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Ski
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PostSun Oct 28, 2018 5:02 pm 
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I believe you, but considering the total weight of a compass, I find it difficult to believe somebody on a trek of a couple thousand miles would go without one.

Obviously, you'd have to haul a whole bunch of paper maps for that kind of distance, but there are several ways to keep them from getting wet - Zip-loc bags being just one method.

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DIYSteve
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PostSun Oct 28, 2018 5:08 pm 
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Ski wrote:
As for maps getting wet, they invented the Zip-Loc bag in 1968.

I print my maps on waterproof paper. The best high level maps, e.g., Trails Illustrated, Green Trail special maps, are plastic/waterproof.

And, yeah, needle compasses are virtually indestructible. I have a 20 y.o. Silva and a 15 y.o. Suunto, each with hundreds of days of use, and they function like new.

Also, I have button compasses on all my packs as backups.

FTR, I use electronic navigation (GPSr and cell phone GPS app), but I'd never go on a multi-day trip without a needle compass and waterproof maps (including high level map for egress from anywhere along the route in an emergency).

I engage with PCT thru- and section hikers when possible. 10 years ago, most of them carried paper or plastic maps. Now many rely solely on cell phones. Sure, most of them get away with it, but the real test is when things go wrong. I sense the peak season PCT crowded highway effect can result in a false sense of security. Section K in late October/early November is an entirely different thing, especially when a snow storm hits.
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Ski
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PostSun Oct 28, 2018 5:47 pm 
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My mistake....

compass 1
compass 1
compass 2
compass 2

Assuming that the unit was new when Mr. Salois scratched his name and the date on it on February 4, 1942, this one is now 76 years old.
My old man scratched his name on it in 1947 while waiting for his hunting buddy to flush a deer out of the brush somewhere on the Toats Coulee.

Still works just dandy.

I'm at a loss as to how one can "break" a compass. Maybe I'm missing something here. dizzy.gif

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I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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Malachai Constant
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PostSun Oct 28, 2018 7:00 pm 
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I had a Silva compass “break” when the spring between the capsule and card broke. The capsule the would fall out when inverted. The compass still works but is more inconvenient. I usually just print Caltopo or Switchbacks maps with a laser printer which does not run. I also use electronic maps for thru hikes but have a backup paper map. Guthook is good for the PCT and JMT but since we have already done the interesting sections. Now we do the unpopulated adjacent lake basins where we can use electronic and historical paper maps. I do not post trip reports reports only pics on my private FB with no text.

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Kim Brown
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PostSun Oct 28, 2018 7:50 pm 
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Ski wrote:
, I find it difficult to believe somebody on a trek of a couple thousand miles would go without one.

I volunteer with the USFS (well not this past summer), and a through hiker once asked me, "Am I still on the PCT?" I answered Yes, but then asked what the confusion might be. He had only a GPS with Halfmile's track. He was following the line, and only the line. He didn't have a sense of where he was on the landscape, and didn't really seem to piece together the part about the PCT going up a lot from just beyond Glacier Lake up to Trap Pass, and that he had passed Glacier Lake and went up a lot, and was standing at an obvious pass. He was nice though, and he had got that far from Mexico, so I guess he was doing all right.

This isn't limited to PCT hikers; I've seen this from locals as well. People don't know where they are; they only want to follow that line.

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Damian
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PostSun Oct 28, 2018 8:06 pm 
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Kim remember the cluleless but happy guy in his pajamas and slippers smoking a pipe near his KMart pup tent above Milk Ck?
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treeswarper
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PostSun Oct 28, 2018 8:17 pm 
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I had a Silva ranger compass go bad.  It would  stick.  It became unreliable, so I got a new one.  I got the most accuracy on running traverses with a Suunto "precision" compass. Guess that's what it was for. 

I have had problems with compasses in really cold weather.  They took a bit of tapping on and I seem to remember giving up and waiting for a warmer day.  Dunno if it was me or the compass.

The good ones can have problems, but I have never had one break, and I've fallen quite a bit whilst carrying a compass.  Now the compasses that are embedded in my hiking poles are broke/shattered quickly.

