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Alberta rose 0 Points
edited November -1 in GPS Discussions
Using Oregon 550 along with paper topo map and magnetic compass for backup. I download track (gpx file) beforehand through Basecamp and trf to gps. When I hit the trailhead I mark a waypoint for carpark to be sure. Then I hit Where to>Tracks>Go. I switch to the Compass Page so I can get my Bearing (number in degrees and the pointer). I set my magnetic compass to the destination using my paper map. I record this number because I may need to check on direction of travel as we go. UTM co-ordinates, distance and significant waypoints are recorded in a small note book which I take along. This is in case we go off course, change routes, start bushwacking or my gps fails or is inaccurate. I will mark waypoints as we go if significant or I might reposition waypoints I got from the garmin topo map that aren't accurate.

My question - how to do make the best use of your gps when hiking? Hope this all makes sense. I am hiking often in the back country where we already have a foot of snow and have experienced one whiteout. Nobody else seems interested in navigation so I can't ask them. They rely on me, my gps and my Spot. So would love to hear from fellow hikers.


  • I use my nuvi 1390T for hiking. Installed some topo maps and use in conjunction with paper trail maps. I track each hike and upload to MapSource when I get home. I can recharge the battery, if need be, with a solar charger.
  • Thanks for sharing. I do alot of preplanning for hikes. I research the hike, download any tracks on the internet if I havent done it before. Then I find the trailhead and signficant junctions and create waypoints. I use these waypoints to create a handwritten recap showing UTM coordinates, distances between waypoints, bearings to next waypoints and reconfirm info on paper topo map. That is my backup so I can go to map and compass if needed. I create Routes in Basecamp and add comments on waypoints for example I needed to keep left to avoid going into increased avalanche danger area. On my return I upload my track and write a report on elevation, distance, comments on say a good lunch spot, time it took, level of difficulty, etc. My group likes all the stats so we can use next time we go. I am finding that the group counts on me to know what trail do we take, how far have we gone, when will we get back to the car, how long until lunch, what is the elevation, how much have we climb, and other data. What I havent been able to do is take the time to say use the paper map and do triangulation to practice locating my current locatiom on the map. I wish I could but it takes time I cant find on my hikes. Please continue to share if you want.
  • Admittedly, I do not hike in snow, your hikes are longer than mine, and I only hike on established trails. My GPS does provide and display tracking and detailed maps so I can always backtrack to where I came from and look for landmarks. Many of the maps (topo) in my 1390 have the trails on them, so as long as my GPS shows me tracking on the trail, I know exactly where I am.
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