How to Use a Compass Without a Map?

(Final Updated: June 25, 2019)

Although nobody needs to get lost whereas on a trip in the wilderness, not everyone seems to be lucky enough. At occasions, things might not go as planned. On this article, we are going to learn how you need to use a compass without a map and nonetheless get again house protected and sound. In your journey, your GPS might cease working or perhaps you are the sort of man who doesn’t like to use electronic devices on his journey. Regardless of your state of affairs, given under are some ideas that can make it easier to discover your means utilizing a compass solely.

How to use a compass?

Right here is an fascinating reality: an African desert and walks several hundred meters in several directions, picks up his desired meals and walks back to its nest without any hassle. She doesn’t get misplaced even if she has no map or digital gear to help her discover its means again.

Have you ever ever questioned why these tiny creatures don’t get misplaced? It’s superb, isn’t it? Truly, there’s a built-in compass within the eyes of these ants. Plus, they have an in-built odometer as properly that they use to measure distance. Whereas we don’t have these talents, we have now other tools at our disposal. Additionally, we will rely, in contrast to ants.

Every time individuals exit in the wilderness, they use a GPS system for location tracking. But when don’t want to or can’t use this system, you possibly can opt for a compass as an alternative. In reality, a compass is a vital piece of survival gear. A simple means to get back residence with out getting lost is to use a map however you might not have one throughout your trip. Subsequently, you want to find out how to use a compass on your trip whether it is planned or unplanned.

Although compass navigation is likely one of the most necessary expertise, not many of us have this talent. That’s the rationale individuals get lost. As soon as you’re lost, you might discover it really exhausting to get again on the right track until you get access to a map or use a compass.

We’ll talk about the compass navigation expertise however we’d like to find out why we get misplaced within the first place.

Why individuals get misplaced?

There are lots of causes individuals get misplaced within the wild. The number one cause is that the majority of us don’t have navigation expertise anymore. During historic occasions, people knew how to navigate the panorama with none special instruments. They know that getting lost was a matter of life and demise. Subsequently, they used the solar and stars to navigate, which is nearly as helpful as a compass.

Your brain has totally different sections and one among them is the hippocampus, which has psychological – mapping talents. When you use this means, you’ll be able to turn it into a talent. But in case you don’t use it, you’ll ultimately lose it.

For example, cab drivers in London have to drive on the complicated streets of the capital of England with out utilizing a map. Subsequently, researchers discovered that they’ve a extra developed hippocampus than the drivers in other cities. Nevertheless, even with these talents, your expertise can’t be as robust as those of the African ants.

You may be occupied with why we aren’t getting straight to the point. You’ll know in a bit. You’ll have read the stories of people that obtained lost within the woods and ended up again where they started after hours of walk. This is a widespread phenomenon. Sometimes, this happens because we tend to walk in the path of our dominant hand. So, we end up getting back to the identical spot where we began our journey within the wild.

This is the place a compass comes to your rescue!

Without additional ado, let’s learn how to use a compass with out a map. But first, we’d like to know a little bit about magnetic declination.

Magnetic declination

Upon getting a compass in your hand, you need to discover out the magnetic declination for that specific area.

Although this info is effective when you’ve a map on you, it could actually make it easier to immensely if you find yourself making an attempt to find your approach again to a sure landmark or street that runs the length of the world that you are at present in. On this case, you should use declination to guide yourself again to the situation.

Kinds of compasses

Nowadays, you should purchase several types of compass however there are two commonest varieties: the Lensatic Compass and Baseplate Compass.

Baseplate compass

This sort of compass features a clear base plate. These units are a nice selection to be used with a map. Nevertheless, their efficiency relies upon upon their quality. On this case, high-end units work higher however you possibly can manage with a primary one as nicely. A lot of the base plates function 2 ̊  increments on the dials.

Lensatic compass

This sort features no baseplate but provides articulating items, resembling a cowl that safeguards the floating dial. Nearly all of lensatic compasses function 120 clicks with every click representing three ̊. In case you have this compass, you need to use the sighting lens to learn the dial slightly than look down at the floating dial.

Navigating with solely a compass

History tells us that Christopher Columbus navigated utilizing solely a compass during his exploration. Principally, the thought is that you simply need to keep in mind the path you’ve headed in. Plus, you need to hold monitor of how much distance you’ve coated. Whenever you want to get back, you piece collectively your journey and work out the space and course to your start line.

When setting out, you should use both pacing and timing or each if you need. It’s better to use pacing as an alternative of the time if you end up on uneven terrain. The reason is that your tempo might range based mostly on the terrain. Subsequently, your timing will even be totally different. In case of a fair terrain, for example, timing may be a lot easier and also you gained’t want to pay a lot of attention.

