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Compass use while caching? (Had to try the poll thingy :) )


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The polling option is pretty slick.

I'll elaborate on my vote: I use the compass occassionally to decide which way to get going again after stopping and milling around. This tends to confuse the GPS (or maybe it's just me that's confused). Anyway, the Bearing on the GPS and the good 'ol compass usually get me headed the right direction.

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Originally posted by JeepCache:

I don't use or have a compass. I'm not sure I understand what the use would be.


Walk deep into the woods. Open the back of your GPS unit and take out the batteries. Chuck them as far as you can. Get home.


For Geocaching: Once you get close, position your gps so the north on your unit matches with the north on your compass. The GPS direction arrow will point to the most likely direction to the cache. If you have an electronic compass as part of your unit, you don't need one (except for backup).



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I could not imagine going on a hiking excursion or anything similar without a compass, a map for the area, and other much needed items (first aid kit, etc.). You never know when you are going to need all the location and direction information you can have.

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For Geocaching: Once you get close, position your gps so the north on your unit matches with the north on your compass.

I might add to Jeremy's comment that you should also make sure you set your GPSr heading setting to Magnetic unless you are compensating for declination on the compass itself. Locally, this difference between TN and MN is 20 degrees east.


Here is my technique... I always switch my eTrex to Magnetic prior to a hunt and always carry a magnetic compass. This makes it very easy to confirm if the displayed pointer on the navigation screen is correct or not as I stop and go while closing in on the target.


The distance displayed should be correct as well as the direction the pointer on the navigation page is displaying. But since I am not moving or have turned around, I cannot determine where north is. So I use the distance it indicates PLUS the bearing it indicates. I take that bearing and set my magnetic compass to that bearing. This never fails.


A similar handy technique is to set the two display fields on the navigation page of an eTrex to "Heading" and "Bearing". This tells me numerically, which direction I am walking and at the same time the direction to the cache. Continually comparing the displayed heading with my magnetic compass confirms that the navigation pointer (and the displayed bearing) are correct.

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Originally posted by JeepCache:

I don't use or have a compass. I'm not sure I understand what the use would be.


icon_biggrin.gif We are doing a SAR practice session next week, and we will be looking for a lost person.

After you throw away those batteries, let us know where you are at icon_razz.gif and we'll try and find you.

P.S. did you have the foresight to leave a map with your location with your loved ones before you left. We would like to contact them as to a possible location where you are at. Or notify the next of KIN that you've gone to the big cache in the sky.[


The "Bushwhacker"

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When I cached with my GPS-300, a compass was an absolute necessity, because of the crudeness of the pointer screen and the slow response of the unit.


Now that I've upgraded my GPSr, I only refer to the compass after I've been standing still for awhile. A small plastic compass on my wristwatch (which I found in a cache!) is what I refer to most of the time. I also carry a nicer lensatic compass in my cache bag.


Remember that with a GPSr that doesn't have an internal compass, the bearing (referenced to North) is always correct (at least to the accuracy of the GPS fix). The unit can only figure out your heading if it's moving.

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I never bring an extra compass (do have a Vista with compass built-in), maps or any other paraphernalia, that some of you seems to consider required, when I go caching.


GPS, batteries, check the downloaded cache description on my Palm V (but usually don't carry the Palm), something to trade with (if I have anything) and perhaps a pen, since the one in tha cache often doesn't work, at least not during the winter, with lower temperatures. I usually bring the phone, too.


Oh yes, a flashlight has been useful sometimes, since it's dark very early in the evening, during the winter in Sweden.


If my GPS stops working? I just go back. After all, I'm not in the middle of Sahara.


First aid kit? Rubbish! It's either not needed or not adequate.



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