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TrailMeister
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Just had this article published about how compasses operate and how to use one. Knowing how to use a compass can keep you out of a lot of trouble! I give talks on land navigation a few times a year and it's always interesting to hear how people think that compasses are difficult to use or that a GPS does the same thing that a compass does. Compasses don't have batteries to fail and are my choice whenever I really need to get from point A to point B. I'll post again when I complete the second section on how to use a compass and map together.

Here's a link to the article
 

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6,156 Posts
I think it need turn by turn directions.

Seriously though, learning to use a compass is a great skill if you are planning to go to the middle of nowhere.

edit: Just noticed, all or most of your posts are referencing that site. And also you never respond to your postings. Any chance that is YOUR site and not just your article being published there?
 

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Probably drunk right now
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Okay, I'll play....

Your spamming and opinions of GPS aside, the reality is that most people don't get lost. Most of us don't ride in areas where where the trail disappears behind us and we can't simply turn around. There are very few areas East of the Rockies where we can't find civilization.

Do we get confused? Sure. Do we travel far enough on our bikes on a normal ride that we outride the battery life of a GPS? Not really. If we do, we most likely are experienced mult-day trekkers and have a compass and map. And backup batteries for the GPS.

There are limitations to a compass as well. If you're surrounded by trees and can't triangulate your position, you lose your map, etc. you're also in trouble.

I also can't mount a compass and map to my handlebars and triangulate my position while riding down the trail.

Cheers.
 

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ReeCee said:
Just had this article published about how compasses operate and how to use one. Knowing how to use a compass can keep you out of a lot of trouble! I give talks on land navigation a few times a year and it's always interesting to hear how people think that compasses are difficult to use or that a GPS does the same thing that a compass does. Compasses don't have batteries to fail and are my choice whenever I really need to get from point A to point B. I'll post again when I complete the second section on how to use a compass and map together.

Here's a link to the article
...
 

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I live to bike
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I didn't look at your article because I already know how to use a compass. But I never take one on a ride. I do take a Garmin 705, but not to keep from getting lost, or to get found, usually. I use it because I like to map the ride and use it for training purposes, to record data.

When I go to new places in more remote areas, I will take a topo map. Still don't take a compass - don't need it. For that matter, I don't need the map if it is just a matter of trying to get back to civilization because I got "lost." I doubt there is anywhere along the mid-Atlantic here that I even could get so lost that I couldn't find my way within a few hours, maybe a day - and that without the aid of a compass, map, or gps.

The only time I think it may even be remotely necessary to carry a compass is if I suffered an injury and was trying to find a shorter way out than following the trail. But 999 out of 1,0000 times, going off trail would take longer.

Not that it isn't a good skill to know how to use a compass and map; everyone should learn how to use one. But if you know some basic wilderness skills, even a compass is unnecessary.
 

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I'm SUCH a square....
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Correct -- anytime there's sunlight, a compass is superfluous.

As long as you know the stick method -- point a stick at the sun, wait 15 minutes, the shadow off the stick points east.
 
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