Compass Tips for Newbies

by Prepper-Resources

Compass Tips

1- Know the difference between true vs magnetic north.  A compass does not point to the north pole, or the exact center of the earth somewhere up there in the arctic. That in fact is true north.  The compass points towardsmagnetic north, or a point on the earth’s northern hemisphere where the planet’s magnetic field points vertically downward.  The difference between these two north’s is referred to as magnetic declination.  For basic navigation and generally finding out where you are at over short (a few miles) distances it really isn’t all that big of a deal.  Yet you should realize that there is a difference between where the arrow on your compass points and the actual top of the earth.

2- Do not use a compass near any metal objects.  Using a compass inside of your vehicle, in a building or next to a metal fence could throw off your heading.  Try to use your compass out in the open a few paces away from any metallic surfaces.

3- How to hold a compass.  For ease of use I prefer to cup the compass in the palm of my hand and hold in next to my chest.  I then look down at the compass and rotate my BODY, not the compass, when trying to “shoot an azimuth.”  That’s fancy talk for making sure I’m facing the direction I need to be facing.  Let’s say that I know I need to go east and that I know east = 90 degrees on the compass.  I will hold the compass in the manner I previously described and rotate my body until I am facing east.  I will then look up and identify an object (hilltop, tree, large rock, telephone pole) that is in my direction of travel.  I can then put the compass away and start walking in that direction towards my destination.  Upon reaching that first object I simply repeat the exercise and continue walking.

4- Alternate points of reference.  I would avoid trying…

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5 thoughts on “Compass Tips for Newbies”

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