If you’re into hiking, you already know how important a hiking compass is to have in your gear. However, with so many great compasses on the market today, it can be challenging at best to know which type of hiking compass will be best suited to your specific needs.
Even if you know the areas that you’ll be hiking in, a compass can be invaluable to have on board. While many are relying on their smartphones and their GPS systems, they risk dead batteries, dead zones and other issues that may render these items useless in an emergent situation.
Thus, a good hiking compass is perhaps your most invaluable tool on your accessory list. For a bit of background, a compass was one of the earliest used navigational tools. They were used on ships by sailors and navigators.
There are four basic features in a good compass. There is the needle that will point the direction. There is the fluid that the needles is situated in and floats to the direction.
Then there is the rotating bezel with increments of two degrees that show the exact details of location. Finally, there is the baseplate that shows you more information and keeps everything in a neat and tidy little tool.
More advanced compasses will also have a declination adjustment that takes into consideration the magnetic declination. True north and south poles are 1000 miles apart from one another.
You can read more on hiking compasses at Hiking Tier.
Many will also offer illuminated elements so that you can easily see them in low light, dusk, dawn or if you’re in the dark or within a cave or tree covered area that renders your regular compass obsolete.
Many also come with a lanyard so that you can easily wear your compass on your neck where it’s at the ready when you need to use it.
Lastly, advanced systems will also have a mirror to ensure that the navigational tool is as accurate as possible. A bonus to this is that if you’re ever lost, you can also use the mirror as a signal device to hopefully get help to your location.
As with any tool that you’re going to take hiking with you, you need to know how to use it before you need it.
Once you’ve purchased your hiking compass, you need to spend some time learning how it works, how it navigates and above all, how to read it.
If you don’t know how to use it when you don’t need it, how are you going to know how to use it when you need it? Practice using it in and around your house.
Use it indoors and out and become familiar with all of the new features that your compass has to offer. The better you know how to use your compass, the easier it is going to be to use it when you’re out in the woods and lost.
Focus on learning how each individual feature works and become comfortable with it before you’re out on your hike and you’ll do fine.