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Caltopo: A Great Online Mapping and Planning Tool for Hikers

I started using Caltopo.com to plan and document all of my hikes and backpacking trips about a year ago after my friend Matt (Matt’s Hikes) recommended it on the approach hike to Peak Above the Nubble. Matt raved about Caltopo’s ability to print out custom maps using the 1:24000 USGS scale – which are excellent for […]

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1950 Crawford, NH USGS Quad, Southeast Corner

Hiking into the Past with Historic Maps

When I plan hikes in the White Mountains, especially off-trail hikes, I try to research the history of the area that I’ll be hiking in before my trip. One of the richest, but rarest forms of information is in the form of old maps of the region, which often show abandoned trails, logging, or ski […]

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Find your exact location on a long climb

Navigating with an Altimeter

If you’re a hiker or a backpacker, an altimeter can be a powerful navigation aid when used in conjunction with a map and compass. Altimeters aren’t new, but they have fallen in price in recent years and are commonly included as a function in outdoor sports watches. For instance, I use a Casio Pathfinder Watch which has […]

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Learning How to Navigate with a Compass

Advanced Notice: Map and Compass Instructional Weekend

If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to use a compass for off-trail navigation, I’ll be co-teaching an Appalachian Mountain Club Compass Navigation course on Friday September, 25, 2014 – Sunday, September 28, 2014, with Grid-finisher Joe Comuzzi, who’s been teaching this class for some 30 years, and taught me. The class will be held […]

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Oregon's Mt. Washington’s tall spire is ideal for accurate sighting

Magnetic Compass Accuracy, Sighting, and Triangulation by Blake Edwards

Navigation is a practiced skill, and when not practiced on a regular basis it becomes easily forgotten. Sighting and triangulating with a magnetic compass is a skill that the responsible outdoorsman should never allow to lapse. The accuracy of a magnetic compass and the information presented depends on land characteristics, the quality of the compass […]

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Navigating Using Paces

Pacing and Estimating Distance by Blake Miller

Many outdoors men and women measure distance in the backcountry by using a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver. GPS receivers are reasonably accurate, real time, and provide distance traveled and distance to a destination. But what does the hiker do if they don’t have a receiver, the GPS fails or batteries die? A proven method […]

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