A Compass, is it really necessary?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by redsoxnation32, Mar 12, 2010.


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  1. redsoxnation32

    redsoxnation32 Monkey+

    Mostly every survival kit i have seen so far has a compass. But why is it that its so highly recommended to have one? What good is it in a survival situation when you dont have a map? The only use right now I can see for one would be to take up extra space and add weight. Anybody know?
     
  2. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    The message is obvious, I think, the map is just as necessary. You need basic navigation skills, especially if you are in travel mode. Even if not on the move, I can easily postulate a case where the fog has you disoriented and you could need both to find your way back to base.
     
  3. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    Even without a map, a compass can save you a lot of walking in circles. If you know that you are South of the Highway or east of the river, for instance.
     
  4. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Imagine yourself far out to sea,a large lake or river, no land in sight, sailing in a small ship. During the day, you navigate by the sun and at night by the stars. Then it becomes overcast or foggy for several long days. Or in a blizzard. I'll bet you wish you had a compass...
     
  5. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Exactly. You can navigate with a compass by utilizing terrain and land marks without a map. The map makes long distance travel more precise, but basic skills to navigate terrain is predicated by the use of directional orientation. It's very easy to get lost in the woods.
     
  6. Andy the Aussie

    Andy the Aussie Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Out here in the far west (flat, thick ****ting low timber and no features, it is an essential aid (even without a map) to ensure you are just not walking around in bloody big circles, also useful if you need to move at night to prevent detour from the general direction you plan on traveling.

    Andy
     
  7. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

    I say yes.

    As already mentioned... utilizing terrain features and a compass... you can make a map. Draw distance, direction, and feature.... you are basically creating a "line drawing to scale of a portion of the Earth's surface as seen from above" or "map".

    In thick vegetation, a compass can help with straight line walking. Por Exemple.... let's say you are at your temporary camp. You need to get to the local stream for water. Thanks to your smart use of a compass during your initial recon, you can shoot an azimuth night or day, count your pace, and find your water.

    A compass doesn't have to cost a $100 either. Take it from a former orienteering team leader... a $10 Silva Starter will work fine and give many years of service. Most every compass these days comes with a lifetime warranty. Starts giving a crap reading... simply send it back. I have see 20 year old basic models still read true when cared for. The starters also have the advantage of light weight over, for example, a military lensatic. Also, the cost is low... most can be had at the checkout counter of your favorite sporting goods store for about $10USD. Low cost, low weight insurance.

    ETA: Always have a map... in the states, the state topo gazateers are cheap and function great for long distance bug out travel. Way better than a simple road map. Get one for your state and maybe any other states you plan to travel to/though. If you are bugging in.... get some good USGS topos of your area. Have digital ones as well. Free digital maps here:
    http://www.archive.org/details/maps_usgs
     
  8. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

  9. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Adventure Riding Monkey Founding Member

    ALL my vehicles carry a compass - a few times I have gotten off onto the wrong road, and following the right direction gets me back on track. Ditto for my forest exploration by bike. My chaepo GPS does NOT go to dirt road and trail level so knowing my direction is critical!

    If on foot during a BO, I'll likely be hoofing it through the woods - gotta know what direction "Grandma's House" lies........
     
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