ive only done short trips where it was near impossible to get lost. for more adventure-y type backpackers do you use a compass or a gps?
Yes! I typically like to carry both. Sometimes I’ll just use the GPS on my mobile, but other times I’ll carry a Garmin GPS. I always like to carry a map and compass and pretend to know how to use them.
While a compass is great… I also never have great luck with them I think something about me personally gets them all wacky so I rely perhaps to much on GPS and offline maps. Offline maps with zoomable features have been lifesavers.
Definitely agree that GPS is really great in a lot of scenarios. I really want to learn map + compass orienteering, but as of right now I’m doing a lot of zooming in on maps downloaded to my phone.
Your phone likely has a compass app as well a GPS- always good to know how to use both. I like trying to figure it our on the compass and then checking with the GPS to see if I’m right. It’s good practice for the occasion when when I might need to rely on my compass navigation skills.
Honestly, I think it’s fine to prefer GPS over a map and compass AS LONG AS you have knowledge on how to use a map and compass. A GPS, in my opinion, should never replace a map and compass. Things happen (batteries die, satellites are elusive, etc.) so to have a map and compass as a back up cannot be over stated. I live in an area where hikers frequently depend on GPS or other electronics alone and require search and rescue or Game and Fish to bail them out. Map and compass skills are invaluable!
If you live near and REI or other local outdoor store, you may be able to find a skills clinic! I highly recommend learning the skills.
I bring both on any backpacking trip. Knowing how to use your chosen option is the most important part. I rely more on my compass together with the map, but my very basic GPS is helpful to track distances between trail crossing on the map. I also mark a few spots that I feel confident I could navigate back to the trailhead from.