By Cheri Sicard
It may seem basic, but if you never went to scouts and nobody ever showed you, how are you supposed to learn? By watching the video on how to use a compass from outdoor experts at REI, of course!
Everyone, young and old, should understand this basic survival skill, so why not sit down and watch the video with the entire family?
The video covers some important topics including:
- The essential parts of a compass.
- How to set up your compass to account for the declination of your region.
- How to take a bearing from a map to find an object in the field.
- How to take a bearing in the field in order to find yourself on a map.
How to use a compass: Step-by-step
It’s hard to talk about how to use a compass without understanding its parts and what they do. Likewise, the video starts by explaining and showing these fundamentals.
It then covers the definition of declination, in other words, the angle difference between magnetic north and true north.
The needle in a compass always points to magnetic north. If you don’t adjust for this difference, it can really mess up your navigation. The video shows you where to find the important information you will need and how to make this adjustment, depending on where you are in the world.
Next, it looks at how to set a bearing on your map. A bearing describes a direction in terms of degrees. Setting bearings will allow you to be precise in your directions.
Conversely, taking a bearing on a map is a skill that will help you determine where you are on a map by using landmarks you can see. By using triangulation, as shown in the video, you can get extremely accurate in pinpointing your location.
It may all sound daunting, but by watching the video and then going out and practicing in the field, you too can get the hang of navigating with a compass just like a pro.