SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on Backpacker.com


Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

Learn How to Stay On Course

By understanding your terrain, knowing your pace, and reading the map regularly you can stay on course wherever you are.

by: The Backpacker Editors


  1. Read the map regularly. Sure it sounds obvious, but many hikers look at the topo only when they're lost.

  2. Visualize the terrain ahead based on the topo's contour lines. If the area doesn't look as you imagined, verify your location on the map immediately.

  3. Know your pace so you can calculate the time it'll take to get to a landmark. You'll be tipped off if it takes unusually long. Figure out your pace by timing how long it takes you to hike a mile wearing a pack.

  4. Use a compass to verify your general direction and orient yourself with the map, but don't expect it to tell you where to go. You have to study the map for that.

  5. Never wander when you're lost, and always keep a level head. As soon as the landscape doesn't jibe with your map, backtrack to a place you can clearly identify on your map and start over.

  6. Daydream later. Keep track of the terrain you're traversing, as well as any changes in direction.


Return to the Backpacking 101 home page.

Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip:
Email (req):
Reader Rating: -

READERS COMMENTS

Oro Lee
Apr 20, 2008

Re: backtracking. Don't assume that the trail going back will look the same going forward. As you go, look back and note the features. My "connected" teenage daughter takes digital pics with her cell phone (which also doubles as a mp3 player and recorder - which are probably reasons enough to add cell phone to gear lists even without coverage).

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Southern
SEC! SEC! SEC!
Posted On: Aug 31, 2014
Submitted By: CajunHiker
The Political Arena
Ebola breakout
Posted On: Aug 31, 2014
Submitted By: Ben2World

Go
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site MyRockyMountainPark.com.

>
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions