Backcountry Navigation

Last Updated on September 6, 2020

Knowing your destination is very important to ensure a safe journey while traveling. Where in the case of regular traveling, we know the details about the place we are visiting, but things get a little complicated for adventure lovers.

Adventure enthusiasts are used to visiting on those trails for those they have no idea at all. Their adventure is all about exploring a new place every time. It is all about, discovering and knowing the unknown.

Backcountry Navigation

However, while exploring the remote places in the backcountry, there always remains a chance of finding oneself adrift. It might happen with the beginners and seasoned hikers as well. It is normal and happens often.

Now, if you want to keep yourself away from finding yourself lost, then you will have to develop the skill of backcountry navigation. Backcountry navigation skill is what that helps people to stay on track. Before we jump into the discussion on backcountry navigation, let us first explain what it is.

Backcountry Navigation

Backcountry navigation is all about knowing the route. A skilled hiker with excellent backcountry navigation skill knows where he is standing, where his destination is and which route he must take to reach the goal. Backcountry navigation helps you to stay on track.

Why backcountry navigation skill matters

No trail is similar to the other, and that’s good. Because, if every trail looked identical, then the complication would have increased. More than often, people successfully reach their destination by following the right track.

However, there exist those rare days where you went off-track without realizing, and all of a sudden, your mind tells you something is not right. You have no idea where you are standing. Each trail is different, and there are several ways and gears to navigate them safely.

Having all the required navigation tools and knowing the techniques to use them to get on the right path is the only way to avoid the imminent hazard. You can use your backcountry navigation skill only if you are well-practiced and able to keep calm instead of panicking.

Navigation Gears

For backcountry navigation, one must own some navigation gears. Without the apparatus, it is impossible to explore a remote place in the backcountry. Not having the navigation gears increases the chances of you finding yourself lost, so no rational hiker starts his or her journey without them.

Map, cell phone with in-built GPS, compass, whistle, watch with navigation system are common navigation gears, and tools for the hikers use. The map and compass are the quintessential gears that were used to keep oneself right on track.

The smartphones and watches are the latest addition to navigation gears. People nowadays prefer using smartphones and other similar devices with GPS as they are more dependable, authentic, and convenient to use.

The battery of GPS devices might die in the middle of the exploration of the trail, or there might be no network on the smartphone in the remote corners to use the app. In such cases, you have to be prepared and have extra batteries with you.

If you get into such unfortunate situations, map, compass, and whistle are the best options to keep with you no matter how advanced of technology you are carrying in your pocket or backpack. So, always keep the map and compass with you.

Types of Trails

Now when you have the navigation gears, it is significant to know about the types of the trails. There are a total of three kinds of trials which the hikers usually go hiking on. The first type of trails are the well-visited and well-explored ones.

In these trials, you hardly need to put an effort to apply your navigational skills. There is merely any chance of you losing the track. A GPS device and a map as a backup are enough to explore such trails.

The same thing applies to those places which are frequently visited by other hikers. In that case, it is easy to find the signposts and trace of footsteps. Then comes the type of trails which are not explored well.

These type of trials are a bit difficult to explore compared to the previous one. Though a GPS device, map, and compass are enough to explore such trails, one has to be extra cautious as there are hardly any signposts seen in these trails.

One wrong move and you might go off the track. So, the best thing to do in these trails is exploring them at day time with proper preparation.

Final Words

Now comes the riskiest and complicated trails where there are high chances of you finding yourself lost all of a sudden without even realizing. Multi-day hikes, off-trail hikes, remote trails, and challenging terrains are some of the examples of the complicated hiking spots.

Exploring these places without all the gears is a sure shot disaster. There might be no network available to use the GPS. So, map, more precisely a topographic map and compass are the best navigational gears for safe exploration here.

Adventure enthusiasts are fearless by nature. They love adventure because they are hard to suppress by challenges. Even in all the fearlessness, safety should be the prime priority.

When it’s about life and death, a simple mistake can cost a lot. So, before exploring remote places of the backcountry, practice your navigational skill hard and to safely explore the toughest of trails.


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