is always more to find out and new places to explore. There is a wide range of compasses, that all will take you to your destination.


By keeping track of time and your pace, you can estimate how far you have walked – and when you will reach your destination.


To quickly orient oneself with the map is an important aspect of orienteering. To determine your direction of travel, make sure the map is always oriented to north by matching the Magnetic North lines to the direction of Magnetic North on the ground by using the compass.


By following the Silva 1-2-3 System in reverse order, it’s easy to plot a compass bearing onto a map. Take a bearing to an object in the field that you can also locate on the map. Place the compass on the map with the baseplate’s long side intersecting the object to which the bearing was taken. Draw a line along the baseplate, and your position is somewhere along this line. Repeat the procedure using another object that you can see from your current location and you’ll be at the intersection of the two lines. For best accuracy, use objects that are on a 90-degree angle from each other versus your location. For even greater accuracy, use three lines.

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