Packing the appropriate supplies for a long day or even many days of hiking is essentially the most important step in preparing for a successful hike. But what should you pack and what can you do without? This question comes up a lot among novice hikers, but experienced hikers know the importance of a compass. The truth is, that among many other necessities, you should never do without your trusty compass.
As a hiker, you may never have to call upon your compass, but when faced with a hiking situation where you actually DO need the essential navigation tool, you’ll be so grateful you didn’t leave it behind.
Hikers, traversing mapped hiking trails, may find it simple enough to navigate maps and trail blazes (coded trail markers meant to guide hikers along intended trails). And doing so may be done without a compass, but one wrong turn could disorient even the most skilled hikers, turning a simple mistake into a scary or even life-threatening situation. Essentially, if you were to become disoriented while hiking, the best way to reorient yourself to the trail, is with the use of a trusted compass.
If you’ve never used a compass before, be sure to read a manual or blog explaining how to orient your device to the map your navigating. Plainly, the magnetic needle of a compass always points north; coupling that information with a trail map can quickly and easily set you back on track. Once a compass is oriented to your trail map, it can simply reorient a lost hiker who finds him/herself in a perilous hiking situation.
Even if you’ve never found yourself in a situation where you’ve used or needed to use a compass, you don’t want to find yourself unprepared should you require it. It’s a matter of hiking safety. Furthermore, there’s no good reason to not pack your compass, even if you’re skeptical about its functionality. A compass weighs next-to-nothing, takes up very little space in a backpack, remains operable in poor weather conditions, and does not require batteries which makes it always ready to use.
In short, a hiker’s compass is as important to his or her safety as supplies like food, water, hiking boots, weather-appropriate clothing, and a first-aid kit. Essentially, hikers should undoubtedly carry a compass because the potential cost of finding oneself lost on a hiking trail without one is far too great. My recommendation, hikers: don’t leave home without your compass.
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