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5 Practical Ways to Use Digital Compasses in Bad Weather

Jun 25, 2008
Hiking along the wilderness trail, you take in everything around you. The sights of the colorful wildflowers. The sounds of the chirping birds. The feel of crisp autumn leaves underneath your boots. Then suddenly the sky darkens, thunder echoes around you, and then rain douses you like a football coach after a Super Bowl victory. To find your campground or Berlin Ohio Lodging, you search in your camping backpack for your hiking map. It's not there! So you pull out your digital compass from your backpack, trying to remember the coordinates that will get you safely to shelter...

Compass creations

Today's camping digital compasses are more advanced than ever, to help you navigate in even the nastiest of weather. But like any other piece of camping equipment, it's evolved from humble beginnings.

Historians generally believe that the Chinese invented the compass during the Qin dynasty. That period was roughly from 221-206 B.C. Fortune tellers used something called a lodestone to build their fortune telling boards. Lodestone is a mineral that's created from a blend of oxygen and iron.

A lodestone is able to line up itself in a North-South bearing. This innovation would ultimately be related to using a digital compass today, in order to locate a campsite or Berlin Ohio Lodging when it's raining cats and dogs.

Within time, someone made a vital discovery: the lodestones could be used to show actual directions. The first compass was built on a piece of material shaped like a square. It included markings for the directions North, South, East and West; as well as constellations.

The first compass's needle was a lodestone piece that was shaped like a spoon, and it always pointed Southward.

Sometime during the 700s AD, the Chinese ditched the lodestones for magnetized needles.

Who was the first person recorded in history to use a compass as a tool for finding locations? That was Zheng He, who lived between the 14th and 15th centuries. In the first half of the 15th century, he made several trips on oceans, using a trusty compass.

Bearing with bad weather

With some exceptions, today's campers are landlubbers, but compasses can still function as helpful navigational tools. Here are some tips to use your digital compass in particularly bad weather:

1. Fire Away. Use a point at a middle distance and another point beyond that point, to help you walk on a bearing. To get a more precise reading from your digital compass, line up the two points as you would line up a gun's sights.

2. Reading on the lines. Using a map and digital compass can be difficult to align your compass's edge alongside a bearing on the map. Utilize the lengthy black lines positioned inside the base-plate.

3. Table for one. When you need a level surface for your map, bend your knees until they're parallel to the ground. Voila! You have a table to help you take bearing.

4. I Am Compass. When using the compass to hike on a bearing, make the compass part of you. Always turn your body, rather than your hand. Imagine that the compass is a laser beam that links your line of sight, an imaginary line down the middle of your body, and a line along ground.

5. Shelter from the storm. If your compass keeps icing up or the winds are high, get inside a location, such as a shelter, where you can take a vital bearing and recover from the elements. That will allow you to get to your campground or Berlin Ohio Lodging faster.

The elements are as old as the hills. Fortunately, the invention and evolution of the compass gives today's campers a crucial tool in weathering the storm--literally!
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