Attending this Land Navigation Class not only teaches you how to navigate, and gives you practical experience, but it also give you an advantage for the MVT Rifleman Challenge. Not only because you get the instruction and experience, but because you get to walk the ground, and maybe even visit some of the checkpoints included on the Challenge. I’m not concerned by that, because either way you still have to cover the ground at the challenge (tired legs), and my focus is simply to have you demonstrate to me an ability to navigate.
On the Land Navigation page is a pre-reading tutorial. However, as demonstrated at this last class, simply reading that does not teach you how to conduct practical navigation. It’s a little like reading my articles on tactics.
A note on compasses. There was some chat online about relative quality of Silva and Suunto orienteering compasses. It’s all true. The Suunto compasses are made in Finland and are good quality. The Silva compasses in the US are made in China, and are shite. I have not come across this before, owning Silva compasses (my favorite of the two) that are made in Sweden (UK purchased). So if you buy a Silva, work out a way to get one from Europe, Swedish made. It has ‘made in Sweden’ stamped on the compass itself (mine does).
My maps are always in 1:25,000, so I will always buy a compass with a grid reference plotter in 1:25,000 / 1:50,000. The USFS maps are (for some reason) in 1:24,000. You can get compasses that have both scales on them, or you can just get maps from mytopo.com and print them out correctly with the UTM grid added (it’s an option when printing/purchasing).
Map reading is metric, including military MGRS, in case you didn’t know. Grid squares are 1000 meters, 1 Kilometer.
Also, there is a tendency to want to get the Silva Ranger, or similar compass with a folding mirror/sighting on it. This is not necessary, and in fact it is cumbersome for normal orienteering or patrol navigation. Just get a standard flat orienteering compass with the correct plotter scale to the maps that you use. If you want the ability to sight more accurate azimuth/bearing, call in fire missions, do more accurate intersection/resection, then you are better off carrying a spare lensatic compass with protractor in your patrol pack. Or, to compromise, carry the ranger type /mirror type compass as a spare instead of the lensatic.