Do You Really Need a Compass?

compass-and-map-by-Derell LichtWith a GPS-equipped phone right in our pockets, it may seem like overkill to bring along a compass too. The truth is that taking along this reliable little tool can make the difference should something bad happen while out on the trail.

In rural Arkansas, where you can go for miles and miles without seeing any roads or people, it’s important to have a compass to make sure you get back to civilization safely.

We all know how spotty service can be with our phones when you get out in the back country, even on roads and established routes in Arkansas. If you’re preparing for a trip to the Ozarks, your cellphone’s GPS may not be enough if you run into trouble. Small GPS systems that are used for things like geocaching can be useful alternatives but they can have problems too, like when there aren’t enough satellites overhead or if you’re in a wooded area or holler. A compass works no matter where you are or what might be blocking the way. If you’re going on a trip to an unfamiliar area, a compass is the best tool you can bring with you — along with a map. Combined together, these two tools are enough to get you back to civilization if you’re lost.

Don’t know how to use a compass? There are tons of great resources that teach you the basics of using a compass and how to combine it with a map to get where you want to go. Here are some of our favorites:

If you’re thinking about doing a long hike, whether in Arkansas or anywhere else in the world, it’s important to know how to use your compass properly.

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