Smartphone Navigation: Why it’s not crazy!

If you follow us on facebook or twitter you know that last Saturday we taught a class on Smartphone Navigation at the Fort Collins Sierra Trading Post. It was a risky move, we knew we'd encounter resistance. A lot of outdoor purists scoff at the notion that a smartphone could even be remotely useful in the wilderness. The manager of the Fort Collins Sierra Trading Post confirmed that with us when he mentioned that his customers were skeptical about the class. But here's the deal. Your smartphone is just another tool in your daypack. It's nestled between other tools: a…

Don’t lose your Garmin Waypoints or Tracks with BaseCamp

What would you do if you accidentally deleted all the waypoints on your Garmin by tapping the wrong button? Or maybe you are starting to get confused by all the waypoints cluttering your GPS but you don’t want to delete some of those cool places. The same goes for your track files. BaseCamp is a great solution for these problems. And because it’s free you can download it and play around with it with no commitment at all. You don’t even have to create another username and password for a myGarmin account, unless of course that’s what you want. BaseCamp…

Finding maps, rulers, and good websites.

Where is the best place to get maps? How about map tools? What are some good websites for weather? Maps: [caption id="attachment_2628" align="alignright" width="150"] I downloaded this Map from the USGS site[/caption]  If you are only interested in topographic maps then you can't beat the USGS Map Locator and Downloader. Through this website you can download a PDF version of any USGS map for free or you can order one (prices vary based on type) and have it shipped to you. This is my main source for maps, I've downloaded a ton, ordered several, its easy and they have great…

How to Find Yourself

We've put together a video on how to use a map and compass to find yourself and as usual there is a text version below. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpCByOg0LnQ Understanding how to use a compass along with reading the terrain around you and comparing it to a topo map will provide all the information you need to confirm where you are or find where you are. The first step is to orient your compass, your map, and yourself to magnetic north so you and your tools have the same frame of reference. Next, look around at the terrain for things that will give…

How to Use a Compass

We've put together a video on basic compass skills. As usual, we've added a text version below. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbZNu-BPWbo Suppose you are located at the East Trailhead for Headquarters Trail. You want to go straight to Point Crawford. There are two ways you can determine the direction you have to walk. The first is to measure the direction using a map square or protractor on the UTM grid and convert that to a magnetic direction. Make sure you have the UTM grid lines drawn on your map. Then draw a straight line from your location to your destination. Extend this line…

The Compass and Declination

There are many different types of compasses and I'm not going to pretend to show you all of them. My goal is to show you the basic compass types and how to best use them. [caption id="attachment_2370" align="aligncenter" width="150"] Lensatic Compass[/caption] The two most common types are the lensatic compass and the map compass. The lensatic compass will usually open and close and is designed with aiming lines and mirrors or magnifying lenses so you can get a very accurate direction measurement, even over long distances. [caption id="attachment_2372" align="aligncenter" width="150"] Map Compass[/caption] The Map compass is usually mounted on a…

How to Fold a Map

It's an dilemma as old as maps themselves. You need the information on a map but they are a pain to store and carry around. Our video shows the best way to fold the map for carrying and storage: As usual if you aren't a fan of the moving pictures there is a text version below. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8UHW_V6dOc We really like the 1/24,000 scale USGS maps but carrying it as a sheet is pretty awkward and will guarantee a short lifespan for the map. Carrying it rolled up protects the map better but is still hassle to carry. Some people like…