The Essential Wilderness Navigator: How to Find Your Way in the Great Outdoors, Second Edition / Edition 2by David Seidman, Paul Cleveland
Pub. Date: 01/28/2001
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
Now with full-color topographic maps and featuring the latest on electronic navigation, The Essential Wilderness Navigator is the clearest and most up-to-date route-finding primer available. Providing readers with exercises for developing a directional ‘sixth sense,’ tips on mastering the art of map- and compass-reading, and comprehensive updates on a range of technological advances, this perennially popular guide is more indispensable than ever.
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The title may keep it from being more popular than it should be, but I have discovered the Essential Wilderness Navigator is the best map & compass land nav book out there. Like many people I had been led to believe that the 'Sierra Club Land Navigation Handbook' or Bjorn Kjellstrom's vastly overrated 'Be Expert with Map and Compass' to be the last word on the subject of reading a map. Those books don't even come close. Wilderness Navigator has by far the best illustrations and material to get you up and running with topo map and compass, along with more advanced material once you're ready. And (yay!) no wasted space on Orienteering, Scouting, Astronomy, or other marginally relevant garbage, just real-life outdoor navigation for hikers and backpackers. Plus, the larger format is easier to read, and you can actually lay the book flat on the ground to help you while practicing your navigation skills. If you really want to know how to read a map and use a compass in authentic outdoor situations, this is the book to buy!
You want to learn how to use a map and compass? Mostly for navigating on land, especially remote wilderness? This is the best comprehensive book I've found on the subject, bar none. Reasons: 1) It gets to the point quickly in teaching you map & compass fundamentals. 2) It teaches realistic methods, and does not emphasize the unrealistic ones (one glaring example: penciling a lot of inaccurate magnetic declination lines all over your map the night before your trip (because the author used the method once for an adventure race with a special large-scale map and thinks it's cool) 3) It has clear, large, easy-to-understand illustrations. 4) It teaches BOTH compass dead reckoning (compass only) AND terrain association (map priority) navigation principles and shows the advantages and weaknesses of each in a given situation. 5) It has nice large pages and lays flat while you refer to various sections and practice using your map & compass. 6) It also covers more advanced map/compass skills (such as plotting your position using lat/long and UTM grids) as well as beginner exercises, and does so in the same clear, practical way. 7) It warns you of the inaccuracies of some improvised 'navigational' methods (like telling directions from a wristwatch and the sun) while still giving you useful information on methods that do work well in an emergency. 8) It does not attempt to be a 'all-method navigation' book. Such a book does not exist. Either the GPS material will be inadequate or the map/compass material is too abbreviated.
I have read other David Seidman books and really learned/enjoyed them a lot. So when I started an interest in land navigation and he had written on the subject, I bought his. This has turned out to be a great instructional manual. I read it cover to cover and did the exercises and such and am now proficient in the practice. I have discovered orienteering and adventure racing and knowing navigation is critical to the process. If want to learn and have fun doing it, this is a great book!