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How to Use a Compass

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Learn the basics of how to use your compass before a hike!

This video is in the "Orientation" Chapter of our Hiking program aimed to teach beginner the basics of hiking before setting off.

Leading the World -
Voice-over by Dominic di Rollo

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In this video, you are going to learn the basics of using a compass. It's a trustworthy, light and practical piece of equipment, and we advise you to have one in your bag for every hike.

Always use a baseplate compass. It's the only kind that allows you to find your bearings.

First of all, let's have a quick look at what a compass is. It's an object that helps you to orientate yourself. That means finding where North, South, East and West are.

It's made up of a transparent baseplate, which often has measurements, making it very easy to measure distances on a map.

[The rotating dial has markers and a scale that goes from 0 to 360 degrees, meaning that you can get very precise directions.]

It always has an orientating ARROW, RUNNING PARALLEL TO ITS LONGEST SIDES,a red magnetised needle, which shows where North is. Meaning that the white part shows where South is. The rotating dial allows you to keep track of the directions. {The rotating dial has markers and a scale that goes from 0 to 360 degrees, meaning that you can get very precise directions.}

Now, let's look at how to use a compass. It's a very straightforward piece of equipment, but there are two rules you should follow in order to use it properly.

Put the compass on a flat surface. This prevents the needle from getting stuck in it's housing, which could affect the reading.

Now for a short, very easy exercise; with the compass on a flat surface, turn the the dial so that the marker is exactly below the red arrow.

Now you can find where North, South, East and West are! To learn about using the compass with a map, check out our our other videos about orientation

Over to you!


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Sikana - How to Use a Compass: Navigation
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