Posts tagged #compass

Tips from the Archive #007

Bradford Aniger - How To Stay Alive In The Woods, 1956

Bradford Aniger - How To Stay Alive In The Woods, 1956

A tip from Bradford Angier, one of the godfathers of outdoor writing. This  is from "How to Stay Alive in the Woods" first written in 1956, it is common knowledge how to use a watch to find north, but if we reverse the principle it is also possible to set your watch by using a compass.

Tip 007 – Setting Your Watch Using A Compass.

If we are in the United States or Canada and want to set a watch, let us ascertain by compass which way is due south. Then using the shadow to help us keep the hour hand of the watch pointed at the sun, let us turn the hour hand until south lies midway along the shorter arc between it and the numeral twelve. The watch will then be set within a few minutes of the correct local standard time.
— Bradford Aniger - How To Stay Alive In The Woods, 1956

Tips from the Archive #002

How to remember declination

How to remember declination

A nice tip from Don Geary's excellent 'The Compleat Outdoorsman' (this is the correct spelling which makes me like it even more.) This excellent book from 1981 is an all encompassing guide to the outdoors.

Tip 002 – How to remember magnetic declination.

One way to remember to add (or subtract) the degrees of magnetic declination for an area you are hiking in is to place a piece of tape on the compass telling you what must be done.
— Don Geary - The Compleat outdoorsman, 1981

To find the correct declination for you area, or indeed, for the area you plan to hike in visit the excellent National Gyphisical Data Center. Even if you think you know it's best to re-check as it changes year to year. In Maine I get  'Declination = 15° 44' W changing by 0° 4' E/year'.

As it's a West declination 'Map bearing + Declination = Magnetic' so if I take a bearing between two point on a map and translate it to the real world I add 15° 44' and on the flip-side 'Magnetic Bearing - Declination = Map Bearing'  if I take a bearing between two points (myself and another) in the real world I should subtract my declination to get the same bearing on the map.

Posted on June 25, 2012 and filed under Tips from the Archive.