After reading Lyle Brotherton’s excellent Navigation Manual we were inspired to check our navigation kit to make sure that we are fully up to date and ready for the worst conditions and most waterlogged of maps. According to Mr. Brotherton (and he should know having trained SAR teams in over twenty countries), these are the best pieces of kit to keep you on the right path :
1) Suunto M3 Global Compass – a high quality baseplate compass capable of performing from -40 to +60 degrees C! Should be more than enough for a weekend in the lakes then….
2) Latest set of waterproof OS Explorer maps. Obviously.
3) Grid Reference Tool, used to quickly find a grid ref in the field.
4) Tally counter – not dissimilar to the clickers that door men use to count revellers in and out of clubs, these handy devices are useful when using a techniques known as pacing.
5) Grease pencils are useful for writing on waterproof maps and the markings can be rubbed off when you are finished.
6) Head Torch – whilst you should never navigate at night, you never know when you might have to. LED torches are best but look for a torch with a minimum range of 50m. The classic Petzl Tikka Headtorch is reliable and one the cheapest head torches that you can trust to do the job when you need it most.
7) Backup Lithium Batteries for head torches, phones & Sat Systems.
8) Mobile Phone, though don’t rely on it and if you do a lot of hill walking, it may pay to invest in a ruggedised model to prevent water damage.
9) Compass Binoculars will allow you to take bearings at far longer distances than by hand compass.
10) GNSS or Satnav system. Though these can vary wildly in price, a reliable system can be purchased now for under £100.
With all this in mind, remember that the best piece of navigation equipment is your brain! Fine tune this tool as much as you can by reading the Collin’s Ultimate Navigation Manual.