Corporals Corner Tip and Trick Video #2 Three Land Navigation Tips That Could Save Your Life

Welcome to the second installment of Corporals Corner Tip and Trick Video series! In this blog post, we will be discussing three invaluable land navigation tips that have the potential to be life-saving. Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, an adventurer, or a survivalist, these techniques will greatly enhance your ability to navigate through unfamiliar terrain. So, strap in and let’s dive into these essential tips that could be the difference between getting lost and finding your way back home.


In this article, we will explore three important land navigation tips and tricks that could potentially save your life. Whether you find yourself in the wilderness, on a hike, or in a survival situation, understanding how to navigate using a compass can be crucial. By dialing in your azimuth or bearing, using predetermined degrees or finding direction, and walking a straight line, you can significantly enhance your chances of reaching your destination safely. So, let’s dive in and uncover these life-saving techniques.

  1. Dialing in Your Azimuth or Bearing Using a Compass

When attempting to navigate through unfamiliar terrain, it’s essential to accurately determine your azimuth or bearing using a compass. An azimuth is a degree measurement that tells you the direction from your current position to your desired destination. To dial in your azimuth, hold the compass flat, parallel to the ground, and ensure the rotating bezel is turned so the North indicator aligns with the needle. Then, rotate your entire body (including the compass) until the needle settles within the orienting arrow. The degree marking on the bezel indicates your azimuth or bearing. By mastering this technique, you can confidently set off towards your intended target.

  1. Two Options for Travel with a Base Plate Compass: Predetermined Degrees or Finding Direction

When using a base plate compass, you have two options for determining your direction of travel. The first option is using predetermined degrees, which involves mentally memorizing the azimuth or bearing required to reach your destination. This method is useful when your destination lies along a known path, such as a trail or a road. The second option is finding direction based on nearby landmarks or known reference points. By identifying prominent objects (such as mountains, rivers, or buildings) on the map and comparing them to your surroundings, you can adjust your direction based on these visual cues. Both methods are effective, and the choice depends on your familiarity with the area and the available information.

  1. How to Preset a Designated Direction Using the Compass Needle and Tick Marks

To preset a designated direction using a compass, start by turning the bezel until the desired azimuth or bearing aligns with the direction of travel arrow. This step ensures that the compass needle acts as a reference point for maintaining the correct direction. Next, use the tick marks on the bezel to mark the location of the compass needle. By doing this, you can easily realign the needle with the tick marks if it gets bumped or moves during your journey. Having a preset designated direction ensures that you stay on track even if external factors affect the position or rotation of the compass needle.

  1. How to Find the Direction of Travel by Pointing the Compass at an Object and Aligning the Needle with the Tick Mark

To accurately find the direction of travel, hold the compass in front of you and point it directly at a visible object in the distance, such as a tree or rock. Adjust your body position until the compass needle aligns with the tick mark you set in step three. Once aligned, your compass is now oriented towards your desired direction of travel. This technique is particularly useful when you need to make adjustments along your route or when navigating through dense vegetation where landmarks may not be visible. By using this method, you can stay on course even in challenging situations.

  1. Walking a Straight Line Prevents Lateral Drift or Walking in Circles

One common mistake in land navigation is unintentionally veering off course due to lateral drift or walking in circles. To mitigate this risk, it is crucial to walk in a straight line. Keep your eyes fixed on your destination or a recognizable landmark in the distance. Use visual cues like tree trunks, rocks, or other distinct features to help maintain your intended path. Additionally, periodic course corrections may be necessary to ensure you stay on track. By practicing this technique, you can minimize the chances of getting disoriented and increase your chances of reaching your destination.

Using a Waypoint Marker to Easily Find Your Way Back to a Specific Spot

In some situations, you may need to navigate to a specific spot and then return to your starting point. To ensure you can easily find your way back, mark the waypoint using a waypoint marker. Tying a bright orange cloth to a tree or vine at eye level serves as a highly visible marker. This simple technique acts as a reference point, allowing you to retrace your steps and navigate back to your original starting position. By utilizing waypoint markers, you can maintain a sense of direction, particularly when exploring unfamiliar terrain or venturing into remote areas.


Mastering land navigation techniques can be a matter of life or death in certain situations. By dialing in your azimuth or bearing, using predetermined degrees or finding direction, and walking a straight line, you significantly enhance your chances of successfully reaching your destination. Additionally, understanding how to use waypoint markers and preventing lateral drift or walking in circles can help you stay on course, even in challenging environments. So, equip yourself with the necessary skills and knowledge, and explore the great outdoors with confidence.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Can I use a compass without any prior experience?
    No, it is essential to familiarize yourself with how to operate a compass before using it in real-life scenarios. Practice in controlled environments to build proficiency and confidence.

  2. Will these land navigation tips work in all types of terrain?
    Yes, these tips are applicable in a wide range of environments, from dense forests to open plains. However, it is important to adapt and tailor these techniques according to specific conditions and challenges.

  3. How accurate can a compass be for navigation purposes?
    When used correctly, a compass can provide accurate directional information. However, factors such as magnetic interference, poor visibility, and user error can impact the accuracy. Regularly check and recalibrate your compass to ensure optimal performance.

  4. Are there any additional tools or equipment recommended for land navigation?
    While a compass is a crucial tool for land navigation, it is also advisable to carry a topographic map, GPS device, and a handheld rangefinder for precise location determination and route planning.

  5. Can I rely solely on my smartphone for navigation in the outdoors?
    It is not recommended to solely rely on a smartphone for navigation in remote or wilderness areas. Smartphones are susceptible to battery drain, signal loss, and limited access to reliable maps. Always carry physical navigation tools as backup.

Remember to always prepare adequately, acquire proper training, and respect nature while exploring the great outdoors. Stay safe and enjoy your adventures!