Out Here Ltd



Although G.P.S ( global positioning satellite ) and other computer aided navigational systems have become a regular addition to many outdoors men’s equipment, including mine, a relevant map and good compass should never be excluded from your equipment list, as batteries wear out ( although you should always have spare batteries for all your equipment ) and thing break.

I always say that “the more technology and more things it does, the more things there are to go wrong“ !

In fact I would say that a map and compass are still vital things to have with you.

As I have already said, if you are lost staying where you are is usually the best option, but if you do try to reach safety yourself then you will need your map and compass.

To use a map properly you need a compass that has the four cardinal points i.e., North, South, East and West, the important thing to bear in mind is that a compass never really points to “True North“, what the needle actually points to is “Magnetic North“ which fluctuates and varies in different places on the Earth, so what you are really establishing is the direction of the North Pole. 

First, you need to determine your bearing (the direction you need to travel). Use the following procedure to obtain an exact travel direction towards your desired destination. The procedure will work if the magnetic North-South lines are drawn on the map.


1 a) Place the compass on the map so that the long edge connects the starting point with the desired destination.

b) Make sure that the direction arrows are pointing from the starting point to the place of destination (and not the opposite way).

c) At this point, you may want to use the scales on your compass (if available) to determine the distance you need to travel.

2 a) Hold the compass firm on the map in order to keep the base plate steady.

b)Turn the rotating capsule until the North-South lines on the bottom of the capsule are parallel with the North-South lines on the map.

c) Be sure that the North-South arrow on the bottom of the capsule points to the same direction as North on the map. It is here you will make adjustments for declination, if necessary.

3 a) Hold the compass in your hand in front of you. Make sure that the base plate is in horizontal position, and that the direction arrows are pointing straight ahead.

b) Rotate your body until the North-South arrow on the bottom of the capsule lines up with the magnetic needle, and the red end of the needle points in the same direction as the arrow.

c) The directional arrows on the baseplate now show your desired travel direction.

Now that you have determined your necessary bearing, you need to make sure you maintain an accurate bearing. First, you should find a suitable target in the terrain (e.g., a tree, boulder or a bush) towards which the direction arrows point. Walk towards the chosen object without looking at your compass. When you reach your target, find a new object that is aligned with your bearing, and repeat the process.



Tip 2: Sometimes the compass capsule may get turned accidentally while you are walking. Remember to check from time to time that the capsule has not deviated from the direction that had been set on the compass.

Tip 3: Remember the difference between the magnetic needle that always points to the magnetic North Pole and the direction arrows that show the travel direction.