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Kim Brown
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PostSun Oct 28, 2018 8:20 pm 
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Damian wrote:
Kim remember the cluleless but happy guy in his pajamas and slippers smoking a pipe near his KMart pup tent above Milk Ck?

Yes! I tell about him to someone at least once a year.

Clueless and happy; so sublime!

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texasbb
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PostSun Oct 28, 2018 9:17 pm 
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I'm squarely on the side of map and compass, but I did have a compass "fail" once.  I had it in the cargo pocket of my shorts when I slipped coming down a steep rocky slope.  Ended up with a big thigh bruise and a shattered Silva.  It's one reason I now carry a supplemental Suunto Clipper on one trekking pole strap.
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Bernardo
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PostSun Oct 28, 2018 9:19 pm 
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Thanks Rumidude for the detailed information.

Thru-hiking is something between trail running and normal backpacking.  Thru-hikers rely on their ability to follow the trail and get to the next resupply point.  They become very good at this.  Sure, the North Cacades are different, but many months of experience have taught them that safety is on the trail.  Any deviation is costly and risky from that perspective.

From my perspective, I'm going to add one of those button compasses to my kit as a backup based on the tips on this thread.

With regards to electronic devices, when they are working, which is usually the case, they are in many cases superior to the old guestimates which are part of map and compass navigation.
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BigBrunyon
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PostSun Oct 28, 2018 10:33 pm 
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Look here's the deal: if you don't know how to figure out where Yarr, get off the trail!!!!

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Ski
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PostSun Oct 28, 2018 11:01 pm 
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BigBrunyon wrote:
"...if you don't know how to figure out where Yarr, get off the trail!!!!"

YARR RLY
YARR RLY

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Gil
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PostMon Oct 29, 2018 6:08 am 
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Many years ago, I was the navigator on a sail crossing of the Pacific. I had my sextant and compass. Biut the skipper had bought this new-fangled handset with something called gee-pee-ess. I was highly skeptical, so for the first 10 days or so, I dutifully did my noon and star sights. When we saw general agreement between manual and machine, I tapered off.  But I still double-checked every few days.

Now we are orders of magnitude better on gps but I still carry compass and map on the trail. Why? Way more fun.

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DIYSteve
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PostMon Oct 29, 2018 6:51 am 
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This is the button compass attached to each of my packs as a backup. It weighs 5 grams. The bezel marks happen to be spaced at 15 degrees, handy for WA, OR and NoCal (currently within 2* of 15* E magnetic declination).

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DadFly
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PostMon Oct 29, 2018 6:58 am 
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PCT ->
<- PCT
PCT->
<-PCT

I carry a map and compass most of the time. Used to help make topo maps at Fort Missoula.
Did a lot of land surveying too. So I understand how they function and still have the compass my dad gave me for my birthday in 1967. He didn't like trails much so we used our compasses a lot. That was then. I rarely even look at my map or compass anymore. I mean like once or twice a year.

Them new fangled gizzmos are smarter than most of you.
Yeah, me too.  huh.gif
Most of this thread sounds like a bunch of constipated old men.  We need a "GET OFF MY LAWN" emoji. 
Yeah, me too.  huh.gif

I carry an iphone with Gaia GPS on it. I have ziplock baggies that it slips into and it has an Otter case with Gorrila glass adhered to the screen. I always carry it in a breast pocket that zips or seals in some way. At this point in my life it is a lot more likely that my back is going to go out than my cell phone is going to stop working.   lol.gif
In that event I have a spot locator beacon.


Now I understand the allure of land navigation using map, compass and badass recconing. Gotta say I have been amoung the best at that at times. But if I am short on time and have a specific place I want to see that I haven't ever been to and I don't want to follow a traill all day, that gizzmo in my pocket puts me exactly where I want to be and I can zip though complex terrain without getting sidetracked. It saves a lot of time.

Now I mean this in a funny way for the most part. But clearly a lot of you just aren't in to modernization. That's OK. So is someone elses' gear choice. And if I may add one more casual observation, getting too wrapped up in an online discussion is a form of addiction.
Yeah me too.
paranoid.gif

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