Land Navigation Practice

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    • #91107

        After consideration, I thought I would post something up about land nav, as it’s been quite a while since it’s been a topic of conversation yet a critical warrior skill.

        I’m not going to add anything from a TTP perspective, here’s a round up:
        1. Max’s blog post

        2. D-close’s practice:

        3. Anonymous User post:

        With nicer weather upon us, it’s a great time to get outside and learn or practice land nav. It’s a pretty perishable skill!

        I got some training in this weekend, and it had been a little while since I did some serious cross-country bushwacking. I was out for 3.5 hours and covered about that many miles, moving through heavily forested woodland with significant undergrowth, experiencing two stream crossings, a bit of swamp, a shale pit, and a new growth forest after a forest fire (the thorns! ugh). It was a good time though, with sunny weather and comfortable temps.

        In most places there are local orienteering clubs/courses set up, but I preferred to go my own way. There’s a bit higher risk going into backcountry alone, but I also think there’s bigger reward/lessons to be learned.

        A few points worth mentioning for solo backcountry land nav:

        1) Get training and/or stick to manicured parks until you have the basics down. Slowly ramp up difficulty as you achieve successes in the field. Bring along a friend until you feel reasonable confident in your skills (both navigational and self reliance)

        2) Leave your travel plan with someone you trust: start location coord., your planned AO, coordinates you plan to hit, the latest expected time back, your emergency azimuth/backstop if you get lost, you signalling devices (day/night, visual/audible), and communications (I brought a two way radio with frequencies I would send from if cell phone failed)

        3) First aid- you are going to be alone, you should have basic kit, with the skill to self-administer it. I don’t mean band-aids and splinters either, but rather serious injuries.

        4) Get a good map (I like caltopo) and laminate it. This allows you to mark it up, but later reuse it, and it adds considerable durability as you move in the field. Use a protractor for more exact measurement as you navigate (I like this one very much link)

        5) Optional, but I like to use a Garmin Foretrex GPS as a “score keeper”. When I get to my expected point (assuming it isn’t obvious) I’ll take out the GPS and see how close I am.

      • #91108

          I got a state land close by that I go to in the cooler weather that use.

        • #91109

            Having a “backstop” or two for practice is nice.

            I.e, “If I continue going south I will hit the hard road” and “If I go due east Farmer’s Gully Rd. will be right in front of me.”

            Kind of like having the guards up when you go bowling- you may not hit a strike but you won’t end up in the gutter either :)

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