Compasses

Magnetic declination refers to the angle between the geographic North Pole and the magnetic pole located in the Arctic Ocean. You will discover that good hiking and topographic maps always indicate the local magnetic declination via a declination diagram, which includes one arrow pointing to geographic north (commonly labeled as True North, or TN) and…

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A map and compass make up two of the 10 essentials recommended for safe backcountry travel, but they’ll do little good if you don’t know how to use them. Misuse could even turn a situation in which you’re simply confused into one in which you’re totally lost. The bottom line? Learn proper technique before your…

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X marks the spot. As easily as that, you can get a kid interested in a map. Who doesn’t like looking for hidden treasure? But ask that same kid where north is or how far it is to her grandmother’s house, and she might not have a clue. Lisa Gilbert, an instructor with AMC’s education…

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I recently wrote about the Ten Essentials, which includes quite a few extremely, ahem, essential items. But which is the least useful? From my perspective, it’s the one I’ve carried for more than 20 years and barely ever used: a compass. Why do you need a compass? A compass allows you to very quickly orient…

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The difference between true north and magnetic north is known as the magnetic declination or variation. If magnetic north is west of true north—as is the case throughout the Northeast—it’s a west declination. If east, then it’s an east declination. To convert from a true bearing (one determined from a map, for example) to a magnetic…

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