No matter what age you are, learning how to use a compass is one of the most rewarding feelings.
Advanced technology like GPS and online maps may have taken over, but that doesn’t mean compasses are now useless. Knowing how to read a compass is a skill you’ll need when you’re in the great outdoors.
We want everyone to appreciate the small yet significant device that is the compass. That’s why in this article, we’re going to discuss the benefits of using a compass and straightedge. And since we’re here, we’re also going to point out some of the disadvantages of using them.
Advantages of Using a Compass
There are real advantages to using a compass. Even if we enjoy modern-day technology benefits for navigation, having a compass will always come in handy. Here are five notable advantages that you can get from using a compass.
Learn to navigate
Yes, GPS systems and Google Maps have made navigation much easier. But it’s still essential to have a thorough understanding of the telling the right direction.
Without this knowledge, you could end up lost with no idea where to go. GPS does have it’s limitations – something that can be learned using a compass.
When you learn how to use a compass, you will also know how to tell the direction and navigate certain areas. Once you become a navigation expert, you will never get lost. Even if you left your GPS tracker at home, you would still find your way through unfamiliar terrain.
Another reason why you should have a compass with you at all times is its portability. A compass features slim and compact dimensions that can easily fit inside your pocket without you even noticing it. The best hiking watch even has a built-in compass as an added feature.
Some compasses even come with a strap and act as a watch. But the most common ones have a string that you can use to hang the compass on your neck.
Thanks to these convenient features, you won’t ever have to worry about losing your compass. With a compass ready, you can navigate through unknown places without getting lost.
The one feature that ultimately separates the compass from a GPS tracker is that it doesn’t need batteries or energy to function.
With a GPS, you will need to have spare batteries and even a charger to use them. However, if you’re in the wilderness, your batteries will soon run out, and you won’t be able to use your charger.
With a compass, you won’t have to worry about battery life or any of that stuff. A compass detects the Earth’s natural magnetic fields. No batteries or chargers are needed. All you need is to know that your compass always points north, and you’re good to go.
Using a compass will enable you to establish your position and direction without any help. So even if you’re all alone in the middle of the wilderness, you can navigate across the terrain without requiring the assistance of another person.
Since a compass is self-sustaining, you won’t also need any power source, either as long as you have a compass in one hand and an accurate map on the other, finding your way won’t be a problem.
Another benefit of a compass is that you can quickly take and understand a reading. While a GPS can relay a more accurate reading, you will still need to use your compass to pinpoint your current position on the map and determine your trajectory in minutes.
Relying on a GPS to establish your position will prove faulty. It can take a while before you can do so, which is a significant disadvantage if you’re in a hurry.
Disadvantages of Using a Compass
To fully understand the significance of using a compass, we also need to acknowledge some of its disadvantages. As beneficial as a compass may be, it does have its fair share of downsides. Here are some of the most common disadvantages of using a compass and straightedge:
Let’s face it – as much as we praise the skill of knowing how to use a compass, it’s not that practical anymore. With the presence of GPS and online maps available straight from our smartphones, it makes any navigation device impractical.
That includes the compass. Why would you have a separate navigation device when you can have everything you need on your phone? So even if you have the best compass for backpacking, you’ll still not use it if you have your phone.
Again, with technology getting in the way, using a compass becomes more of an option rather than a necessity. If you’re in a particular area, all you need is a signal to access online maps. All you need is a GPS tracker.
Even if you’re headed to an unfamiliar location, all you need is to save the map on your phone, and you can access that without needing Wi-Fi.
There are just so many ways you can make navigation more comfortable than learning how to read a compass. So, if you’re planning on a trip, just make sure you’re ready. Make sure your phone is 100% charged and you have all the battery you need to keep your GPS tracker going.
Knowing how to use a compass is beneficial in any situation. It’s something that not many people can do. With the advancement of navigation technology, learning how to read and understand a compass is truly rare.
So if you happen to know how to use a compass, make sure you share it with others that don’t. Spread the word and let other people know that GPS trackers aren’t everything. Learning the ways of the compass is still relevant in today’s day and age.
Read more: How to Use a Compass