I never liked the school orientation and have been struggling to get to know how to read the map. Today, I give you my best tips on how to get started with navigation in a simple way.
Five tips for getting started
- Bring someone who can read the map and discover nature together.
- Read books, watch You Tube movies and read articles about online navigation.
- Get a basic course at your local orientation federation.
- Buy a map and compass and start testing yourself in areas you are familiar with.
- Increase the difficulty as you get comfortable.
Why is it important to navigate when walking?
First and foremost, it is for your own safety. The more inaccessible terrain you make available to you – the more important it is that you can read the map to get you safe. Avoid walking night time in the dark or in really bad weather and fog unless you have to – it can be difficult to get out of the way and an extra night in shelter from a good tent can be invaluable.
The reason for navigating with map and compass:
Scale maps are often printed on a scale of 1: 50,000 and can be purchased in different paper grades (look for maps printed on thieves – they stand against rain better than others or get a plastic pocket as protection) or to download to the mobile via Fjällsäkerhetsrådets Fjällsäkerhetsapp . Be sure to always include paper in paper form and do not trust the phone to have coverage or battery life when you’re out.
On the map you will see an overview of the choice of leader, how nature is designed with elevation curves, streams and lakes.
Read more: Common Map Symbols
Start by looking out where you are and where you are going, then you plan the best way to get there by the information you get from the map. It is often very grateful to wander in a mountain environment because there are large open landscapes and you have good guidelines to relate to.
Read more: Then take out the compass direction
Wander smart and save energy
Try to keep as high as possible, it takes a lot of energy to go up and down for slopes and sometimes it might be a better alternative to go around a mountain than above it. If now the goal is not to reach the top of course. Look for valleys you can walk through and take the safest route you can find on the map – for example, by following a stream
My first encounter with the mountains, I was quite kinky – I knew, of course, that the red wooden crossing was a mountain walk. So I followed the red markings and the migration became just more and more wet marshes and wet mosses. In the end it was so wet that I had to turn around. That day, I learned that the Red Cross marks winter leader.
Read more: Safety tips for those walking on the mountain
I hate navigation – should I really care about this?
You can manage by joining experienced leaders or guides, or a friend who is good at navigating. Or you can choose hiking areas you are familiar with and find in. But it’s always fun to understand what’s waiting for you on the trail – by reading the map and daytime in the morning, you’ll know if you’re going to pass a beautiful lookout point where you save coffee cup to, if you will need to wade and other interesting. And then it will be more fun for the navigator to be able to release some pressure from taking all the navigation decisions on their own. So the more you learn the more fun it is to be out.
What are you related to navigation? Please write your best tips, worst navigation missions, or best memories in the comment field.