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People have used navigation devices since the dawn of man. A thousand years ago, people used the sun and the North Star to navigate to their point of destination. This lasted until about five hundred years ago, when the compass and astrolabes were discovered. A mere twenty years ago, hikers used compasses and topographic maps to navigate through the brush. In fact, it has only been in the last decade where hikers could use something technological to pinpoint their exact location. The Global Positioning System (GPS) has changed the way people find their way around outdoors to the point of encouraging hikers to take more risks. Find out more about using GPS while hiking below.


GPS Usages

A Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver helps guide hikers to their destination and back to their original location. Many hikers still use compasses, topographic maps, and altimeters in mountainous regions; however, a GPS receiver provides all of the necessary information when accessible. It guides hikers to a specific waypoint based on bearing, heading, and distance. In addition, most GPS units allow hikers to choose between true and magnetic north. A GPS device allows users to enter or mark coordinates of their current location. This makes it easy for hikers to navigate back to their original position in the event they get lost. Hikers should remain aware of their surroundings, especially in wooded areas where a loss in reception may occur. If this happens, hikers should seek the nearest clearing to regain a signal. It also helps to carry a compass and map to test the accuracy of GPS readings.


Hiking Safety

Hiking provides a sense of adventure for the majority of hikers on the trails. For the most part, hiking is a safe activity; however, there can be times where hikers run into trouble. This can be avoided by exercising precaution by traveling in groups or pairs. In heavily forested areas, it can be easy to get lost on trails with steep canyons or winding turns. Traveling with a hiking partner can make the trip easier when faced with steep grades or injuries that need first aid. Hiking partners also ensure that everyone stays on track towards their destination without getting lost. Remember to take some basic gear, even for simple two-hour hikes over easy terrain. Packing a lighter or matches, a knife, flashlight, and first aid kit can be a literal lifesaver. The same goes for basic provisions, such as water and food. The basic fundamental rule for hiking safety is to exercise common sense. If walking down a particular trail feels funny, then do not go down it. Hikers should always use their gut instinct while on the trails. It really is that simple.


Other Hiking Tips

Hiking enlivens many people who enjoy the outdoors. It gives them a sense of connection with nature. Before planning any hiking trip, remember to think out a route and stick with it. Mark the coordinates in a GPS receiver and carry a map as a backup. Hikers should choose an appropriate route that meets their abilities. Do not attempt an advanced trail without a hiking partner. Hikers should pack only the bare essentials in case they need them, such as a knife, poncho, lighter, and cooking utensils. Make adjustments for extended hiking trips. Take frequent breaks to avoid fatigue and exhaustion. Bring a camera and record any findings while on trails to take back home to family and friends. Make the hike a fun trip away from the civilized world. It will be worth the time spent in the end.


Follow these links to learn more about using GPS for hiking: (Third party content)


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