How does pacing work?

It’s easy to work out how pacing works. Let’s take an example. You go 310 ̊ for 600 paces and then 215 ̊ for 300 paces. Now, in case you want to work out the path you must take to attain your first spot, all you want to do is work out the space and path by mapping this out on the ground. In case your foot size refers to 100 paces, you’ll be able to put some sticks within the course of  312 ̊ for six ft lengths.

Subsequent, you need to measure out the sticks for six ft lengths at 115˚. You need to use your compass, determine on the course you need to choose and measure out the space together with your foot lengths to get locations. As soon as the path and distance are clarified, chances are you’ll go for a little bit totally different course after which head again to the preliminary point. This manner you’ll be able to at the least have a better concept of the path of your initial point even when your calculations are a little bit out.

For example, in the event you depart your automotive on a dust monitor and mark this location as your start line and know that you’ve to walk 850 paces at 28 ̊ to get again to your car, it’s your decision to walk for 850 paces at 18 ̊. When you reach the street, you recognize that it’s essential to flip right to get again to your car. When you stroll at 28 ̊, come out on the monitor and don’t see your car, you gained’t have any concept the place it is best to go to look for it. In the event you navigate your return a little bit incorrectly on objective, you possibly can mitigate this danger.

If you would like to give this a go and study to navigate this manner, you possibly can choose a simple terrain and hold a backup know-how like a GPS. After making an attempt it a few occasions, you’ll be able to really feel assured enough to attempt one thing tougher. After mastering this talent, know that you’ll have tons of fun. This talent will enable you to in several circumstances. Your mates will probably be impressed by you.

Methods to again on monitor with solely a compass

Now, for those who get lost without navigation and do not know of your location, you want to attempt a totally different method. Perhaps the monitor you have been driving on has come to an end, or perhaps your tire blows up whereas driving off-road and your telephone battery is nearly lifeless.

On this case, you need to determine the place you’re going to walk to. If there’s a stream or river, you need to use it to take a start. But when there’s nothing like that, you’ll be able to recall an image or map of the world you’re in, and consider the attainable location of the close by roads or rivers.

3 Rules to find North using your compass

Your subsequent move is to use your compass. At this level, you already understand how this thing works. For those who don’t know yet, you’ll be able to comply with a couple of straightforward guidelines which are given under:

  1. If your compass has just one needle, know that the needle points in the course of the magnetic north.
  2. If it has a double-ended needle with one purple end, know that the pink finish is pointing in the direction of the magnetic north.
  3. If neither of the needles is pink, you’ll be able to orient your self by wanting on the sun to discover out which one is pointing in the direction of the magnetic north. We all know that the solar rises within the east and sets within the west. Understanding the situation of the north can be simpler for you until it’s the center of the day. In the morning, in case you are dealing with north, the solar will probably be on your proper. However it ought to be in your left within the evening.

If you understand that the primary street runs along the, say, southwest of the world you’re in, you possibly can head in the same path. Subsequent, you must contemplate the magnetic declination of your neighborhood. When you have no concept of it, it gained’t matter a lot as you’re going to go in the direction of a certain location. Nevertheless, it’s better if you realize that.

  • In Florida, for example, in case you are deviated by solely – four ̊, you don’t want to worry.
  • In Sydney, the minor difference gained’t matter either but in case you are deviated by + 12 ̊, you need to be careful.

Subsequently, if you need to go in the direction of the southwest, you might want to rise up and see if the needle points north over your right aspect. In Sydney, the compass needle ought to level a bit nearer to the neck as an alternative of your shoulder so you can also make up for the declination.

Head on this course and hold checking your compass from time to time to be sure to do not deviate from the monitor. In case you maintain your hopes excessive, you’ll reach your vacation spot whether or not you’re on foot or driving a automotive.

There isn’t any doubt that a compass is a useful gadget. It’s still essential even in the presence of recent gizmos and devices. You could have heard of stories of individuals dying or disappearing a few hundred meters away from a street or monitor.

So, should you like to go on adventures, you might want to study to use a compass and maintain it with you everytime you head out on a trip. Trendy units might run out of energy but your compass gained’t be disloyal to you no matter what.


In case you are the outside sort, we propose that you simply study to use a compass and hold one in your pocket everytime you head out. Modern day gadgets supply better performance however is probably not dependable for a lot of causes. In the event that they run out of battery, you will get in hassle. By following the advice given on this article, you’ll find your means back using a compass even for those who don’t have a map on you