If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking. ~Buddhist Saying
In an earlier post, we discussed the basics of direction and how a compass works. In this post we are going to look into how to use the compass to get you to the right location. There are two important components that we will discuss, how to shoot and azimuth and how to keep track of your distance.How to Shoot an Azimuth
Shooting an azimuth is a very simple process, but it is also a very precise process. Great attention to detail must be paid.
To start, you will need to grab your compass and hold it level (or parallel to the ground). Then you will want to align your compass to North (if your outside bevel moves freely, make sure it is in alignment with the needle). Once the compass is properly aligned, you will then be able to shoot an imaginary line in the direction you would like to go.
If you are heading out at 320 degrees. Align your compass North, find the marking for 320 degrees and shoot your imaginary line to an object on the horizon located EXACTLY at 320 degrees. As you set out with your pre-determined distance you might make your destination before you reach the per-selected object on the horizon. If you reach your per-selected object before you reach your distance, then simply reshoot the azimuth to a new object and continue measuring your distance where you left off.
Shooting an azimuth is as simple as that. The only caveat is precision. One degree difference over 10Km could result with you being 100’s of meters off your target.
Keeping Track of Distance Covered
It is important to go in the right direction, but it is equally important to know how far you have gone. Let’s say that one day you set out from camp, you head North, then bear East. It is great to know that you need to head West and then South to return to camp, but how far in each direction should you travel? It is imperative to know how far you are going.
One great way of measuring distance is by counting your steps. Every 110 steps for a person of average heights is about 100 Meters. We also know that 1,000 meters is a kilometer (or as it is known in the military, a klick). So if you go 10 klicks (or kilometers) then you know that you went 6.2 miles, which would be about 1,100,000 steps. Obviously that would be a hard number to keep track of. Therefore it would be wise to utilize a system to keep track of all this. Possible you could have two strands of beads. Both with 10 beads. One for counting each 100 meters, and the other for each kilometer. So at anytime you could know how many kilometers and meters you have covered.
Some Compass Options that Shoot an Azimuth
The following compasses are all found on Amazon and could be a good match for your skill level and budget. All of the options will be a good choice for shooting an azimuth.