Navigate: How to Use Map and Compass for Off-Trail Running

We’re big fans of GPS here, because it instantly tells you where you are, it’s trackable by friends and family, and it leaves a nice trail of where you’ve been for future route planning. But there’s something wonderful about reading a map, taking a bearing, and navigating free from any kind of screen. It’s one thing if you’re doing that just to get a glimpse of where you are, but something else entirely when it’s your sole method of navigation.

Orienteering isn’t something you want to jump into if there’s a genuine chance of getting dangerously lost, but it’s undeniably a great skill to have for anyone who spends any amount of time in the backcountry. And, if in an area you know reasonably well and can find your way out of if your map reading skills fail, orienteering will make an off-trail outing far more immersive.

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