Three Tools for Never Getting Lost Outdoors

If you’ve deliberately avoided outdoor activities because you’re afraid of possibly losing your way, there are a few items that can help you get home.

It can be a scary thing, facing a wall of woods and no sign of the trail you thought you were following. The first thing you need, of course, is a little common sense and the ability to not panic. Then use your compass or GPS you can orient yourself, and if you know which direction will take you back to the trail or road, you take a bearing and follow it. With the addition of a quality topographic map you can locate yourself and plot the safest/shortest course back to civilization. Here are three suggestions.


This compass enables you to accurately take and follow bearings.

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Keep in mind that all any compass really does is point north. A compass will help you stay found if you understand how to use it to navigate, and with a good topographical map. This rugged, military-style compass combines all the features needed to use a map to determine your position and to find your way.

Handheld GPS

This popular GPS unit is rugged, reliable, waterproof and affordable. Garmin

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A handheld Global Positioning System (GPS) will locate your position and help you find your way back to a known location, as long as your unit has a satellite signal and battery power.


An atlas like this is available for every U.S. state. DeLorme

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There is no substitute for a quality topographic map. In the U.S. these maps are available digitally from many sources and apps, based on the work of the U.S. Geological Survey. Topo maps complement your compass or GPS unit. A quality atlas like the DeLorme series includes topographic detail and a great state-by-state source for map detail.