Walking through a forest, bush, jungle even through sand dunes can get confusing at times. If you don’t have a GPS or signal for the GPS then you are most likely going to find yourself lost in no time.
This is when you will realize that a map and a compass can be your best friend. This post is not about using the Map and Compass but about Advanced Navigation techniques you can use in conjunction with those instruments.
So lets start of with the most simple of these techniques:
1. Handrailing: The Idea behind Handrailing is to walk along an object on the map, such as a road, river, train line, tracks. In this way the navigator can use this feature to guide them from point to point more quickly.
2. Knoll Hopping: A method of navigating whereby the navigator will travel from peak to peak so as to maintain high ground and ease of travel. Using this technique you can easily determine where you are on the map as you are navigating from highest point to highest point
3. Catching Feature: Determine something that is very easy to recognize along the route that you are heading. This could be a road, lake, river, track etc. Once you get to it you know if you have either gone to far or are heading in the right direction.
4. Aiming off: Just like a catching feature but instead you aim to the left or right of your intended target by 40-90yards (50-100m). This is especially useful if you have 2 rivers meeting up. Once you reach your target you just turn left or right and follow the river to the correct destination.
5. Pacing: Its a simple estimate of the distance you have traveled by counting your steps. Before you go out into the forest, establish how much 100yards (or 100m) is and then count how many steps it will take you to walk the 100yards. Make sure that you aren’t trying to get the longest possible steps but normal steps. To get a better reading walk back and forth a few times. Once you figure out the number and go into the forest you count the number of steps you made in a certain direction. To keep track of how many yards (m) you have walked pick up a leaf every 100 yards so as to count how many hundreds of yards you walked.
6. Walking on a bearing: Take your compass point it in the direction you are intending to walk towards, turn the dial with degrees on it so that the orienting arrow houses the Magnetic Needle and add or subtract the magnetic deviation (check out on your map to find out what the Deviation is) . Once you do that walk towards your destination making sure that you continuously keep the magnetic needle in the housing of the orienting arrow.
7. Boxing: If you are walking on your bearing and come across an obstacle (e.g. large boulder, cliff face) which you cannot walk through or climb over then you will have to walk around it. Only thing is that you will lose your bearing quite quickly. So to overcome this problem you turn 90 degrees to the left or right. Then Pace out the amount of steps it will take for you to walk around the object. Turn 90 degrees back towards the direction you are heading once its easy for you to pass the obstacle. Walk to the end of the obstacle staying on the bearing. Next turn back 90 degrees towards your original bearing and pace out the steps you counted when you first went around the obstacle. Finally when you reach the final step turn back 90 degrees onto your original bearing.
These Techniques can get confusing at times, specially when you are in the jungle. If you practice these Advanced Navigation Techinques you will find that each time you will get better and better at doing them and you will never require a GPS while camping again.
For more bushcraft tips check out these amazing articles
If you know of any other Techniques pop them down in the comments and also if you found this article helpful please share it with your friends.